“But the time I spent in your tank was the first time in four years that I had absolutely zero anxiety. I couldn't think about anything other than those beautiful creatures and just how blessed I was to be in the water with them”, said a veteran and former Veterans Immersion Program participant at Georgia Aquarium.
The idea of swimming with sharks may seem terrifying, however we think otherwise. Georgia Aquarium’s Veterans Immersion Program welcomes veterans 365 days a year to swim in the Aquarium’s 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit and relax alongside amazing marine life, such as whale sharks and manta rays.
Since 2008, our Veterans Immersion Program has provided a unique therapy experience to veterans that have been physically, mentally, or emotionally wounded. The Program went from serving 50 active duty military and veterans in the first year to serving almost 500 in 2018 alone. It was designed to support wounded warriors in a way that promotes emotional healing through a positive experience in the water. We work with military hospitals and Veterans Affairs organizations, along with chaplains, rehabilitation coordinators, and psychiatric units. We also work with public programs like Wounded Warrior Project and Disability Dive programs.
Veterans participating in the program are able to challenge themselves mentally and physically with an experience outside of their comfort zones. Supported by the largest team of Handicapped Scuba Certified Dive masters and instructors in the world, veterans have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the thousands of animals in the exhibit while relaxing and moving in the water in ways that they may not able to in land.
Georgia Aquarium is committed to supporting the brave men and women, active and retired, who have served us. As a part of the Military Salute program, we are honored to provide special military discounts for our active and former military members, veterans and their families, as well as programs like the Veterans Immersion Program to those who sacrificed for our country. We are proud to provide free General Admission each Monday* for active military members as a part of our Military Mondays discount. We are also proud to host Gold Star Families, which allows individuals and groups who have had a family member killed in action to visit Georgia Aquarium and participate in a variety of activities.
To learn more about our Veterans Immersion Program and all of the Military Salute programming offered at Georgia Aquarium, visit us on our website. For future updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
*Military Monday complimentary and discounted admission available through December 31, 2018.