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Photo TR: A Tale of Two Aquariums (GA & TN)


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My fellow Americans, with the grueling '08 PMW Campaign in full swing, it's tough to find time to simply unwind and relax in the company of friends and family. This past Labor Day weekend, however, this candidate did anything but labor. Instead, my wife and I played host to some good friends in from Tampa for the weekend.


While the weekend was packed with different North Georgia adventures to discover, I was most interested in finally visiting the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. It's currently the largest aquarium in the world, and being the sea lover that I am, I had been waiting impatiently for quite a while to actually experience it. As the thread title suggests, the Tennessee Aquarium will also be represented here.


While the interior pics of the Tennessee Aquarium we're actually taken last year, this seemed the perfect opportunity to use 'em. If you don't like it, you're letting the terrorists win.


As for the GA Aquarium, it's hard to put into words how incredible the place really is. While many of the exhibits are similar to what's found at various aquariums around the world, the showcase exhibit is jawdropping. Currently, the 6 million gallon tank is the only one in the world to house a Great Hammerhead shark. It's one of only four places in the world to house a Manta Ray. And it's one of only two places on earth to hold a whale shark in captivity. Oh, it doesn't have just one.....it has four!!


The original two died, but the aquarium has since solved the problem, and acquired two more as replacements. They generally grow up to 40 feet in length, and as of today, the largest is only around 20 feet or so. Post in this thread, and we have a sex tape for download*. Even at 20 feet, the sight of these giants is quite amazing in person.


If you're in town for SFOG, I HIGHLY recommend you make time to give the Aquarium, and even Zoo Atlanta a visit. This has been an announcement of the Atlanta Tourism Department. Thank you, and on to the pics.




Found him!! You know, that clownfish that in no way resembles Deepo.



Time to take a beer break. Up next, a few whale sharks, or something.


See? Read closely. That's why.


I know what you're thinking. Shhhh, don't say it.


Unflattering pic of the thread's author....check.


And, the answer's no. I can't afford a wall like that.


"Honey, can we have a wall like this at home? Pleeeeease?"


Dammit, now I've got the Moody Blues stuck in my head. Great job, Scott. Just had to get cute with the captions, didn't ya?


Is this the jellyfish exhibit, or a scene from that trippy dark ride at Hard Rock Park?


I'm showing a picture of the sign. If you've been scoring at home, that generally means it's the next exhibit we visited.


"Hi, I'm Deepo. I'm here to confuse as many children as possible!"


Be- luuuuuu-ga.




"Hi, I'm Shannon. I'll be your guide for the Beluga Whale exhibit. Upon sight of any Beluga Whale, I like to burst into the 'Baby Beluga' song."


Is it hockey season yet?


She's about to feed the sea lion....or the old man.....or both. I'm not sure.


The next exhibit. Not to be confused with Johnny.


The original tag line for the place was, "Georgia Aquarium: WE HAVE CRABS!"



That may or may not be true.


They found this diver off the Georgia coast, and thought he'd make a nice addition.


Expedition: River Otters


Well, that's good to know.


"I'm in a piranhas glass viewing bubble of emotion!!"


Hi Derek.


Hi Larry. We're ready for our a$$whoopin' tomorrow.




A couple facts: River Phoenix was a crackhead who died outside the Viper Room. Scout is what Demi Moore named one of her children.


What does this have to do with the GA Aquarium? Nothing.


And another look.


Here's an overview of the area. Very well done....or as we like to say, themed.


Our first exhibit of the day. This area was filled with a bunch of "touch pools" and several kid-friendly playthings to climb on, etc.


Another view of it. Impressive, in my opinion.


The aforementioned "main area."


The entryway is pretty cool, as two walls of Jacks (yes, that's a type of fish) lead you into the main area.


I've always been interested in corporate logos. Don't ask, I'm just odd. I'm still not sure where I stand on this one.


I move to make shots like this now be referred to as Big Mike shots, and not MySpace attempts.


This is the World of Coke next door. There's Beverly inside. Therefore, we kept our distance.


