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Ga. Aquarium pregnant beluga whale reaches third trimester

Ga. Aquarium pregnant beluga whale reaches third trimester

ATLANTA -- The pregnant beluga whale at Georgia Aquarium is expected to give birth very soon.

Maris has reached her third trimester and is due this spring, according to the aquarium. The 20-year-old beluga is healthy and in good condition, and her calf is progressing well.

This is the second pregnancy for Maris. Many first-time beluga pregnancies are often successful, and Maris is no exception; her first calf died in May 2012, just a few days after being born. Aquarium officials said the chances for a successful birth increase with each pregnancy.

Whale of a fight over Belugas at Georgia Aquarium

Whale of a fight over Belugas at Georgia Aquarium

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Georgia Aquarium wants to bring 18 Beluga Whales to the United States.

The Aquarium was denied their request to bring the whales here more than two years ago. On Wednesday, aquarium officials appeal that decision before a federal judge.

When they first asked to bring the mammals here, it started a firestorm of controversy from animal rights advocates.

The whales were collected at a research facility in Russia in 2006, 2010, and 2011.

There has been strong opposition to bringing the Belugas to the US from environmentalists who think the whales should stay put. But the aquarium argues it would do more good to have them here, where they say they can teach people to care about wildlife and serve as ambassadors.

This is a very long running fight between the two groups.

Swim with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium

Swim with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium

(WXIA) -- To travel to a different civilization, where oxygen is scarce and inhabitants seem alien, you don't need a spaceship. Instead, you need a steady air supply and an explorer's curiosity to go beneath the surface.

We're the guests below water, and the whale shark is the fearless king.

"You get close and realize, face to face with animals, they are truly majestic and not fearsome," said Chris Duncan with the Georgia Aquarium's Dive Immersion Program team.

Like any world leader, some are fierce. Others are misunderstood.

"Most of them have no interest in eating people at all," said Georgia Aquarium Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Alistair Dove.

The Georgia Aquarium is home to four whale sharks. Visitors can float beside them all.

"The largest fish in the ocean, right here in Atlanta, Georgia," Duncan said.

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has brought back its Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest for 2014.

This year's theme is Plug into Nature, emphasizing the importance of experiencing wildlife and plants firsthand.

All Georgia students in grades kindergarten through 5 are invited to enter the contest. The top 12 winners' posters will be displayed on the DNR's Flickr site and at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry during the first two weeks in May.

Contest entries are due Apr. 16. Three winners will be picked in four categories (kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grade 5).

Visit georgiawildlife.com for more information about the contest.

BEST SPOTS: Atlanta Skyline Views

BEST SPOTS: Atlanta Skyline Views

ATLANTA, Ga. -- For this week’s installment of Best Spots, we've compiled a list of the best lookout points in the metro-area to view the Atlanta skyline.

The prominent Atlanta Skyline is marked with midrise and high-rise buildings similar to those one would find in a larger city like New York City or Los Angeles. The Bank of America Plaza formally known as the NationsBank Building is one of the most prominent buildings in the Atlanta skyline and is the 42nd tallest building in the world, is the largest building in the Western Hemisphere outside of Chicago and New York and is Georgia’s tallest building.

Other buildings included in the Atlanta Skyline are the SunTrust Plaza, One Atlantic Center, 191 Peachtree Tower, the Georgia-Pacific Tower, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Two Peachtree Building and the Promenade II.

LOCAL PROFILE: Piedmont Park

LOCAL PROFILE: Piedmont Park

ATLANTA, Ga. – Often called the quintessential city park, Piedmont Park, has something for everyone. Situated in the middle of the city, this park offers fishing, playgrounds, swimming, tennis, skating and even movie viewings.

Atlanta’s “Common Ground” since 1904, the park is the destination for “ITP” residents or city dwellers, every weekend. The main green or The Meadow is the main area for congregation; dogs and their owners or groups of friends playing ball games, usually, use this area for their activities.

Grilling isn’t allowed in the park; however, there are designated areas for people who want to use them. Park goers can fish in Clara Meer, which was created for the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition; the lake is filled with many of the local common species. The park features basketball courts and tennis courts, also.

WEEKEND EVENTS: Hawks Basketball and Urban Gardening

WEEKEND EVENTS: Hawks Basketball and Urban Gardening

ATLANTA – There are tons of fun events going on this weekend, in your area. We’ve listed a few of them for you to check out with your family and friends.

Wind down at Fernbank’s Martinis and IMAX event on Friday, April 22. This weekly event usually draws a healthy sized crowd. Most cocktails are about $8 each and tickets to each actual IMAX movie are about $12. Come join Atlanta’s cosmopolitan crowd at this event.

Swim with the Georgia Aquarium’s resident whale shark on Friday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m. Guests will be able to swim at the surface, with an air supply. The aquarium will provide a mask, air, booties and a wetsuit. All of this comes with a $224.95 price tag, talk about a nice Earth Day gift.

Arguably the best center in the NBA, the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard journeys home to Atlanta for game three of the NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.