Atlanta's Centennial Park Offers Something for Everyone

Despite being a sprawling city, there's one place in Atlanta where seven major attractions come together offering visitors a spectrum of things to see and do.

The park is the lasting legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics. After the Olympic Games, much of the park was closed, and re-imagined as an urban greenspace with lawns, trees, and even child-friendly fountains. It soon became a hub for attractions beloved by residents and visitors.

The World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio Tours, Skyview Atlanta, College Football Hall of Fame, Children's Museum of Atlanta, Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Georgia Aquarium are all together in one surprisingly convenient location -- Atlanta's Centennial Park.

Center for Civil and Human Rights

Celebrate and learn about civil and human rights through images, artifacts, and the stories of those engaged in the struggle for dignity. American Civil Rights Movement and the Global Human Rights Movement are two permanent exhibits, supplemented by temporary displays. The Center is located on land donated by the Coca-Cola Company.

CNN Studio Tours

Atlanta remains the headquarters for CNN and the tours provide a thoughtful and comprehensive look into how their news reaches your TV, with questions welcomed. How much you actually see does depend on what's going on in the studios at that moment. There's also a corporate photo-op station where they want to take your photo so they can sell you prints later on. If that's not something you want, just walk around the set up and move on. The tours do fill up quickly, but they run every 20 minutes.

College Football Hall of Fame

From the Helmet Wall letting you find the helmet of your favorite college team, of the 760 that festoon the three-story wall to the 52-foot touch screen wall, there are diverse interactive areas which bring a whole new dimension to college football and the concept of Hall of Fame. There's also kid-friendly activities for the more active enthusiasts.

Perfect for Kids

Children's Museum of Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium are the primary kid-friendly attractions that ring Centennial Park. The Children's Museum introduces youngsters to cultures around the world, to the food we eat, and the depths of the earth we live on. Play areas and places to pretend round out the experience.

Of course the Georgia Aquarium introduces children to a whole different realm, introducing them to tens of thousands of creatures who are home in the watery world. Have an encounter with the inhabitants (from fish to marine mammals), a backstage tour, special shows, even sleepovers in front of one of the gallery windows.

Skyview Atlanta

Giant Ferris wheels have gained popularity around the world as a children's ride grown up to amuse adults. Twenty-story Skyview Atlanta lets riders see the city from a whole different angle -- up high and 360 degrees. Day or night, there's a view to appreciate.

World of Coca-Cola

This is a great place for true fans, and young kids. Basically you're paying to be bombarded with slickly done advertising but it's still fun. Everyone will enjoy Taste It! dispensing stations that offer samples of the flavors from around the world, and the new ones being developed. The Vault of the Secret Formula is another of their cleverly developed areas. The World of Coca-Cola is wildly popular and there are often lines and waits to explore some of the offerings.

Centennial Park is a major destination for entertainment, restaurants, and hotels. It is well-served by the Atlanta public transportation system, accessible by Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). It's also the Centennial Olympic Park stop along the Atlanta Streetcar route.

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Neala McCarten Photos by Neala McCarten

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