After stopping over at my parent’s for the night, Eric and I set out for Atlanta! Before the start of the Emerging Researchers National conference the next day, we set out to explore some of the attractions of the city.
Driving into Atlanta
First views from the parking deck
Although the hotel had been all set up before-hand on account of the conference, we navigated straight to the World of Coca Cola. Before going to Atlanta, I did my usual research/planning routine. The Atlanta City Pass was a pretty fantastic deal since it included the attractions we’d have ended up going to anyway - Coca-Cola Factory, Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Atlanta Zoo and the Fernbank Natural History Museum. So, yes, going straight to the World of Coca Cola was probably the most touristy thing we could have done – but can you really knock the pursuit of my bucket list? And so, set upon tasting all the 64 flavors of coke products, we joined a tour of the mini factory.
World of Coca Cola
Entrance featuring different models made from materials around the world
For most of the tour I felt reduced to the age of a five year old – the sing-a-long video introduction was definitely directed towards a younger audience – but that wasn’t really too unexpected. We found several laughs at the dressed-up characters, especially the dynamic Coca Cola polar bear that did his best to frighten the lady in front of us and, upon our turn for photos, steal me away from Eric. (I’m hesitant to post this picture because I was wearing my glasses, and look completely like the chemistry dork that I am haha. But if I don’t Eric will).
Coca Cola polar bear
The side tours/exhibits in the main area were fairly interesting. Bottles decorated by country lined the walls; my favorite was themed ‘Peru’. (Probably because I’m dying to go, and besides the bottle’s outfit reminded me strongly of the Andean indigenous clothing that Peru and Ecuador share.) The Coca Cola vault contained a dramatized security scheme, with a sealed off vault at the end, and another exhibit displayed plenty of historic memorabilia and the history behind the development of the company. While the history aspect was likely the most interesting, I was pretty impatient to get through all the flashy, touristy exhibits and reach the tasting room. I think that I would have enjoyed (aka bought in to) the theatrics of the place as a whole a bit more had I been accompanied by younger children.
Coca Cola Peru
The Coca Cola Vault – holding the secret recipe
Top secret recipe
Eric in the soda shop
Beba Coca Cola
And so, finally, we reached the best part: the tasting room! There were five sections, Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Although they claimed to have 64, there were really 61 flavors due to a couple repeats. I made sure to document the flavors of each area, and picked a favorite. By the end of it, I had a bit of a stomach ache. But, success!
Favorite: Sunfill from Djibouti
Favorite: VegitaBeta from Japan
Region: Latin America
Favorite: Manzana Lift from Chile
Favorite: Mezzo Mix from Germany
Region: North America (1)
Region: North America (2)
Region: North America (3)
Favorite: Barq’s Root Beer, of course
Once we had survived our task and consumed entirely too much soda, the next stop was the Georgia Aquarium, located in the very same plaza. We arrived with relatively little time to explore, but fit in the highly advertised Dolphin Tales dolphin show. While I personally enjoyed the dolphin show at the Batlimore aquarium quite a bit more, it would perhaps be unfair to compare since the show was obviously geared to younger children and focused on the story plot rather than dolphin tricks. I was disappointed not to be able to take photos during the show, but the rest of the aquarium made up for that.
After the aquarium, we headed back to the hotel, fairly exhausted. We had a perfect view of the reflection of the setting sun on the side of the massive 73 story Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, giving me my unexpected photo of the day for my Project 365. View it here!
Continue on to Day 2 of the Atlanta trip, or,
Check out what I have up so far about the rest of the journey here!