Georgia Aquarium Whale Shark

Georgia Aquarium whale shark sightings are some of the highlights of a visit to one of Atlanta's top attractions. These amazing creatures, sometimes as big as 40 feet long, have a long-term home swimming in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. This 6.3-million-gallon exhibit also supports a rainbow’s worth of sea life, including manta rays and thousands of colorful fish. You’ll feel like a scuba diver—without getting wet—as you stand in front of this amazing exhibit built especially for whale sharks.

Before the first whale sharks arrived in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium was at work to conserve these endangered animals. Conservation research began in 2003 when the aquarium partnered with the government of Mexico and several universities. Since then, whale sharks’ numbers have risen in the wild as the number of hunters has fallen. The Atlanta aquarium recently worked with the government of Taiwan to bring two more whale sharks to Georgia. It’s been common to see whale sharks in Asian aquariums for years, but it's exceedingly rare to find then in North America. The Georgia Aquarium whale shark residents are well cared for, as are all the animals at the aquarium located right by the World of Coca Cola.

The Ocean Voyager exhibit was built to house six of the massive spotted sharks that swim in warm waters. Despite the name, these are not whales—they are fish, not mammals, and are the largest fish on earth. A large acrylic tunnel and expansive viewing windows let you see the whale sharks up close as they glide through the warm waters of the exhibit. If you want to more about the whale sharks, you could pick up an audio guide or book one of the behind-the-scenes tours are available. It’s a truly amazing sight to see a Georgia aquarium whale shark up close.

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