Category Archives: On the Road Again
Another item on our to do list in Atlanta was the zoo. We’ve never been to Zoo Atlanta, well Rob has, but it’s been years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s some highlights from our afternoon there.
The zoo covers 40+ acres of which most of it is has nice shaded areas with lots of trees. I enjoyed the fact that many of the exhibits could be viewed from several different angles. That’s always important when you’re trying to find where some of the animals may be hiding.
The panda exhibit is like nothing I’ve seen before. There are 7 pandas that live their; 3 of which were on exhibit for us to see the day we were there. They were so entertaining. Here you see my boys standing in front of the exhibit where these 2 pandas played and put on quite a show for all those watching.
Here’s the 3rd panda that we watched. He was very busy eating some delicious bamboo.
And you know I love tigers!
Lots of fun photo op boards all around the zoo.
I adore giraffe every time we see them at a zoo.
Lots of super cool birds. Zoo Atlanta is the home to 50 bird species, including the world’s largest bird species. Anyone know what that is?
Willie B was the face of zoo Atlanta for nearly 40 years. Here’s the tribute they have for him near the gorilla exhibit.
Lots of really cool amphibians and reptiles. They are currently raising money to build a new indoor/outdoor Amphibian & Reptile Complex, which will be really awesome.
The boys had fun climbing the rock wall and the canopy climber. As a family we also enjoyed the train and the carrousel.
Zoo Atlanta is a little on the high side as far as admission prices go. However, our tickets were included on the City Pass. Regardless, its a great zoo!
Another excursion on our City Pass while in Atlanta was a tour of the CNN Studios. We knew that this would be a great activity to squeeze in between other events. They start a new tour about every 10 minutes and they last about an hour. Up until a few years ago they didn’t allow small children, but we found out while on the tour that they have lifted that restriction. We kinda wished for our tour they’d bring it back.
The tour starts off with a long ride up the world’s longest escalator at 196 feet long; 8 stories high. From there you learn about how an International broadcasting network runs. You’ll see how a teleprompter works, as well as the now retired green screen for weather maps and the new technology that is now used. You’ll find out why you won’t see Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper in the Atlanta studio.
After the tour, enjoy lunch at the food court at the CNN Center. Here you see, Rob made the boys get a pic with the patriotic Chick-fil-a cow.
While we were on our little staycation trip in Atlanta, one thing on our list to do was ride the Skyview Atlanta, ferris wheel. Its located right in the heart of Atlanta on Luckie St. beside the Tabernacle. Although, a bit pricey, its one of those things you say you could live without doing, but it’s well worth it. You get beautiful views as you leisurely, move through 4 complete rotations of the wheel.
I am a bit leery of heights, but thought I could stomach it. I’ll have to say that I buried my head in Rob’s chest for the first minute or so, until I mustered up enough courage. I was glad Rob coaxed me into looking up because there are some nice views when you’re up top.
My kids with Rachel
Interesting facts about the Skyview.
As much as I’m surprised to hear myself say this, I’d like to do it again, but this time at night. Seeing Atlanta all lit up from the top would be spectacular. Either in the light or at night, I’d recommend you do this at least once. I can at least mark it off my bucket list!
Over the 4th of July we took a trip to Atlanta for a little staycation. We got the City Pass, which was a great deal and gave us plenty do. We had a great time at the World of Coke back in 2007 and found it to be even better this time.
Your tour starts by getting an introduction by a super enthusiastic guide, who shares lots of amazing facts about Coke, as well as pointing out many of the sings and memorabilia around the room. From there you go into a theater and watch the video called Moments of Happiness.
The Vault was an exhibit that wasn’t there the last time we were there. I will have to say it was amazing! The technology that was used was like nothing I’d ever seen before from holograms, magic drawers, secret cameras, and more. There are 100+ new Coke Secret Formula artifacts displayed in the most intriguing way. At the very end of this exhibit you see the real live vault, where the real live Coke recipe is stored. WOW!
The next exhibit we visited was called Milestones of Refreshment, which houses a large collection of all types of memorabilia from an old delivery truck to vintage Coke vending machines.
