It’s easy to be amazed by the scope and size of the Georgia Aquarium as a guest, but to see behind the glass of the enclosures is another thing entirely. That close-up view is exactly the aim of Animal Planet’s “The Aquarium,” which allows viewers a firsthand look at the goings-on of Atlanta’s amazing aquatic venue and its caretakers.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Animal Planet’s programming and its new show, ‘The Aquarium,’” Georgia Aquarium President and COO Joe Handy said. “Animal Planet and Georgia Aquarium have a long history of educating our audiences about our one world ocean and its animals.”
Erin Wanner, Animal Planet’s senior vice president of production, explained that the series provides a look behind the curtain at what goes on every day at the aquarium.
“It’s a backstage pass to spend time with the people who’ve dedicated their lives to animals and to furthering wildlife conservation efforts around the globe,” she said. “And through these remarkable people you too will fall in love with the animals in their care.”
Just in time to plan a summer visit to the biggest aquarium in the U.S., the first episode premiered Sunday and offered unmatched access to the inner workings of one of Atlanta’s best attractions.
In particular, the first episode followed three plot points. First, feeding Tank, the green sea turtle, and the installation of a new shipwreck display in the aquarium’s over 6-million-gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit. The episode offered a look at the care and safety precautions that must be taken when jumping into the water with sharks and rays galore.
Next, the miracle of stingray birth, as for the first time in the aquarium’s history a blue-spotted ribbontail stingray gave birth to two offspring. Watching the journey from pregnancy and ultrasound to tracking down the young pups for monitoring and their first feedings in the new habitat, the show captures a completely unique experience for everyone involved.
Not to leave out some of the aquarium’s cutest inhabitants, penguins were also on full display, as some of the staffers traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to aid in the rehabilitation and release of African penguins back into the wild.
With the first episode now in the books, the future looks even more varied in terms of which of the aquarium’s diverse animals are on display. In the future, viewers can look forward to learning much more about otters, seals and others.
Handy explained that the show offered a chance to share the aquarium’s mission with viewers beyond the Atlanta area.
“We know viewers will take away a greater appreciation for the ocean that will turn into action on behalf of our planet,” he said. “‘The Aquarium’ will showcase many of the animals we care for at Georgia Aquarium but will also take audiences behind the scenes of what it takes to care for the Western Hemisphere’s largest aquarium – something we are so honored to bring into the world’s living rooms.”
Paige Hale, the aquarium’s communications manager, echoed Handy’s focus on the aquarium’s mission, particularly when it came to ocean preservation.
“Animal Planet is the perfect home, … because we share the same mission to inspire and educate about not just aquatic animals, but the environments they inhabit,” she said. “We are so proud to be a part of this series and cannot wait to show all of the hard work and dedication that goes not only into caring for thousands of animals, but also the animals in the ocean that desperately need our help.”
“The Aquarium,” produced by Left/Right and Copper Pot Pictures, airs 8 p.m. Sundays on Animal Planet. For more information, visit www.animalplanet.com or the Georgia Aquarium, www.georgiaaquarium.org.