November 28 – 30 2019
Our plan on day 3 our trip was to explore the Georgia Aquarium, and the Centennial Olympic Park. The next whole day was for the Atlanta Zoo. Then, unfortunately, our vacation will come to an end and we would have to go home.
As said before, the first place we were going to was the Georgia Aquarium. We woke up at 7:00 AM since it was going to be a big day and got ready. We ate our breakfast quickly and ran to the car. The Georgia Aquarium is close to the Coca Cola Museum and Centennial Olympic Park we were going to this evening. We parked our car at The Georgia Aquarium Parking lot. And walked all the way to the aquarium entrance, through a long corridor that had a booth with people that took complimentary photos.
The walls had big photos of sea animals. Sea Turtles, Sea Lions, Jelly Fish Octopus etc. The Corridor suddenly turned right and it opened up to a big Hall that branched out to many different exhibits. The name of the all the different exhibits were: Pier 225, River Scout, Dolphin Celebration, Cold Water Quest, Ocean Voyager, Tropical Diver, and 4D theatre.
The first exhibit that we went to was called the Pier 225. The Pier 225 has Sea Lions 🦭 in it and they basically acted and did a play just like in Sea World. Also, some of the of the people were called to interact with lions. I was not one of them. Most of the people in the front got splashed before they exited the show. The park ranger showed us a video and it said that some of the sea lions were rehabilitated and were almost ready to be released in the wild. They were not the Sea lions performing. The Ranger said that Sea Lions Navigate using their whiskers. If they lose their whiskers, they will lose all sense of direction and get lost. On that happy note we left for the next exhibit.
The next exhibit was called The River Scout. It had tons of river fish, amphibians, and one special mammal named the River Otter. I am saying this because out of all the animals in these exhibits I want to show the best and most popular ones. I totally didn’t forget all the special and amazing animals in the exhibit. Totally. The info pad said that River Otters wash themselves after every meal. That was a fun fact but we didn’t see that behavior there. The River Scout exhibit had a passage in the top and bottom floor and you can only see the River Otters in the bottom floor. It’s pathetic merges with the next Exhibit’s path, Dolphin Celebration.
It was another show like the Pier 225 but with Common Bottlenose Dolphin. As they were doing the show, a screen erupted behind them and started talking about pollution and efforts to save the ocean. The performers made the dolphins do tricks and gave them food. They said dolphins never chew on their food and showed us a demonstration. Then they rode on top the dolphins and somersaulted into the water. The video in the back started to blare that they were intelligent animals and are able to save humans if they are in trouble. Also they work together with humans to catch fish in local villages. After that, the rangers heeded us out through one exit like we were goats.
The third Exhibit was called The Cold Water Quest. The Best animals in this Exhibit were Belugas, African Penguins, and (A recurring animal) The Otter. Except this time it was a Sea Otter, not a River Otter. We saw lot more animals of course but I’m not going to mention them because of the reason I said before. So, the first best animal we saw was the African penguins. When I say there was a lot of them I MEAN that there were a lot of them. Basically, there were more penguins than people that were looking through the glass. One interesting fact that the Info pad said was: African penguins have special air sacs that protect their lungs from increased water pressure.
The Next animal we saw were Belugas. The Belugas were literally dancing in the water. There was a kid in front of the glass and the belugas looked like they were playing with the kid. My sister joined in to see them. The ranger nearby said they were as intelligent as Dolphins and shares many features with them. She also said that if they were to loose teeth it would never grow back.
The last animals were Sea Otters. The info pad said that they were actually Southern Sea Otters. These were the cute animals in finding dory. These animals have the densest fur of any mammal in the world! It was time to go to the next exhibit.
The next one was the Ocean Voyager. The Ocean Voyager had Whale Sharks. These Whale Sharks are the only ones in captivity. Also the next star of the exhibit were Manta Rays. On the way there was a glass tunnel where we saw all the Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, and other fishies swam around. One fact about Manta Rays is that they can jump out of the water like a bunny on land. They seemed to interact with the Whale Sharks. It was really majestic. Speaking of Whale Sharks, it is said that they have thousands of teeth even if they do not use them. This is because they are filter feeders meaning they eat tiny plankton. Also they are the largest fish in the ocean.
