Diving with Sharks in Downtown Atlanta

Now that I had my scuba certification, it was time to pay another visit the Georgia Aquarium. We planned to check in to our hotel, visit the aquarium, the Centennial Olympic Park, ride the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel, and check out the Marriott Marquis from the Hunger Games. Then, for our next adventure, we’d head on over to the Delta Flight Museum out by the airport to see some airplanes.

 

Residence Inn Atlanta Downtown

We first checked in to our suite at the Residence Inn Atlanta Downtown. One of the benefits of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card was a free night at any category 1-5 Marriott each year. As I only had a couple months left before it expired, I figured this would be an opportune time to cash in and use it along with another free night I had earned last fall during one of Marriott’s Megabonus promotions.

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Residence Inn Atlanta bedroom

 

Diving the Georgia Aquarium

The largest aquarium in the world when it was constructed, the Georgia Aquarium holds 10 million gallons of water and boasts a 6.3 million gallon exhibit featuring whale sharks and an assortment of smaller fish.

For a fee, visitors can schedule a dive in the massive Ocean Voyager tank to experience the marine life up close. For this visit, I decided to take the plunge and finally spend some time swimming with sharks.

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Entrance to Ocean Voyager

After checking in, my group was led upstairs and to the backstage area where we could watch the aquarium staff feed the whale sharks at the surface.

Even though they were well-fed before our dive, whale sharks are practically harmless to humans, as their throat is only the size of a quarter. So there was no chance of getting eaten on this dive!

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The top of the Ocean Voyager exhibit
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Feeding the whale sharks

After a short dive brief, we headed to the locker room to get changed. I had provided my sizing information when booking, so my wetsuit and boots were already set aside for me, but it was cool seeing the assortment of scuba gear on display.

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So many wetsuits!

Once our guides got us set up, it was time to head in!

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The many sharks and fish that filled the Ocean Voyager exhibit

We made our descent to the bottom of the forty foot deep tank and swam amongst the sea creatures. After getting acquainted, we headed over to the massive glass window for a photo opportunity with our non-diving friends.

Susan was nice enough to snap a few pictures of my adventure.

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Greetings from the shark tank
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More sharks

We then made our way over the tunnel, where the group got to see us swim overhead.

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Heading through the tunnel
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Swimming overhead

When it was all said and done, I’d spent thirty-five minutes at the bottom of the tank for the incredible experience.

We climbed out, headed to the showers, and then made our way to the debrief, where we were shown a video of the dive.

Afterwards, we checked out the rest of the museum where we saw tropical reefs, beluga whales, jellyfish, penguins, and checked out the sea lion show.

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Tropical fish
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Beluga whales
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Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium
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Penguins!
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Sea Lion show at the Georgia Aquarium

After seeing all of the aquarium, we headed back downtown to the Centennial Olympic Park and the Ferris wheel.

 

Downtown Atlanta

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Fountain at the Centennial Olympic Park

Atlanta was truly beautiful at night. We walked through the Centennial Olympic Park and headed over to the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel to take a ride.

Each of the cabs are comfortably climate controlled, so no matter the weather, you’re nice and comfortable inside.

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The SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel

 

The Marriott Marquis

Just down the road was the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, one of the filming sites for the second and third Hunger Games movies. Sadly, Marriott had upgraded the hotel to a category six last year, so I couldn’t use my award certificates there, but it was certainly worth a visit.

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Elevator straight out of the Hunger Games

Once up top, you can gaze down into what was the tallest atrium in the world when the hotel was built in 1985 and is still one of the tallest to this day.

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Hope you’re not afraid of heights

Next up, the Delta Flight Museum!

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