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  • JULIE WHITE

The Visitor Centre today is ... World of Coca Cola

From humble beginnings at a soda fountain in downtown Atlanta, to a global icon, what does this mega brand offer its visitors?

We find ourselves in Atlanta, Georgia, USA for just one day, and there's only one place we had to visit, the World Of Coca-Cola Experience.


Coca-Cola needs little in the way of introduction. It is the market leader in the world of carbonated soft drinks, producing a range of beverages including Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, and many more. Coca-Cola Classic is the original and most well-known product in the Coca-Cola portfolio and the brand is known for its strong brand identity and marketing campaigns, which have helped to make it one of the most recognizable brands in the world.


The history of carbonated drinks in the United States dates back to the late 18th century when carbonated water was first produced by a British chemist, Joseph Priestley. He discovered a way to infuse water with carbon dioxide gas, creating what he called "soda water." This invention soon became popular in Europe and was brought to the United States in the early 19th century.


The first carbonated soft drink in the United States was created in 1807 by a Yale chemistry professor, Benjamin Silliman. He mixed water with bicarbonate of soda, to create a fizzy, slightly bitter-tasting drink. This beverage, known as "soda pop," became a popular alternative to alcoholic drinks.


In the mid-19th century, several companies started producing and selling carbonated soft drinks in the United States, including the Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, and 7UP.


Over the years, carbonated soft drinks became an important part of American culture, with their popularity soaring in the post-World War II era. Today, the United States is one of the largest consumers of carbonated soft drinks in the world, with a wide variety of brands and flavours available to consumers. However, in recent years, concerns about the health effects of sugary drinks have led to a decline in consumption and an increase in demand for healthier beverage options.


We were interested to see how the brand conveyed its current message, in the face of competition and changing consumer habits.


Brand history

In 1886, less than a mile from the current experience, Coca-Cola was first served to paying customers, having been invented by an Atlantan pharmacist, John S. Pemberton (1831–88), at his Pemberton Chemical Company. Pemberton initially sold the beverage as a medicine, claiming that it could cure a range of ailments, including headaches, fatigue, and indigestion.


The original recipe for Coca-Cola included a mixture of coca leaves (which contain cocaine) and kola nuts (which contain caffeine). However, the amount of cocaine in the recipe was very small and was eventually removed entirely in 1903. Today, Coca-Cola still contains caffeine and is made with a secret recipe of natural flavours and sweeteners.


Coca-Cola quickly became a popular beverage in the United States, and in 1892, the Coca-Cola Company was founded to manufacture and distribute the drink. Over the years, the company has expanded its product line to include other carbonated soft drinks, such as Sprite and Fanta, as well as non-carbonated beverages like water and juice.


The brand has gone on to become the 6th Most Valuable Brand in the World according to Forbes, and Atlanta remains the home to Coca-Cola's brand headquarters and also its main visitor experience.


The brand, worth over $64 billion, has a portfolio that includes over 400 brands including Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes and is sold in more than 200 countries.


Despite facing criticism over the health effects of sugary drinks, the company remains a market leader in the beverage industry and continues to innovate and adapt to changing consumer preferences.


The original World of Coca-Cola

The brand's original 45,000-square-foot brand home, World of Coca-Cola, opened in 1991 in downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the Underground Atlanta shopping and entertainment district, near the Five Points MARTA underground station.

With over 1 million pieces of memorabilia and exhibits telling the brand's history, plus a tasting room where guests could sample Coca-Cola drinks served around the world, the attraction welcomed around one million visitors a year, double what the brand had anticipated, and became Atlanta's most visited indoor attraction. It was reported that about 60% of the annual visitors were tourists and the remainder were from the Atlanta area. It closed in 2007 after the decision was made to relocate to a new facility, to create a more modern and interactive experience for visitors.


Having watched a video on the original brand home from 1991, we can report that there are many elements that are similar to the current experience.


Plans for an upgrade to the facilities were muted in the press as far back as 2001. The exhibits had not changed since opening and the long queues to enter had been an issue with local convention goers. Atlanta is a major convention venue in the US and is home to one of the largest convention centres in the United States, the Georgia World Congress Center. The centre hosts more than 1.5 million visitors annually and features 3.9 million square feet of exhibition space, making it one of the largest convention centres in the country.