The second to last exhibit was called the Tropical Diver. It had tons of Jellyfish including the most memorable, the Comb Jellyfish. The Comb Jellies are said to be very ancient and they are cannibals. Compared to all the other exhibits, this one was a bummer but it was still great than the San Antonio Aquarium Jellyfish section. This exhibit had an extensive jellyfish collection.
The last place we went was to was the 4D theatre. It shows different movies at different times but they have a few things in common; They are about sea animals and they are info-packed. The one movie we saw at that particular time were about Epaulette Sharks. They can walk on land! This is because they have muscular pectoral fins that can help them walk from tidal pools to other tidal pools for a short amount of time to if there is little to no water between them. After we learned about Epaulette Sharks, it was time to go to the hotel. But it was lunch time, and we were hungry. So we went to the aquarium cafe and ate pizzas and French fries. Now it was time to go home and rest for a bit. We had planned to go to the Centennial Olympic Park but day turned into dusk by the time we got there.
At the Centennial Olympic Park there were hundreds of stalls, that sold items like Baklavas, Turkish delights, Chocolates that look like animals, and other trinkets. Also, the famous Olympic sign was there with all of the colorful rings.
There was a fountain that was shaped like the sign on the other side that sprayed cold water (I know it’s cold water because of a little accident). Then, my mom, sister and I, went to the outskirts of the fountain and waited for my dad to finish taking photographs. Once he finished we went to the nearby Ferris wheel named SkyView Atlanta that circled two times clockwise before stopping.
Before we reached The wheel, we had to pass through a lot of traffic. Just before we crossed, I saw a garden filled with statues with lights. That gave me nostalgia for the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The Ferris wheel was white with a center that changed colors like crazy.
Our ticket cost $42.22 dollars because it was $14.75 + tax for one adult, $9.75 + tax for a child and it was free for children under 2. Anyway, the gondola was small and it could hold 6 people, perfect for us. I had heard the VIP gondolas can only hold 5. As the gondolas rose higher and higher, I felt as if the wheel would suddenly start to roll off and destroy a lot of buildings accidentally.
We started to go back to the hotel because it was way past ten. With a good night’s sleep, and a good dinner, we would be well rested to go to Atlanta Zoo the very next day.
We ate the breakfast from the hotel and quickly got to the zoo. We had to walk a long way to the entrance as the zoo parking lot was full with cars. As we entered, the first animal we saw were Flamingos. They were about 3-4 foot high with s-shaped necks. Flamingos get their pink hue from the food they eat. The next bird we saw were the Southern Ground Hornbills that looked like large, black, ducks with a red bulbous throat sac. Southern Ground Hornbills are said to be able to fly with a speed 18 miles per hour. Then there were vultures that kept hiding in plastic dead zebras. They tried to peck at the plastic but it was…plastic, not real meat. A fun fact is that vultures are said to live in the arctic. On the next cage was a Bald Eagle that was losing feathers (no pun intended) Bald eagles aren’t really bald though (the honor is reserved to vultures). Then there were exotic birds that looked like colorful rainbows and bright orange monkeys.
That was not it, of course, because next to them, a few sloths were hanging in a miserably small enclosure. The info pad said they had green fur because of algae that helped them get the camouflage that they needed for survival in the wild. Then there was a giant tortoise right next to the sloths moving slowly. I think the tortoise is part of the petting zoo where the alpacas, goats, horses, and pigs are. Giant Tortoises can weigh up to 300 lb. I wonder how they move them. After that was the kid zone with playgrounds, carousels, and splash fountains. We didn’t spend time there as we were in the zoo to see animals. Next we went to the Complex Carnivores exhibit where the Clouded Leopards and Tigers roam. Both the eyes of the big cats were intense, one Amber and one the color of a stormy day. It is kind of amazing because the clouded leopards are considered medium size cats. And speaking of cats, tigers are one of the only cats that love water.
