The aquarium in neighboring Georgia is said to be one of, if not the, largest in the world. It is home to many species of animal I've not had the chance to encounter before, including whale sharks and beluga whales. For those who don't know, I have been obsessed (I am not exaggerating) with sharks for as long as I can remember. When I first had access to the local and school libraries I would take out stuffy science books about them while other kids picked up "Clifford the Big Red Dog" (mind you, I liked him an awful lot too!) and Shark Week was an event in our house. An event meaning, if it was Shark Week we had better be watching shark programs. So, knowing full well that it was an achievable goal, I stuck "see a Whale Shark" at the top of my 30 by 30 list.
I'm not sure what I was expecting to feel when I first saw one. Perhaps a giddiness akin to Christmas morning? Maybe a sense of awe at how impressive they are? Whatever the feelings stirring inside of me may have been, they moved me to tears and I sat in the big viewing room at the aquarium, surrounded by children and strangers and cried a little. It was indescribably moving for me; the sharks were unimaginably beautiful. That isn't to say the others that we saw weren't, but for me seeing these magnificent animals was like the fulfilling of a childhood wish. The only thing that may have moved me more would be seeing real life dinosaurs, but we've all seen Jurassic Park and know how that would end.
So without further rambling, here are a few more photos of my magical aquarium trip:
A rare Danni-fish.
There are a bunch more photos if anyone is feeling nosey or wants to see these ones larger. Just go to the Flickr set here.