Atlanta (May 28, 2010) –
Georgia Aquarium unveiled the newly-renovated Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest Gallery today. In celebration of Memorial Day and the Aquarium’s continuing dedication to enhance guest experience, visitors are invited to enjoy the expansion and take part in holiday festivities. The reopening celebration will include: a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a live Dixieland jazz band, confetti cannons, mascot appearances, arts & crafts, free giveaways and even an indoor snowfall to celebrate the theme of the gallery.
The redesigned exhibits provide greater immersion into the habitats of two of the Aquarium’s marquee animals: African penguins and the Southern sea otter.
Within the brand-new African penguin exhibit, guests will enjoy twice the number of birds in an innovative and engaging habitat. Their new accommodations feature more than 25 nesting areas integrated into the naturalistic rockwork environment will encourage breeding behavior. Equipped with a state-of-the-art lighting system that mimics the natural light cycle, this technology utilizes 44 independently controlled, high-output florescent and LED lights to mimic conditions from twilight to moonlight following natural seasons, keeping the birds regulated for hormonal balancing and breeding. Acrylic tunnels and pop-up windows, built into the exhibit, allow children to come face-to-face with their feathered favorites.
The Aquarium’s beloved Southern sea otters will also return to their new home within the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery. The habitat has been modified with additional deck space for trainer-animal interactions and unique viewing features, allowing guests to see the animals from various angles. New ‘clam cannons’ have been added into the exhibit as an environmental enrichment tool to feed the animals and complement additional training interactions. These ‘cannons’ can be used to remotely reinforce specific behaviors or activities, and encourage dynamic use of the habitat. Extending beyond the public exhibit space, the expansion includes additions to back-of-house areas. Vastly enlarged dry and wet holding areas, tripled in size including more than 5,000 gallons of water, will ensure the long-term care of the current otters, as well as any potential rescued animals in the future. Guests now have the opportunity to get a sneak-peek at what it takes to care for the animals behind-the-scenes with additional viewing windows of these newly renovated holding areas.
To complete the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest experience, guests will also enjoy the beluga whales interacting with the harbor seals, which have been introduced to each other just in time for the grand reopening.
“The Georgia Aquarium strives to uphold world-class experiences for our guests and to maintain exceptional exhibit space for our animals,” said Billy Hurley, Aquarium senior vice president and chief animal officer. “The addition of dozens of birds and the return of our beloved sea otters, paired with a refreshing experience to a fan-favorite gallery, supports our mission of being the world’s most engaging aquarium.”
As the official kick-off of summer, this Memorial Day weekend the Aquarium will be promoting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention “Don’t Fry Day” on May 28. This partnership was formed to help educate guests about the need for sun protection. Festivities to celebrate “Don’t Fry Day” include free UV sensitive crafts, stickers, posters, as well as hats and sunscreen.
Need another reason to beat the heat this holiday? The Aquarium will be giving away SunTrust pedometers to the first 2,000 lucky guests. To enjoy all of the weekend’s exciting festivities, and a chance to see the sea otters and the dozens of penguins, please visit www.georgiaaquarium.org
For more information, contact Public Relations:
About the Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world’s largest with more than eight million gallons of water and more aquatic life than any other aquarium. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and exciting guest experiences and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.