Atlanta's central location in the United States, its extensive transportation network, and its diverse economy make it an ideal location for conventions and trade shows and also made for the perfect site for the headquarters and visitor experience for this global brand.


Atlanta had not always been the only site for a Coca-Cola brand experience, however. The company opened a brand home on the Las Vegas strip, that closed in 2000, after just two years in operation. With its 110-foot Coke-bottle elevator, and occupying four floors, it had been the biggest attraction at the city's Showcase Mall. Coca-Cola kept part of the facility as a flagship store and opened another flagship store in 2016 in Orlando's Disney Springs.


The new World of Coca-Cola

Construction of the new $97 million visitor experience in Atlanta started in 2005. With 60,000 sq. ft. of public space, the new World of Coca-Cola is triple the size of the old facility and is not just a museum. The building houses a whole brand experience, and it was integral to an ambitious plan to rejuvenate downtown Atlanta. The company had amassed over 20 acres of land and contributed portions of this for a Center for Civil and Human Rights (opened in 2014) and the Georgia Aquarium (opened 2005).


Designed by architecture firm Jerde, the new visitor experience opened in May 2007, right next door to the Georgia Aquarium and was predicted to draw about 1.2 million visitors in its first year. It features 3 theatres, a bottling line and a tasting room with 70 product dispensers. At night the building’s signature feature, a 27-foot tall fibreglass replica of a Coca-Cola bottle, lights up a 90-foot ice block tower, made from tempered, laminated glass. The light show system, designed by PRG Lighting (Bergen, NJ), can be changed during the season.


Architectural plans were well underway by the time exhibit designers Jack Rouse Associates came on board. I've seen their work in the NASA exhibits in Houston (Texas), Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville (Kentucky), Jim Beam's American Still House (Kentucky) and the Jack Daniel's distillery tour (Tennessee) and more, so I know how good they are at delivering a brand story.


Although some of the areas seem similar, apparently only 60 artefacts in the new museum were brought over from the old building and more than 1,100 Coke-related items are exhibited for the first time.


Some of the exhibits have even been refreshed since we visited, so they obviously change the displays regularly to stop the experience from becoming stale.


Entrance

Queues were nearly non-existent when we arrived, as soon as the doors opened at 10 am, on a hot July day in Atlanta. We had booked online, so just had to show a QR code on our phones.

You're corralled into a foyer manned by a host dressed in red sequins. He certainly gave it all he had to entertain the crowd. Imagine Disney meets cruise ship entertainer vibes. Do check out the bottles in the foyer, as they were from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the Olympic Games since the Olympics in 1928, when it provided free drinks to athletes at the Amsterdam Games.


Coca-Cola's involvement with the Olympics has been a significant part of the company's marketing strategy, and the company has produced a number of memorable advertising campaigns for it, the most iconic of which is the "Coca-Cola polar bear" campaign, which features the company's signature polar bears participating in various Olympic events.

We all head into a room full of archive material while we wait for the doors to open, and we're quizzed by the host on items in the room. Many of the items on show are over 100 years old. We're told that Coca-Cola was the first to invent the coupon and that Coca-Cola was the first to invent the six-pack. There's a poster featuring Willy Mays, the first time the brand had used a black athlete to advertise their product, and there's the oldest artefact, a coca cola urn, used as a soda fountain in 1896.

I would actually have preferred longer in this room, just to take it all in, as there were some very interesting artefacts on show.


Moments of Happiness

Your visit continues in the Coca-Cola Theatre with the 6-minute introductory film, 'Moments of Happiness' which premiered in 2014 and is something we cannot obviously record, but a trailer is available on YouTube if you want to see some of it. It might be 8 years old, but it still has an impact and surprisingly brought a tear to the eye of many, including both of us. Maybe it was sentimentality kicking in after the pandemic, but even the staff member who introduced the film told us it affects lots of people the same way. Designed by BRC Imagination Arts, it provides a joyful start, covers many cultures and moments in life, and certainly pulls at the heartstrings. Well done.


Grand Foyer

The tour is a self-guided experience on the whole, centred around a Grand Foyer.

The quote on the wall was a brand fact I did not know, that the bottle was designed to be so iconic, that it could be recognised in the dark or when broken on the ground.

