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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

Atlanta Aquarium

Want to make sure your next family Holiday, Vacation & Tour is a real splash? Take your family for a cool and educational adventure at the Atlanta Aquarium.

Some people call aquariums "the new zoos" and without a doubt, they are some of the hottest lures. The recently opened Atlanta Aquarium was created to draw visitors to the city. Developed in part by the city of Atlanta, this titanic aquarium draws in travelers, who are then enticed to visit other destinations within the downtown enter...

Want to make sure your next family Holiday, Vacation & Tour is a real splash? Take your family for a cool and educational adventure at the Atlanta Aquarium.

Some people call aquariums "the new zoos" and without a doubt, they are some of the hottest lures. The recently opened Atlanta Aquarium was created to draw visitors to the city. Developed in part by the city of Atlanta, this titanic aquarium draws in travelers, who are then enticed to visit other destinations within the downtown entertainment zone.

The original idea for opening the Atlanta aquarium, also known as Georgia Aquarium, was developed by Bernie Marcus. In November 2001, Mr. Marcus announced his plans to donate the funds required to build an aquarium in downtown Atlanta. From that idea, the Atlanta Aquarium was born.

The Atlanta Aquarium is a half-million square foot facility housing, more than 100,000 animals in 8 million gallons of fresh and salt water. From project groundbreaking to the grand opening, the entire construction process took only 27 months to complete. The Atlanta Aquarium is located on 9 acres of land adjacent to the Centennial Olympic Park in the downtown area.

When you visit the Atlanta Aquarium, you'll notice the unique appearance of the building's exterior. The facilities were designed to look like a giant ship breaking through a wave. As visitors move forward to the large atrium inside the building, they are led into the facility by "a wall of fish" guiding them inside. Once inside, guests are given the option to choose from five main galleries. Each gallery is easily distinguishable with a sign and icon at the entrance.

Take time to visit each of these fascinating galleries housed within the Atlanta Aquarium:

Cold Water Quest -- shows items covered in ice
Georgia Explorer -- identified by a light house
River Scout -- displays a cascading waterfall
Ocean Voyager -- offers a peephole into the huge habitat
Tropical Diver -- with two video screens representing fish on a reef.

After visiting each exhibit, guests return to the main atrium to visit the next gallery.

Visitors to the Atlanta Aquarium will enjoy about 60 habitats through 12,000 square feet of viewing windows. The windows are made of a durable acrylic with a total weight of 328 tons. The largest of the habitats is a massive 263 feet long by 126 feet wide, with a depth of 33 feet. This giant carries 6.2 million gallons of water. This display, specially designed as a habitat for whale sharks, is also home to tens of thousands of other animals that commonly thrive amid coral reefs and open ocean waters.

As you continue to explore the Atlanta Aquarium, you'll find a 100-foot long tunnel and one of the world's largest aquarium windows, giving a glimpse into the whale shark habitat. The second of the largest habitats in the Atlanta Aquarium, it holds 800,000 gallons of water, and was specifically developed to simulate the natural habitat of beluga whales.

Anyone with an interest in nature and oceanic life will marvel at the Atlanta Aquarium. Spend the day viewing 100 thousand creatures representing 500 species from around the globe living in over 8 million gallons of fresh and salt water. The Atlanta Aquarium is a true ocean jewel, right in the middle of Georgia.

 

Enjoy Diversity And Accessibility In The Big Peach: Atlanta

From historic attractions and world class museums, to the high tech wizardry of CNN Studios, Atlanta has something to suit nearly every taste. And, thanks to the 1996 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the majority of these attractions are now wheelchair-accessible. That's good news for visitors who walk a little slower or rely on a wheelchair or scooter to get around. Indeed, today everyone can enjoy the diversity of Atlanta.

For a look at how Atlanta has changed over the year...

travel, accessible travel, wheelchair accessible, handicapped access. Holiday, Vacation & Tour, Holiday, Vacation & Tour planning

From historic attractions and world class museums, to the high tech wizardry of CNN Studios, Atlanta has something to suit nearly every taste. And, thanks to the 1996 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the majority of these attractions are now wheelchair-accessible. That's good news for visitors who walk a little slower or rely on a wheelchair or scooter to get around. Indeed, today everyone can enjoy the diversity of Atlanta.

For a look at how Atlanta has changed over the years, check out the Atlanta History Center. Located on 33 wooded acres, the Atlanta History Center features one of the Southeast's largest history museums, two historic homes and the Swan Coach House restaurant. Accessible parking is available in front of the main building, and there is level access to the museum and barrier-free pathways throughout all of the galleries. Inside you'll find everything from an excellent Civil War exhibition to an interactive exhibition on the Centennial Olympic Games.

Outside, access is variable, but a tour of the Swan House is highly recommended. If you have a car, it's best to drive up to the Swan Coach House and park there. If you're on foot, ask the person at the front desk to map out the most accessible route for you. There is level access to the main floor of the Swan House; and you'll get a good look at the foyer, dining room, sitting area, library, porch, living room, butler's pantry and kitchen on the excellent docent-led tour. The second floor is only accessible by stairs, however only a bedroom and a bathroom are open upstairs, so the bulk of the tour is accessible.

