Free Birthdays at the Georgia Aquarium

Here's looking at you, kid.
This post isn't so much to make you ooh and ahh over my photography skills as much as it is to make you aware of a wonderful offer from the Georgia Aquarium. If you are a Georgia resident, you can go to the aquarium for FREE on your birthday. How cool is that!

I love our aquarium. It's the largest in the U.S., in case you didn't know. And the sea lions are back this year, although I wasn't impressed with that exhibit. I so wanted to be. I saw them up close and personal when I visited San Diego earlier this year, so I had high expectations. The actual exhibit is a tank that's probably smaller than a lot of the swimming pools in your own yards. The sea lion show was fun, but it was only two sea lions and no photography was allowed. So to see some really great sea lion photos of mine, please revisit my post from LaJolla, California.

Jellyfish - they really light up the place.
So, as I said, these photos won't necessarily cause you to ooh and ahh. It's difficult to take photos in a dimly-lit location without a tripod, through glass that's incredibly thick, with critters that won't sit still, and with a camera that won't focus any closer than 18". You may wonder why 18" is a problem, well, it's because you want to put your lens up against the glass to cut down on glare/reflections, but sometimes, the fish are only a few inches from you and that's when the 18" minimum focal length becomes a problem.

I love how these guys can sleep sitting up.
My birthday was a weekday this year and school was in session, so it really was a great visit—not too crowded. Woo hoo! I love people, but it's hard to enjoy the fish when you can't easily get close to the tanks. You can't change when your birthday is, but if you have a choice, I recommend visiting during the week.

Grouper - this guy is about 5 feet long!
I should do a better job of memorizing the names of the fish, or maybe I should take photos of the names at the same time I'm photographing them, but that will be my tip for you. Take a photo of a fish and take a photo of the name of the fish. I'll make a note to do that myself next time I go.

Starfish - Sea Stars - Call 'em what you want.
My favorite type of sea critter is turtles, and I'm not sure why they don't have many turtles at the Georgia Aquarium, and the small quantity makes it harder to find them, so I'm not sure they were really there this time, because I did not see one turtle.

But my favorite critter at this aquarium is the sea star. What's the difference in a sea star and a starfish? Nothing, actually, it's just the preferred name that marine scientists have for starfish because, well, they aren't really fish. They are echinoderms, like sea urchins and sand dollars. Who knew! The starfish, umm, I mean sea star exhibit has changed a bit this year, I think to make room for the sea lions. It was more difficult to photograph them, but I still enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful colors they come in.

I'm ready for my close up.
My hope today, was to inspire you to go to the aquarium and enjoy the atmosphere and take your own aww-inspiring photos. At the very least, looking back at the photos will make you smile—they made me smile.

What's your favorite critter at the Georgia Aquarium? 
Did you know you can go to the Georgia Aquarium for FREE on your birthday? 


  1. Judy, forgive me for just getting around to commenting on these posts. Thanks for letting me go to the aquarium with you. It was a lot of fun, and I love the photos! Your captions are great, by the way. And I always learn something in your posts. I did not know that about starfish being sea stars. Fascinating!

  2. So glad you enjoyed the aquarium, my photos, and that you learned something. I really enjoy it when I can teach someone a little tidbit like that. :)