An Insider's Guide to the Georgia Aquarium

Follow our simple ideas for enhancing your aquarium experience, and save some cash in the process.

Lucy Hale at the Georgia Aquarium

Visitors to Atlanta can't go wrong with a stop at the Georgia Aquarium. Exceptional galleries, exciting shows and creative encounters are sure to make this a vacation you will not forget. Follow our simple ideas for enhancing your aquarium experience, and saving some cash in the process.


Maximizing Your Visit

Dolphin and Sea Lion Shows

Dolphin Celebration and Under The Boardwalk are two spectacular animal shows included with your General Admission ticket; however, you will need to plan accordingly to see them.

Under the Boardwalk is an adorable and informative sea lion show that lasts about 20 minutes, showing off the talents of a few rescued pups.

The can't-miss show of your visit is Dolphin Celebration! The first half includes dolphin antics and insight into these amazing animals. The second half is even more exciting, with leaping, splashing, swimming and other dolphin capers. Sitting in the first few rows increases the likelihood of a shower of sea water from your favorite dolphin friends.

Seating is first come first serve for both Georgia Aquarium shows. They are extremely popular, so be sure to line up about 30 minutes before the posted show time.

Behind the Scenes

Photo Credit:  Georgia Aquarium

For only $15 you can add a Behind The Scenes tour to your ticket, and it is absolutely worth it. You'll see a few galleries tucked beyond the "Employees Only" door, visit the animal cafeteria to see how so many penguins, seals and more are fed each day, and more. The highlight is a spectacular view of the whale sharks eating lunch.

Mobile App

The Aquarium's mobile app offers a chance to dive deeper into each gallery. It's free to use, and the aquarium offers free WiFi. The app is also handy for checking out show times, managing tickets and more.

Animal Encounters

Feeding whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium

For the ultimate aquarium experience, schedule an animal encounter. Suit up for an intimate and educational visit with a Beluga Whale, or get up close and personal with the ocean's gentle giant – a Whale Shark. Whale Shark experiences vary from snorkel encounters on the water's surface to full-scale SCUBA sessions within the gallery tank.

Don't expect to secure a same-day spot. You'll want to book in advance for these adventures.

Discount Opportunities

Go Early or Go Late

The early bird gets the worm…or in this case, the fish! Visitors who purchase an Early Bird ticket online will save up to 20% on admission before an 11 a.m. entry.

If you're only planning to visit a few hours, then increase your savings to over 30% with Imagination Nights tickets. These tickets are valid after 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and they also include access to Dolphin Celebration.

Georgia Aquarium

Purchase Tickets Online

If the Early Bird or Imagination Nights tickets just don't fit your schedule, then opt for an online ticket purchase, which will save 10-20% off walk-up prices.

Check out these and other discounts (Military Mondays, Mommy and Me, Discount Parking, etc) on the Aquarium's website.  

Hotel Packages

For the grandest of discounts, book your Atlanta visit at an Aquarium Preferred Hotel, and receive exclusive General Admission Anytime tickets. Hotels include Hilton hotelsLoews Atlanta, Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and more. See the Aquarium's website for full details.

Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer. Find more of her family-friendly tips and trip ideas on, and visit for more itineraries and money-saving tips. 

Published: March 2017
Written by: Lesli Peterson