BIG Attractions In Atlanta
Atlanta might only be the 32nd largest city in the U.S. but it gets better as being the city with the 4th largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. One step further though, has Atlanta towering over other cities and countries when it comes to popular attractions and activities enjoyed by the general area public and tourists alike. Take a look at our Top 5 picks for BIG Attractions In Atlanta that make this city one of the biggest draws in the world.
Georgia Aquarium - Biggest Aquarium In The World
225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA
Ask everyone you know (unless they live in the Southeastern U.S.) where the world's biggest aquarium resides and you'll hear a potpourri of answers that range from San Diego to Orlando and other beach cities and theme park regions in between. When you tell them the answer is Atlanta, Georgia, a puzzled expression bounces back in your direction, at which point a feeling of satisfaction washes over you in that you introduced some new trivia into their repertoire. Then you tell them how the Georgia Aquarium holds over 8,000,000 gallons of water to house more species than any other aquarium on the planet with over 60 exhibits that follow a global tour pattern as if one was walking along the coastal pathway that ran the expanse of the entire world. Pretty awesome stuff.
Then you hit your audience with an even cooler anecdote when you tell them how Home Depot tycoon and co-founder Bernie Marcus was so gracious for the support from the Atlanta community when opening his own company's doors in 1979 that he bestowed the 250 million dollar project beginning in 2003 that became the completed Georgia Aquarium in 2005. Really awesome stuff.
With so many things to see here it is a daunting task to keep the details short enough that you don't scroll passed what we consider to be the greatest attraction in Atlanta. Without question, the absolute must see and experience at the Georgia Aquarium is the Journey With Gentle Giants Swim and Dive programs where you get as up close and personal with one of the ocean biggest tenants, the Whale Shark as well as thousands of other species of fish, sharks and rays. The only glass barrier between you and the 35 foot whale shark is the one on your underwater mask. The dives runs approximately 30 minutes each with an additional 2 hour prep time. Depending on which option you choose, the $225 (Swim) and $325 (Dive) cost (includes aquarium admission) might seem steep until you dry off, at which point you realize you have had one of the most monumental experiences of your life for only $250 or $325, not to mention the t-shirt, Certificate of Participation and souvenir photo that accompany the package. For more information, download a printable pdf file (courtesy of Georgia Aquarium) here
At a ripe age of only 7, the aquarium has gained tremendous momentum and has drawn over 11 million (and counting) visitors into its tempered glass walls. In a couple of more years everyone will know about Georgia Aquarium leaving your anecdotes completely outdated. so be sure to spread your aquatic trivia tales as quickly as possible. You are running out of time.
Stone Mountain - Largest Exposed Granite Surface In The World...?
1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain, GA
You may have noticed the question mark at the end of the title given to Stone Mountain Park as being "The Largest Exposed Granite Surface In The World" and that's because this statement has caused "controversy" in the field of geology. Apparently there is a larger one in Nevada or Arizona or something. We don't know about you, but 3200 acres is a good enough playground for us and the fact that this monolith has a 3 acre wide (three football fields!) Confederate Memorial sculpture carved right on the surface, making it the largest creation of its kind in the world is beyond impressive and makes us wonder why you hear about Mt. Rushmore all the time and not Stone Mountain Park. The work depicts Civil War Confederate leaders President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" riding upon their favorite horses. The memorial exceeds 400 feet above ground and General Lee's elbow digs 12 feet into the surface. People had a lot more time on their hands back in the day to create something like this.
The Confederate Memorial is but only one point of interest at Stone Mountain Park, located only 15 minutes from Atlanta, with dozens of family fun type attractions available that range from one of North America's largest adventure courses (suspension bridges and rope climbing) to mountain top sky rides as well as train excursions around the base and even a laser light show. Entertainment options are plentiful with a 4D theater, mini-golf, live shows, festivals and events taking place at this national treasure of a park. The changing seasons also offer recreational activities with campsites, golf, water sports and even a snow park (tube rides!) depending on the time of year and ones ability to brave the elements. For those of you that are just tagging along but long for relaxed indoor activities, there are both high end and casual dining options and enough unique gift shops to keep credit card savvy individuals content. Stone Mountain Park is a true diamond, or granite surface, in the rough.
Stone Mountain Park Campground
Peach Tree Road Race - Biggest 10K Marathon In The World
For decades the Peach Tree Road Race held consecutive titles as the World's Biggest 10K Road (pedestrian) Race until the Vancouver (B.C.) Sun Run briefly stole the glory in 2008 only to hand it back over soon after. To date, this marathon owns the overall biggest 10K race in the world honors until another city manages to squeeze out a few decades worth of their own. What better way to get to know the city and its citizens than partaking in this annual extravaganza?
2011 Date: Monday, July 4, 2011
Registration through the online lottery system will open on ajc.com/peachtree at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2011.
Entry Fee: $33
The wheelchair race begins at 6:45 a.m.
The footrace begins at 7:30 a.m.
Individual start wave times will be announced in late spring 2011.
T-shirts and Awards:
All finishers will receive a 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt.
The course starts at Lenox Square Mall and travels down Peachtree to 10th Street in Midtown. The finish is located on 10th Street just outside of Piedmont Park.
Stone Summit Climbing Gym - Biggest Indoor Rock Climbing Gym In America
3701 Presidential Parkway, Atlanta, GA
1 (678) 720-9882
Fun for both the family and extreme sport psychopaths, Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center accommodates the physical capacity of your person and will be sure to challenge you to take it to the next level. This center is home to the largest indoor rock climbing gym in North America and the sheer enormity is worthy of a picture taking visit alone, much less participation. But you must participate! Walls extend from 25 to 60 feet in height but the girth and overall layout is the most impressive with seemingly impossible nooks and crannies to navigate your harnessed body around.
Day Pass Rates including rental equipment (no staff assistance):
Children (12 and under) $10
Hartsfield Jackson International Airport - Highest Traffic Airport In The World
574 Airport South Pkwy, Atlanta, GA
An airport as an attraction? Sure, especially when you consider that Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is the highest traffic airport in the world. There you go, another point of trivia to impress your friends with. At just under 90 million passengers (give or take a million) passing through the high security gates per year, it is simple math that the airport has been made to accommodate this traffic flow, which means great dining, shopping, social and sightseeing opportunities abound. While we don't necessarily recommend prioritizing a visit to Hartsfield Jackson as a lone Atlanta attraction given the fact that the best amenities are within security protected zones for passengers only, we do suggest that if you are flying in or out of this airport at some point in the future to allow yourself a couple of extra hours to explore this international hub of activity.
Forget the generic newsstands and gift shops, stores such as Beyond The Reef , Georgia Aquarium's representation with Hartsfield Jackson will keep the family occupied while stores such as Brooks Brothers, Ermenegildo Zegna, Lacoste, Sean Jean, and Salvatore Ferragamo make it feel as if you've wandered into a high end shopping mall as opposed to an airport. Want to get really creative? Why not set a date with your long distance love by making reservations at one of Hartfield Jackson's fine dining establishments such as historic Paschal's, Sojourner's Bar & Lounge, Piano Bar, or Chili's depending on your tastes.
Download Hartsfield Jackson's Shop and Dine brochure here for more info.
Photo Caption: As a victim of one of the unfortunate side effects of being the World's Busiest Airports, poor T-rex, the last of his kind, was a all meat and flesh upon his arrival at Hartsfield Jackson only to be reduced to bone after waiting in check-in, security, and boarding lines for what seemed to be eons.