Atlanta (November 21, 2006) – The Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest aquarium, will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Nov. 21, 2006. The official opening day of the Georgia Aquarium is Nov. 23, 2005. Since the Aquarium opened in November 2005, the facility has hosted nearly 3.6 million visitors from every U.S. state and countries from around the world, welcoming its one-millionth guest in just 98 days and three-millionth guest in nine months.
Original projections for the first year's attendance were for 2.4 million visitors. Economic impact studies done by Georgia State University now show the Aquarium will have an impact exceeding $1 billion over the first five years of operation on the Atlanta and Georgia economies.
"A year ago, I envisioned that the Georgia Aquarium would help promote economic impact for Atlanta and the state, bringing not only growth and new jobs, but creating a destination to inspire visitors to stay - and stay longer," said Bernie Marcus, Georgia Aquarium benefactor. "I am so proud of the Georgia Aquarium staff and our supporters around the world for helping to make this happen."
Over the course of its first year, the Aquarium has experienced many milestones with its living collection and research efforts, including conducting cutting-edge research with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. And before being open one full year, the Aquarium has already announced plans for more than $13 million in improvements and expansions. The plans include a 7,000+ square-foot expansion to the Oceans Ballroom, which has hosted more than 750 events to date.
Beginning on Nov. 21, the Georgia Aquarium will celebrate in style throughout the day with visiting guests, featuring music and decorations. On Nov. 21st, the first 365 annual pass holders will get a Deepo cookie as well. Animals in various exhibits will also join in on the celebratory activities - they will be fed mini-cakes made by the husbandry staff and selected children. In addition to the festivities, 2007 annual pass holders will be entered into a contest to win a grand prize to thank them for their support.
"This is a memorable moment for the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta as a whole," said Jeffery S. Swanagan, executive director of the Georgia Aquarium. "We remain dedicated to Bernie's vision and are confident that the Aquarium will continue to play an integral role in creating memories for others within the community and the world."
The Aquarium is extending hours on Nov. 24-25, opening at 8 a.m. Tickets are available online, and both dates are almost sold out. The Aquarium will also host a Thanksgiving Buffet from Nov. 22-26 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., catered by Wolfgang Puck Catering, in the Pacific Room of Oceans Ballroom. Non-member adult prices are $28 and children (10 and under) are $18. Member adult prices are $25 and children are $15.
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 than 100,000 animals of 500 different species. 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 on the Georgia Aquarium, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.