Considered by many to be the capital of America’s south, Atlanta, GA, is definitely a city worth visiting. Home to plenty of opportunities for adventure, entertainment, educational experiences, and fun, visitors are never at a loss for things to do.
Whether you are interested in exploring history, visiting aquariums, zoos, and gardens, or simply want to have a fabulously tasty (yet often incredibly unhealthy) meal, Atlanta is the place for you.
Let’s look at 10 places you must visit while in Atlanta, in no particular order.
10 Zoo Atlanta
Currently Zoo Atlanta is home to over 1,500 animals and 220 different species.
Included in those 1,500 are a set of adorable twin girl pandas, Mei Lun and Mei Huan. They are the first ever twin pandas to survive in the United States.
You can easily spend hours wandering through the Reptile House or watching the many gorillas, meerkats, and monkeys on show.
Other highlights include the flamingos, giraffes, elephants, birds, lions, and tigers. There is also a petting zoo and playground for children.
The zoo is well laid-out and is kept very clean. It’s definitely worth a stop when traveling through Atlanta.
9 Georgia Aquarium
Covering 13 acres, the GA Aquarium is currently the largest aquarium in the world. There are over 10 million gallons of salt and fresh water and 60 different habitats to explore.
Between the whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, beluga whales, sea turtles, and more, you never run out of amazing things to look at. There are plenty of extras, including Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow, the 4D Theater, and the Journey with Gentle Giants Immersion Program.
Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies is one of the newest exhibits and gives you a look inside and outside one of the sea’s most elusive creatures.
8 World of Coca-Cola
This interactive museum gives you an inside look into the world of Coke. You can view over 1,200 artifacts, taste 100 different flavors of Coke from all over the world, look inside the bottling process, and watch a 4D movie called “World of Happiness”, that gives you a look at families from all over the world.
The World of Coke sits right next to Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park, giving you the opportunity to see two major attractions in one day.
In addition, the new Sky View Ferris Wheel and Children’s Discovery Museum are close by giving you plenty of options for a full day of fun.
7 Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
This powerful site begins with the visitor center where you watch a video about MLK’s life. You can also visit the home where he was born and raised, the church where he preached, and the site where he is buried.
While in the church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, you will have the opportunity to listen to the last sermon he ever gave. The educational site is full of interesting information.
Best of all, there is no charge to visit. Feel free to leave a donation to help with the cost of upkeep.
6 Six Flags Over Georgia
Not every attraction is meant to be educational. Sometimes you just need to have fun.
Six Flags is located across 290 acres and has something for everyone, including roller coasters that race at 70 mph as they twist, turn, and drop, as well as family rides and kids’ rides.
In addition, there are plenty of entertainment options, including a comedy show set in the Wild West and much more.
In May 2014, Hurricane Harbor will be opening. This area is home to an 800,000 gallon wave pool, water slides, and an interactive water play area for kids.
And be sure to visit Hurricane Bay, a state-of-the-art pool that simulates the ocean and produces 4ft waves.
5 Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Spread across this 30-acre site are 15 acres of outdoor gardens, as well as the Fuqua Conservatory that houses endangered and rare desert and tropical plants.
The gardens include an Edible Garden that is full of fruits and vegetables (depending on the weather), the Hydrangea Collection that includes more than 160 types of flowers, the Rose Garden, a Dwarf and Rare Conifer Garden, a Japanese Garden that includes a pond and waterfall, and a Desert House that is home to plants native to Southern Africa and Madagascar.
In addition, the conservatory is home to several animals, including geckos, tortoises, and dart frogs.
4 The Varsity
Considered the world’s largest drive-in, the Varsity has been a fixture in Atlanta since 1928. You cannot come to Atlanta without stopping by for a chilli dog, hamburger, onion rings, fries, a Frosted Orange, or a chocolate milkshake.
This is quite possibly the only restaurant in the world where the staff proudly yell “What’ll ya have?” when you reach the front of the line. Be aware that if you are not ready to order, there is a good chance you will be sent to the back of the line.
The food is unbelievably greasy and not in the least bit healthy, but you can’t miss it.
3 CNN Center
The CNN Center is open for behind-the-scenes tours that put visitors right in the middle of the news. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides who allow you to see firsthand how the news is broadcast.
In addition, you have the opportunity to sit behind the news desk and read from a teleprompter. If you opt for the VIP Tour, you are able to enter the area where the news anchors are filming live.
By the way, the CNN Center is home to the largest freestanding escalator in the world and going up and down it is an attraction all its own.
2 Fernbank Museum of Natural History
This interactive museum allows visitors to step back into prehistoric times, as well as explore different cultures, come face to face with life-size dinosaurs, and participate in hands-on science experiments.
Fernbank Nature Quest is a 7,000 square foot exhibit that guides children through the different ecosystems. In addition, Friday nights often include Martinis & IMAX, a place for adults to gather for dancing, music, drinks, dinner, and IMAX films.
With so many exhibits and films being shown in the IMAX theater, you can expect to spend a full day here. Even if you are not typically a “museum person”, this is definitely worth a stop.
1 Stone Mountain Park
Located in the midst of Atlanta, Stone Mountain offers something for everyone. Take a ride on the scenic railway, hike amidst the treetops at SkyHike®, visit the Great Barn® for interactive games, huge trampolines, slides, and climbing structures.
In the winter there are even more options. You can hop aboard The Polar Express 4-D Experience, go tubing down 400ft Avalanche Alley, and hang out at Snow Zone.
Make sure you stop by the Carillon for one of the daily concerts, stay for the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision®, and shop at the numerous amazing shops that sell everything from homemade candy to one-of-a-kind glass sculptures and everything in between.