With 2020 quickly approaching, let’s look back over this past decade to appreciate the ocean of good accomplished by our staff, volunteers, leaders and visitors.  Because of everyone’s help, our goal of research and conservation reached new heights and continues to make a difference in the lives of animals every day.

In this decade, Georgia Aquarium…

  1. completed the first ever, successfully sequenced genome map of a whale shark.

Along with our partners at Emory University, in 2015, we were able to fully sequence our whale shark's DNA which opened a door for endless research opportunities and answers to questions that have never before been answered.  Armed with this new and critical information, we will be able to better protect them and hopefully bring them off the list of endangered species.

  1. successfully performed the first full health assessment on wild whale sharks.

In 2017, Georgia Aquarium, Conservation International and the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) came together to perform the first-ever full health assessment on wild whale sharks. They were able to take blood samples, measurements and successfully attach tracking devices to a population of whale sharks in the Indonesian waters. This information has been extremely beneficial in regulating the ecotourism laws in Indonesia to accommodate tourists as best we can while ensuring the protection of these majestic creatures.

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Photo of wild whale shark during health assessment.
  1. has officially been partnered with SANCCOB for more than 10 years.

Since 2009, Georgia Aquarium has partnered with the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds to help in the research, conservation, breeding and rehabilitation of African penguins. The goal of our partnership is to offer aid and assistance to each other’s facilities and to share and compare data on these birds in hopes of protecting the species.

  1. successfully hatched 31 African penguin chicks.

Over the last 10 years, we have had 31 successful African penguin hatchlings and are in our current breeding season right now. These chicks have joined the penguin colony here at Georgia Aquarium and serve as ambassadors for their wild counter parts.  

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A two-day old penguin chick getting a health check.
  1. has 10 new years’ worth of research and conservation under our belts.

We have reached incredible feats in our research and conservation efforts over the last 10 years! We have worked to restore depleted coral populations along the Florida Keys, conducted new metabolic studies with beluga whales, assisted in the rehabilitation of African penguins, participated in several projects to help save Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and conducted field and in-house research on our manta rays and whale sharks.

  1. opened three new animal exhibits.

This past decade we opened three brand new animal exhibits including Dolphin Coast, Sea Lion SunTrust Pier 225, and our seabird exhibit! These exhibits allow us to educate and inspire guests by teaching them how we care for these animals and how we can protect them as a society. The exhibits have also allowed us to be able to study our animals up-close, house guest animals in need of a home and welcome the birth of a brand-new sea lion pup, Scarlett!

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Dolphin looking through the gallery window.
  1. officially became Autism certified.

In October of 2018, we became the first aquarium ever to become a Certified Austism Center, giving guests of all ages who have autism and other sensory disorders accessibility to comfortably experience the Aquarium. We are dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to experience Georgia Aquarium.

  1. launched partnerships with Atlanta’s oldest brewery.

Within the last three years we have partnered with local Atlanta b rewery, Atlanta Brewing Co., to create a line of beers each based off a different species here at the Aquarium. From Whale Shark IPA to Sea Lion Sour, a portion of the profits from each beer is donated to our research and conservation efforts. Check your local grocery store for our newest one, Octopus Brown Ale!

  1. premiered “The Aquarium” on Animal Planet.

Animal Planet created an all-access series that takes viewers behind the scenes of what goes on here at Georgia Aquarium.  This show has allowed us to reach an audience beyond anything we could’ve imagined.  Our goal is to spread education and conservation efforts across the globe and Animal Planet has helped to magnify that goal by bringing our message directly into the homes of our fans. Keep an eye out for Season 2 coming in 2020!

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"The Aquarium" series on Animal Planet.
  1. announced our largest expansion yet.

Expansion 2020 is here and it’s all about…sharks!  In November of 2020, we will be opening our new shark exhibit to the public. This exhibit will offer guests a new perspective into the world of sharks with the hopes of changing the way they are presented to the world.  Our goal is to help guests have a deeper appreciation for the important role sharks serve in the oceans and inspire them to join conservation efforts to protect our oceans.