Atlanta, GA 30312
54 Columns is a collection of 54 columns ranging from 10 to 20 feet tall. It was created in 1999 by Sol LeWitt, a minimalist artist. Known to some as Ghetto Stonehenge, the columns are supposed to resemble the Atlanta skyline. The art project was commissioned by the Fulton County Arts Council. In 2007, the Atlanta City Council designated the 210-acre Freedom Park, which is home to 54 Columns, as an Atlanta Public Art Project. LeWitt’s works can be seen in a number of museums nationwide, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The Connecticut-born LeWitt died in 2007 at the age of 78.
The 30-acre garden is home to a number of exhibits, including an edible garden, a rose garden and rare orchid display. In 2010, the Atlanta Botanical Garden opened the Canopy Walk, a 600-foot-long walkway that towers 40 feet above the ground and gives visitors a chance to view a woodland garden from above.
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s trendy Buckhead community, the Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926. The museum, which sits on a 33-acre campus, features six permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits. In addition to the main exhibits, the museum is also home to the historic Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm and Wood Family Cabin. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of Civil War artifacts in the United States.
The Atlanta Monetary Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Midtown provides an interesting look into the history of currency. The museum’s collection includes a nice range of historic bills and coins. That includes $100,000 bills with President Woodrow Wilson and $10,000 bills with O’Hagel printed on them. It also has on display a rare set of coins from the former U.S. Mint in Dahlonega, Ga.
Marietta, GA 30062
The Big Chicken, located along Cobb Parkway in southern Marietta, is a true Atlanta landmark. Motorists reference the 56-foot-tall big chicken when giving directions. Radio stations mention it when describing traffic. Airplane pilots even use it as a landmark for navigation. Today, the Big Chicken is a bit of an anomaly, something unique at a fast food restaurant. Cobb Parkway is a string of urban sprawl, one fast food joint after another. Originally built as more or less a marketing gimmick, the chicken has been embraced by locals and has remained a landmark for more than 45 years. After it was damaged by a storm in 1993, KFC debated whether to rebuild the Big Chicken. The community seemed to be in agreement: The Big Chicken was a local landmark, and it needed to remain; KFC shelled out $700,000 to rehabilitate the restaurant and return the giant bird to working order. Today’s incarnation of this local icon features a moving beak and rotating eyes.
Opened in 1965, the Clermont Lounge has the distinction as the first and longest continually operating strip club in Atlanta. The establishment is located in the basement of what was once the Clermont Motor Hotel. As Wikipedia notes: “The Clermont is perhaps best known for featuring some dancers who do not meet the traditional physical standards for strippers, the most famous of whom is Blondie, noted for her ability to crush empty beer cans between her breasts as well as for her poetry.”
The College Football Hall of Fame opened in Atlanta in August 2014 in Downtown Atlanta next to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park. The College Football Hall of Fame was previously located in South Bend, Ind. More than 975 players and more than 210 coaches have been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. More than 300 schools are represented. The 94,256-square-foot facility includes exhibits, interactive displays, event space and a 45-yard indoor football field.
The Georgia Capitol Museum traces its origins to 1889 when the Georgia General Assembly revived the office of state geologist and directed him “to collect, analyze, and classify specimens of minerals, plants and soils.” The following year, the governor designated the corridors of the fourth floor of the Capitol as temporary quarters to house the museum.
Atlanta, GA 30309
The High Museum of Art, the premier art museum in the South, is in the midst of a multi-year partnership with The Museum of Modern Art. Through 2013, the partnership will bring many international exhibitions to Atlanta and past exhibitions have included masterpieces by Claude Monet and Leonardo de Vinci.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Ted Turner co-founded CNN in 1980 and helped transform the way people consume news. The outspoken Turner, who at one time owned the Atlanta Braves, still finds ways to make headlines even though he’s been out of the news business for years. For those interested in how modern newsrooms operate, the 55-minute Inside CNN Atlanta Studio Tour gives a behind the scenes look at what goes in to the making of a newscast watched by 2 billion people globally.
Atlanta, GA 30331
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site consists of several buildings and sites connected to King. They include his boyhood home, the original Ebenezer Baptist Church and Fire Station No. 6. The area includes a total of 35 acres and was designated as a National Historic Site on Oct. 10, 1980. The King Birth Home, located at 501 Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn historic district, was built in 1895 and is located about a block east of Ebenezer Baptist Church. King was born here in 1929, and the King family lived in the house until 1941. Its was later converted into a two-family dwelling. The Rev. A.D. Williams King, the brother of King Jr., lived on the second floor in the 1950s and early 1960s. The visitor center offers free tours of the house led by National Park Service rangers. Fire Station No. 6 was built in 1894 and served the Sweet Auburn community until 1991. The fire station was an important community meeting place. A 1927 American LaFrance fire engine is on display at the museum.
The 189-acre Piedmont Park hosted the Piedmont Exposition of 1887 and the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. Much like Central Park is to New York City, Piedmont Park is a centerpiece greenspace for the city of Atlanta.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Make the 1.3 mile trek or ride the sky lift up Stone Mountain. With more than 3,300 acres of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor attractions, entertainment and recreation, Stone Mountain is the most visited attraction in Georgia. Visitors can now climb to new heights on Sky Hike, a quarter of a mile course that allows visitors to trek through the treetops by mastering wooden bridges, balancing on a single rope suspended in the air and climbing to the top of vertical net bridges.
Atlanta, GA 30313
The largest aquarium in the world is home to tens of thousands of marine animals. More than 10 million visitors have passed through the aquarium since it opened in November 2005. Highlights include great hammerhead sharks, four beluga whales and four whale sharks, which call a 6.3 million gallon tank home. In 2011, the aquarium launched a daily Dolphin Tales show.
The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum chronicles the Jewish experience and the universal themes of diversity and human dignity. The museum, which opened in 1996, collects and preserves Jewish culture and history through permanent exhibitions like the Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933-1945. The exhibit was designed by local architect and Holocaust survivor Ben Hirsch. The Cuba Family Archives also houses the largest repository of Jewish archival material in the region.
Atlanta, GA 30313
Pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886. The original World of Coca-Cola opened in Atlanta in 1991, but was upgraded in its current location near Centennial Olympic Park in May 2007. The 35,000-square-foot exhibition features the largest collection of Coke memorabilia, a 4-D theater and a bottling operation that produces eight ounce commemorative bottles for guests.
Atlanta, GA 30315
Zoo Atlanta was founded in 1889, when businessman George V. Gress purchased a bankrupt traveling circus and donated the animals to the city of Atlanta. City leaders opted to house the collection in Grant Park, where the zoo remains to this day. The zoo’s original animals included a black bear, a jaguar, a hyena, a gazelle, a Mexican hog, lionesses, monkeys and camels. Today, Zoo Atlanta features more than 40 exhibits that are home to 800 animals from 200 species. Highlights include a five-acre African Plains and The Asian Forest that is home to the zoo’s giant pandas.