Every thirty minutes or so music would start up and the Fanta Fairy dance sequences began. A few performers gave us a lacklustre show, lasting a few minutes, in costumes that looked a bit cheap, to be honest, with very few of their captive audience interacting with them. For us, it was one of the few low points and completely unnecessary. I'd rather have had the polar bear mascot going around for photo ops with the kids, big and small. I would have interacted with that. However, the polar bear is seen in videos online of the experience and mentioned on TripAdvisor, so I guess we missed him. The fairies were gender-neutral, which was refreshing though.


Milestone's of Refreshment

It’s hard to imagine that before 1894, it was only possible to have a Coca-Cola if you visited the soda fountain counter at the local pharmacy, but this area will transport you back to those days and also show you some fascinating artefacts.


In Victorian times, pharmacy soda fountains were meeting places to catch up on the latest news and to drink soda water and other carbonated soft drinks, considered beneficial to health.


The Milestone's of Refreshment exhibit tells the story of chemist John Pemberton who, in order to manage pain caused by a near-fatal injury during the Civil War, created Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, using an extract from the leaf of Peruvian Coca and the kola nut. When prohibition was passed in 1886, Pemberton changed the formula and marketed his non-alcoholic tonic, removing the alcohol and replacing it with a sugar syrup and claimed it had medicinal properties, like so many other temperance beverages.


Your visit starts with a recreation of the pharmacy soda fountain and of Pemberton in his laboratory.

Dr Pemberton’s bookkeeper and partner, Frank M. Robinson, chose the name for the drink, inspired by the two major ingredients in the beverage, coca and kola, liking the way two “C’s” looked side by side, and invented the now world-famous logo, with its special Spencerian script.

Visitors can attempt to recreate the Coca-Cola logo using touchscreen displays, which was a lot harder than you'd think.


Coca-Cola was marketed heavily through pharmacy soda fountain displays and was a huge success. The original Pemberton recipe is still one of the most closely guarded secret formulas in the world.


Within two years of creating Coca-Cola, Pemberton sold his rights to the Coca-Cola formula to pharmacist and businessman, Asa G. Candler, and Pemberton died shortly after. Candler was intent on marketing the product to the masses and moved the product out into candy and grocery stores and put the logo onto everyday items such as trays, cups and clocks, in fact, anything he thought would make the brand more popular.


Candler improved the manufacturing process and built Coca-Cola into one of the most prosperous U.S. businesses. He sold the business in 1919 for $25 million, to a group of investors led by Atlantan businessman Ernest Woodruff. His son, Robert Winship Woodruff, guided the company as president and chairman for more than three decades until 1955.


The next area tells visitors all about the history of the iconic bottle and the bottling plants. During WW2, Woodruff sent 64 complete bottling plants to overseas territories, where US troops were stationed, and over 5 billion Coke bottles were drunk by the soldiers at a nickel a piece. You can see items from these times in the display cases, plus many more marketing products.

You then get to see a vintage delivery truck and some historic packaging and dispensers.

On show is the first six-pack, plus the Coke dispenser that went into space on the Discovery shuttle, plus many more vintage ones, with terrific typefaces for those, like me, that are into that sort of thing.


The Vault

In 2011 an exhibit called Vault of the Secret Formula opened. Yes, you do see the actual vault where the Coca-Cola formula is stored.


The area did have plenty of fascinating historic information and interactive exhibits and you can even try your hand at mixing the formula for yourself using the virtual Taste Makers. There's even a display on Myths and Legends surrounding the secret formula. Because of all the interaction, a queue formed, but was managed well.

Search for the Secret Formula in 3D

Next, we take in an 8-minute long 3D film on the secret formula. I'm the first to admit that I'm not great with 3D films. The glasses never seem to work for me and sometimes the visuals give me motion sickness. Managed well, our hosts make sure we don't leave spare seats, and we end up in the front row making the 3D elements out of focus for us, as we were just too close.


We couldn't take pictures or record this obviously, but it was a curious mix of high-voltage children's TV acting and some heavy-handed brand shots of Coca-Cola being delivered around the world. You honestly start to question some of the brand ethics when watching a sequence showing Coke bottles being taken in a boat down what looks like the Amazon. Makes you wonder if the indigenous people of the Amazon really needed the fizzy drink and its impact on the environment and health.


This could have been an opportunity for the brand to promote its sustainability message, ditch the marketing shots and creatively show us what they've been doing to become greener, reduce sugar consumption and recycle bottles etc. It was a real missed opportunity.