Yay, it the Georgia Aquarium, and we're here. But you probably already put 2&2 together.


Hi Terry.


Two more satisfied customers. As for me, the smoked turkey barbeque sandwich was heavenly.


A quick look inside. I'm told the Governor eats here occasionally. Unfortunately we missed an opportunity to discuss Georgia's PMW future today.


Here's the actual joint....Daddy Dz.


Fact: The crappier the Bar-B-Q place looks, the better the food is. Seriously, it's true.


Up first, food! Although I really wish we were eating here, the actually place we chose didn't disappoint.

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A couple facts: River Phoenix was a crackhead who died outside the Viper Room. Scout is what Demi Moore named one of her children.


What does this have to do with the GA Aquarium? Nothing.

Not to mention, River Phoenix played a boy scout in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


I love aquariums. This one looks alot nicer than the one we have in Boston.

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^ Follow Hector's lead. Read everything. You'll find more answers that way.


Time to take a beer break. Up next, a few whale sharks, or something.


Hector, thank you for affirming that some people actually do read through that stuff!



Thanks for the compliments thus far.Stay tuned. More to come in the morning.

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Thanks again for the comments and compliments!


Joe, we'll have a whale shark sex tape just for you.


Moving right along, it's time to join our program already in progress.

GA Aquarium Penguin.wmv

Hi Jahan!


Thank you for viewing. More to come. Up next, Chattanooga.


"Well Anderson, it's like this. Here's how I see the PMW situation in America...."


The only good version of the Hummer. Meant to be driven by soldiers in the military, and wealthy hardcore off-road enthusiast civilians. That's it. End of story.




We all know Shaggy's on board the PMW train.


Hi Chuck!


Hi Cameron.


Hmmm, that's a bunch of shout outs in this report, but I think I've got room for one more.


The first lady and I are ready for our interview.


Time to step inside for some election year coverage.


Suddenly, just out of view, a group of thousands started chanting P-M-W, P-M-W.


Here's where I'll take the stage to address my peoples.


"Yay, no bomb today. We're happy!"


Complete with statue of Joseph Stalin.


Oh yeah, that'll work just fine.


After the Aquarium, it was time to scout a location for next week's PMW "convention."


You're welcome, Mr. Beluga Whale with a liking for Gatorade.


Wait. What?


It's all purely coincidence that he's orange, small, and marketable.


Time to exit through the gift shop. Again, Deepo, in no way, shape, or form resembles a certain famous clownfish.



And one last look at the process.


Just before we left, it was feeding time. Whale sharks live mostly off of plankton and krill. Therefore, aquarium staff feed each shark from above by dragging a small bucket-type thing through the water in front of them, slowly releasing the food which they filter through their huge mouths.


Two whale shot. Score.



I'm calling it now. "FAIL" if Sea World doesn't showcase a Manta Ray in the exhibit built around their new coaster, which is called....Manta.


Heck, if they don't, they might as well just go and sell out to some Belgium beer maker or something.


And it likes to pose for pictures as well.


In 2001, the American Fisheries Society renamed me the "Goliath Grouper" out of concerns for the potential offensiveness of my name. I'm still Joey's favorite fish though.



And again. I could sit and watch that tank for hours. But I'm and ocean dork, so that explains it.


Here's part of the wall/window with slightly better camera settings.



Here's one of the only decent pics I caught of the Great Hammerhead shark. Mandalay Bay in Vegas had one several years back, but it died. Georgia Aquarium has yet to kill this one.



Oh, and if you're still confused as to which fish I'm speaking of, here's a little helper......



And then you come to the main attraction....the HUGE viewing wall. This would be a cutout of the wall, or window, as it may be.


Duh. The same way I've been shipping my whale sharks for years.


This was a common pose throughout the day. Chiropractors should advertise in here.







By the way, ever wonder how they shipped the whale sharks from Asia to Georgia?


It's a whale shark. It's early. The captions suck at this point.


After the tunnel, you pass by a series of these viewing windows. This counts like a two train shot. Pictured are a whale shark, and a manta ray.


