Thursday, July 9, 2009

Atlanta Trip - Day Two

Georgia Aquarium and the High Museum of Art.

After a good night's sleep and the cook to order breakfast buffet at the Embassy Suites, we headed out for our first attraction. We took the short walk through Centennial Park to the entrance of the Georgia Aquarium. Since we got there shortly after opening, we were able to avoid any lines and bought our City Passes at the ticket window. Besides the City Pass providing a huge discount for multiple attractions, it also came with a few free bonuses.

As we entered the aquarium, we immediately headed for our first bonus: The 4D Theater and Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow. The next bonus was the behind the scenes Quick Dip Tour. Both these parts of the aquarium require reservations so be sure to stop by the Customer Service desk early to reserve the times you want. While we waited for our tour, we spent some time petting stingrays, sharks, sea anemones, horseshoe crabs, and even shrimp!

The Quick Dip Tour was a worthwhile bonus. The tour takes you behind the scenes of a few of the aquarium's exhibits, but the highlight was getting to view the large main aquarium from above. It really was awesome to see its size and get a view that most people don't see. When the tour was over we went on to enjoy the rest of the exhibits. You can walk through a tunnel and see the large aquarium from below and then sit in a room looking through a 2 foot thick clear wall to enjoy all the views of the fish and marine life.

While my wife enjoyed sitting in the tunnel and watching the hammerhead and whale sharks, my daughter really liked the jellyfish, and my favorite part was sitting in front of the large tropical fish aquarium. After lunch at the aquarium and a few re-visits to our favorite exhibits, it was time to head back to the hotel for some rest. We noticed that the High Museum of Art was open till 8:00 pm on Thursdays so we got back into sight seeing mode and headed out again.
The High Museum is easily traveled to via public transportation. We walked to the 5 Points transportation center and took the MARTA northbound train to the N5 Arts Station. Once you get off the train, make sure you go upstairs and exit the station on the east side. The museum is right there. The map on the City Pass tickets was a little confusing and we ended up exiting the wrong side, thus having to walk all the way around. It wasn't far, but when it is hot, having to walk anymore than needed isn't fun for the family.

The museum is quite large so give yourself plenty of time to wander the various exhibits and floors. As much as we appreciate art, the Modern and Contemporary Art section gave us some pretty good entertainment. The creativeness behind the art piece consisting of a large cut up piece of carpet pad hanging on the wall left us pondering. They have something for everyone and our collective favorite was the Monet Water Lilies exhibit.

Well, it was a long day for the family so we walked back to the train station and headed back downtown. We got off at the Peachtree Center Station in search of some dinner. At the recommendation of one of the tourist ambassadors on the street we tried some Mexican food at Mama Ninfa's. After a good, filling meal, we walked back to our hotel and called it a day. A great day!

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