After work on Friday, my wife and I headed south to Atlanta with a full day planned for Saturday. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near Perimeter Mall and planned to use MARTA for all our transportation needs. We got up early Saturday morning so that we could reach the Georgia Aquarium when they opened at 8:00. After parking the car at the free garage in Dunwoody, we bought single-day MARTA passes for $8.50, which seemed like a good deal if it kept us from driving downtown and having to park at each individual place we went.
The aquarium was nice, and it wasn’t overly crowded since we went so early. They have five exhibits: tropical, ocean, river, coldwater, and Georgia. The layout is nice, because you can go to each exhibit separately at your leisure, and there were really no lines to speak of, aside from the occasional short wait to get a good spot at a viewing area. My personal favorite exhibit was the huge ocean tank, which has a tunnel that you walk through with a 180-degree vertical view from the bottom of the tank. I think Melissa’s favorite was the penguin tank, which gave us one of our best pictures of the day (all photos are below in the Picasa slideshow). We didn’t spend as long as we expected in the aquarium, and I was really expecting more, since they bill it as the world’s largest. Honestly, I’m not sure I would prefer it to the Tennessee Aquarium here in Chattanooga.
Next, we went to the new World of Coca-Cola, which has relocated next to the aquarium. The new building is nice, but I was disappointed to find out that there’s no Coke fountain in the new location. The best part of that tour is always the taste testing, and they have 70+ flavors from across the world ready for anyone to try. If you visit there, make sure you go thirsty, and don’t under any circumstances try the Italian drink called Beverly. The aftertaste is truly awful.
It was still just 10:30 when we left the World of Coke, so we walked across Centennial Olympic Park to the CNN Center. We didn’t take the tour there, but we walked around through some of the stores (of course including the Braves Clubhouse Store). From there, we walked to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, where the food and atmosphere were great, even though the prices were outrageous ($12.50 and up for burgers).
We left there about noon and got back on MARTA to shop at the Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead. The mall lived up to its reputation as a home to high-end stores, including an Apple Store, which was the highlight for me. We left with a few things, so we had to ride back up to our car in Dunwoody before the main event of the day, the Braves game against the Detroit Tigers.
After arriving at the ballpark via Braves Shuttle about an hour before game time, we decided to walk around the park rather than go straight to our seats. I took a few pictures of the field and the stadium, and we got an autograph from Mark Lemke, who was getting ready for the radio broadcast. As the game started, we treated ourselves to a $5.00 Sprite, which was actually worth the price because of the intense heat.
As for the game itself, Kyle Davies did fairly well, aside from his usual tendency to fall behind in the count. Verlander was proving to be tough to hit, so it was unfortunate that the home plate ump blew the call at home plate on the Tigers’ first run. That run made the difference, since Chipper’s solo shot was the only run the Braves would score (it’s still the only run they’ve scored in the last five games). Carlos Guillen hit a homer later in the game into the section below us (right field). The Braves were threatening in the 8th inning after Diaz hit a leadoff double, but Johnson struck out trying to bunt with two strikes, which should never have been allowed to happen. The Tigers retired the next two hitters, and the Braves came up short in the ninth against Todd Jones.
We were back at our car about an hour after the game ended, but we were fairly dehydrated, so we got some drinks and walked around Perimeter Mall until it closed. We were home about 10:30, dead tired after a full day’s fun. Pictures of the day’s events are below, and I’ve added them to my photos page as well.