Why was it even in 3D? The message would have been just as effectively delivered without 3D and even better with 2 actors live on stage and media shown on a screen, especially if there had been some audience participation. The introductory film 'Moments of Happiness' was far more emotive and left a lasting impression. Sadly this did not.


Bottle works

Bottle works does not take long to complete and it is interesting if you're into factory production lines, which one of us is. This scaled-down working line also includes displays on how Coca-Cola is bottled throughout the world.


I discovered, during my research, that this mini bottling plant used to produce commemorative 8-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola Classic. A robotic delivery system sent the bottles to the "Taste It!" exhibit, where guests would retrieve them as they exited the museum. During an average visit to the World of Coca-Cola, Bottle Works would fill 2,400 bottles. That would have been a fun added extra and a great souvenir. Pity this isn't still offered. You can watch this video to see what used to happen.


Pop Culture

Another large gallery is the Pop Culture exhibit. This area was extremely busy when we visited and so we had to miss out on many of the interactive exhibits as we ran out of time.

The highlight of this section for me was the original artwork from 1931 for the brand's Christmas campaign. Drawn by Swedish artist Haddon Sundblom, Santa is shown wearing red and white, the colours of Coca-Cola. It is a myth that modern-day Santa Clauses wear a red suit because that’s the colour used in the advertisements. In fact, Sundblom drew from many texts and drawings of St Nicholas from around the world and his drawings were used in the company's festive advertisements for the next 30 years, well and truly making the images synonymous with the festive season.

The brand even ask you to share your memories of Coca-Cola with them. For me it was easy. I think of summer holidays in Spain when I was a child. The iconic glass bottle would be pulled from a fridge in the hotel bar, a wedge of lemon inserted into the neck along with a straw, and we drank something that tasted somehow much better than what we drank at home in rainy England. My husband wrote about how our daughter, now 26, waits every year for the Holidays are Coming truck advertisement to come on TV, before she puts up her Christmas decorations. According to her, if the Coke truck hasn't been on TV, then Christmas cannot start.


We got a pen and paper, but online there are videos of a Share Your Story interactive display, which wasn't working when we visited. At least they had a backup.


Need a selfie? Then how about taking a snap on the sofa from American Idol, sponsored by Coca-Cola.


The My Coke Art interactive art display was permanently occupied by children on our visit, as many of the interactive displays were.

The displays here have changed since our visit and now feature an interactive "Magic Mural” installation, showcasing the work of five female illustrators from around the world, with links to an augmented reality experience that brings the illustrations to life. via the scan of a QR code. That would have been fun to experience, as we would not have had to wait on children to get out of the way. It does go to show there's something for all ages though.


There's apparently now a “Ghost Signs” installation, where visitors are told the story of sign writers that restore historic Coca-Cola ghost murals in the South, featuring a hand-painted recreation of an original Coca-Cola advertisement. I love a ghost sign, so wish I'd seen this display.


In addition to the new installations, guests can experience other unique elements like "One Coke Away," which gives guests a glimpse into how the brand is represented worldwide.


Scent discovery

Scent Discovery opened in September 2020 and is an immersive exhibit for guests to explore the connection between smell and taste. We go into this room with high expectations, as we've enjoyed scent and flavour interactive exhibits all over the world, at the brand homes of various spirit, beverage and perfume brands.

We liked that the displays that were out of action had fun signs on them. Better than an error message.


Many of the scent dispensers had little to no smell, so they maybe need refreshing more often.


Online you can find videos of the exhibit, that clearly have a more animated guest host than we experienced, plus a much more interactive display. We got none of that. We gave the exhibit a sad face rating as we left.


Taste It

Certainly the busiest part of the visitor centre is where you get to sample the brand's products from all over the world, as bottles of Coke rattle above your head in a nod to the bottling line.


What to choose? Each station is different and arranged by continent. Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand? Perhaps Vegibeta from Japan? Or Krest Ginger Ale from Mozambique? It's all self-service, so you can take as much, or as little, as you like.

We certainly found flavours that were unexpected and some that we wish we could get back home. Some were much less sweet and it shows how people in different parts of the world have a different palate. A QR code on the stations gives you a link to more information.


The cups are fully recyclable and made with PlantBottle Technology™. Enjoy the taste, skip the waste. was signposted on each station. Everyone was enjoying it.

