Monday, February 28, 2011

World of Coke - A Birthday Wish Come True

Adventure Journal  - Entry Date: January 2011 - Read the full story
For his 8th Birthday, we told Heath he could go anywhere he wanted. His answer? "World of Coke," and quite emphatically. Rebecca recently visited World of Coke on a field trip with her students, and told our kids how cool it was, especially the "tasting room."  Personally, I didn't think the kids would find a museum very exciting. I was wrong.

World of Coke is part of Centennial Park located in Downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the city's world famous Aquarium, CNN Center, the Georgia Dome, and Phillips Arena. Centennial Park was created for the 1996 Olympics. It's an unusually open grassy area unexpectedly planted smack-dab in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world. We arrived late on a Saturday morning, ready to rock.

When we first entered the World of Coke, it was apparent that this was a tribute to the history of the product, a museum. We were ushered into a foyer where a we were introduced to the history of Coca Cola and some of the artifacts around the room, including an original Norman Rockwell Painting.

One of many exhibits depicting Coke's history
 The next stop was the Happiness Factory Theater where we learned the truth about the phenomenon that takes place behind the front panel of a Coke machine. I never knew about... Well, I guess I'd better not let the cat out of the bag. Just let me say, the kids will like it, and it's true, Coke is magic!

The polar bear was a big hit with the kids. 
We had our picture made with one of the the Coca Cola Polar Bears next, but, in our excitement, we forgot to pick it up at the gift shop. From there we wandered through a history of Coca Cola and all the related memorabilia. Think about it. What other product better depicts Americana of the 20th century than Coke? It's hard to imagine any public place during the 1900s that did not have a Coke machine. Just think about it.

The Tribe sampling some European Flavors.
We climbed the stairs to the second floor and enjoyed the show in the 4D theater, a fantasy story about the secret of the Coca Cola formula. Again, this was a big hit for the kids.

After a brief layover in the Perfect Pauses theater enjoying the Coca Cola commercials from our childhood as well as international commercials, we succumbed to the children's demands to visit the "tasting room."

Lainey reacts to Beverly, an Italian endeavor.
The tasting room (taste it!) is what the kids came for. There are a series of soda fountain islands evenly spaced in a large room (with an adjacent restroom). Each island represents a world region and dispenses the Coca Cola products available in that region. We had to try each and every flavor. There is one important lesson we all learned, and that is -- what is good to someone else isn't necessarily good to us. The infamous "Beverly" is a perfect example. If you visit the World of Coke, you MUST taste Beverly, just so you can say you did.

In summary, World of Coke is a great destination, at least for 2-3 hours. It's good for kids, and better for grown-ups. If you're concerned about what to do with the rest of the day, the aquarium or any of the other local attractions should suit your needs. 
This Winter picture of the World of Coke (center) shows the Atlanta skyline from Centennial Park

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