We paid a visit to the remarkable Georgia Aquariam in Atlanta last week. Being a native Atlantan who now lives in NY, I must admit that I was really really, impressed. Located in Pemberton Place, right across the way from the World of Coca-Cola , it’s one of the world’s largest aquariums. With more than 8.5 million U.S. gallons of marine and fresh water fish, it houses more than 100,000 animals of 500 species. It’s elaborate with moving creatures every which way you look. We saw so many creatures we’ve never seen before in their five incredible galleries – sharks, whales, manta rays, sting rays and more (some of which they were allowed to touch). My kids spent hours going in and out of each gallery mesmerized.
The highlight of the trip for us was definitely a show called Dolphin Tales. It’s a Broadway-style show, complete with an ancient sailor named StarSpinner and a battle with a sea creature that can only be settled by dolphins leaping, twisting and spinning the audience out of captivity. The 25-minute show includes professional actors in elaborate costumes, colorful animation on a giant screen at the back of the performance tank and original music by composer Tim Williams. We saw dolphins leaping high in the air through showers spouting from each side of the theater, with others dancing fin-in-hand with their trainers or swimming at lightning speeds around the giant tank, stopping to pose on the edge or wave at the audience. It was extraordinary. I still can’t get over what a good voice the lead singer had, but my family was more interested in the dolphins and the stunning visual effects. Check out the video:
A visit to the Georgia Aquarium is not cheap. An adult ticket costs $29.95, children are $24.95 with children under 2 getting in free. The good news is that the Dolphin show is included, as well as the animated Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow theater. But I have to say it’s really worth it; this is an incredible aquarium, and you can easily spend a day here.
When we were done, we walked across the square to The World of Coca-Cola. Being a Georgia native, I had to show my kids the showcase of the 100-year history of coca-cola with paraphernalia, documentaries and a 4-D film. The self-guided tour starts with a mock documentary called the “Happiness Factory,” where animated creatures who live inside the Coke machine tell how they feel about Coke. We especially enjoyed the refreshment room where it’s possible to sample various coca-colas from around the world — even my son, who has never tasted a drop of coke in his life. When we left, we were each given an old-fashioned bottle of coke as a souvenir. Definitely make a trip to the World of Coca-Cola on your next visit to Atlanta. Adult tickets are $16, children are $12 and toddlers under 2 are free.
Since I just so happened to attend a conference sponsored by the team at Coca-Cola a day later, you’ll be hearing more about the company in the days to come. But what I learned was more about the company’s missions of advocacy, human rights, sustainability and health. I can’t wait to share what I learned.
Disclosure: I was allowed into each establishment on a complimentary basis, as I will be writing about each visit on other web sites. I wanted to share my experiences here, too, as it was truly a great day for all of us.