Sea World is naming their new coaster "Manta." Again, that's unrelated.


Your first look at one of the whale sharks.


This fish is called a Humphead. No, honestly, it really is.


Seriously though, this tunnel really did kick arse.


Ooooooh, aaaaaaaah. Very impressive.


To begin your journey, you pass thru this awesome tunnel either by slooooowly moving sidewalk, or at your own speed by walking to the right of it. I really liked how you had the option.


Home Depot now specializes in building oceans. Cool, I'm gonna go grab me a Mako shark, a penguin, a polar bear, and a Marlin when I pass by there later today.

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The Georgia Aquarium is on the "things to do" list. My aunt and uncle have been talking about taking us, so maybe seeing this will give me motivation to go next time we visit.


Great TR and by the way...


They still haven't fixed the windows from the tornado yet?

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They still haven't fixed the windows from the tornado yet?

My sources tell me that the original company that supplied the windows went out of business, so they're currently searching for another who can supply the same type of curved windows.


Funny though, I was thinking the same thing as we drove into town.

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What is it with putting legal seafoods by aquariums? Hey kids lets go eat some of the fish we just saw.


By the way, I got food poisoning at the Legal Seafoods across the street from the Boston Aquarium.



Jon "I can walk like a penguin" Az


^Surely some New Englandah's will get this quote.

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The only good version of the Hummer. Meant to be driven by soldiers in the military, and wealthy hardcore off-road enthusiast civilians. That's it. End of story.


Agreed. Too bad people have taken them and other behemoths to cut off the average folk on the roads, and help to double gas prices within just a few years.


Oh, and awesome PTR... I need to get down to Atlanta!

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What is it with putting legal seafoods by aquariums? Hey kids lets go eat some of the fish we just saw.

Yeah, I've always wondered the same thing. Heck, it's even worse at the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot. There, it's more like, "Hey kids, look, you're eating one of their relatives right now."



^Thank you.



Okay, so I'll try and finish this report up now. Sorry I cram a lot of pics into any report I do, be it random or not. That's just how I roll.


In this segment, you'll see some of what Chattanooga has to offer. It's easily one of the coolest medium sized cities I've been to. From my understanding, they've really cleaned this place up over the last decade, and it's a much "greener," family-friendly place. Hey, it even just received word of a new VW plant to be built in the next year or two...so yay to German engineering in Tennessee!


And that just about does it. We really hope you enjoyed reading!


Their sharks were very uncooperative. I pleaded with it to stay still, but that just wasn't happening.


A look at one of their viewing windows. I know, tough to get excited after seeing a 6 million gallon tank full of whale sharks.



The octopus exhibit was very dimly lit, and did not allow flash photography. Naturally, this made it difficult to catch what I felt was the coolest part of the whole aquarium. This thing was actually pretty big, and amazing to watch. That's what she said.


Sadly, we were there just before the penguins moved in, and we haven't been back yet.


This would be the aquarium's recent addition - the "Ocean" side of things.


"I always feel like, somebody's watching me...."


Sorry it's a little blurry, but the duct work in this place was amazing!





The touch pool.


I'm craaazy hyacinth macaw....give me a better caption!



Larry, at least we put up a better fight than expected.


Part of the swamp exhibit.


I woke up that day and told myself there's no way on God's green earth I'll be petting a Sturgeon today. Little did I know.....


They started by scaring the crap out of all the visiting children.


And here are the Dave Thomas prototype laser-eyed river otters. These things will conquer the world.


This was up near the atrium part at the top.


That didn't take long.


Artsy, for the artsy people in here.


This would be the entrance to the "River" section of the aquarium. You may think, "eh, how cool can a fresh water aquarium be," but they really did a great job with it. So good in fact, that the Georgia Aquarium acknowledged it, and decided to cut back their own freshwater exhibit because (and I loosely quote) "Our neighbors up in Tennessee already did such a good job with it."


And for storytelling purposes, we'll now cross the bridge back into time for the Tennessee Aquarium portion (which was actually photographed sometime last year).


