Laurel Park residents enjoy a day at the aquarium

Special to The Times

For Sheila Owens, visiting downtown Atlanta opened her eyes to the beauty of beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium.

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“They were so beautiful and came so close to the glass, you could almost touch them,” said Owens, a resident at Laurel Park Nursing and Rehabilitation in Stockbridge.

Owens and others recently got the opportunity to visit the Georgia Aquarium, as part of the annual Pruitt Health Committed to Caring Project and in coordination with Second Wind.

The activity kicked off with a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, which enabled residents to learn about whale sharks, penguins, and other animals at the facility. One highlight of the day came when the group also took in a Dolphin Tales show. Laurel Park residents were amazed at the power, grace, and beauty of creatures – judging by the “oohs” and “ahhs” that could be heard with every trick the dolphins performed.

The residents also got an up-close view of Diego, the sea lion -- even having their pictures taken with him -- and explored several of the Aquarium exhibits as well as the tunnel in the Ocean Voyager exhibit.

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Several Laurel Park residents revealed aspects of the aquarium that stood out to them. One of them, Linda Atwood, said she enjoyed seeing various kinds of fish swimming overhead as she explored the aquarium.

Alice Coursey agreed with the aforementioned Owens about the beauty of the beluga whales at the aquarium.

“I didn’t know they were so big,” said Coursey. “They looked like they were having so much fun.”

Kim Cornell, activity director at Laurel Park, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to visit the aquarium.

“The staff at the Georgia Aquarium went above and beyond anything we could have expected, to give our residents a very exciting day that they will never forget,” said Cornell.