See Whale Sharks in Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to an overseas trip at present, there may be another option a little closer to home. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta offers Journey with Gentle Giants. This activity includes snorkeling or scuba diving with whale sharks in a tank the size of a football field.
The tank is aptly named “Ocean Voyager” and is home to four whale sharks, four manta rays, turtles, and plenty of other marine life. The swim program is available daily at 4.30 pm and prices start at US$212.95 plus tax for two and a half hours of swimming time.
Of course, there is an ethical debate as to whether to keep whale sharks captive at all. There was an outcry after the deaths of two whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in 2007. The other side of the argument is that, although captivity does not benefit the individual whale sharks here, their presence benefits whale sharks as a whole through education and conservation awareness. What’s more, most of Georgia Aquarium’s whale sharks come from Taiwan, where they were hunted and caught, so arguably they’re better off now in the aquarium. Either way, do your research and decide for yourself whether you support whale shark captivity.