My boys couldn’t contain their excitement about the Sea Lion Experience at the Georgia Aquarium. When we got inside the main atrium, Aiden, 7, and Riley, 3, ran for the sea lion window and squealed with delight as the sea lions flipped and jumped and swam in front of them.

The Sea Lion Experience has two parts. Outside Pier 225, you stand in line to get in the pre-show. The pre-show is really fun and interactive – an aquarium team member emcees  the show that includes animatronic dancing crabs and shrimp and a singing seagull.

After the pre-show, it was time for the main event, “Under the Boardwalk.” The sea lion trainers were like new parents excited to show off the new tricks their children had learned. Their enthusiasm was infectious and made for a truly great show. My boys loved it when the sea lions “talked” and when they danced.

Before the Sea Lion Experience show time, we walked through Coldwater Quest, to see our favorite marine creatures, the penguins.

We also attended the revamped AT&T Dolphin Tales show. The theatrical portion has been removed and replaced with dolphin educational opportunities, pop music and crowd interaction. They even pick a lucky member of the audience to get in the water with them and show them how the dolphins work with humans.

The Georgia Aquarium is absolutely a full day activity, especially now with the added Sea Lion show. Plan on arriving early and staying for a better part of an afternoon.

Know before you go: To save money and avoid the ticket line, purchase tickets in advance. No outside food or beverages are allowed, so plan to buy snacks and lunch. Grab a small snack (goldfish, fruit snacks) for the kids for the pre-show. You’ll wait in line to get in the pre-show, so it is a perfect opportunity to keep the kids distracted with a snack. You can’t take a snack into the main show so enjoy it during the pre-show. For lunch, head to the second floor instead of sitting in the cafe. Tables by the conference center give you a view of the big aquarium tank. It’s mesmerizing to sit and watch the fish swim.

– Kim Curnutt

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