The Big Peach. Hot ‘Lanta. Dogwood City. ATL. The city of Atlanta has dozens of nicknames and for many good reasons: there’s so much to do! It’s home to the world’s busiest airport (thanks Delta) and hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. Beyond that, it’s practically a treasure trove for young explorers and a mecca for film and television production (they shot The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on a farm just south of the city).
Here’s the short list of some awesome things Atlanta has to offer:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World of Coca-Cola (free if you have a military ID)
- Margaret Mitchell House and Museum (if you’re a fan of Gone with the Wind)
- Atlanta Botanical Garden (home to the Kendeda Canopy Walk)
- Zoo Atlanta
- SweetWater Brewing Company Tour
- Centennial Olympic Park (home to the 1996 Olympic Rings)
- Piedmont Park
- High Museum of Art
- A myriad of festivals including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and Music Midtown Festival
- A boatload of sports teams including the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and the Falcons (no hockey though – so sad)
This past weekend Max and I decided to venture up to ATL, catch a ballgame, explore downtown, and go to the aquarium. It’s the world’s largest indoor aquarium, in case you didn’t know.
Purchase your tickets ahead of time. You won’t be able to get the $5 military discount, but it’ll get you through the line faster. We didn’t anticipate such a huge line, so we purchased tickets on our iPhones the day of. It would have worked like a charm too if the aquarium hadn’t already been at capacity. We ended up needing to burn an extra hour before we could get in.
Luckily, the aquarium is located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. There were a ton of great restaurants and bars to pass the time quickly. We ended up at Der Biergarten. Max and I both have German blood in us, so we figured, why not? (Ten points if you can translate the saying on the wall behind me! Leave your guesses in the comments section!)
The food and beverages were amazingly authentic. They even had Radler, a refreshing beer-lemonade mixture. We played foosball and table shuffleboard while a German band played in the background. Not a bad start to our Atlanta adventure. Before we knew it, it was time for the aquarium.
I’m already a pretty big fan of zoos and aquariums because I love animals (penguins are my Achilles tendon), but let me say this: I was blown away by the experience. There are so many phenomenal exhibits. I even got to pet a baby mantra ray! I tried to pet the baby sharks too, but the wily lil suckers were always just beyond my grasp.
The moving sidewalk was probably my favorite part. It takes you through an underwater tube and moves slower than molasses, allowing visitors to snap pictures and gawk at the whale sharks and fish as they swim overhead. At the end of the sidewalk, you get to see the entire tank in one panoramic viewing room.
Makes you feel small and inconsequential, huh? Yeah…
Here are some facts about this tank in particular. It’s composed of 6 humongous plexiglass panels, which are apparently stronger than glass panels, and holds back approximately 6.3 million gallons of water. Yikes.
It took us about an hour and a half to explore the entire aquarium (minus Dolphin Tales). That left us just enough time to get down to Turner Field for the Braves vs Marlins game. We purchased our tickets through StubHub.com. If you’ve never used it, it’s this awesome site where you can buy (and sell) tickets to any event – sports, concert, Broadway – in any city across the US. You name it, they’ve got it.
We rounded out the night with some hot dogs, ice cream and roasted peanuts. A true baseball classic. The Braves lost the game, but it wasn’t for lack of us cheering. I’d say our jaunt up to the Big Peach was a wild success. We had a top-notch time discovering all that Atlanta had to offer.