The store

Want anything, literally anything, branded with Coca-Cola, then this is the space for you.

Coke golf balls, Coke oven mitts, Coke handbags.....you can get absolutely everything.


Outside - grab that selfie

The bottle cap selfie station is fun and was very popular. The grounds outside are well kept and everyone was enjoying the sunshine.


In conclusion

The perception of big brands can vary depending on a number of factors such as the quality of their products or services, their marketing strategies, their reputation, and their overall impact on society. The mega-brands, such as Coca-Cola, have a significant impact on the economy and society, and their actions and decisions can have far-reaching consequences. These brands have a large customer base and a strong presence in the market, which makes them hugely successful and gives them the budget to create expensive marketing campaigns and visitor experiences.


However, there are some who view big brands as impersonal and detached and there has been a huge consumer trend towards supporting smaller, more local businesses instead. Some people also criticize big brands for their impact on the environment, labour practices, or other social issues.


So how well did this global icon brand engage with and convey its message to the visitor at their brand home?


Overall, it was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours whilst in Atlanta. Not all of the messaging hit home as it should have and there were a few missed opportunities for greater engagement and advocacy.


The brand has an enormous archive and while not all of it is on show, there is a vast amount to see, with only a hint of repetition in the artefacts across the galleries. I am sure their archive creates plenty of opportunities for new product development and design inspiration, and it does deliver for those interested in heritage and nostalgia. It also provides a terrific amount of material for reminiscence therapy.


I personally really enjoyed many of the galleries. The artwork for the Christmas campaigns was beautiful, the introductory video heartwarming, the number of artefacts impressive and many of the interactive elements were engaging. The entertainment performances felt a bit like an afterthought and a little low budget, and not all the hosts had the same enthusiasm for their roles, which was slightly disappointing.


Coca-Cola's green message was not pushed enough though, especially now that visitors are much more environmentally conscious. While we appreciate that the visitor centre is a marketing opportunity, we also think it's important, in the current climate, to showcase what your brand is doing to address sustainability. What's annoying is that Coca-Cola does have a raft of positive eco-initiatives to promote. Why don't they feature the work on their World Without Waste initiative, where they aim to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030? The brand even made a commitment to sustainable development in the design of the building itself, which, according to the architects, "exceeds energy efficiency requirements by 30 per cent and consumes 40 per cent less water than standard buildings." It even has a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). But nothing like that was mentioned. It was a missed opportunity to get visitors inspired to take action.


We wrote this report in the Hard Rock Café after our visit, in front of a display on John Lennon, with a caption underneath about how the restaurant was donating a portion of sales to IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER with Hard Rock, Yoko Ono, and WhyHunger. It got us thinking. If we had seen something similar in the World of Coca-Cola, that would have been so welcome and would have shifted some of the marketing emphasis towards efforts to make Coke feel like a more caring and compassionate brand.

We both felt that not having a café in the building, or directly connected to the building, was a missed opportunity for increased dwell time for guests, and definitely a missed sales and marketing opportunity.


The Bottle Cap Café opened in September 2021 but is across the Plaza. Going outside, across the campus to the Bottle Cap Café and back again wasn't even suggested by staff as being possible, and we just wanted to sit down, have a rest and then have more energy to experience more exhibits. As there is little in the way of seating inside the visitor centre anyway, you can get tired walking around. I could imagine that families with young children would welcome a pit stop for a snack, juice and maybe some branded activities such as colouring in pages or apps on a tablet etc. Wouldn't it be great to have something unique offered in an on-site café environment, like a limited edition bottle or take-home glass? Maybe the café could have been designed to look like the soda fountain pharmacies where the drink was first served. We definitely enjoyed the on-site café at Dr Pepper in Waco, Texas for example, where we could sample things like Dr Pepper floats in souvenir cups.


This is a truly global brand and we wished they had included some of the flavours and brands from the Taste It gallery, either in the shop or in an on-site café. They could have run themed events based around certain flavours, their countries and cultures, with special menus and décor for example. That would have taken it to the next level and also made the experience more culturally diverse.


And they neglected their links with Santa. The Coca-Cola truck advert and the original Christmas artwork are so iconic, that it would be engaging if guests could get a direct line to Santa whilst on site. He doesn't have to be there in person. After all, he's pretty busy all year round, and in the North Pole in July, when we visited. But how magical would it be for children visiting, to be able to call him up at the North Pole and see him say hello from his workshop? Even Santa gets a Coke break!


