Sea lion kissing a trainer on the cheek (© AP Images)
(© AP Images)

This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family visits the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.

Sam: This aquarium is humongous!

Paul: Yes, it’s the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and houses tens of thousands of fish and other sea creatures.

Gina: And it houses some notable species.

Claudine: Like whale sharks. I’m looking forward to seeing those. This is one of the few places in the world to see them. Let’s go see them first.

Sam: Sounds good to me. After that, I want to see the manta ray. There are only four places in the world that display one, and this is one of those places.

Claudine: Great. Let’s go see the whale sharks and then the manta ray.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

Humongous means very large.

The Western Hemisphere is the half of the Earth that lies west of the meridian that passes through Greenwich, England. A meridian is a line that is drawn from the North Pole to the South Pole on a map of the world.

To house something means to be the place where something is kept or to provide a place for something or someone to live.

Sea creatures are the animals and fish that live in the sea.

Notable means deserving of attention, important or remarkable.

A whale shark is the largest fish in the sea. Whale sharks can grow up to 12 meters long. The whale shark likes to eat very small animal and fish life called plankton, which they scoop up in their open mouths while swimming.

A manta ray is the largest type of ray, growing up to 7.6 meters across. A ray is a type of fish with a flat body and a long tail. Manta rays are related to sharks but are harmless. Only a few aquariums in the world are large enough to house them.

To display means to put something in a place where people can see it.

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