Atlanta, GA Part 1

November 25-27 2019

On November 23, 2019, on the brink of Thanksgiving break, my parents had the idea to go to Georgia and explore it. I was waiting for 25th, so I could go to Atlanta, Georgia. So when that day finally came, we packed our bags and hit the road. We had decided to start our drive in the evening. Our plan was to explore the the World of Coca Cola museum, explore some street views, go to The Atlanta Botanical Garden, then the Georgia Aquarium, The Centennial Olympic Park, and The Atlanta Zoo. So when the night awakened, we ‘stopped’ at a rest ‘stop’ to eat our dinner. We had prepared some rice before so we did not have to make some in the middle of the night or go to a restaurant to eat. The rest stop was all empty and I heard the wind laughing and making the breathing noises of a creature. To make it even more creepy, there was only one light in one table and we heard wolf noises. We did not hear anything else other than these sounds. When I was done eating I saw a scorpion walking on the floor. My dad threw it away but I had trouble sleeping after that night. In the morning i woke up in another rest stop but the only difference was that this one was in Mississippi. In the night we crossed Louisiana!! It turns out that the rest stop had excellent fall colors.

My sister and me posing in front of a red colored tree in the rest stop
Trees that lost their color

We ate our breakfast (the usual bread and jam), and started to explore the forest part of the place. It had rained overnight so most places were wet and muddy. Thankfully we did not step in any mud. But the only problem that happened when we explored was that my shoelaces kept on untying so most of the time I was tying up my shoelaces.

After the crazy shoe tying morning, we resumed our journey. Minutes turned into hours and we finally reached Alabama. But as soon as we crossed the border we were hungry. The next thirty minutes my parents spent away trying to find a good restaurant so we could eat. So by the time my mom found a restaurant I was really hungry. Then we had go through a maze like path of twist and turns to reach it. Then there we had to wait for food to come after we got into the restaurant. Fortunately, there was no other customers in the restaurant so we did not have to wait long.

After lunch, we headed straight to Atlanta, and did not stop anywhere. But there was heavy traffic in the highway because of either a car accident or a some road work, we were not sure. Because of the traffic my parents decided to ask google the safest and fastest route to Atlanta to avoid the traffic block. Google suggested a route through country road, so we could avoid the traffic block and hit the highway again.

When we reached there, it was already almost evening so we checked into the hotel we were staying in and headed out to visit my dad’s college friend. To reach the house of my dad’s friend, we had to drive approximately thirty minutes. But the minutes added and reached forty-five because of the traffic. My parents knew traffic much worse than this because we came from India 🇮🇳 and my dad has experience driving in Mumbai, one of the busiest cities in India. When we reached the apartment, my dad’s friend came out to welcome us, as they were seeing each other after so many years. We got 2 friends there and we made paper planes together and played some lego. Aunty had prepared biryani and chicken curry and we enjoyed it. After the dinner we spent some more time there and decided to head back to hotel, so we can plan the next day.

In the morning we decided to go to the Coca Cola Factory/Museum, and then explore the city a little. After we ate breakfast, we went straight to the Coca Cola Museum. There, we saw big ornaments littered on the ground like a 60 foot tall gaint tried to put the ornaments but failed. Another detail i noticed is that the ornaments were 1/12 underground.

My sister and I posing in front of the giant ornaments.

We had to get tickets and since we had booked it online, and because there was not a large of a crowd there, we got in fairly quickly.

As we entered, they gave us a choice of five Coca Cola drinks and we could choose to drink one of them. As we went further in, they gave us a quick video in the screens on the top.

The screen room

Then the doors opened up and let us out inside another screen except it was huge! they gave us another video and then the doors opened up to a big room the size of the main front room of a castle, or in other words easily the size of an opera house. The room had a big stairway on the middle like the one on Titanic, except that it was longer and that the stairs only went to one direction.

The door of the Vault of Secrets

The first attraction was The Vault of the Secret Formula followed by The Milestones of Refreshments then, The Bottle Works and The Coca Cola Polar Bear all four on the bottom floor. We decided to go to The Vault of Secret the Formula first. The Vault of he Secret Formula does not show Coca Cola’s Formula as we hoped but it showed the history of the company maker and its stunning Formula along with how other people tried to impersonate them with crazy names. There are also interactive screens that show you in a bubbly appearance, and a Soda Maker that compares itself with the real Coke (I tried my skills against the machine, but I lost magnificently). After that we went to a big circular room that showed us some info about Coca Cola and that was it for The Vault of The Secret Formula.

Next up, was the Milestones of Refreshments and they featured ten galleries which showed the history of the company, from Day 1 to the present.