Bottle Works in the next exhibit we walked through. It demonstrates how Coke is bottled in an actual bottling plant just on a much scaled down version.
The 4D movie, Search of the Secret Formula, was just as I remembered it, however, still super entertaining! Don’t leave without seeing it. Beware. It may be a bit scary for little ones.
The last exhibit you’ll visit is the favorite of many. In Taste It you’ll get to taste 60 different flavors of Coke from around the world. I will tell you if you try every kind, your tummy will hurt when you’re done!
We had a great time at the World of Coke. I highly recommend it. I’d suggest allowing about 3 hours to go through at a comfortable speed, see everything including the 4D movie. And don’t leave without getting to see the Coke Bear!
See more pictures from the World of Coke here.
We recently took a trip to Atlanta over the 4th of July weekend for a little staycation. We got the City Pass, which kept us busy the 3 days we were there at a discount rate. Our first attraction was the Georgia Aquarium. We went to the Georgia Aquarium back in 2007, but that was before they expanded so it was exciting to see all that has been added.
There are 6 exhibits, a live dolphin show called Dolphin Tales, and a 4D movie called Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow. You can find a map of all the exhibits here.
At the Cold Water Quest exhibit you’ll see a collection of animals that live in the cold environments, obviously. Here you get to see the 4 Beluga Whales (Grayson, Qinu [Kee-nu], Maris, and Beethoven) as well as Harbor Seals, Giant Pacific Octopus, Sea Dragons, Southern Sea Otters, and African Penguins. You get the opportunity to touch sea urchins and star fish in the Rocky Shore Tidal Pool.
In the River Scout exhibit, you’ll see animals found in the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia, as well as Georgia. One of the really cool animals you’ll see is the American Alligator that is an albino. How often do you get see one of those? The exhibit also features Amazon Exotics, African Cichlids, Archerfish, Freshwater Turtles, Piranha, and Asian Small-Clawed Otters.
The Georgia Explorer features Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Grey Triggerfish, Pencil Sea Urchin, Arrow Crab, just name a few. One of the coolest fish I saw the entire day was the Red Lionfish. I was able to get some really pretty pictures of them, because they didn’t move much.
The family enjoyed the shark and ray touch pool in this exhibit.
In the exhibit called Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies, it takes you out of the world of living exhibits for something a little different. We learned a great deal about how the bodies of sea animals were created to live in the deep blue seas. The creators of this exhibit took these amazing (deceased) sea creatures and preserved them by using a revolutionary polymer preservation technique known as plastination.
Lastly is the Ocean Voyager exhibit which was for sure my favorite. Here you’ll go through the exhibit tunnel, where you’ll be surrounded by fish swimming by and even overhead. You will see Sting Rays, Blacktip Reef Shark, Blue Runner, Giant Grouper, Longcomb Sawfish, Sandbar Shark, Zebra Shark, Hogfish, and 100′s of other species of fish.
This exhibit houses the world’s largest indoor aquatic habitat and when you go into the room with the towering glass wall, its just amazing to watch 4 Whale Sharks along with Manta Ray and 100s of other fish. Absolutely breath taking.
The dolphin show was pretty cool too. I was surprised that it had a broadway-like-singer, with the dolphins coming out set to a story with music and lighting effects. A little silly and over the top, in my opinion. I would have been more interested in hearing about the dolphins and learning more about their training, etc. The reason you don’t see any pictures of the dolphins or the show is because you are not allowed to take pictures or video.
If you plan to go to the Georgia Aquarium, you can eat at the Café Aquaria. However, I’d recommend going to the information desk and get your ticket stamped for re-entry. When we were about three-fourths of the way done seeing everything we decided we needed to stop and eat lunch, so we walked over to the CNN center. The CNN center has a wide variety of places to eat in their food court.
When planning a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, I would recommend at least half a day. If you’re with a group bigger than 4 people, definitely plan for longer. Or if you’re like me, I wanted to go back to a couple exhibits and see part of the exhibit a second time around. I mean you’re paying all this money might as well get your moneys worth, right? And definitely plan to get there early. The best times to be there are early in the day and late in the day after the crowds die down.
