Midtown Atlanta: Piedmont Park

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Offering a year-round respite from the surrounding city, Piedmont Park runs along 10th Street (a block west of 10th & Monroe Avenue to a block east of 10th & Piedmont Avenue) and Piedmont Avenue (12th & Piedmont to just before 15th & Piedmont) in Midtown Atlanta. The park is anchored by Lake Clara Meer and its dockside lawn and historic Visitor Center building. The dock provides sweeping views across the lake and is a good a place as any to set  up for a morning of fishing as the lake is routinely stocked with fish. In addition to fishing, the park offers numerous other activities including bocce ball, swimming at the Aquatic Center pools, tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball in addition to miles of running and walking paths throughout the park. If you’re in the mood for a less active visit, there are numerous grills setup in the park and countless places to lay down a blanket and set up for a picnic. The park is also bordered by the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which houses indoor and outdoor collections that include water plants, a Japanese garden, a tropical rotunda and a high elevation house among many other featured plants and animal life from various regions in the world.

Entry gates can be found at 12th or 14th St. & Piedmont Avenue, 10th Street at Charles Allen Dr. NE and Park Drive NE.

Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola

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The original World of Coca-Cola was relocated to Pemberton Place, a 20-acre site developed by the company and named after John S. Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented the original Coca-Cola formula, from its original Underground Atlanta location in 2007. Prior to the beginning of the self-guided tour, guests are corralled into the Coca-Cola Loft, a room covered from floor to ceiling with vintage Coca-Cola advertising memorabilia from around the world, where a welcome speech, dotted with Coca-Cola factoids, provides an overview of the facilities. From the Loft, guests enter the Happiness Factory Theater where a short, animated movie (or really long Coca-Cola commercial, depending on your outlook) about the imagined inner-world of a Coke vending machine and its associated cast of characters is shown. Once released from the theater, guests are free to explore the first and second level exhibition rooms. The first level is anchored by The Hub, where the Coca-Cola polar bear can be seen and stopped for photos. Off of The Hub are two exhibitions, Milestones of Refreshment, which traces the company’s presence throughout history, highlighting  war times, sporting events and international marketing campaigns and Bottle Works, where guests can walk-through and view the actual bottling process. The second level holds two more theaters, Perfect Pauses, which plays Coke commercials from around the world and In Search of the Secret Formula 4-D Theater, which is a movie (or, again, another long commercial) following a scientist in search of Coke’s secret formula. The movie is in 3-D, the moving theater seats add the 4th dimension. The second level also features a Pop Culture Gallery, which highlights the Coca-Cola brand as an icon of popular culture as well as Taste It, likely the most popular exhibition at the World of Coca-Cola. Taste It has geographic-specific soda fountain stations that allow guests to try the most popular Coca-Cola products from around the world. All in all, there are over 60 different products to taste. As expected, guests will be directed to exit through the gift shop, but first each visitor will be given a free bottle of Coke, bottled on the premises in Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the expected bombardment of Coca-Cola marketing and self-promotion throughout the World of Coca-Cola, it’s still worthwhile and enjoyable to see one-of-a-kind memorabilia and to learn the history of the company and brand as well as to witness the bottling process, all only a short distance from the location of the pharmacy where the original secret Coke formula was created.

121 Baker Street NW at Pemberton Place