Q: Do you know where the world’s largest aquarium is located?
A: Atlanta, Georgia.
The Georgia Aquarium houses 120,000 animals, representing 500 species, in 8.5 million US gallons (32,000 m3) of marine and fresh water; it was the world’s largest aquarium when it opened in 2005. Businessman Bernard Marcus credits his 60th birthday dinner, held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with inspiring him to build a great aquarium for Atlanta; his subsequent $250 million donation provided the bulk of the money needed to build and stock the new facility.
The Aquarium’s notable specimens include four young whale sharks, four beluga whales, eleven bottlenose dolphins and four manta rays.
The Georgia Aquarium contains between 100,000 and 120,000 fish and other sea creatures, representing more than five hundred species.
The Aquarium is the only institution outside of Asia housing whale sharks, which are kept in a 6.3-million-US-gallon (24,000 m3) tank—the Aquarium as a whole was designed around the whale shark exhibit. Their importation from Taiwan (by air, truck, and boat) had never been attempted previously. They were taken from Taiwan’s annual fishing kill quota, under which they would have been eaten had they not been purchased by the Aquarium. The Aquarium’s most famous specimens were four young whale sharks from Taiwan named Ralph, Norton, Alice, and Trixie, after the primary characters from The Honeymooners. Ralph and Norton died in 2007 but that same year the Aquarium received two more whale sharks (“Taroko”, commemorating Taroko Gorge National Park, and “Yushan” after Taiwan’s Jade Mountain) just before a ban on capture of that species took effect.
When Georgia exhibited great hammerhead sharks, it was one of only two aquaria in the United States with this species.
See a listing of the Top 10 Largest Aquariums in the World