Stepping Back in Time at the Atlanta History Center
A re-created farm (with original buildings from the 1840s) shows how rural southern folks really lived before the Civil War. The beautifully restored 1928 Swan House, an estate on the property, gives a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle enjoyed by upper-crust Atlantans in the early 20th century. Kids will love the hands-on discovery areas at the history museum. Explore the walking trails after you take in the exhibits. It all adds up to a great look at the rich tapestry of Atlanta's past and present.
Frolicking in the Fountain
The biggest attraction at Centennial Olympic Park is the Fountain of Rings, where young and old can get delightfully soaked on warm days. The fountain is a simple but ingenious design on the plaza floor, consisting of 251 water jets in the shape of the five Olympic rings. Take a deep breath and zip in and around the 12-foot water bursts, or just sit and watch the timed light-and-sound-effects show, when the water bursts 35 feet into the air.
Touring the CNN Studios
The network that started round-the-clock television news lets you take a peek behind the scenes to see how it's all done. You can even have a videotape made of yourself reading the day's top stories from behind a CNN anchor desk.
Time-Traveling at Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Check out the 45-foot-long model of a Giganotosaurus, then travel back 15 billion years and experience the Big Bang that jump-started the formation of the universe. The museum's stunning architecture is notable. IMAX films are shown here, too.
Discovering the Fox Theatre
This Moorish-Egyptian palace exemplifies the glamorous movie-theater architecture of the 1920s, complete with onion domes, minarets, and a twinkling starlit sky over the auditorium.
Marveling at the Creatures in the Georgia Aquarium
Even if you have only a day or two to spend in the city, this is a must-see. The Georgia Aquarium, the largest in the world, continues to draw mind-boggling numbers of visitors every day. The highlights include giant whale sharks and unforgettable exhibits in five major categories, from river life to sea life in foreign waters around the planet. A 4-D movie, numerous opportunities for dining and shopping, and amazing play spaces for the little ones provide a full day of fun. Plan to order advance tickets online, as huge crowds usually converge on this attraction.
Exploring the King Center
It's an inspiring experience to visit this living memorial to a true American hero. You'll see lots of memorabilia for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a film on his life and works. Especially moving is Freedom Plaza, where he's buried. The tomb is inscribed with his words: "Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free at Last."
Strolling Around Oakland Cemetery
This 88-acre cemetery is a peaceful place, and its Victorian graves are of aesthetic, historic, and symbolic interest. The guided tour is recommended. Bring a picnic lunch; even your dog is welcome to hang out here (on a leash).
Relaxing in Stone Mountain Park
Hike to the top of the big granite rock or spend a leisurely day taking in the diverse attractions, from a paddlewheel cruise to a living museum of southern history. You can also choose from an array of activities -- golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, boating, and more.
Touring the World of Coca-Cola
Atlanta is Coke's hometown, so it's only fitting that there's a museum dedicated to the world's most renowned beverage. Come see the gigantic collection of memorabilia, explore the interactive exhibits, and sample Coke products from around the world.
Hanging Out at the Zoo
Ever since the giant pandas Yang Yang and Lun Lun arrived at Zoo Atlanta and welcomed baby pandas -- Mei Lan in 2006 and Xi Lan in 2008 -- this has been one of the hottest tickets in town. It's been even more popular since the arrival of the zoo's first baby giraffe, Zuri, last summer. You don't have to be a kid to be fascinated by these adorable creatures.
Getting a Breath of Fresh Air in Piedmont Park
Atlanta's favorite public park is fun, funky, and a terrific place to watch the world go by. Take your in-line skates, or pack a lunch and find a shady spot for a picnic.
Spending a Day at the Ballpark
Pack up the kids and take them out to the old ballgame. Even if there isn't an Atlanta Braves game scheduled, you can take a tour of Turner Field, play in Tooner Field playground, and visit the museum. The ballpark served as the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Trekking Through Virginia-Highland
Atlanta's version of New York's Greenwich Village or London's Soho, this trendy neighborhood is full of coffee bars, galleries, cafes, and funky little boutiques. It all makes for a pleasant stroll on a sunny afternoon.
Shopping at Lenox Square
One of the most popular malls in the Southeast, Lenox Square is a mecca for affluent shoppers. It's hard to visit every store, even if you spend the whole day, but many visitors think it's a worthy goal. You'll enjoy good restaurants and great people-watching, too.
Spending the Morning at the Market
Atlanta is home to two gigantic indoor farmers' markets, both jammed with locals who are shopping in earnest and visitors who have a hard time keeping their eyes from bugging out. Choose from the DeKalb Farmers' Market, which has an international flavor, and Harry's, which is a little more upscale. Each has loads of gourmet goodies you can take home or consume on the spot.
Taking in a Chastain Park Amphitheatre Concert
Big-name entertainers perform under the stars, and everyone brings elaborate picnic fare (some people even bring tablecloths and candelabra for the picnic table). Even the entertainers seem dazzled by the setting.
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