Josh and I just spent the week in Atlanta for work, but we had some free time and were able to check out some of the sights.

We stayed in the La Quinta Inn Atlanta Marietta. It was clean and affordable, but the beds were hard. I was also not a fan of the window-side air conditioning.

For attractions, we checked out the New World of Coca-Cola, CNN studio tours, Stone Mountain Park, and the Georgia Aquarium.

The New World of Coca-Cola

This attraction has just been updated in the last couple of years, and I didn’t visit it previously, so I’m not sure how it compares, but it was a very enjoyable trip. If you love to see old retro advertising, or hear about how one of the biggest companies in the world got its start, you’ll enjoy this place. The attraction has a little bit for everyone in the family: history, art, and even a 4D movie that kids and adults will enjoy. Plus, at the end, taste Coca-Cola products from around the world. I must say that this company is the master at branding. Where most companies feel they need to emphasize a lot of different messages, Coca-Cola is very clear that their goal is to give their customers a drink that is fun and refreshing. Coca-Cola is a part of the fabric of American life, and if Christianity could be so unified and purposeful in their infuence, we too might have the power to reach into the lives of people in every corner store around the world.

CNN Studio Tours

Visiting the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta will give you a greater appreciation into the scope of this Turner company. The building is enormous, and there are more offices around the world. The tour was not very eye-opening for Josh and I, being already involved in television production. There were lookout rooms into the floor of the news rooms, and a tour guide who showed us what the director sees in the control room, as well as explaining things such as teleprompters and IFBs. One thing that I didn’t know: the cameras are all unmanned, and operated by remote control. That makes a lot of sense in the studio, since the talent doesn’t move around very much while they read the news. I would have liked to see a lot more, like into their control rooms, but it was more of an overview of how news gets to the people, as opposed to all the behind the scenes work that I’m more interested in.

Stone Mountain Park

What a joke. We went here on Thursday, and almost everything was closed. We talked to one of the few employees on duty, who told us it was a “low attraction” day, in which most things are closed because of the low number of people who they expect on that day. I found it amusing that they were still selling day passes to various amusements for $20. That $20 covers going into one historical building and into one film. There were also 2 shops open and one restaurant. On Friday, for $28 you would be able to take part in a large number of attractions that were not open on Thursday. We were most disappointed that the Sky Lift was closed, so that we couldn’t ride up to the top of Stone Mountain. The area itself was very beautiful, and we were planning on going hiking on some of the nature trails, but when we drove towards the start of them, we found the road barricaded and watched by police. No vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrial traffic was allowed past. The park, for us, turned out to be a total flop. It would have been nice to be informed at the gate about the lack of activities available, before paying $8 to get in.

The Georgia Aquarium

This was well worth the time and money. Apparently the largest aquarium in the world, it was definitely the most spectacular one that I have visited. They are currently constructing a new dolphin area, to be completely in 2010, and the penguins are also currently off-exibit as well, since their area is being remodeled as well. There are still plenty of fish and aqua-animals to see and touch.

My personal favorite was the extremely large tank containing the ocean fish and sharks. This tank is so large that they have viewing areas all around it in the walls, and an underwater tunnel to walk through, and finally you arrive at an enormous viewing wall, with seats, in which a large number of people can sit and watch the underwater world unfold before them. The Georgia Aquarium recently brought in a Manta Ray, which was surprisingly large, and one of the attendants informed me that it was nine feet across. It swam over my head and was amazing.

Josh’s favorite was the beluga whales. They were beautiful, and we were able to hear an informative presentation about them when we arrived at their exibit. We were able to watch the priahanas feed, as well as the whale sharks. It was a lot of fun. There were many picture opportunities, and the tank glass was kept clean by scuba-diving employees, which allowed everyone to enjoy the breathtaking views. Don’t miss out on this experience.

Places to Eat

We ate at many restaurants, but two that I’d like to highlight are Three Bears Cafe and Marietta Diner.

Three Bears Cafe is a cute little storefront restaurant in the central square of Marietta, GA. It seems to cater to the music scene in the evenings, but we visited it for breakfast and had the most delicious, healthy food. We sat outside and enjoyed the gorgeous weather, while also eating fresh, healthy food. Lots of options, but everything looked good.

Marietta Diner was also a surprise. From the outside, the building is chrome and looks like one of those ’50s style burger restaurants, but when you step inside, the interior is classy and modern. They have everything on their menu, but notibly, a lot of Greek selections. Our server was (I’m guessing) Greek as well, and everything was good. Don’t be scared off by the outside of this place, if you’re looking for Greek, Italian, or good southern favorites, stop in here.