Overall I left having learned a lot and with a deeper appreciation for the history of a brand whose products are, in many ways, taken for granted. I won't look at a Coca-Cola bottle again in quite the same way.


How long was the visit?

We were there for 2 and a half hours. The brand website recommends 2 hours, so we spent a little longer and this did not include time in the café.


How much are tickets?

Check out their website for up to date prices.


We paid full price and this was not part of any advertising.


Adults: $19.00

Over 65s: $17.00

Child 3-12: $15.00

Under 3s: Free

Prices shown are for online booking only. Walk ups will likely pay a bit more.


Check out their birthday, City pass and military discount options to see if you can save there. You can sometimes find discount coupons that include admission to both the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.


Tour options

There is a new, optional hour-long guided tour, where an ambassador takes you through the most popular areas, and offers a skip-the-line photo opportunity with the World of Coca-Cola Polar Bear, plus some more unique photo ops.

We decided to do the regular self-guided tour and explore the areas at our leisure, without being hampered by a time limit.


Opening times

It's always worth checking with the venue for their current opening times, as they can vary.

We visited in the summer when they were open from 10 am until 7 pm.


Anything else worth mentioning

  • Access for wheelchairs was pretty good all round. No braille obvious on displays. Check with the venue for any accessibility needs.

  • On site parking that fills up fast is mentioned in many online reviews.


 

Where we stayed:

World of Coca-Cola partners with several hotels in the downtown Atlanta area. You can find out which hotels via their website.

We stayed in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, mainly as it was 7 minutes from the World of Coca-Cola and had valet parking for our hire car. We had found that Atlanta was pretty much fully booked when we booked a few weeks before our trip. Must have been those darned convention goers.

The hotel is enormous and had some great architecture and a quiet room on a high floor as we requested, as we had just gotten off a long-haul flight from Amsterdam. Our friendly waitress gave us a free drink at the bar during our dinner, as we were so jet-lagged. The Southern hospitality rumours appeared to be true.

The manager of the restaurant at breakfast the next morning, asked us about their new buffet offer. We gave our positive feedback and she proceeded to make us feel even more welcome, by not charging us for our meal. We told her she didn't have to, but she insisted. Southern hospitality is amazing.

The hotel certainly has a lot of facilities, but one tip is not to bring an electric car, as they don't have many spaces for them. When we were picking up our hire car the next morning from their underground lot, there were a few disgruntled guests who had electric cars that couldn't get charged as the spaces were already full.


Getting here:

We were on a 3-week road trip travelling from Atlanta to Detroit, with lots of stops planned along the route. We travelled from Scotland with Delta via Amsterdam to Atlanta and picked up a hire car and parked at the hotel and walked to the World of Coca-Cola. It was a breeze. The Delta cabin crew were great and we paid extra for Premium Economy for a bit of extra legroom, which was well worth it.


What else is there to see close by:

On the same campus as the World of Coca-Cola is the Georgia Aquarium. A very popular attraction in Atlanta it is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Ocean Voyager exhibit, which features a massive acrylic tunnel that allows visitors to walk through a 6.3-million-gallon tank filled with whale sharks and other sea creatures.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent and Social Change, or The King Center, was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King and is the official memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who was from Atlanta.


Feeling in need of more inspiration? Why not head to The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum that connects the U.S. Civil Rights Movement to current human rights challenges.


Opened in April 2023 is the new LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta at Phipps Plaza, following a $5 million renovation project, adding a host of new areas including DUPLO Park (with the oversized bricks for younger builders), a spaceship-building station, and a racing VR experience.


There are also art galleries, food markets and sports stadiums if you're not stuck in one of the many conferences held in the city.


Chattanooga, Tennessee, our next stop, was 2 hours by car north of Atlanta. We headed up Lookout Mountain on the Incline Railway and found we hadn't enough time for much more, so that would be worth a longer stop. We did not have time for the Ruby Falls or many of the hikes, which we found needed to be booked in advance too.


Visited: July 2021

Photographs: ©Julie White unless noted otherwise


Disclaimer - The views and opinions expressed are solely my own. I paid for the tours in full and any comments reflect my personal experiences on that day. Please visit and garner your own thoughts and feel free to research the brand and the visitor centre in question.



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