February 19, 2008

Georgia Aquarium

Our next stop in Atlanta was the Georgia Aquarium - the largest aquarium in the world with more than 8 million gallons of water. They had two prime attractions - the whale shark and the Beluga whales. Security was crazy in the aquarium - luckily we did not have to wait long owing to the City Pass, but people were not allowed to even take in chewing gums.

Anyways, we spent about 4 hours in there, and we were really excited about the whale sharks - the largest fishes in the world and these are only ones in an aquarium outside Asia. There were supposed to be 4 of them, but we could make out only 3 and here is one of them:

This California Sea lion was all set for his meal, and could not stop himself from peeking in through the glass in the door, may be watching his food being prepared. It was very funny to see him keep doing that. An impatient one!

Here is the star of the aquarium, one of the Beluga Whales - these are the only whales with a flexible neck! This whale can also swim backwards, though we didn't see it. The aquarium is hoping to breed the Beluga Whales in captivity. The aquarium maintains a webcam for both the whale sharks and the beluga whale. Please take a look when you get a chance.

The most fun we had was watching these curious Garden Eels, poking their head and attempting to come pout of the sand, though even after 5 minutes, we never saw one leave the sand completely.

Another awesome exhibit, was the Lake Malawi Cichlids. They are the classic example of Sympatric Speciation - formation of new species in the absence of a geographical barrier, for example within a lake (I know this sounds geeky :)). It was neat to see many species of Cichlids in the same tank! I wish there was some write up there on the significance of these fishes.

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