Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adventures in Atlanta, GA

After the Columbus Botanical Gardens, we climbed back in the car and headed for Atlanta, GA. It was a pretty nice drive. One of the first things you see as you're entering the city is the airport, which actually goes over the top of the freeway. We had planes landing and taking off on top of us as we were driving down the freeway.
We made the mistake of hitting town right as rush hour was in full force, so traffic was NUTS!!! We drove around downtown, and headed towards our hotel. The skyline was pretty cool.
We finally found our hotel, and got settled in. It was definitely cleaner than the first one we stayed in, and we liked it a lot better. There was no pool, but we were okay with that, I'll choose clean over swimming pool any day. We ate a yummy pizza dinner, and then just hung out in the hotel for the evening to let Erik catch up on some much needed sleep. (I think Ethan needed to catch up on some sleep too, he was pretty worn out from being up late working on his presentation and than adventuring around GA all day).
Wednesday morning we got up and going bright and early. We made a beeline for the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest in the world. It was a little bit more spendy than we hoped, but totally awesome!!!! You walk in with these huge floor to ceiling tanks on either side of the corridor. These are Jack, and each one is several feet long.
 Our first stop was at a pool full of things you could reach in and touch. Erik didn't care much about the sea critters, but he sure was excited to splash!

 There were so many cool fish here!
 A lion fish:
 I really thought Erik would get bored after a minute or two, but he seemed to love watching the fish, and never really got tired of it.
 They had a tank with two albino alligators, super cool!
 Hundreds of varieties of Cichlids...
Stinging Nettle Jellyfish
This was our favorite exhibit, and the one we were most looking forward to before we came. This is the Ocean Voyager exhibit, and it was AWESOME! It is the only aquarium in the U.S. that has whale sharks and manta rays. It was sooooo cool! There was a moving walkway that went through a tunnel under the tank so that you can just stand there and stare, but still move through the exhibit.
This is a Grouper, I think he could've gobbled Erik up in about one bite. He was HUGE!!
This is a whale shark. I love how you can see his top side reflected on the surface of the water. These guys were huge! There were four of them in the tank, and they were spectacular to watch, I could've stayed there all day. Unfortunately, there were somewhere around 2000 school kids(I'm not being dramatic, that number was given to us by an aquarium employee) there on field trips that day, and there is only so much shrieking that a person can take.
You can barely see another whale shark in the distance behind me and Erik here.
We saw so many more awesome things here, but our camera battery was dying, so we had to turn it off.
After leaving the aquarium and filling up on McDonald's, we decided to check out Underground Atlanta. It is several city blocks that are among the oldest in the city, and when automobiles came into play and started competing for space with the trains, the city built viaducts over the original roadways so that the trains could go underneath while auto traffic could go above. Consequentially, portions of 6 city blocks found themselves to be underground. It's now like a giant mall, and you can go down under the surface roads and shop in all the little stores there. It was neat, but not as amazing as we thought it would be.
When we returned to the surface, we decided to wander around downtown Atlanta and see the sights. Like this parking garage...
Did you know the main CNN studio is in Atlanta? Well, now you know.
We ended our wanderings in the Olympic Centennial Park, where Erik played in the fountain for a few minutes. We watched the fountain show (with the water jets timed to some music), and then headed back to our car.
Erik was worn out after all the fun, and slept almost the entire way home. He missed out on seeing the biggest mountains we've seen since we moved here, aren't they enormous?
This was such a fun trip!

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