So, as you might suspect, last week I was in Atlanta for RWA Nationals. I arrived a tiny bit early so I could see more of Atlanta than it's airport and hotels and subway. (Particularly given that's kind of what my last trip to Atlanta looked like.) Being someone who particularly loves aquariums (I am judgy about them too) I had noted that the conference hotel was quite close to the aquarium and considered that a sign.
I arrived in Atlanta Monday. Knowing, as I did, I decided Monday, after a post-travel sit and knit in the hotel room, that I should hit a particular restaurant I had on my list now, given the week was likely to get away from me. So, making use of my new Breeze card I headed up a few stops and wandered around the Midtown area before arriving at the Spence. There I had a delicious dinner (including, as I had mentioned on twitter the discovery of how wonderfully salted Hawaiian Bread and cocnut butter meld together. (The rest of dinner was equally as lovely too.)
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9297948205/" title="Bread and Wine at the Spence by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/9297948205_34fd46d84d.jpg" width="500" height="282" alt="Bread and Wine at the Spence"></a>
I walked back to the hotel, having discovered the Midtown and Downtown stops were really quite close together. (There is something to be said for tall buildings that poke up into the sky helping to orient you.)
The next day, after making the sad determination that the hotel's shop sold cofftea, I went to the aquarium. With admission one got a dolphin show and then could add on a behind the scenes tour. Overall I loved the aquarium. If I had to do it again, I might skip the dolphin show, although the dolphins are not on display otherwise, so you do have to see the show to see them. (There was no photography during the show for the safety of everyone. And, I imagine, so we could see the show and not everyone's outstretched camera.) I like dolphins quite a bit, but found the show overly plotted for my tastes, but perhaps that made it more interesting to small children.
The exhibits were great. I was there at feeding time for some of the tanks so got to see some divers in their too.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9303845454/" title="Georgia Aquarium 1 by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5498/9303845454_140f351706.jpg" width="282" height="500" alt="Georgia Aquarium 1"></a>
They have a large amount of tiger sharks and rays in their collection and there were tunnels and steps to allow you to view them.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9303857456/" title="Tiger Shark and friends by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7281/9303857456_a129ea48d7.jpg" width="500" height="282" alt="Tiger Shark and friends"></a>
There were also smaller tanks with things like these sea dragons that somebody said was ugly. (I like you, sea dragons.)
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9303889944/" title="Dragonfish 2 by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3671/9303889944_1eb716cea6.jpg" width="282" height="500" alt="Dragonfish 2"></a>
They had a frog exhibit and a small fresh water exhibit. On the behind the scenes tour we learned that there's an aquarium in Tennesee with a larger fresh water exhibit. Also, apparently the gators in the fresh water exhibit got a little bored and now they have gates to contain the gators to certain areas.
We also got to take a look at the salt water tank from above.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9301115193/" title="The Top of the Deep Water Tank by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7331/9301115193_b26330eac6.jpg" width="500" height="282" alt="The Top of the Deep Water Tank"></a>
It's about the size of a football field. And we got some time to really watch the rays and tiger sharks from the top. They are teenage tiger sharks so will get bigger, which is impressive because I could not get this guy in one frame as it was.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/93599710@N00/9301129583/" title="Too Big for One Shot by mememe20016, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5452/9301129583_8d48c77e89.jpg" width="500" height="282" alt="Too Big for One Shot"></a>
Afterwords I walked over to a Southern tea room where I had a wonderful lunch before heading back to the hotel for some sit in the AC time.
Dinner was a modern Mexican restaurant near the hotel.