Thinking about the Georgia Aquarium? Read This First!

Georgia Aquarium tips & tricks

So, you’re gearing up for a trip to the Atlanta Aquarium? Awesome choice! Get ready to be wowed by some seriously cool sea creatures. But hey, before you jump in, let’s chat about some must-know tips and tricks. We’re here to spill the beans on everything you need to know for an epic visit. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned explorer, we’ve got the scoop to make sure your trip to the Georgia Aquarium is smooth sailing.

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Tip #1: Do Not Skip the Georgia Aquarium Shows! I Repeat, Do Not Skip the Shows!

A trip to the Georgia Aquarium for a family of four or more is not what I’d describe as a cheap outing. Even with this deal you’ll spend around $200 for a family of four. So, if you’re going to spend all that money to go to the Georgia Aquarium, you might as well get your money’s worth. And that means going to the shows.

As of 2024, there are two shows included in the price of your ticket: the Sea Lion Presentation and the Dolphin Presentation. These shows were the highlight of the trip.

Make sure to sit in the front row during the Sea Lion show for the best experience. The Sea Lions came so close to us that my kids jumped back a few times.

Pro-tip #1: Do not purchase the $5 preferred seating for the Dolphin Presentation. There are plenty of amazing seats to choose from. The theater is huge.

Pro-tip #2: Arrive early! They are not lying when they say the doors close at a certain time and you will get locked out. People who arrive at least 15 minutes early get the best seats.

Pro-tip #3: Don’t avoid the splash zones for fear of getting wet. They tend to be some of the best seats and from our experience, unless you’re the unluckiest person in the world, you’ll only get a drop or two of water on you, at most.

Tip #2: Make Reservations For the Georgia Aquarium Shows

Now that you know how important it is to go to the shows, let’s talk about how important it is for you to arrive early and make reservations. The shows are popular and they fill up very quickly. Don’t think you’ll just show up and walk into a show. It won’t happen. Don’t think you’ll be able to make a reservation for a show 15 minutes before the show starts either. Unless you’re visiting on a particularly slow day, you’ll want to make a reservation hours before the start of the show you want to see.

Pro-tip #1: If for some reason you were unable to arrive early and/or make a reservation for a show, don’t worry, all is not lost. Go to the show anyways. People with reservations will be allowed in first and then if space permits, those on standby will be allowed in. (Sometimes, they won’t even check reservations, so it won’t hurt to try your luck).

Need a gift for a child who likes marine life and aquariums? Check out our gift guide!

Tip #3: Buy Your Georgia Aquarium Tickets Online

This piece of advice is a little bit different than the “buy your tickets in advance” advice. There could be plenty of reasons why you didn’t or couldn’t buy your tickets in advance and waited until you arrived at the Georgia Aquarium to buy your tickets. For instance, maybe this was a last-minute trip to the Aquarium.

However, whatever you do, don’t just walk up to the ticket booth or the kiosk outside of the Aquarium and purchase your tickets. Pull out your phone and go onto the Aquarium website to buy your tickets. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money that way. Some deals appear on the Aquarium’s website that aren’t available elsewhere. You can also search for deals to the Georgia Aquarium on

Pro-tip: If you live in the area or plan to be in the area for multiple days, consider a CityPass. A City Pass will allow you to visit the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, plus your choice of two of the following: Fernbank Museum of Natural History, College Football Hall of Fame, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

City Pass Adult $94+tax/Child $74+tax Buy Now

Tip #4: Avoid Visiting During Peak Times

Peak times include major holidays and other times when schools are closed. Yes, there are pros and cons to visits during any day of the week. For instance, weekends tend to be busier than weekdays when school is in session but weekdays mean more school trips.

However, in my opinion, some of the busiest times are when school is out of session and more families are on vacation. During our last trip to the Georgia Aquarium, we went during Winter Recess and it was uncomfortably crowded. I’m talking elbow-to-elbow, please don’t cough on me crowded. When there’s a line to see the Goldfish, then you know it’s too crowded.

I suggest visiting during the week when school is in session if you can. By the early afternoon, school groups start to get back on the bus and the aquarium will empty. If you have to visit on the weekend, try the afternoon. Just make sure you check the show schedules and visit early enough to catch the shows.

Beluga whales and crowds at the Georgia Aquarium

Tip #5: Limit Your Time at Each Viewing Window

This might seem like an obvious one to some people, but please be aware of how long you and your children are at each viewing window. Especially on very crowded days. Remember, sharing is caring. Let’s be considerate and create a good experience for everyone. No one should have to skip an exhibit because you and your family won’t move from in front of it. If you are at a viewing window, take a few seconds to enjoy it and then move along when you notice another family is waiting so that they can enjoy it as well.

Tip #6: General Parking at the Georgia Aquarium is Always $20

This tip is for those who live in a big city, travel to big cities often, or have been to an arena or stadium. Typically, there are several privately owned parking garages surrounding the main parking garage for an attraction and the closer you get to the attraction the more expensive the garage, with the most expensive being the designated parking for the attraction. This is almost always true except for at the Georgia Aquarium so please don’t get caught up in that trap, like I almost did. Save yourself the trouble and use the official Georgia Aquarium parking.

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Tip #7: The Cafeteria Has Additional Seating Upstairs!

Maybe we were just so hungry that somehow we missed this but I’ll pass it along just in case. There is an entire second level of seating if the first level of the cafeteria is full. To the left of where you pick up your food, there are stairs and an elevator that will take you to the second level. Try to get a seat near the window for some nice Atlanta views.

Visiting the Georgia Aquarium promises an unforgettable experience filled with wonder and awe. By incorporating these tips into your trip, you’ll be sure to maximize your time and enjoyment at the Aquarium.

Please leave a comment below if you have any other questions about the Georgia Aquarium. We’d love to answer them!

Have you been to the Georgia Aquarium? What was your experience like? What advice would you give other families?

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