The Georgia Aquarium is a must see! So next time you’re in Atlanta, don’t pass it up!
See more pics from our trip the aquarium here.
Day 3 of our trip consisted of another hot breakfast, chapel, clean up, hike, and drive home.
For lunch we stopped in Murphy, NC at an A&W for some burgers and shakes.
I have enjoyed each of the Cub Scout summer trips we’ve been on so much. I blogged about the last 2 years (see links below):
Cub Scout Beach Trip 2013::Pensacola, FL
Cub Scout Mountain Trip 2011::Lake Winfield Scott, GA
See a few more pics from Day 3 here.
If you missed my post on the 1st Day of our Cub Scout Mountain trip, click here.
The 2nd day ended up being a little different for us. Many folks decided to go white water rafting on the Nantahala River. This is not a scout sanctioned event, so this was just an outing for any family that wanted to go. Rob and I had decided not to go, because Rob will be doing it soon with the boy scout troop. However, we didn’t want Monkey to miss out if he wanted to go, which he did, so he ended up getting to go with another family. Here’s a collage I did of a few pics that one of the Dads took during their rafting adventure…
After everyone left for the Nantahala, Rob and I hopped in the car. I had wanted to go to Bryson City. I have been following Ashley over at Lil Blue Boo, who recently moved there and she’s been posting some really cool places. Bryson City is about 35 miles from our campground.
We were actually headed in the same direction as the rest of the people on our trip, towards the Nantahala. We ended up going right by the drop off point that they would be using so we stopped for a few minutes and I snapped a few shots.
From there we continued our drive on into Bryson City with a couple more quick stops. Bryson City is a cute little town. We stopped at the visitor information center, which is located inside the Swain County Heritage Museum. They were super helpful and pinpointed for us exactly where we wanted to go and how to get there.
We hadn’t had any caffeine for the day, so we decided to walk around in Bryson City to see if we could find something before we started our site-seeing.
Next, we headed to our first spot of interest, the Road to Nowhere. In the 1930′;s-40′s, the federal government began building this road along with the tunnel that goes through a mountain. Due to unforeseen issues they were unable to finish it.
This tunnel is super dark and longer than it looks when you walk up to it. Rob and I both had our iPhones with us and that flash light really did no good. So if you want to see the ground that you’re stepping on, I suggest a high powered flashlight.
Once we made it to the other side, we decided to continue on for a hike. The volunteer at the visitor center said there were a couple different trails. We forgot the map back at the car, so we were happy to see this sign not far from the end of the tunnel.
We decided we didn’t need to go down to Fontana lake, because we didn’t want to hike quite that far. So we decided to do the Tunnel Bypass Trail, 1.6 miles.
The yellow highlighted trail is from where you park till where we saw the sign with our hiking trail options. The red highlight shows the bypass trail.
Beautiful views and sights of nature along our hike.
After we left there we wanted to see some falls, so we headed over to Deep Creek Falls. What we didn’t realize is that this is now a huge tourist trap, as you can rent tubes for a nominal fee and tube all day long. We ended up getting the heck outta dodge and decided to come back on a week day next time we’re up this way.
At this point, we were hungry so we went back downtown and had a lovely lunch at The Filling Station. Since it was after the normal lunch period, many of the spots downtown were already closed.
We walked down the street for some dessert at Soda Pops, but beware this is a cash only establishment. We didn’t find this out until we were handed our shakes, so we had to make a quick trip to an ATM.
That evening back at camp, I enjoyed some quiet time in the tent just reading, while others chatted and of course, the boys found the mud again. Dinner that evening was chicken fajitas and Mexican rice. Who said you can’t eat good while camping?
See all of Day 2 pics here.
Read about our 3rd day here.
Friday morning we got up early, gathered up a few last minute things, and hopped in the car on our way up to the Nantahala National Forrest for our last Cub Scout Summer trip ever.
