Things to Do
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. - Proverbs 3:5,6
As one of Atlanta’s newest attractions, the Georgia Aquarium has a simple claim to fame: It is the largest aquarium in the world. More than 60 exhibits showcase an immense variety of marine life, including playful belugas, massive whale sharks, frolicking otters, and ethereal jellyfish. A signature tunnel in the Ocean Voyager exhibit lets visitors go underwater to experience a view usually reserved for divers.
World of Coca-Cola
Few could have dreamed that Dr. John S. Pemberton’s “headache remedy” of the late 1800s would become the world’s most recognized beverage. At the World of Coca-Cola, visitors revel in that creation’s history, with galleries devoted to advertising campaigns, the bottling process, and Coke in pop culture. To top it all off, the Taste It! gallery offers free sampling of the 63 beverages marketed by Coca-Cola in nations around the world.
Inside CNN Studio Tour
CNN Center, world headquarters of the international news channel, offers an inside look at news production. The studio tour includes listening in on the station’s control room – complete with real-time direction – an explanation of technology used (including “blue screen”) and watching a newscast as it occurs. An added bonus: a ride on the world’s longest freestanding escalator, which starts the tour.
High Museum of Art
Dramatic architecture by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano might stop you in wonder outside, but a wealth of treasure awaits inside. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection – including those by Auguste Rodin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein – the High Museum of Art is particularly strong in 19th and 20th century American art and even has a curatorial department devoted to folk art.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Surrounded by a 65-acre (26.3 hectares) forest, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers an observatory, a planetarium, an IMAX movie theater, and oodles of fascinating exhibits. Sensing Nature’s hand-on activities help visitors become aware of how their senses interpret the world around them, while NatureQuest lets kids explore the nooks and crannies of a multi-level clubhouse, walk through a virtual waterfall, and shimmy up spiraling netting to discover the insides of a mighty red oak tree.
Occupying nearly 40 acres (16 hectares) in Grant Park, Zoo Atlanta’s lush natural habitats showcase more than 1,000 animals representing some 200 species from around the world. The zoo is best known for its gorillas – more reside here than anywhere else in the United States – and for being one of four U.S. zoos that house giant pandas. If you have kids, visiting Zoo Atlanta is one of the best family things to do in Atlanta.
Atlanta History Center
Travel back in time at the Atlanta History Center. In this 30,000-square-foot (2,787 square meters) museum, visitors can revisit the Civil War (and see the world’s most comprehensive collection of Civil War artifacts), review the city’s history, and reflect on folk art unique to the South. The grounds also include The Swan House, a 1928 mansion built in the classical style, and the Tullie Smith Farm, a restored 1860 farmhouse.
Centennial Olympic Park
Created to be a gathering place for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Centennial Olympic Park is a verdant oasis that serves both locals and tourists. With a children’s playground, eateries on-site and short steps away, and its prime downtown Atlanta location, the park can be either destination or way station. Be sure to time your visit with one of the pop-up water fountains’ “performances.”
Martin Luther King Jr. National History Site
Visitors can pay tribute and learn about Martin Luther King Jr. at this National Historic Site, which includes his crypt, with eternal flame; his childhood home; Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served as pastor; and a visitor center that showcases his important civil rights work. Recordings of his sermons and speeches play inside the church, bringing his message – in his own voice – to new generations of listeners.
Since 1904, Piedmont Park has encouraged visitors to engage with nature. Sports fields, skating and biking paths – separate from well-marked jogging and walking paths – and a dog park where four-legged friends romp leash-free invite both casual and organized play. Children of all ages will be enchanted by the Noguchi Playscape, an intersection of shape, color and texture designed for active and enthusiastic interaction.