Up ahead was where the bear, monkey, and ape section. First on this section was the Giant Panda. The enclosure that held the Ailuropoda melanoleuca was small like the sloth enclosure. Despite their colors, Pandas have very good camouflage. The next animal we saw was a bear too. The next bear’s name was the Sun Bear, also know as Helarctos Malayanus. Sun Bears are arboreal, meaning they spend time in trees. On the other side of the pathway were the Komodo Dragons, some slithering, some basking in the sun. Komodo dragons weigh the same as giant tortoises. The next animal was an Ape. The ape we saw next were the Orangutans 🦧. They looked like hairy Tarzans swinging through the trees. Orangutans can use tools. The ones we saw did not though. The Naked Mole Rat was next and they disgusted me a little, but but they super cool. For instance they do not drink water and they have a hive mind. This means they are like ants and they obey their queen. Red Pandas were next on the way a to monkeys and gorillas. The Red Pandas are actually more related to Raccoons. In fact, they looked like Red Raccoons on trees.
The Monkeys and Gorillas were next; it was their feeding time. A park ranger came and threw Peaches, Plums, and Apples at the Gorillas. They snatched it out of the air and even fought for it. The enclosure where they are is the enclosure that the zoo kept Ivan from “One and Only Ivan” book by Katherine Applegate. Gorillas are shown to understand us and have learned sign language. The park ranger showed us an example of this. The next paddock was called The Living Treehouse where special birds were placed like the Golden Pheasant. There was a huge nest inside the building. My sister and I took a photo on the nest like tiny birds:
Right next to the treehouse were lemurs and monkeys. It was feeding time for them too, like the gorilla but they were fed things like seed instead of fruit. The lemurs were kind of lazy and they just kind dozed of their place. The monkeys got over-excited and picked there food too fast. Before we went anywhere, it was lunch time so we decided to eat lunch which consisted of Pizza, Soda, and Fries. We had to stay there an especially long time as the order took too long and because my sister ate a bit slow.
The next place we went to was called The Scaly Slimy Spectacular exhibit where tons of reptiles and amphibians lived. I don’t know all the names of the reptiles, but there were a lot, and some even moved a lot like the crocodiles and some tortoises. A fact that I learned there is that crocodiles have the strongest bite force of any animal alive in the world. Another fact that I learned is that a group of tortoises are called a creep. The Exhibit even had a big Tortoise called The Aldabra Giant Tortoise. I think it is the same species from before that we saw outside.
We got outside and started hearing roars. This could only mean that the lions were awake. As we raced to the Lion enclosure, all of them began to show themselves and we could take easy photographs of them. Unfortunately, most of them were bad. They ran around fighting a little bit. The site I read once said they could hunt during storms. I wonder how they do it. Fortunately, it is an advantage for them as it makes their prey harder to hear and see them.
The next animal we saw were the Warthogs (Pumba from lion king). We did not see Timon though; he was probably hiding underground. Despite their build, they are very fast. It seemed like all the Warthogs were agitated as all of them ran around frantically. The next place had Giraffes, Zebras, and Ostriches in the same together and it was called the African Savanna. The Giraffes were called Abu, Etana and Isooba. They were like big horses with long necks. The info pad said that giraffes can Stand half an hour after they are born.
The Zebras were Socializing on one side of the enclosure. It is said that when the zebras run together, the predators get confused so they can’t kill any zebras.
The ostriches were basically like the zebras but in a big chicken version. They interacted, ran, and stopped like the zebras. Ostriches have the largest eyes of any land animal. They can see up to 2.2 miles. The next animal we saw were Elephants. They said that a new elephant had arrived in July, and his name was Msholo. He was 30 years old. That elephant was playing in a water hole and was spraying water all on all of the other elephants. Elephants have the most muscles of any land animal (their trunk alone has 100,000 muscles). There are actually 3 elephant species: The African Bush Elephant, African Forest Elephant, and The Asian Elephant.
The only animal left to see in the Atlanta Zoo was the Black Rhino. The Rhino was covered in mud and was practically rolling in it. The info pad said that they roll in mud so they can protect their skin from sunburn and insect bites.
It seemed like all the animals in the Atlanta Zoo were in a playful mood when we were there. But it was sadly time to go. We went to the gift shop and got magnets like usual. By this time we had a lot of magnets on our fridge door. This was the last place we were visiting so we went to the hotel, packed our bags, and drove all the way home. I know, too many Ws. So that was it, for now and we waited for our next trip.
To be continued in the next summer……