The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Aquarium Smackdown

By Matt Wood in Miscellaneous on Nov 30, 2005 6:49PM

2005_11_ga_aquarium.jpgShedd Aquarium has laid claim to the title of "world's largest aquarium" for years, but now it has a challenger. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta opened last week and calls itself the largest, based on its number of animals and size. The Sun-Times provides a helpful comparison chart, and going strictly by the numbers, Hotlanta has us beat. But on closer inspection, their reckonin' looks a little fishy.

Georgia beats Shedd on gallons of water, square footage, and total number of animals. But their 505,000 square feet includes a 16,400 square foot ballroom, meaning Shedd has more exhibit space. Shedd also has three times as many different species, almost 1,600 different kinds of fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, and plants, while Georgia only has 500 species. And catfish and crawdads don't count boys. What good does 120,000 animals do if 85,000 of them are blue gill and nightcrawlers donated by the local Elks Lodge?

We're just being mean. The Georgia Aquarium does look pretty cool, and apparently neither facility is really interested in competition. But we'll take our trained sea otters, the Wild Reef exhibit, and Jump the Gigolo any day.