The Georgia Aquarium opened in 2005, thanks to a $250 million gift from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Marcus and Arthur Blank were both fired from a home improvement company and decided to start their own business. They opened the first two home depot stores in Atlanta in 1979, and the rest, well you know the rest.
Marcus used his substantial wealth for philanthropy. Proud of his Jewish heritage, he founded the Israel Democracy Institute to promote and defend democracy in that country. He created the Marcus Institute to help children suffering from brain-related illnesses. Marcus also donated nearly $4 million to the Centers for Disease Control to create an emergency anthrax response center.
And, finally, as a thank you to Georgians for their long support of Home Depot, Marcus helped create the Georgia Aquarium, which first opened its doors on November 23, 2005, Today in Georgia History.
The Georgia Aquariums operational systems include more than 61 miles of pipe -- enough to encircle Atlanta!