The Largest Aquarium in the Western Hemisphere Gets Even Bigger

Georgia Aquarium revealed expansion plans for a new gallery featuring sharks — one of the most misunderstood species in the ocean — to open in late fall of 2020. An extension of the Aquarium’s conservation and education efforts, the new experience will help guests have a deeper appreciation for the important role sharks serve in the oceans and inspire them to join conservation efforts to protect our oceans.

The saltwater gallery will feature stunning floor to ceiling acrylic windows to give guests an up-close and personal view of these majestic animals. A name for the gallery will be released closer to opening. Potential shark species under consideration include hammerheads, sand tiger sharks, and sandbar sharks.

Additionally, a number of animal interactions are in the works for the new exhibit, which will give guests the opportunity to get even closer to some of these fascinating animals. Once finalized, more details on these interactions will be released.

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“We've always done things big, and 12 years after our opening we're still holding true to that. This new expansion will spotlight an all-new gallery with awe-inspiring species of sharks. We can safely say, Georgia, you’re going to need a bigger aquarium!”

Joseph Handy President & COO of Georgia Aquarium

Our History

May 2003
Bernie Marcus, Mayor Shirley Franklin and the team broke ground north of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. The Coca-Cola Company donated the site, a nine-acre plot of land. The donated land was valued at $24 million.

June 2005
Georgia Aquarium’s first two whale sharks made a historic flight from Taiwan to Atlanta, Georgia.

November 23, 2005
Only 30 months after groundbreaking, Georgia Aquarium opened to the general public.

January 2006
Georgia Aquarium’s Learning Loop opened to school groups for a unique educational experience. The one-millionth guest walked through the doors just 98 days after opening. By the end of the first year attendance totaled 3.6 million.

July 24, 2008
The first manta ray exhibited in the US was introduced in Ocean Voyager built by Home Depot.

January 2011
Georgia Aquarium expanded with the acquisition of Marineland near St. Augustine, Florida. After extensive capital improvements, the modernized facility was renamed Marineland Dolphin Adventure. The Georgia Aquarium’s Conservation Field Station was an adjunct facility and a member of the southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

April 2011
A major expansion project is completed in the form of the Dolphin Coast gallery, at the time known as AT&T Dolphin Tales. This 1.8-million-gallon gallery continues the Aquarium’s mission to provide educational and entertaining programs and inspire the public to understand and care about dolphins. The Aquarium has also become a primary leader in the internationally recognized Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Health and Risk Assessment Project (HERA).

January 2014
Georgia Aquarium expands again with the development of the Penguin Nursery. This new addition is created to aid in enhancing the Aquarium’s already successful African penguin breeding program.

January 2015
Georgia Aquarium open a new interactive, educational gallery for children and families – Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone. Aquanaut Adventure is a space built on hands-on exploration.

March 2016
Georgia Aquarium opens SunTrust Pier 225, a new exhibit highlighting California sea lions. This exhibit focuses on emphasizing the many interesting features and abilities of these animals and also draw attention to the dangers California sea lions face today.

March 2016
Georgia Aquarium opens its new dolphin presentation which replaces the original presentation in the Dolphin Coast Theater. The new presentation showcases the grace, power and beauty of this magnificent species and the unique, trusting relationships between trainer and animal.

January 2018
Georgia Aquarium unveils Puffins, a new North Pacific diving birds habitat, featuring horned and tufted puffins, pigeon guillemots and common murres.

Spring 2018
Georgia Aquarium announces plans for a major expansion to be completed in 2020.

Expansion 2020

A Preview of What's to Come

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  • Georgia Aquarium Breaks Ground on Expansion 2020

Expansion 2020 FAQs

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