The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) in Perth:
The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) in Perth, Australia has over 40 exhibits that focus on the amazing marine wildlife in the habitats off the Western Australia coast. Visit the Shipwreck Coast (Australia’s largest aquarium), the DANGERzone (where you can see some of the world’s deadliest sea creatures from behind protective glass), or the Marmion Marine Park (where you can interact with live animals in the touch pool).
|Walk the coral reef exhibit for just $20! Photo by AQUA.|
AQUA has also taken an active role in animal research and conservation. The AQUA foundation is a non-profit organization that funded the development of satellite tags used to record the movements of great white sharks. This project discovered many new things about great white shark behavior, including that although they are capable of diving at least 570 meters deep (that’s over 6 football fields!), 80% of their time is spent within 10 meters of the surface! The AQUA foundation’s current project is the development of a specialized facility for the rehabilitation of sick and injured marine animals with the goal of returning them to the wild.
The Georgia Aquarium:
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world’s largest aquarium, featuring more animals than any other aquarium. It has more than 60 exhibits, each designed to inspire, entertain and educate. The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the world’s largest single exhibit aquarium with 6.3 million gallons of water and featuring whale sharks, manta rays, sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks, humphead wrasse, spotted wobbegong sharks, bowmouth guitarfish, tasseled wobbegong sharks, leopard whiptail rays, and sandbar sharks. Whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, are especially extraordinary because you won’t find them in any other aquarium outside of Asia. Another notable exhibit is Georgia Explorer, the most interactive exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium featuring animals from local Georgia habitats. Here you can touch bonnethead sharks, cownose rays, and horseshoe crabs.
|Whale sharks can grow to the size of a school bus! |
Photo by the Georgia Aquarium.
The Georgia Aquarium also has a number of unique opportunities. If you are interested in pursuing a career in aquariums or even just seeing how they work, join a behind-the-scenes tour. Or put on a wetsuit and jump in the water with beluga whales and their trainers or swim with sharks in the Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit. If you’re looking for a memorable family experience, spend the night in an aquarium sleepover.
The Correll Center for Aquatic Animal Health is a state-of-the-art facility used through a partnership with the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital to provide the Georgia Aquarium with a complete aquatic animal health program while training veterinary students, residents, and interns. It is the only integration of a veterinary teaching hospital within an aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium also supports, conducts and leads research trips. If you would like to meet Georgia Aquarium’s whale shark research team while participating in a whale-shark eco-tour in the Gulf of Mexico, they have trips planned for July 13-18 and August 24-29.
For more amazing animal watching vacation ideas, check this out. And for a relaxing animal watching stay-cation, try this. Tell us below about your favorite aquarium and I’ll cover it in a future post.
Want to know more about oceans and their ecosystems? Check these out:
1. GRAY, J. (1997). Marine biodiversity: patterns, threats and conservation needs Biodiversity and Conservation, 6 (1), 153-175 DOI: 10.1023/a:1018335901847
2. Orcutt, B., Sylvan, J., Knab, N., & Edwards, K. (2011). Microbial Ecology of the Dark Ocean above, at, and below the Seafloor Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 75 (2), 361-422 DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.00039-10
3. Zeppilli, D., Mea, M., Corinaldesi, C., & Danovaro, R. (2011). Mud volcanoes in the Mediterranean Sea are hot spots of exclusive meiobenthic species Progress In Oceanography, 91 (3), 260-272 DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2011.01.001