Anyway, we rolled into Atlanta and got the hook up at the downtown W near Centennial Olympic Park. X-man had spiked a fever in Nashville, so once we checked in we made him have some TV time and rest while the ibuprofen kicked in. Then later on, when he was feeling better, we cooled him off (it was 85 degrees) in the hotel pool for a half hour.
The next morning we went to the World of Coke. MacTroll had pre warned me that it was a really cheesy experience. They've made a big deal that the secret "recipe" for Coke got moved from a vault at a bank to the World of Coke a couple years ago. But it's not like they actually show you the recipe... So, really what was the point of that. I'm not big into vintage Cola wear, but I did like watching the miniature bottling plant. They make the small glass bottles of Coke (leaded, no diet is available) and then they churn them out for visitors to pick one up at the end of their tour.
To see all of the movies and what not takes about 90 minutes. X-man was not into the movies. He liked the bottling section and the tasting section, where the little man ran around with a plastic cup in a land full of various fountain soda panels from various countries tasting all of the different sodas. If you're in Italy, avoid something called Beverly like the plague. Blah! At the end of the tasting, X-man was sad his favorite soda, Sprite, wasn't there. So MacTroll walked him up to the free access to the Coke Freestyle machines and got him some. :-) He picked up our three bottles of Coke and into the gift shop he went. He was sad there was nothing really exciting there. I was sad that everything was generic Coke... I was hoping for some special Diet Coke gear for my friends who are Diet Coke fiends. Alas, none. The whole thing took us 45 minutes.
Afterwards, we walked into the park where the St. Patrick's Marathon was going on. Usually the marathon runs in 50 degree weather in March, but, um, it started at 70 and you could tell the runners were feeling it. We ate at the Googie restaurant in the middle of the park. They serve burgers and fries and shakes, but they did have a pretty mean black bean burger for me.
Afterwards we walked over to the Imagine It! Children's Museum. And I have to admit, for a city the size of Atlanta, we were all pretty underwhelmed. X-man made the most of the few things he found not too babyish. It really should be a specified "toddler" museum. X-man spent most of his time running a machine that rounded up small plastic balls and then dumped them in a big bucket. He also got kind of pissy with the three year olds who would not sort their fruit in the correct areas when putting them away.
After the children's museum, we went back to the hotel for quiet time and to swim in the pool. That night we walked over to Max Lager's because they had the most veggie friendly items. But I guess downtown Atlanta (the awesome parking mecca that it is because you can park all day there for $3 within two blocks of all of the tourist stuff), isn't used to having large crowds because the marathon folks ate the restaurant out of EVERYTHING. We had to order four times before they had something for us to eat. It was -- Odd. There was a giant chalkboard with over half the menu with the number 86 next to it (meaning -- none left).
The next morning we walked back to the park and went to the Georgia Aquarium. My expectations were pretty high, mostly because they have branded themselves as the world's largest and BEST aquarium. (Seriously, they say it while you're waiting in line to get in.)
Our first stop was to go to the dolphin show. What happened to aquariums being educational? When did they all turn into freaking Sea World? The show had very little to do with dolphins, they were like -- extras. There was all this crazy sprinkling of rain and spraying of water to simulate being on a ship while some guy sang a song about how his ship got taken over by water monsters. It was all very strange. Then we walked through the exhibits and it was terribly overcrowded. There was one area for kids to play in, where the kids went up in a climber and the adults watched from a ship below. Then there wasn't much information around the exhibits. They were just large tanks with really wonderful fish and mammals in them. But there was very little information or just space to enjoy. And it was nearly impossible for kids to actually reach in and touch some of the "touchable" exhibits.
Then we played at all-accessible playground in the park before going back to the room for quiet time. The most quiet time we got was when we all crawled through the child access to the Penguin exhibit. This was fun. We got to watch them swim by and then we stood up in the middle of the exhibit. Hello little penguins!
That evening, we piled into our car and drove to a great veggie friendly restaurant that MacTroll used to frequent back in the days when he was flying around training for the Fruit, the R Thomas Deluxe Grill. I think X-man at the most there than he had all week, since he wasn't feeling well.
We decided to drive back to Illinois in one day. But we stopped at Metropolis, IL on the way. And guess who we ran into there?