Freestyle Friday: An Atlanta Spring Break

Leah and the kids outside the aquarium.
Leah and the kids outside the aquarium.

I’ll admit, when Leah suggested Atlanta as our Spring Break destination, I thought it was an “odd” place to visit. I’d been to Atlanta, usually on the the way to someplace else, and at a non-rush hour time of day. It wasn’t a city to “visit”.

I was wrong. It was a great trip! There are a lot of great things to do in Atlanta. Today I’ll recap a few of the things that we enjoyed.

We arrived Sunday afternoon and headed straight to Farm Burger. Burgers made from 100% grassed beef and topped with various items grown on local farms. I’m not an organic foodie, I’m mainly concerned about taste. The burgers here were very good! Include a side of hand cut fries and it was the perfect way to start the trip. End the meal with a milkshake – or be like Layne and just let the milkshake be the meal – and it’s an incredible way to start a trip that included a lot of walking. I got the banana pudding milkshake, Layne had the vanilla.

Burgers, shmurgers. Layne just wanted the milkshake.
Burgers, shmurgers. Layne just wanted the milkshake.

Next stop was LEGOLAND! The first room that you visit at LEGOLAND is a LEGO factory. It walks kids, and adults, through the LEGO making process in a very simplified manner. At the end, all the kids got a LEGO block. Then it’s off to a world of creation and LEGO themed rides – one was a shooting game similar to the Toy Story ride at Disney, the other a spinning ride that raises and lowers you in the air. Four different movies were showing in the 3D movie theater, and there were building stations throughout for kids to exercise their imaginations. We even ran in to friends of our’s from Birmingham who had just driven over for the day.

After an afternoon at LEGOLAND, we headed to our home away from home, Omni Hotel. The hotel was right next to Centennial Olympic Park, and walking distance to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, and SkyView Atlanta. It’s also adjacent to the CNN Center and Philips Arena. I wouldn’t want to live there, but for a two night trip, it was great place to stay. This is kind of off topic, but if you don’t have a AAA card, you should get one. Not only does it provide some peace of mind when traveling, but the triple-A hotel discounts are tremendous.

Day two was a trip to the Georgia Aquarium – once the largest indoor aquarium in the world. Now the one in Singapore is the largest. Notwithstanding, the tank at the Georgia Aquarium is substantial, large enough to hold Whale Sharks and four Manta Rays along with numerous smaller species of rays and fish. If you go, make sure you get your tickets to the dolphin show. Kids and adults were equally impressed with the dolphin act.

The Centennial Olympic Park is really a great afternoon place.
The Centennial Olympic Park is really a great afternoon place.

After the aquarium, we spent an hour playing at Centennial Olympic Park. The park was the hub of activity during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Concerts, food vendors, people from all over the world, just a great place to be if you didn’t have a ticket to an actual event, which I did not.

Day three started with a trip to The Varsity. If I’m being honest, which I am, the food at The Varsity is just okay with me. I thought that Farm Burger was a much better burger. Jack, on the other hand, put The Varsity cheeseburger at #3 on his list of most favorite burgers, behind Seagrove Village MarketCafe and Whataburger (?).

Windy day at the Fernbank Museum, but well worth the effort!
Windy day at the Fernbank Museum, but well worth the effort!

After eating, we headed to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The absolute hidden jewel of our trip (if you like nature and science museums). We’re huge fans of the McWane Science Center, and our membership at the McWane got us in to the Fernbank for free – but it’s well worth the price of admission. While Jack and Leah went to the IMAX movie (Jerusalem), Layne and I headed to the Nature Quest room.  For over an hour, Layne climbed trees, scampered across suspended bridges, looked at little animals and eggs in hollowed tree trunks and, generally, played like a little kid. It was tremendous. The science room allowed kids (and maybe adults) the opportunity to stand in front of a green screen and give  a weather forecast like James Spann. Tornados, light illusions, sound dynamics, even bubbles, it was a tremendous afternoon and, to me, possibly the highlight of the trip.

I’ve heard people in Birmingham say that, had city leaders sixty years ago made a stronger push to be Delta’s main southeastern hub, Birmingham could have all of the things that Atlanta has today. I don’t know if that’s entirely accurate, or that people in Birmingham necessarily want all the things that Atlanta has – specifically the traffic. I was a bit surprised at how “southern” Atlanta remains. It wasn’t displayed in their driving, but people in restaurants, elevators, and in passing were polite and spoke to one another and laughed together. The lady working the exit of the Georgia Aquarium even gave me a believable laugh when I asked, “where were all the fish” as I left. (I know, I know.) It was corny, but she still made me feel like it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. That’s a southern thing.

I still wouldn’t want to live there, but Atlanta is a nice place to visit.

Y’all have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by.

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3 thoughts on “Freestyle Friday: An Atlanta Spring Break”

    1. I’m about three weeks late responding, which is awful but I feel like I should acknowledge that, but thank you Lisa. I checked out your blog the day you wrote that F is for Flood. Nice writing. Sorry about the subject, though. I hope you’re doing well.

      1. No worries. I’m going to start blogging again. I love it. I have kid stuff every night during the week until school is out. It’s good “seeing” you!

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