And don't forget to save some time for a leisurely lunch at the Swan Coach House. Originally the coach house and servant's quarters for the Swan House, this Victorian tearoom serves up a scrumptious lunch daily, except Sunday. There is ramp access to the front door and valet parking is available. Menu items range from the signature chicken salad to curried chicken, sandwiches, salads and even crab cakes. Be forewarned that this is a favorite spot for ladies group lunches, so if it's bit too feminine for your man, then just grab a Chick-fil-A sandwich at the Coca-Cola Cafe in the main museum building.

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in a newsroom, then don't miss the Inside CNN tour. Although the standard tour has some access obstacles, an elevator assisted tour is offered three times a day. The standard tour requires participants to descend approximately seven flights of stairs; so if that's beyond your ability, be sure and opt for the elevator assisted tour.

For folks that can stand up, the tour includes a trip up the world's longest escalator, which is an experience in itself. Other parts of the tour include a look at a simulated control room theater, an introduction to the special effects used in news production, and a chance to watch live broadcasts in the afternoon. It's a fun tour and it lasts about an hour.

No trip to Atlanta is complete without a visit to the High Museum, one of the leading art museums in the Southeastern US. And although the High's permanent collection is quite impressive; it's dwarfed by the temporary Louvre Atlanta exhibition. This three-year exhibition was developed in an exclusive partnership with the Musee du Louvre in Paris, and features hundreds of works from the Louvre's collection; some of which have never been on public display.

Access to the High Museum is excellent, with elevator access to all floors and barrier-free access throughout the galleries. Wheelchairs are available for loan at the front desk. As an added bonus, the museum is conveniently located across the street from the Arts Center MARTA rail station.

Last but not least, save some time to visit Atlanta's newest attraction, the Georgia Aquarium. Opened in November 2005, this gift from the co-founder of The Home Depot features five galleries filled with underwater creatures from around the world. Highlights include an 800,000-gallon tank which houses the Beluga Whales in the Cold Water Quest gallery, and the acrylic tunnel and massive Whale Sharks in the Ocean Voyager gallery. And don't miss the impressive jellies in the Tropical Diver gallery.

Access is good throughout all of the galleries and there is ramped access to the outside ticket area. Keep in mind that this is one of Atlanta's most popular attractions, so buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. Best bet is to visit on a weekday afternoon and stay until closing, for a more relaxed aquarium experience.

 

Historic Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia is a vibrant city with a rich and colourful past.

Atlanta's history began in 1837 when the city was built as the final destination on the Western and Atlantic railroad line. The city was originally called Marthasville in honour of the Governor's daughter. Railroad connections earned the nickname "Terminus", and the city's name was eventually changed to Atlanta, the feminine form of Atlantic, another railroad reference.

Since its humble beginning, Atlant...

Atlanta, Georgia is a vibrant city with a rich and colourful past.

Atlanta's history began in 1837 when the city was built as the final destination on the Western and Atlantic railroad line. The city was originally called Marthasville in honour of the Governor's daughter. Railroad connections earned the nickname "Terminus", and the city's name was eventually changed to Atlanta, the feminine form of Atlantic, another railroad reference.

Since its humble beginning, Atlanta has quickly grown. Even in today's expansive industrial and commercial world, Atlanta is known as one of the largest transportation hubs across the United States and worldwide. The Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport is one of the country's busiest in terms of daily passenger flights. With several direct flights to Europe, Asia and South America, metro Atlanta has become a more accessible home to over 1,000 international businesses. Because of these international flights, more than 50 countries now enjoy representation in Atlanta through trade offices, consulates and chambers of commerce. These developments helped Atlanta grow into an important banking center, and the city is known as the world headquarters of Fortune 500 companies.

For over forty years, historic Atlanta has been significantly associated to the civil rights movement. During the early days of the movement, civil rights leaders moved forward and acted as visionaries to develop the new south, an area that would become Atlanta, Georgia. These visionaries possessed a fierce belief in freedom, and made monumental sacrifices in the name of peace. Atlanta's rise was made possible because of these civil rights leaders. Through hard work and diligence, they helped Atlanta grow into the modern cosmopolitan center it is today.

Throughout the evolution of historic Atlanta, it is interesting to note that diehard Southerners still view the place as the heart of the Old Confederacy. It's this blend of old and new that makes Atlanta, Georgia a perfect example of the "New South": a fast-paced modern community that still stands proud of its heritage.

Over the past two decades, Atlanta has undergone unprecedented growth. In the 1980s, the official population of the city remained suspended at about 420,000. Since then however, the metro population has exploded in growth. The population of Atlanta is now nearly 40 percent greater, with 1.2 million more residents. The city uses new development as a measure of this growth. The ever-changing downtown skyline, plus the construction of new skyscrapers in the outside perimeter business districts of Midtown and Buckhead, is indicative of Atlanta's population boom.

Since the late 1970s, dozens of incredible new skyscrapers have reshaped the city's profile. Renowned architects like Marcel Breuer, I. M. Pel and Philip Johnson have applied their vision and formidable talents to create the new developments. Atlanta is deemed the "Capital City of the Southeast", a city of the future with strong ties to the past.

Despite the remarkable growth and undeniable cosmopolitan qualities of historic Atlanta, there is an undisputed element of "old" in this city of the "New South". During the turbulent 1960's, Atlanta was known as the "City Too Busy to Hate". Today, it's proud to be called the "City Not Too Busy to Care". The very soul of Atlanta is the heritage that enhances and improves the quality of life in an otherwise contemporary community.




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