I took this picture before we left. We just recently got a tow package on my Pilot, because Rob has 2 times where he has to pull trailer for scouts. The first time being this last weekend for the cub scouts. The other being next week for the boy scouts. Oh I digress…
So we had an uneventful trip up to North Carolina. We ended up stopping for lunch with our friends who were coming for the cub scout trip as well. They were stopping at Doug’s Cafe for lunch, so we decided to meet them there. When we turned in we decided it would be easier to park in the empty lot across the street. We found it curious that we saw people riding a donkey and horse, which seemed out of place.
Doug’s ended being a food truck, which I was super excited about that since I’ve been wanting to eat at a food truck.
Doug’s offers bar-be-que, Cubans, and hotdogs. All of which is reasonably priced. We all got the $5 deal (bbq sandwich, chips, and a drink).
They also had a log carved out for a bench and another bench in front of their marquee sign. As we sat eating, Rob asked the owner, Doug, where they could get fire wood. He ended up giving us some. Then, another guy came by and showed us where we could get more. Then, proceeded to tell us about his rafting and ziplining business if we were interested. As we loaded the trailer with more wood, we saw part of a wagon train arrive back.
Not long after that, we had another guy come over and inquire about our group. He invited us to come across the street to “look” at the horses, where we were then invited and given a group rate on a rancher’s rodeo Saturday night. We took the information and said we pass it along to the other families.
Our cub scouts booked a spot at Appletree Campground, which is designated for groups only.
It was a lovely spot that the kids enjoyed immensely. Who said boys are hard to please, drop them off near a
crick creek and they are good for hours upon end.
When we arrived, we were a little concerned as the skies turned overcast, so we started getting everything set up. We were very impressed with the campground as it was quite spacious and beautiful. Our outings chair is awesome!
We headed back as it was getting late and we needed to start dinner. The new cubmaster and former cubmaster (Rob) got the fire going over at the fire pit as they shared old and new scout stories.
After our dinner of hot dogs, homemade macaroni, and chips, I didn’t waste much time hitting the air mattress in the tent to enjoy my book and the nice cool temperatures.
See all the pics from Day 1 here.
Read about our Day 2 adventures that Rob and I enjoyed in Bryson City here.
A few weeks ago, we left work early, checked the kids out of school, and drove up to Atlanta for a night at the Fox. After getting up to Atlanta, we parked and decided to walk around a bit before figuring out where we would eat dinner.
We walked by this beautiful church, All Saints Episcopal Church and decided to go inside.
We ended up over on the campus of Georgia Tech.
We ate at Gladys Knights Chicken and Waffles. It was unique and good. The boys all had the Midnight Train (Chicken and Waffles). I devoured the Smothered chicken.
Outside the restaurant there are lots of beggars. Rob did his good turn, by handing over our 2 boxes of leftovers to one of them.
Love the Fox Theater, such a nice historic landmark. So glad they didn’t tear it down in the 1970′s.
See more pics here.
Remember a few weeks ago, when I wrote about the Wednesday that Rob and I had a free day from work? Well, we ended up taking a day trip up to Birmingham, since Teenager was going to be playing in a soccer game that afternoon.
We headed up towards Birmingham and ended up stopping for lunch as we were too hungry to wait till we got to B’ham. We txted some good friends who gave us some suggestions. So stopped at Big “B” Bar-B-Q in Alex City.
On the way up to B’ham, I got on my iPhone and googled free things to do there. I came across this blog that suggested Railroad Park, which is a fairly new park that sits alongside 1st Ave between 14th and 18th Streets.
And the fish bond…has literally thousands of fish. I could have sat there all day watching them. We did end up sitting there a good while watching as people came up threw pieces of bread out to the fish. They would gather up and then end up swimming down closer to us.
Regions Field, where the Birmingham Barons play, sits right next to the Railroad Park. On non-game days, it’s open to the public, but the day we were there UAB had a game there so we just had to admire it from the outside.
After leaving there we drove over to Vulcan Park and walked around.
Glad I got to spend the day with Rob finding hidden treasures in a city we’ve been to countless times!
See more pics here.