When planning a trip to the South, you should always make a pitstop in Atlanta. As Georgia’s largest city and state capital, Atlanta offers an eclectic mix of residents for a city with such distinct southern roots. In its most recent years, Atlanta has evolved into a major economic and cultural center, making it an ideal destination for family vacations and solo traveling. If you’re thinking about hopping on a flight to ATL, it’s important to make a list of the places and monuments you wish to visit. Let’s take a look at some of the top destinations to visit during your stay in Atlanta.
If you’re traveling with children, you will absolutely want to make a day trip out of the Georgia Aquarium. As the world’s largest aquarium, this space is home to more than 100,000 aquatic creatures. If you’ve always wanted to see a whale shark, this is the place to go! The aquarium offers an array of ticketing options, so it’s always wise to do your research ahead of time in order to know what zoo exhibits to visit during your stay. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular attractions at the Georgia Aquarium below.
Sign up for the Dolphin Encounter to get an up-close and personal look at one of the ocean’s smartest mammals: the dolphin. During this exhilarating poolside animal interaction, you’ll have the opportunity to go backstage to the aquarium’s dolphin theater to meet, touch, and feed one of the zoo’s dolphins. You’ll also get to see how the dolphin trainers care for and train the dolphins during this hands-on experience.
Beluga Interaction Program
Have you always wanted to swim with beluga whales? We’re happy to say this dream can be a reality at the Georgia Aquarium. When you sign up for the Beluga Interaction Program, you’ll come face to face with these arctic mammals (all under the guidance of a professional animal trainer, of course). You’ll get to stand waist-deep in the aquarium’s beluga habitat right next to the trainers for an interactive and intimate session. A few things to keep in mind about this program are:
- All participants must be at least 60 inches tall and weigh less than or equal to 300 pounds
- All guests ages 15 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult
- Teens ages 17 and under must have a program liability waiver signed by a parent or court appointed legal guardian if they want to partake in this program
Swim With The Whale Sharks
The Georgia Aquarium offers guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go swimming with whale sharks. This means that you can snorkel with the largest fish in the world! Enjoy swimming in a 6.3 million gallon exhibit that not only houses whale sharks, but is also home to thousands of fish.
According to its website, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s mission is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation, and enjoyment. This 30-acre garden is adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown and opened more than 35 years ago. Since its grand opening, there have been more than 50 updates including new exhibits and upgrades to the facility, making this a must-see destination for you during your trip to the South.
Visit The Edible Garden
As you make your way into the botanical garden, be sure to stop by the Edible Garden. While the staff kindly asks that you don’t eat anything while you meander around, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of seasonal fruits and vegetables on display. When you reach the outdoor kitchen, you may stumble upon a chef giving a cooking demo with fresh produce.
If you love orchids, you’ll be happy to know that the Atlanta Botanical Garden has a permanent collection of more than 2,000 species of orchids from all around the globe. The garden also houses 60 native orchid species from the state of Georgia.
Lou Glenn Children’s Garden
Traveling with little kids? Make a stop at Lou Glenn Children’s Garden. Named after the longtime garden supporter Lou Glenn, this children’s garden is the perfect place for kids to play, jump, and explore outside. Your little one can run around the new and improved tree-house area that is equipped with nets, bridges, and a slide. Your son or daughter can also get their craft on at the water “painting” wall or toot their own horn with the array of outdoor instruments available.
If you’re like most people, you like to treat yourself to a nice Coca-Cola beverage from time to time. During your trip to Atlanta, you can spend an afternoon learning about the history of this iconic drink by taking a peek inside the VIP grounds of Coca Cola World. You’ll even get to give your taste buds a try as you taste all of the different coke flavors from around the world. The sampling bar offers brand new seasonal flavors as well, so you’re almost guaranteed to try something new.
- Each tour is led by a dedicated guide with extensive knowledge on Coca-Cola’s history and legacy.
- No need to wait in line. Simply walk up to the ticket window near the main entrance at your designated tour time.
- It’s a personalized tour that is educational and fun for the entire family.
Did you know that the Cable News Network (CNN) is based right in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia? You can take a behind-the-scenes walking tour that will give you an inside look at the station’s newsroom, control room, and beyond. This 50-minute guided tour starts with a ride on the world’s largest freestanding escalator. You’ll get to see how teleprompters work, how the weather map works, and you’ll gain a better understanding on how the world’s largest news organization operates day in and day out.
- Reservations are highly recommended for this tour, as it can fill up fast
- Walk-up tickets are available at the box office and are sold on a first come, first serve basis
- Group discounts are available
- The tour runs every 20 minutes, Monday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 1951 by the National Football Association. While more than 5.1 million people have coached or played this historical game, less than 1,300 have been inducted into the original Hall of Fame, making the College Hall of Fame even more difficult to achieve.The College Football Hall of Fame made its first home in Kings Mill, Ohio, in 1978 before it relocated to South Bend Indiana from 1995 to 2012. It wasn’t until 2014 that the College Football Hall of Fame opened in Atlanta in a 95,000 square-foot facility. It currently pays tribute to 977 football players, 211 coaches, and countless fans.
- This football-lovers establishment has three floors and five main galleries
- There are over 50 interactive exhibits including a 47-yard football field
The Fox Theater is one of Atlanta’s top venues for live entertainment that sits on the city’s famed Peachtree Street. Whether you’re interested in seeing a rock show, stand up comedy, a classical concert, or a broadway musical, there’s no shortage of talent at this beautiful venue. Today, the concert venue welcomes 750,000 visitors a year to more than 300 unique performances and events.
The Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926 and is located in a neighborhood known as Buckhead. Throughout the 33-acres of this historical center you’ll find award-winning exhibitions, interactive activities, historic houses, and beautiful gardens. Some current exhibitions to explore are listed below.
- Barbecue Nation – If you’ve ever wanted to learn about barbecue, this is the exhibit for you. The Barbecue Nation exhibit will tell you everything you need to know about the history of this delicious, finger-licking food. You’ll get to witness a collection of artifacts, images, and more as you learn how barbecue has come to claim a place at the American table.
- Fair Play: The Bobby Jones Story – The Bobby Jones exhibit will give you an inside look on Bobby Jones,the man who transcended sports during the Great Depression. While his golf career took off six decades before Tiger Woods, Jones is given credit for popularizing the sport on an international stage.
Traveling to Atlanta From Denver? Park Your Vehicle With ParkDIA
If you’re planning a trip to Atlanta and know you’ll be flying out of the Denver International Airport (DIA), make sure you park your vehicle with ParkDIA. We offer the closest, fastest, least expensive airport parking near DIA and with 7,500 spaces available, there’s always one waiting for you when you need it. If you need to reserve your parking space on-the-go, be sure to download the ParkDIA parking app. With our app, busy travelers can book their parking space ahead of time, text shuttles for pick-up, and locate shuttles to optimize your trip.