At least that is the tact staffers have again taken in an effort to transform the venue into a must-see destination this time of year.
Enter Festival of the SEAson, a month-long celebration of the holidays scheduled to run through Jan. 4.
As in past years, the aquarium’s collective of organizers, designers and artisans have set about tailoring attractions and inventing new ones to fit the seasonal motif: a return engagement of the Weeki Wachi Mermaids, newly devised FantaSEA of Lights show and hourly appearances of Scuba Claus and Seaside St. Nick among the featured happenings.
The Neighbor Newspapers recently caught up with Scott Higley, aquarium vice president of communications and external affairs, to discuss the new SEAson.
o On evolving:
“What’s special is that we’ve added features each successive year that have really enhanced the celebration and made it more special year by year.”
o On the origins of the festival:
“Like many of our programs, Festival of the SEAson was born out of [the] Georgia Aquarium’s desire to connect with its guests. Since our opening we’ve been a favorite place for families to spend quality time together while enjoying the aquarium. The holidays in particular are a time for warmth and gathering family, so we wanted to transform our atrium and galleries into a ‘winter water wonderland’ … and with our decorations, this year’s lineup of great events, the lighting of an underwater menorah and more, we think we have done just that.”
o On expectations:
“Any time we launch a program or share something new with guests, our hope is that it will increase their enjoyment of the aquarium, and Festival of the SEAson is no different. By kicking off these seasonal events earlier this year the hope is that guests will come several times throughout the season …”
o On bringing the festival to life:
“Many, many hours were put into both the development and execution of this six-week celebration. It has been an aquarium-wide effort, quite honestly. In preparing to bring this celebration to our guests, we utilized the creativity of our graphics team, the expertise of our zoological teams and the skills of many others. This sort of collaboration is what [the] Georgia Aquarium is all about.”
o On the “grand vision” for the festival:
“The grand vision is certainly for our members and guests to make Festival of the SEAson a part of their annual holiday traditions.”
o On patron feedback:
“So far, we have received positive Festival of the SEAson feedback from guests as well as our own staff and volunteers. Our Wake Up Santa event is one of the most popular we’ve seen in recent years.”