Sep 20, 2011

The World's Largest Aquarium [25 pics]


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world, whether you’re measuring by the number of fish or volume of water. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA at Pemberton Place, it has more than 8.5-million-US-gallon (32,000 m3) of marine and fresh water housing more than 120,000 animals of 500 different species in 60 different habitats. The aquarium’s notable specimens include four young whale sharks, four beluga whales, and four manta rays. There is 12,000 square feet of viewing windows and cost $290 million USD to build.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

Rather than the traditional linear aquarium design, the Georgia Aquarium has five separate galleries arranged around a central atrium. They are Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold-Water Quest and River Scout. Tanks within the galleries house a diverse population of animals, including whales, sharks, penguins, otters, electric eels, rays, seahorses, sea stars, crabs and a variety of fish of all sizes.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

Funded mostly by a $250 million donation from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, the aquarium was built on a 20 acre (81,000 m²) site north of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Marcus credited his 60th birthday dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1990 among the inspirations behind his desire to build an aquarium in Atlanta.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph by CONNOR CAREY

 

After 27 months and with 60 animal habitats, 16,400 square feet (1,520 m2) of ball room space, 2 food service kitchens, gift shops, a 4-D theater, an on-site restaurant, and a parking lot, the Georgia Aquarium opened first on November 21, 2005 to annual pass holders and then on November 23, 2005 to the general public.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

The aquarium has nevertheless far exceeded visitor expectations, welcoming its 1 millionth guest on March 1, 2006, only ninety-eight days after opening. The aquarium sold over 290,000 annual passes for its first year, before sales were halted (to avoid a “private club” atmosphere). The Georgia Aquarium welcomed its three millionth guest on August 24, 2006, its five millionth on May 23, 2007, and its ten millionth guest on June 25, 2009.

 


Photograph by ZAC WOLF

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

Like all zoos and aquariums, the Georgia Aquarium has received criticism from animal rights groups and others who believe that the animals living there would be better off in the wild. But about 70 percent of the aquarium’s animals came from fish farms, zoos and other aquariums. In several cases, aquarium staff rescued animals that were living in unhealthy circumstances or that would have died without their intervention.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

The Georgia Aquarium is the only institution outside of Asia to house whale sharks. The sharks are kept in a 6.3-million-US-gallon (24,000 m3) tank, and the aquarium was actually designed around the whale shark exhibit.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

The aquarium is currently one of only two aquariums in the United States to exhibit Great Hammerhead sharks; the other is the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey. It is also one of six U.S. aquariums with belugas in their collections.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

The Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest since the time of its opening in November 2005, encompasses 550,000 square feet (5.1 ha; 13 acres) of covered space and includes 328 tons of acrylic windows, 290 plumbing fixtures, 200 floor drains, 53 roof tops, 61 miles (98 km) of wires and pipes and 100,000 yards (91,000 m) of concrete in the structure.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

To fill the tanks, the aquarium piped in 8 million gallons of ordinary tap water — enough to fill 160,000 bathtubs. After treating it to remove chemicals and impurities, the staff had to turn this fresh water into salt water for marine habitats. To do this, they added 750 2,000-pound sacks of Instant Ocean® sea salt, for a total of 1.5 million pounds. That’s the equivalent of more than 920,000 containers of table salt.

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

RESOURCES

 
– George Aquarium: Official Site
Wikipedia
How Stuff Works: Georgia Aquarium

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 


Photograph by DILIFF

 


Photograph via GEORGIA AQUARIUM

 

 

 

 

 

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The World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Allure of the Seas

 

 

 

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