There’s a Georgia aquarium 3 hours from Atlanta that costs just $9

The Flint RiverQuarium in Albany has an albino alligator, turtles, fish and birds

Sure, there aren’t any belugas or dolphins, but there are turtles, catfish, alligators and egrets.

And a family of four can get in for about the cost of one adult at the Georgia Aquarium — you just have to drive a little farther.

The Flint RiverQuarium is in downtown Albany, a little more than three hours from Atlanta. While there, you’ll be introduced not only to fish and reptiles, but also to dozens of bird species native to the Flint River Basin.

Egrets, herons, flickers and ducks inhabit the Cypress Creek Aviary, a 35-foot-high enclosure behind the RiverQuarium. And because Albany is in the migratory path of many birds, you might see some visitors just passing through.

The highlight of the Flint RiverQuarium is the Blue Hole Spring, a 175,000-gallon, 22-foot deep exhibit showcasing more than 120 kinds of fish, turtles, alligators and other creatures. Search the water for the three kinds of catfish — blue, flathead and channel — which range in size from 150 pounds (blue) to 5-10 pounds (channel).

Head over to the Spring Run Creek exhibit and you can see an albino alligator. Moonshine is protected at Flint RiverQuarium via a UV-filtering cover so he doesn’t get a sunburn. And because he is blind, he has a greater chance of survival in captivity.

If three hours seems like a long drive to go to an aquarium, then stick around and check out all that Albany has to offer. Head to Riverfront Park and pay homage to Ray Charles at the statue and plaza dedicated to Albany’s native son.


Flint RiverQuarium

10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday

117 Pine Ave. Albany, GA 31701

Admission: $9 for ages 13-61; $8 for 62+; $6.50 for ages 4-12; $5.50 for college students with ID; no charge for children 3 and younger.