After leaving Great Wolf Lodge (Summer Vacay Part 1), we headed down to Atlanta, Georgia, to partake in the touristy scene. Nina had been bouncing around elated when we first told her we were going to Atlanta. We weren't really sure why she was so excited or what she had heard about Atlanta, but we were glad she was so thrilled. After a day or so, we finally realized that she thought we were going to Atlantis in the Bahamas rather than Atlanta in Georgia. Ummm, big difference. We had to reel back her expectations a bit before the trip. I'm glad we figured it out before we got there though. That could have been a huge disappointment.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown. It was a cute little place... sort of retro modern, and it was walking distance to most of the downtown attractions.
Our first stop was Centennial Olympic Park which was so nice. I had walked through some of it during previous visits to Atlanta, but never really stopped to smell the roses. It is really a fabulous urban park.
Next we headed off to the World Of Coca-Cola. This was the big suprise hit of the trip. J.C. and I had both been there a few years ago and enjoyed it. We weren't entirely sure if the kids would like it or not though. None of them are Coke drinkers, but we decided to take a chance on it anyway. It turned out to be their favorite part of the whole trip! At the end of the trip when we asked each one what was their favorite place to visit in Atlanta, they all said the World of Coke!
The World of Coke seemed to provide lots of photobombing opportunities.
Our next destination was the Georgia Aquarium which is spectacular. I really shouldn't even share pictures because my photography skills inside an aquarium are apparently atrocious. Just trust me that this is a great place to visit. Don't judge it by my photos!
We spent the next day at Zoo Atlanta where seeing the pandas was our number one priority.
As I get older, I'm finding more and more that I am just not a big fan of animals in captivity. It isn't like I'm a major animal lover or animal rights activist. I eat meat. I wear leather. I don't have pets. It is just something I'm discovering about myself. The zoo made me sad more than anything. On the one hand, I enjoyed seeing the animals, but I hated seeing their habitats and small enclosures. I have the same problem with the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Animal Kingdom. I just have a hard time enjoying it. Anyway, the zoo was fine. I just think maybe zoos aren't my thing any more.
Once again, the day ended with smiles and shakes at Johnny Rockets.
On our last day, we had reservations for lunch at the American Girl Bistro. We thought this would be a huge treat for Addie. She loves her American Girl doll, and the last time we had the chance to go to an American Girl store, she was two.
When the older girls had been her age, they were positively giddy about going to the American Girl store. It was like floating up to doll heaven for them. I'm not sure whether it is just the fact of Addie being a jaded third child or whether we didn't hype it up as much as we did in the past, but she was just sort of "meh" about the whole thing. She had a good lunch, and she enjoyed seeing the store, but I don't know that it was any more special to her than if we had gone to PF Chang's in the mall and walked around Toys R Us. Sigh. Live and learn. We won't be shelling out the big bucks for an American Girl lunch again.
It was J.C.'s first time at an American Girl store, and you have to figure a Dad of three girls needs to experience that place at least once in his life, so at least now he can say he has been there, done that.
After the slightly disappointing American Girl visit, we headed to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History which was a bit of a dud.
Our last stop of the trip was a meal at the Atlanta hot spot, The Varsity. We figured we couldn't take the kids all the way to Atlanta without at least one greasy meal at The Varsity.
The next day, we packed up and headed for home. All-in-all, it was a fun trip. It wasn't the beach, but I survived. I'm sure it is healthy and educational for the girls to be exposed to non-beach destinations every now and then too!