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It is hard to miss this ultra-modern, stark white structure that houses Atlanta's finest collections of classic and contemporary art. A towering atrium soars to four interior levels, with the galleries moving from 18th and 19th Century collections near the ground floor to cutting edge art on the upper levels. The High has increased in size to 312,000 square feet with three buildings designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano: the Susan and John Wieland Pavilion, the Anne Cox Chambers Wing for galleries, and an office building. The High is a frequent host to some of the world's most important touring collections and has hosted exhibitions featuring artists like Pablo Picasso and Norman Rockwell. With over 15000 works in the permanent collection, the High also displays old prints of Abe Lincoln and of General William Tecumseh Sherman and an array of sculptures and photographs.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the largest spectacles of plant life in the Southeast. Sprawling over 15 acres (six hectares), this natural oasis was established in 1976 and is located within stumbling distance of the famous Piedmont Park. It is home to the Fuqua Conservatory and Japanese gardens, both rich in globe-spanning flora. Follow a walking trail, great for couples, and admire exotic rose plantations and carnivorous specimens. In addition, guided tours and seasonal shows guarantee an entertaining botany lesson.
The most expansive and popular of Atlanta's city parks were originally laid out for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895, and it now attracts more than 2 million visitors annually. Dog owners, sun-seekers and sports enthusiasts flock to the Piedmont Park to enjoy the fair weather, largely unaware that this was the spot of the Battle of Peachtree Creek during the Civil War. Its picturesque locales also offer a romantic ambience. The 189-acre (76.48-hectare) facility is home to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and scenic Lake Clara Meer, and plays host to many of Atlanta's favorite concerts and festivals.
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1929 as a Shrine temple, but through most of its storied history, it has served as Atlanta's premier theatrical venue. The Fox Theater is a marvel of Middle Eastern Revival architecture that spans a full city block, it is one of the largest theatres built in America during the golden age of the movies. Today, the theatre maintains a steady schedule of Broadway shows, operas, symphonic performances and rock concerts. Tours are available, but the best way to experience the Fox Theatre is through the night in the town.
Housing the history of the world's most popular soda, the World of Coca-Cola is one of Atlanta's premier attractions. See pieces of historic Coke memorabilia, visit the 4D theatre for a unique cinematic experience, and lay eyes on the vault that holds the secret recipe. Visitors can also sample an array of different coke products, send letters to friends and family from the famous Coke polar bear, take home authentic Coke gifts from the museum shop, and visit the pop culture gallery to learn about the advertising history of this renowned brand.
Just east of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is a 3200-acre (1300-hectare) park centres on the world's largest exposed granite mountain. Skylift gondolas whisk visitors 825 feet (251 meters) to the top, where commanding views of the Georgia countryside await them. The north face's bas-relief memorial to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is one of the world's largest. An antebellum plantation, an antique auto museum and a petting zoo are all located within the park. Playing host to myriad activities such as camping, dining, and lodging, this park bears wooden mountain slopes bearing recherche Georgia oak, natural pools as well as delightful, verdant foliage. During the summer, there are evening laser light shows on the mountain, whereas the Great Barn and Geyser Towers are other attractions in the park. Some of the major trails coursing through the park include the Cherokee Trail, Walk-Up Trail, Nature Garden Trail, and Songbird Habitat Trail.
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the country. Surrounded by 140 acres (56 hectares) of forests, it is located a short distance from downtown and is a must on itineraries to Atlanta. Natural history buffs can marvel at intriguing exhibitions in the Great Hall. A landmark in itself, this splendid building features a vertigo-inducing skylight that towers at 86 feet (26 meters). Interactive programs at the planetarium promise an entertaining astronomy lesson, while the 315-seater IMAX theater showcases movies on its five-story screen. Note that film screenings on Fridays are accompanied by delicious martinis.
In the shadow of downtown, this bucolic expanse is a constant reminder of the city's history. Dating from the 1850s, the cemetery was the final destination for all Atlantans until 1884, when private burial grounds began appearing throughout the city. The oldest section is near the main entrance, where legendary golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell are interred, although locating Mitchell's plain headstone can be a challenge. A brochure from the cemetery office will help you find famous graves and interesting sections. Tours are offered March through October.
A rolling oasis nestled in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this lush park is interspersed with sprawling rock gardens. Built to enhance the infrastructure for the 1996 Summer Olympics, this park is fringed by a tapestry of buildings significant to the city, like the CNN Center, Philips Arena, and the Georgia World Congress Center. The nearly 500,000 commemorative bricks that make up its main walkway were part of fundraising efforts for the Games. During scorching Atlanta summers, children frolic in the ground-level Olympic Rings, which periodically shoot streams of water through their seven rings. One of the most promising features of the park is the fascinating 'Fountain of Rings', a technology-controlled fountain complete with music, light towers and a splash pad; not only is the fountain is a hive of fun and frolic, but it is also a great architectural feat. The park is also home to several other water features and is a massive locus for live music in the city's downtown. Bearing stunning semblances of natural wonders and an iconic Olympic legacy, Centennial Olympic Park is a site that Atlanta holds close to its heart.
The Georgia Aquarium opened in 2005 as one of the largest aquariums in the world. Located in downtown Atlanta, it is undoubtedly a breathtaking experience for all its visitors. A generous endowment from Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, made this dynamic aquarium possible. It showcases exotic sea creatures such as giant groupers, beluga whales and whale sharks. With 500 species, you will see something new and different no matter when you visit. One can opt for sleepovers with friends and enjoy a night-time experience of the aquarium. In addition, it also offers an expansive educational program for students of all ages and several interactive animal experiences.