What to do in Atlanta When You Only Have a Weekend

With Super Bowl weekend fast approaching and the Falcons taking on (my own favorite) New England Patriots, one place to check out is the city of Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta bills itself as the world’s biggest aquarium, and since I’m an aquarium nut I decided not long ago it was a good time to check out that boast. Here are three things to do in Atlanta on a short visit.

1) Georgia Aquarium: As promised, the aquarium is huge, with one of the biggest single viewing window I’ve ever seen. It was, in fact, the biggest aquarium in the world from its opening in 2005, though was beaten out in 2012 by Marine Life Park in Singapore. The big tank (over 6 million gallons) goes beyond the usual sharks, rays, and groupers to support four whale sharks, the only aquarium outside of Asia to have them. Even the ubiquitous dolphin show is unique, built around a Broadway-esque singer and storyline.

2) World of Coca-Cola: A few steps across a delightful little park is The World of Coca-Cola, home of the soft drink conglomerate. If you’re into sweet carbonated beverages you can taste test over 100 varieties. You can take a guided tour, check out their “secret formula” vault, and take a selfie with the famous corporate polar bear.

World of Coca-Cola

3) Centennial Olympic Park: A discus throw from the aquarium and Coke is the venue of the 1996 Olympics, now repurposed into a wonderful public space in the heart of the city. The Olympic torch still stands (though unlit), as does a children’s play fountain arising from the Olympic rings. A visitor center will help you find your way around, as well as help you find your name on the Olympic bricks if you donated.

Centennial Olympic Park

There is more to see in Atlanta but you might need a longer visit. Near the above three venues is the headquarters of CNN, where you can get tours and watch them do the news live. Take in a pro or college football game at the Georgia Dome, or a basketball game at Philips Arena, or for the more intellectually inclined, the High Museum of Art or Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

Enjoy your visit to Atlanta (though I’m still routing for New England).

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is scheduled for release in summer 2017.

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