Georgia Aquarium’s new shark experience opens next week

Make reservations now for dive cage at world’s largest aquarium

Georgia Aquarium expands shark experience

You’ve seen video of people climbing into a cage and being submerged in the ocean, soon to be surrounded by sharks. It either thrills you or scares the life out of you.

If you’re the type to be thrilled, you’ll want to check out the Georgia Aquarium’s renovated shark experience, which will include a dive cage. Sharks! Predators of the Deep will open to the public October 23.

“Sharks as a group of animals are underappreciated by our guests and the public in general,” Chris Coco, senior director of fish and invertebrates at Georgia Aquarium, told the AJC’s Melissa Ruggieri in 2018 when renovations were announced. “We want to demonstrate how interesting they are. The elegance and diversity of sharks is pretty special to us. … We have to get past that ‘attack’ impression of sharks and instill in our guests what these guys are. They’re important to the ecosystem and keep it in balance. They are under great attack by humans for harvesting and the shark finning business, and the reality is that the sharks are truly the victims.”

The 1 million gallon saltwater gallery will feature floor-to-ceiling acrylic windows for optimal viewings, along with interactive experiences for guests.

You can wade into an immersion pool that houses zebra sharks and stingrays and is adjacent to the main exhibit. Accompanied by Georgia Aquarium staff, guests get up close with the creatures and learn about conservation.

“Inside the main exhibit, for the first time, guests can enter the waters of the shark habitat — from the safety of a dive cage,” the aquarium announced in a press release. “No dive certification is necessary as participants are guided by Georgia Aquarium Dive staff.”

Although the shark exhibit is included with the price of admission, tickets for the Shark Cage Dive and Shark & Ray Immersion must be bought separately.

“Through interactive gallery features, hands-on immersion experiences, and compelling research, the Aquarium hopes guests will leave with a renewed sense of respect for all shark species — not just the hammerheads, silvertips, sand tigers, and tiger sharks that may grace the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the gallery,” the aquarium said.

Get a sneak peek of the exhibit:

The aquarium, in downtown Atlanta, reopened in June with guidelines to comply with COVID-19 safety precautions. Find out more here.