Atlanta is one of the largest cities and metropolitan areas in the United States. It is the economic and cultural center of the south. National Geographic Traveler ranked it one of the “Places of a Lifetime” in 2009.
Atlanta is brimming with exciting attractions, world-class museums, unique historical sites, major league sports, outstanding fine arts and delicious food. Atlanta’s rich history, coupled with being a modern metropolis, makes it one of the top student-friendly destinations in the U.S.
Atlanta is oftentimes overshadowed by bigger and more popular cities like New York, Chicago or Washington, but Atlanta holds up on its own with these very popular and educational tourist spots:
The world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium provides students with the ultimate experience in aquatic life. It has many exhibits, a 4D theatre and excellent educational programs for student travel groups. Lesson Plans and Aquatic Fact Sheets are available for grades K-12 as well.
World of Coke
The Coke museum has many exhibits, a lot of them interactive, that cover the entire history of the popular cola. There are many art works that show Coke’s impact on pop culture. Students can also sample Coke’s best sodas from around the world.
Being “the largest exposed piece of granite in the world,” Stone Mountain extends nine miles underground and 1,686 ft. above ground. Student groups can hike the mountain or take an aerial sky ride to the top. The view from the top is amazing, especially on a clear day. One can see the entire city of Atlanta, as well as the mountains of north Georgia, which happens to be a two-hour drive away from Stone Mountain.
CNN Studios Tour
Many students are not aware that CNN originated and is still headquartered in Atlanta. Students can tour a 50-foot globe where they can search 25 years of CNN footage via informational kiosks. Still housing CNN’s 24 hour Headline News, students will look down onto the live newsroom, control room, black box studio and more. Student groups will also see a demonstration about weather broadcasts.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Being a National Historic Site, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial gives student groups a comprehensive look at MLK’s origins. Tours include a visit to the birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr., a tour of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King, his father and grandfather preached, a trip to the visitor center and a tour of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
There are also other tourist spots like Six Flags, Zoo Atlanta, the Centennial Olympic Park and an amazing array of museums: Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum and the High Museum of Art. Overall, Atlanta is an educational big-city destination that prides itself on southern hospitality.
About the Author: Martha Blythe has gone on several Atlanta tours and plans to go on many more. She loves all that Atlanta has to offer but prefers a tour to traveling solo because of the informed tour guides.