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Three Animal Encounters for Your Family Bucket List

  • Swimming with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium

    Bucket list: Swimming with gentle giants at the Georgia Aquarium! It's the only place in the world where you are guaranteed to swim with a whale shark

Every kid loves seeing the animals, but there are some experiences that just take your visit to the next level. We've got three your family will adore.

Feed giraffes at Zoo Atlanta

Head over to the giraffe exhibit at Zoo Atlanta for the opportunity to feed these long-necked creatures. $3 buys you a bit of romaine lettuce. The line is often long for this experience, but it goes very quickly.

Giraffes at Zoo Atlanta. Photo credit: Zoo Atlanta, Facebook
Giraffes at Zoo Atlanta. Photo credit: Zoo Atlanta, Facebook

Please prep the kids: these are wild animals. Sometimes they are just not hungry for salad, so they may not be interested in eating (and if it is too cold or raining, then the feeding area is closed.) But overall, this is a fun experience for kids of all ages. Even very young children can participate with an adult.

Snorkel with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium

Kids 12 and older (and their awesome adults) are encouraged to take to the water for an up-close view of the ocean's Gentle Giants. The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the Western Hemisphere to encounter these endangered species.

Swimming with whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta
Swimming with whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta

Your snorkel session not only allows you to see four whale sharks, but also zebra sharks, sawfish, leopard whiprays, bowmouth guitarfish, humphead wrasses, pompano, several species of rays…and more! Whew!

Plan to spend a peaceful 30-40 minutes in the water, though the memories will last a lifetime. You can see a video and read more about our Gentle Giants Journey here.

Feed baby camels at Pettit Creek Farms

Head to Cartersville to see zebras, horses, donkeys, peacocks, lemurs and more…but for the ultimate animal encounter, try feeding a baby camel. This isn't available on every farm tour because there isn't always a baby, but Pettit Creek boasts the largest camel herd in the state, so there is usually a good chance. 

Take a hayride at Pettit Creek Farms and feed adult camels, too.
Take a hayride at Pettit Creek Farms and feed adult camels, too.

While you're there, be sure to stop by the petting zoo. The Allens have hand-raised many of the animals from birth in pristine living conditions. A visit here makes a great fall field trip.

More Animal Encounters:

Where to "Talk to the Animals" in Georgia

The Best Places to Visit Animals in Georgia

Lesli Peterson

Lesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

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