The Fountain of Rings’ light water and music show in Centennial Olympic Park is just the beginning. Atlanta’s spirit comes through in its museums, including the top-rated High Museum of Art, and its only-in-Atlanta exploration of Civil Rights that includes the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the city’s Center for Civil and Human Rights. Check out these sites while you’re in town for the Hinman Dental Meeting, March 23-25.
Atlanta typifies a 21st century blend of sophistication and southern charm. The bustling city features first-class museums, innovative dining and plenty of urban green spaces. Anchoring the downtown area, Centennial Olympic Park blooms with its Fountain of Rings, the symbol of the 1996 Olympics. Nearby are the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Well-worth visiting is the Sweet Auburn Historic District, home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
1. Centennial Olympic Park: A good place to unwind, the 21-acre urban oasis frequently hosts free lunchtime concerts at noon. Stay for the 12:30 p.m. (also 3:30, 6:30, and 9:30) fountain light, water and music show. And if you want to cool off, join the kids who romp through the dancing waters.
2. Georgia Aquarium: The 10-million-gallon facility houses more than 100,000 animals. Penguins periodically waddle through the facility’s atrium – a nice touch. Wall-sized tanks and a walk-through acrylic tunnel make you feel immersed in the sea. If you like animal shows, sea lions perform at Under the Boardwalk, and dolphins and beluga show off at different events.
3. Center for Civil and Human Rights: Created to educate and inspire, the facility details Atlanta’s role in the Civil Rights movement. Artifacts and exhibits tell of the struggle to eliminate segregation and obtain equal freedoms for all.
4. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site: Located in the Sweet Auburn Historic District, the site encompasses the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. King’s crypt in Freedom Plaza, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s birth home.
5. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum: New at the museum, “Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease,” details efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease by health professionals and the Carter Center-led team (through October 9, 2017). The facility has exhibits on Carter’s boyhood, the Camp David Accords as well as gifts given to the presidential couple.
6. High Museum of Art: The museum, one of the leading art museum’s in the Southeast, showcases classic and contemporary art. Permanent galleries feature African art and the plate paintings of Molly Hatch. At “Cross Country: the Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950,” see how various artists interpreted U.S. cities and landscape (through May 07, 2017).
7. World of Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola may not be good for teeth, but it’s been good for Atlanta. The beverage was born in the city in 1886. The museum traces the birth of this popular beverage and showcases bottles from around the world.
8. CNN Studio Tours: On the regular newsroom tour, see Studio 7, and learn how weather maps and teleprompters work. The VIP tour takes you inside Studio 7 and a control room.
Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips