With more than 100,000 animals and 500 species (think: whale sharks, penguins, dolphins and sea otters) living in 10 million gallons of marine and freshwater, the the second largest aquarium in the world is more than just a fun outing for locals—it's a destination for tourists seeking a magical experience of the most aquatic life in North America.
Not to mention, weddings, summer camps and other special events (from scuba diving to sleepovers, behind-the-scenes tours and wine festivals) also bring visitors with a common passion for animals and appreciation for the beauty of the underwater world together in a remarkable space.
Of course, all that excitement comes at a price, and it isn’t cheap. A family of four can expect to spend nearly $150 on tickets alone, and that’s before tax, parking, food or special tours or experiences.
Don't let these prices deter you from visiting this classic Atlanta attraction. We’ve rounded up 12 great tips to help you save as much as possible when enjoying a day at the spectacular Georgia Aquarium.
1. Buy online, in advance. If you buy your tickets online before your visit, you can save a couple bucks on each ticket. Adult advance tickets are $32.95 and children's tickets (ages 3-12) are $28.95. For additional savings, buy “early bird” general admission passes online for $30.95 (for all ages; children two and under are always free) and arrive before 11 a.m. to beat the crowds. The aquarium will occasionally offer online early-bird, weekday visits with no time restrictions on its website.
2. Take advantage of seasonal promotions. The aquarium often offers promotions, like Imagination Nights, which allow visitors to experience all the aquarium later in the day. The Imagination Nights promotion typically runs over the summer in the evenings (5-8 p.m.) and some winter evenings beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets are discounted ($26.95 plus tax) and must be purchased online. Ticket-holders also get the chance to catch a special performance of the AT&T Dolphin show with the price of admission.
3. Buy a CityPASS. If you know you’d like to visit other Atlanta attractions, buying a CityPASS will help you save big. Other than the Georgia Aquarium, the pass provides access to the World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, College Football Hall of Fame and other popular spots. The cost is $76 for adults and $61 for children ages 3 to 12.
4. Become an annual member. Membership has its privileges. Individual memberships start at $65, while a family four-pack is $285. The family membership pays for itself after two visits and results in more than $100 in savings after three visits. Membership also comes with added benefits, such as discount tickets to special attractions.
5. Book a hotel package. Visiting from out of town? Book at one of a dozen nearby hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton, Loew’s and Hilton, and request a Preferred Hotel Package and receive general admission tickets to the aquarium included. For example, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, located just four blocks from the aquarium, nightly rates with the package start at $135 and includes discount hotel parking, plus access to the Funbelievable 4D Theater and more.
6. Go with a group. Make it a group affair—10 or more for children (perfect for school groups and sleepovers) and 15 more more for adults and students—and receive discounted tickets. Prices vary based on the type of ticket purchased, but you can tally up good savings. For example, you'll receive one free adult ticket for every 25 tickets purchased.
7. Eat before you go. You can't bring in outside food and drink into the aquarium, so consider eating at home before you go and skip the overpriced snacks. There are also many budget-friendly restaurants close to the aquarium, namely fast-casual spots like Chick-fil-A and Dua Vietnamese.
8. Bring your military ID. Active military members receive free general admission every Monday, while active and former military members and their families receive 10% off general admission daily.
9. Purchase a parking pass online to save $1 on your parking fees when you purchase in advance or try other cheaper, offsite lots downtown.
10. Take MARTA. Avoid hefty parking fees and take the train. Both the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN station on the blue and green lines and Peachtree Center station are a 10- to 15-minute walk from the aquarium.
12. Check the aquarium's website regularly to see the different events going on. Although they might not all come at a discounted price, they’re great options for those planning their next visit.
Georgia Aquarium Information
Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
For answers to more general questions, such as hours and holiday schedules, visit the Georgia Aquarium’s FAQ page.