ATLANTA — When guests visit the Georgia Aquarium starting Friday, Oct. 23, they’ll discover a new 1.2-million-gallon gallery filled with some of the ocean’s most feared inhabitants.
Ever come face to face with a shark? That’s not ideal for a beach vacation — in fact, it’s downright frightening — but that’s exactly what Georgia Aquarium officials imagined when they planned the latest addition to the downtown Atlanta attraction.
“We’re going to take that fear and transform it into fascination by the end of the tour with information and beautiful sharks to see swimming around together,” Chris Coco, senior director of fish and invertebrates at the aquarium, told WSBTV.com’s Nelson Hicks. “There’s a whole storyline there to help folks become appreciative of what these animals can be and how important they are in our food web in the ocean.”
“What we’d like our guests to leave the gallery with is an impression that sharks are an amazing animal and that we need to work hard to conserve them," Coco said.
The exhibit will feature two new interactive experiences where guests can climb into the water with the sharks.
The Shark & Ray Immersion program gives guests a chance to enter a side habitat of the exhibit that features zebra sharks and rays. The offering provides an engaging and educational experience in which participants can learn much more about the creatures.
“You’ll be able to put on a wet suit, you’ll be able to do a little bit of a classroom portion that talks about the natural history and conservation of some of these fascinating animals and then after that, you’ll be able to get in the water with them, meet them and possibly even touch and feed them at the same time,” the Georgia Aqarium’s Melissa Paynter, who will conduct some of the interactive programs, said.
In early 2021, the aquarium plans to unveil a shark cage dive experience in which guests will be fully submerged in a cage that moves throughout the habitat. Participants will not have to be dive-certified.
Ready to go swimming with sharks? Take a dip at the Georgia Aquarium.
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