Veterans Immersion Program (VIP)

Georgia Aquarium is committed to serving the brave men and women, active and retired, who have served us. As a thank you for their incredible service, Georgia Aquarium developed the Veterans Immersion Program in 2008 as a way to support the wounded heroes in our armed forces. Georgia Aquarium is honored to provide this unique adjunctive therapy to complement current rehabilitation and reintegration programs. Participants challenge themselves with an experience outside their comfort zones, encounter enormous animals, and for some, relax and move in the water in ways they may not be able to on land.

Since its founding, the program has hosted more than 2,900 military personnel and guests who have been physically, emotionally, or mentally wounded – injuries both seen and unseen. Participants of all abilities (from quadriplegia or amputations to post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries) are welcome 365 days a year to swim or dive in our 6.3 million gallon gallery, Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot. Guests float alongside whale sharks and manta rays coming face to face with some of the ocean’s largest creatures.

These guests are supported by the largest team of Handicapped Scuba Certified Dive Masters and Instructors in the world led by a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.  Each member of the Dive Team is trained to lead disabled divers and swimmers on their journey, ensuring the care and safety of these esteemed guests.  Because of the inherent healing properties of water and the sheer magnificence of swimming and diving with these incredible animals, the veterans leave with a positive, awe-inspiring experience that supports the need for ongoing adaptation to life after war.

How Do I Participate?

Individuals: By being involved with any military rehabilitation or reintegration program, you are eligible to be a participant. Just ask your program's director about participating in Journey with Gentle Giants at Georgia Aquarium.

Military Discounts: Georgia Aquarium salutes the men and women of the Armed Forces by offering substantial discounts on admission tickets by purchasing them in advance through participating military base ticket offices. To receive this discount, you must purchase your tickets at the ITT/MWR office at your local base.

Existing Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programs: To see how to add the Journey with the Gentle Giants to your program, contact Devin Waddell at dwaddell@georgiaaquarium.org or Wanda Rodriguez at wrodriguez@georgiaaquarium.org.

How You Can Help

Georgia Aquarium’s Veterans Immersion Program is funded entirely by private support. You can play an important role by ensuring we reach as many veterans as possible with these incredible opportunities.

The Veterans Immersion Program provides individuals, corporations, and foundations with a means of donating funds to help Georgia Aquarium support these veterans’ existing goals for rehabilitation and to allow our injured veterans the chance to experience a positive, life-changing moment with some of the world’s most magnificent animals.

Help us support our veterans on their path to recovery and reintegration and engage our community by offering these services to a wider group of deserving heroes.

For more information on how you can financially support our Veterans Immersion Program, please contact Roisin Florence, Director, Grants, Corporate Sponsorships & Annual Giving, at 404.581.4181 or rflorence@georgiaaquarium.org

Georgia Aquarium is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.  All contributions to Georgia Aquarium are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

DONATE NOW