I played with the reservation system on the Georgia Aquarium’s web site today and saw some useful patterns.
My initial purpose was to determine when the least busy times were for people to visit so that they could avoid the large crowds I have heard about.
As expected, weekends are very busy. In fact, the Aquarium has no tickets available for the next two weekends and is half sold for the weekend after that. During the week, the busy times follow the “class field trip” schedule. Early in the morning, the 9 and 10 slots, have lots of tickets. Tickets sell out first during the middle of the day, but more slots open up as school gets out. Students have to be returned to school in order to return home on schedule, it appears. Rush hour is a good time to go. Pretty much anytime during the week after 3pm is decent since all the kids are back at school.
I’m not certain if the inordinate number of first slot tickets is due in part to the Aquarium not having visitors already inside. During the day, they must expect that a certain percentage of visitors will remain past the hour block they entered.
The total number of tickets available per day approaches 3510, so I’m assuming that is the maximum number of visitors the Aquarium can support per day. Assuming they can sell each spot each day for the full adult ticket price, the total gate fees for the year would be only $29 million. Given the massive cost of construction and operation, it seems hardly feasible that they would be able to continue operations. I assume that they also receive grants, research money, etc.
Another way of looking at it is that it will take 3.5 years at maximum capacity for all of the population of Atlanta to see the aquarium. That, of course, assumes no out-of-town visitors.
So, take a break from work sometime and checkout the aquarium. On my trip during the week, I found it very uncrowded and could get as close as I wanted to anything without any problems.