Mmmmmm, Jones.


This was obviously not. Hi Scott. I can send one to myself, right?


This frog in a suit was somewhat creepy.


For the true carousel dorks.


I'm determined to set a new record for shout outs. And for typing the words shout outs as well.


Hi Wes.


Ticket booth.


Where you'll find a really cool carousel. If memory serves me right, it's not even five years old yet. It also has all hand carved animals. I could go on for the carousel dork like myself, but I wont.


Time to head over to Coolidge Park, on the north side of the bridge.


We'll count this as a Jon/Mike shout. and no, I'm sorry, there'll be no grand prize for the correct number posted.


Time for some gift shop fun.


You're welcome.


At this point, I really really really missed being back home on the water. :(


Another look at it. This time, decidedly patriotic though.


Jon, this one's for you. It's the world's longest pedestrian-only bridge. The were gonna tear it down several years ago, but decided to refurb it and keep it for foot traffic and bikes only. They also hold some festivals on it as well if I'm not mistaken.


Here you see the two buildings of the Tennessee Aquarium. The building to the right was built first, sometime in the early '90's, I believe. The one to the left is the fairly new addition.


Here's a look at a crappy little boat, and a nice aquarium.


Um, hi.


I begged and pleaded the captain to relinquish control, but to no avail.


Time for a cruise on the Tennessee River first. You're looking at what used to be a boat, and is now a fixed dock.


Sieg Heil! Seriously, I challenge anybody in the roads department to tell me it actually cracked in the shape of a swastika. Remember the "Goliath Grouper?" He'd be pissed right about now.


Notice anything odd?


Okay, so after heading out, we passed an "interesting" spot in the road. Here you'll see what I'm assuming is the normal patch work prior to paving. Those black snake-like lines are pretty commonplace, right?

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Fact: The crappier the Bar-B-Q place looks, the better the food is. Seriously, it's true.


Not always true, but the percentages are high. I went to a BBQ restaurant in Kansas City and those ribs were so good I was chewing the bone like I was a dog!


Hi Terry


Since when do I have enough hair on my head to pull that off? And it's too much like a wig and I haven't worn one since I was six! (That's another story... but I was giving Rudy from the Cosby show a run for her money!)


Besides that's a former American Idol contestant! Just a lesson for you kids that have ideas of stardom: Take down your Gay.com profile and delete your "cruising" accounts if plan on going mainstream! You don't want that coming up to haunt you!


I almost went to the aquarium in Georgia, but I didn't have a lot of time to go in since I was walking around the square waiting for my friend to, um, finish taking dictation from a client in the room.



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We really need to go down to Chattanooga again sometime. Growing up in Nashville, I used to always clown around on that town, but they really have done a wonderful job reviving their downtown area. I might even have to "See Rock City" for old time's sake.


Really enjoyed the TR, Scott!


P.S. Was rooting for Miami. Tennessee could really benefit from a resurgence from the Canes.

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A Great TR and a Great shoutout that had me laughing for 5 minutes, at work, with my hand over my mouth and shaking my head. And very clever given recent comments in other threads.


Was wondering if you'd get the carousel across the bridge in Chattanooga and you did. Very cool. Both sets definately inspire to tour these places...and eat seafood.


Enjoyed it!


Big Thank You.

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^ Thank you, sir. Figured you get a kick out of it.


I loved the Georgia Aquarium when we went, but now I'm pissed that they have a manta ray after having been thinking that several other aquariums combine them (usually in Japan). The Tennessee Aquarium looks better than I expected too. Thanks for the Photo TR!


Yeah, they actually just received that Manta about a week before we visited. It's quite a site in person. And to be honest, I was really not expecting anything great from the Tennessee Aquarium, but I came away very impressed. We're looking forward to going back and seeing the penguins next time.



P.S. Was rooting for Miami. Tennessee could really benefit from a resurgence from the Canes.


See, that's what I've been trying to tell people for years. When the Canes win, we all win! Funny, for some strange reason though, many fans still disagree with that theory.

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