DragonCon Georgia Aquarium Party! (Nathan)
Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
59Trip End Oct 27, 2010
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Anyway, Saturday evening we headed down to the aquarium, which I think had been reserved for just DragonCon attendees. Glennica had signed us up for this a month or two before we left, and we had our tickets ready and printed out. On the way there, we met a German woman who was wondering why everyone was wearing weird costumes and what the con was all about. This was a common question the whole time we were in Georgia... people were always coming up and asking us what was going on, and a lot of them seemed unfamiliar not only with DragonCon, but with the idea of a convention in general. Maybe they'll nerd up and go to it next year, now that they know it exists! After explaining and directing the German lady to the convention, we headed on inside and to the main central area.
The Georgia Aquarium looked fairly new... I'm guessing it was built recently, or at least remodeled, because everything seemed post-2000. The first thing we did was get something to eat... which meant going to the cafeteria and buying their ludicrously overpriced food. Man. What an exclusive party. It was pretty good, though, despite the price, and Glennica and Sierra bought quite a few drinks at a bar that I suspect is normally not available outside of private functions. Glennica gave me the gummy octopus from hers, which was nice. Everyone from DragonCon still had their costumes, of course, and I think some saved theirs just for the aquarium, so I was still getting pictures of them, in addition to the sea life.
The main attraction was the enormous saltwater aquarium, which is the largest in the world. It's a little hard to tell at first glance, since everything fades off into a blue haze, but when you visit several different areas of the aquarium and learn that everything you're looking at is connected, you start to get a sense of just how big it is. For me, the biggest shock was looking into the water and seeing, right off the bat, a whale shark... and then ANOTHER one! Whale sharks are the largest fish in existence today, and I wasn't aware there were any in captivity. Turns out they have four of them, and even though they're not fully grown, they're still huge, and the tank has room for six adults
There were also a lot of smaller tanks with corals, jellyfish, lobsters and such. When we got back to the main room, they'd started playing music and a guy dressed in a Cthulhu mask was rocking out. Sierra wanted a picture with him, and it turned out he was a VIP... one of the guests at the con, though I'm not sure who. We got him to pose for the picture, though, and headed to the smaller areas. The otters, both sea and river, were all asleep and cuddled up in big piles of fur, and they had some belugas and various smaller creatures like seals and seahorses and freshwater fish. Glennica and I waited in line for the penguin tunnel, which let you crawl down under the penguins and stick your head up in a plexiglass dome right in the midst of them. I startled the penguin right next to me, who was laying on his belly relaxing, but the others didn't seem to notice me and just wandered around looking cute. It was fun, but not really worth the wait, and Glennica got bored halfway through the line and just wanted to get it over with.
Sierra spent most of the rest of the night at the shark and ray petting tank, and I joined her for a bit and felt a couple rays. They were slimy and slick, like wet seaweed, and for some reason they seemed to like to arch up out of the water right under where I was standing, so I got to see their faces a lot. It's nothing I hadn't done at other aquariums before, but I still liked it. A while before the aquarium closed, I found another area behind the petting tank, which had a similar thing for urchins and an aquarium with a cute sea turtle that I watched for a while. Eventually it was time to go, and we took a cab back to the hotel after waiting for Sierra to buy a miniature license plate with her name from the gift shop. Before we went to bed, we stopped at the 24 hour diner nearby for dinner and cake. :)