Our recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, may appear to have been fraught with disaster and disappointment if you happened to read our previous post (click here to get yourself caught up to speed). In all honesty, despite the frustration encountered, we actually loved Atlanta! OMG, my friends! I had no idea there were so many things to do and see there! From a spectacular aquarium to a civil rights museum, two major production studios and the southern hospitality and charm ~ I really and truly did not want to leave (which is why the last post was so hard to write). There is soooo much to explore. I could have stayed there forever. I honestly and truly loved it!
Nonetheless, because our trip had primarily been a house-hunting / school-researching excursion, we were left with an exhausted and defeated feeling. To help lift our spirits prior to our long journey home, we decided to explore at least one of the sites on our Atlanta bucket list. There was no question where we wanted to go and we headed off to explore the World of Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta. This has actually been on my personal bucket list since my husband starting working for the company just over four years ago (all the opinions in this post are completely my own and have nothing to do with the fact that he works for Coca-Cola). My husband had been through the museum himself during one of his weeks of training and he has been eager to take the entire family there since then. This seemed like the perfect way to put a positive spin on our trip, so we all ventured into the city for some Coca-Cola exploration!
The campus on which the building sits is beautiful. It shares space with the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights and is just down the street from the Ferris Wheel (Skyview Atlanta). There is a parking garage right there for easy access, only we weren’t aware, so we parked just a block or so away. No biggie. I could use the “steps.” We arrived at the ticket counter literally as the museum was opening and we were part of the very first group to begin the tour. As you wait for the doors to open into the first room, you are offered a choice between a Coca-Cola, a Diet Coke or a Coca-Cola Zero. Our boys don’t do caffeine, but they respectfully and graciously accepted a regular Coca-Cola ~ knowing that Mom and Dad could use the caffeine fix on our long drive home.
The first part of the tour almost feels just like you are at Walt Disney World, to be honest (fitting, right?) You enter a room packed with memorabilia and listen to a historical spiel about the company before embarking upon the rest of the “attraction.” It felt like we were entering the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor (hee, hee). Our energized guide, Emilio, was hilarious and seemed very determined to wake us up that morning. We spent just under ten minutes with him as he explained how Coca-Cola was first served to the public, a little history behind the inventing of the beverage and the cost of the drink over time. After this, we entered a theater and watched a quick movie of how Coca-Cola has affected the lives of many throughout the world over the years. I admit ~ I was teary-eyed when I saw some of those stories. It was hard not to connect emotionally.
From there, we were released to do our own thing. The first stop is usually a picture with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. Boy, was he playful that morning! He kept trying to cover the boys’ faces as we were taking pictures. It was a great way to start the day.
There are two floors to the museum and several little coves to explore. From the vault that holds the secret formula to the hall of historical facts, the boys ate up every ounce of that museum. I have a crew that loves to learn ~ and there was so much to take in, they were busy for hours! We watched a 4D movie about the secret formula of Coca-Cola (it was more like an underwhelming Disney attraction ~ watch your back! Literally!) and even had the opportunity to hold the torch that will reportedly be used for the Summer Olympic Games being held in Rio in just a few weeks! THAT was pretty exciting.
Of course, the boys were most intrigued by the tasting room!!! If you have ever been to Epcot’s Club Cool (located in the Future World portion of the Park), this is like that on steroids! After verifying that it was safe for someone with food allergies, we jumped in and sampled from over 100 flavors crossing over five regions (North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa). This was Logan’s first taste of the Beverly………oh, people! If you have NOT tried the Beverly…..you HAVE to try it once (NOTE: They do have this flavor at Club Cool in Epcot and have your cameras ready!)
In the tasting room, they also have Freestyles, the newest Coca-Cola machines that offer you the opportunity to mix and create flavors not sold in bottles or cans. From vanilla root beer to Coca-Cola Lime, all FOUR of my boys (that includes hubby) had a blast inventing, testing…..and belching (though they did do this as respectfully and as quietly as well-mannered boys are able!).
Just as you exit the museum and enter the gift shop (gee, what a brilliant idea – cough, cough), guests are offered the opportunity to take home a souvenir glass bottle of their signature beverage, made there on the premises. My husband was psyched because the one he had received during his initial tour had to be left behind as he was flying and glass bottles are “frowned upon” on airplanes. Since we were driving this trip, he could keep this one – and he has sworn to never drink its contents!
The gift shop is adorable, in my honest opinion. The layout is attractive and the options broad. From clothing to household items to things for your pets, there were several things I could have taken home with me. Definitely make sure to pick out a little something as a souvenir, something you can say you actually purchased in the gift shop at the World of Coca-Cola ~ even if it’s a magnet!
As we left the air conditioning and entered the Hotlanta sun, we looked back and were quite satisfied with our adventure inside the World of Coca-Cola. I would highly recommend visiting the museum at least once in your lifetime should you venture into this part of Georgia. Make a day of it and enjoy the aquarium, Center for Civil and Human Rights and, if you like heights, the Skyview Atlanta located just down the street. Next time, we will have to make more time for fun. This trip was 98% business (too much in my opinion), but I’m really glad that we took the time to enjoy one of Atlanta’s prized possessions.
Until the next step ~ T