Me taking soda from a brass soda server guy

I found out that the first Coke was served at a soda fountain and it was invented by a pharmacist by the name of John S. Pemberton in 1886. The Pharmacist then sold the formula and brand to Asa Griggs Candler for $2,300 (about $68,000). That was probably one of the dumbest decision of John’s life because Asa made more money than the $2,300 that he paid for it. As we progressed we saw a Yellow 1939 Chevrolet delivery truck. A fun fact about the gallery is that it hold 1000 original objects related to Coke’s History. I also learned about how the famous Coke bottle was created. After that, we were of to The Bottle work which showed us the Coca-Cola Bottling process with an impressive amount of steel machinery that moved like a big iron organism. 5th Grade science was still a thought at that time. We did not go to the Coca Cola mascot and take photos though because he/she was a bit creepy.

On the top floor were ornament trees

On the top floor was a huge tasting place with tons of sodas that The Coca Cola company owns. I tasted every single one of them, by running around like a madman (Hey, what can I say, its in the name). Next on the top floor was a Pop Culture gallery that showed art to form Coke merchandise or toys and objects like that. All that was left to explore was the 3D theater that presented the movie called “In Search of the Secret Formula” where a scientist tries to figures out “what makes a coke a coke”. I won’t tell all the details, as I don’t want to spoil the movie, but it was fun watching it.

We went back to the hotel to relax and eat lunch. It was almost dusk by the time we embarked on the journey again. Thats when we decided to see the Cityscape. My dad picked a specific spot named Jackson Street Bridge because it was famous for Cityscape.

Me at the Cityscape
The Cityscape

When it got closer to night, a man with a drone and a camera came to take Cityscape shots too. He talked to us about the controls and flew the drone. But it almost got lost in the wind! Luckily, he got it down in time. It was time to go to the next place.

This time, it was to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I wasn’t exited to see the garden because it was a cold night and I didn’t think a garden is that interesting. But as I entered, I saw thousands of lights like tiny, colorful, fireflies covering almost everything in the garden. As we trekked deeper into the park, I saw a sculpture of a Wooly Mammoth engulfed in light from nearby spotlight. After closer inspection, I found out the sculpture was made with plants. I took some photos:

“Look, It’s Manny From Ice Age!”

Next I went to see the Earth Goddess sculpture, one of the most famous things we heard about the garden. On the way, we had to pass through a tunnel which was surrounded with lights that blinked and changed colors.

The Light Tunnel

We finally reached the goddess. The sculpture was about 25 feet high, made with more than a thousand flowers or plants. There was a fountain beside it and a trickle of water falling off the hand of the goddess. So basically the Earth Goddess looks exactly the same as Te Fiti from Moana.

“Te Fiti herself, Hopefully she does not turn into Te Kā.”

Then we went through a huge walkway with trees on both sides. that alone would have been impressive because of the size of the trees. But that was not it. strings of colorful light hung on the branches of the trees while Christmas music started blasting through hidden speakers around the walkway. The lights reacted to the music so the walkway was dark when the music stopped playing and light filed the air when the music played. It was definitely awesome!

The String of light hanging from the trees.

With that, we went to the Rose Garden section where a tiny train was moving around a tiny town while the outskirts of the garden were filed with Rose bushes. The village had tiny elves that danced around on the middle part and had eyes like creepy dolls. We did not take any photos of it unfortunately (And fortunately). In the garden, the smell of s’mores wafted in, more powerful than the smell of rose bushes. It mesmerized me and my sister though my parents weren’t fazed. I begged for some and my family and I bought them and ate the s’mores. We walked around and reached a place called the Great Lawn.

The Great Lawn.

On either side of the sidewalk were statues like the Wooly Mammoth and The Earth Goddess except this time it was Dragons, Camels, and an orange flower garden. The Dragon stuck to my memory the most because I can tell you the colors clearly even though it was nighttime: It had a green body with purple-outlined scales and a red mouth. Also it had orange wings. It was about 16-20 ft tall. It was impressive; I guess that’s why I remember it the most. We could not take any photos of it though, as it was not well lit.

Up ahead was a greenhouse with all kinds of plants. I stayed inside a bit longer because of the warmth. I felt like a cold-blooded animal bathing in sunlight. Yup, 5th grade science again. Once we exited the building, there is a fountain/pond that had a rabbit sitting on an umbrella.

The Rabbit in the Umbrella.

As you may have guessed by now, it was made with flowers. By then, we had finished our Trip Part 1. We heard there was some hot cocoa on the Japanese Garden section and we bought Hot Cocoa for the long trip back to the hotel.

A Pegasus statue on the Japanese Garden.
We stopped at the Big Dog to drink the rest of the Hot Cocoa.

We had to get to the car first, and because of the traffic, we had parked it 2 blocks away from the garden entrance. We reached the Hotel and did our usual way of ending a day on a trip. I had great, adventurous, dreams that night; like a mammoth was chasing me with candy cane horns. To be continued………. in Part 2………….

One thought on “Atlanta, GA Part 1

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