I challenged Mari and Lila to read 10 books during their summer vacation, with the promise I'd take them each on a mommy-and-me date wherever they wanted if they completed their assignments before it was time to head back to school. I'm so proud to say that my girls not only made their deadlines, but read a few extra books, just for kicks. As her prize, Lila chose the zoo, which we'll be visiting in the coming weeks. Mari chose the Georgia Aquarium, a veritable ocean of colorful, exotic fish and other water-loving creatures that live in some 8 million gallons of water in this Atlanta attraction—the world's largest aquarium. We visited a few weeks ago, before school started, and the girls and I had a blast—fingering the starfish and anemone, watching the whale sharks stalk the waters above our heads, marveling at the playful, twirling Beluga Whales, hunting for neon pink fish and colorful frogs, and making fish faces at the alligators. Of course, I took my camera along; I not only wanted to document the fantastic time I spent with my girls, but the incredible colors and textures and beauty that can be found under the sea. Here, a few of my favorite shots (taken with my Nikon D50, with a Nikon DX 55-200 mm lens, which I'm slowly, but surely, learning how to use properly):
If you're ever in the area, the Georgia Aquarium is a great day excursion for the kids. Admission is $35 for adults, $26 for kids ages 3 to 12, and $30.25 for seniors—more if you want to add in extra exhibits and guided tours. For more information on the aquarium and its programming, click HERE.