Georgia Aquarium set to open November 23rd

You can also learn, from this Paper of Record article on the subject, that 18 aquariums (aquaria?) were built nationwide in the last decade; that the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is the nation’s oldest and largest; and that Bernie Marcus has, apparently, something to prove:

“When I started interviewing aquarium people, they all came to me with the same thing ó we’re going to open this nice little aquarium, it’s going to be cute, something similar to New Orleans or Chattanooga,” Marcus said in a recent interview. “But I said, ‘You don’t understand what I’m trying to do here. I want something extraordinary. I want something unique.’ ”

There’s likely to be a few big show-stoppers like hammerhead sharks and large octopuses ó one of Marcus’ favorites. But he doesn’t want just one or two specimens of most other fish. For example, paperwork filed with the state Department of Resources indicates that Marcus hopes to lure as many as 5,000 French grunts, 4,000 yellow tail, 3,000 mullet and a whopping 10,000 scad.

Maybe he got bad service at a Chattanooga restaurant once.

I remain skeptical about the future success of the Centennial Park Fish Tank, mainly because it seems so extraneous — there’s a perfectly nice aquarium two hours away, and a perfectly nice IMAX theater over on Clifton Road — and because I don’t hear anyone getting excited about it other than Bernie Marcus, God bless him. Is there a purpose for this aquarium, other than “tourism” and “because Bernie Marcus said so”? Any possibility of tie-ins to research efforts? Any affiliations with groups concerned with the shore or the Chattahoochee? Anyone with an investment in the aquarium once Bernie Marcus is no longer around to swell with pride?

If you’re more interested in counting down the days until the Atlantic Station IKEA opens — yeah, I don’t blame you.

9 Comments so far

  1. mingaling (unregistered) on May 31st, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

    You do know what they named the aquarium’s mascot, right? “Deepo.” Get it?

  2. Cap'n Ken (unregistered) on May 31st, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

    Bernie wants fish tank; Bernie gets fish tank. It’s his money, right?

    I also felt a big yawn at the announcement of the tank. And Atlanta isn’t exactly a “fish town” like New Orleans or even C’Nooga. Quick – what’s the most recognizable Atlanta fish? Yeah, that ugly metal one outside that crappy restaurant in Buckhead.

    I do, however, applaud Bernie and the Coke guys for re-focusing tourism around Centennial Park. With the park, CNN, Philips and the Ga. Dome, the CAP part of Downtown actually makes sense as a destination. Unlike the MARTA station/homeless shelter that current Downtown “tourism” is built around, there’s a great chance to create a real destination with the park, tank and new World of Coke. And they’ve already got the Children’s Museum (the exhibit with all the mounted children of 18th century England is particularly moving).

    But a fish tank in Atlanta? That mofo better be BIG!

  3. Kendall (unregistered) on May 31st, 2005 @ 4:36 pm

    Personally, I’m scared to death (almost literally) of the windy roads that one encounters traveling to Chattanooga, so I’ve never been up to see their tank.

    I’m all for anything that will a) bring people downtown and b) give me somewhere to drop outta-towners when they come for the holidays!

    I can see it now … din din at Ruth’s Chris, ice skating at Centennial Park Rink, dreamily gazing into the deep blue water waiting for the schools of ‘fishies’ to pass by …

  4. Tony (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 10:49 am

    I think one of the reasons there has been a palpable lack of criticism or opposition to the Aquarium is that Atlanta tends to suffer from acute HDFCDNW Syndrome. (Home Depot Founders Can Do No Wrong.)

  5. passerby (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2005 @ 11:28 pm

    Oh, he’ll definitely get the 3000 mullets …

  6. lisa (unregistered) on June 29th, 2005 @ 2:15 pm

    I think what Bernie is trying to bring to the city of Atlanta will restore the sense of pride in our community and generate much needed revenue to improve the downtown area. Anyone that know Bernieand his philosophy on customer service knows that he will attract the best of the best for staff and ensure that truly, this gift to Atlanta is a success. Why fault him for having $$, at least he is spending it on a Thank you gift to Atlanta and recognizes his roots. I personally am ecstatic that Atlanta will now have another attraction that will bring value and education to our city. FYI – the proceeds from the Fishscale project are being dedicated to creating an educational program for children to learn more about marine life. I would encourage all you skeptics to think big, be glad someone in this town has a vision and get ready to enjoy one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have in an aquarium.

  7. MKS (unregistered) on July 1st, 2005 @ 11:31 am

    That last comment made me laugh my head off. Thank you!

    As for curvy roads to Chattanooga… huh? Apparently you’ve never driven anywhere on the interstate system. Having lived between Chattanooga and Atlanta, there’s more curve in 285 than there is on 75 north. Good luck!

  8. Chad Magnussen (unregistered) on October 13th, 2005 @ 9:45 pm

    The aquarium’s projected cost is approximately 200 million dollars.

    I would advise Bernie Marcus that he could easily save a couple million dollars by eliminating:

    1. a shark tank

    2. an octopus tank

    If tourists desire to see sharks and an octopus in Atlanta, please make a beeline to any local Atlanta car dealership.

    Car salesman at these Atlanta businesses, and I use the term quite loosely, are indeed sharks and octopuses.

    These “hammerhead car salesmen sharks” are roving the dealership lots smelling for blood in the water. If you just happen to be a woman ( my sister ), you’re a “dead fish.” Take it from a very reliable source. To say the least, the feeding frenzy is not a pretty sight.

    Then the octopuses in the car finance department take over. They will wrap their greedy tenacles around your wallet/purse in two seconds flat.

    My best advice is not to buy a car in Atlanta. You may end up paying the price of the new Georgia Aquarium–200 million dollars.

    A new Kia is just not worth 200 million dollars.

    The Atlanta car salesmen will always tell you: “We’re losing money.” Sure!

    I’d sure love to see some of these Atlanta car salesmen in the Georgia Aquarium shark tank.

    Bernie Marcus, please don’t feed the sharks for at least a week!!!

    They can munch on these car salesman, and my sister’s Kia, too.


  9. Chad Magnussen (unregistered) on October 13th, 2005 @ 10:29 pm

    I just flipped a Country Club of the South mansion for a $1,000,000 dollars, so I’m in the flipping mode tonight.

    For any of you out there looking to make a fast buck: listen up.

    I will be offering you the deal of the century selling my Chattanooga Aquarium stock.

    Forget what you have read in the papers. When the new Georgia Aquarium opens November 23rd, attendance at the Chattanooga Aquarium will probably increase three-fold. Maybe four-fold.

    Seriously, I don’t see how the Chattanooga aquarium will be able to viably compete with the mega-one in Atlanta.

    I made a trip to Chattanooga a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed eyeing the beautiful fall colors on the way up, but the aquarium itself was a bit of a disappointment.

    Maybe beautiful mermaids would spark my interest.


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