Interestingly enough, traffic was not the nightmare it had been the day before. Really strange, but we weren't complaining. We found our parking for the day and headed out on our little walk to the CNN Studio. It took several of us looking at our maps on our phones, but we found it in no time. On our way there, we passed the outside of the aquarium and Football Hall of Fame and Olympic Park, so I got some shots of those since I had neglected to the day before. It's still strange to me that the aquarium is literally down town.
CNN was not very far at all! We were also grateful for the cloudy skies!
A few pictures of the crew. (Looks like Calvin is wearing the same exact shirt he did the day before!)
I'm not sure what I expected, but I was surprised to discover CNN Studio was inside a building that shared a hotel. For reporters maybe? CNN took up a big chunk of the space, but where we first walked in, there were hotel rooms in one direction and some other shops and businesses in another.
We got in line and waited for our tour around 11:10am. We had to then proceed through several layers of security before we were told to get on the giant escalator that would carry us up to the huge globe.
I am not afraid of heights. I love roller coaster rides. But I was shocked when I saw how long the escalator ride was. It doesn't look half that long when you look at it from the outside. (That's Calvin up at the top of this picture). They say this is the world's longest escalator--196 feet over 8 stories.
I also made the mistake of looking back at the rest of our group behind me and between the open height and movement, I almost lost my balance!! Here are a couple of views from the "ride."
This is what it looked like near the top inside the globe. After our group arrived, we got another picture taken up at the top--it was a really great one. Almost wish we bought it.
As it turned out, the Bastille Day Massacre in France had just happened the night before, so it was the top headline, with all sorts of stories being aired by CNN when we were there. It was ironically sad that they happened to be airing the story about the death of a Texas father and son as we were riding up the escalator.
We were only allowed to take pictures in few areas and this was one of them.
The first stop was on a pretend set complete with a desk, cameras, teleprompters, etc.
This is Fallon, our tour guide.
She needed some volunteers to show how the weather report works and she selected two Houghs (our non-twins)!
Fallon explained how the green screen worked and Calvin was the perfect example of what NOT to wear as a meteorologist!
Fallon made reference to Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility and the kids enjoyed seeing their bodies disappear on the TV screen :)
After that, we walked down the building quietly through several different floors of the rest of the studio as we watched lots of people behind the scenes flurry around on the floor and at their desks on phones and at their computers gathering all the information they could with big TVs and clocks everywhere. Atlanta is CNN's world headquarters.
Fallon asked the group if we knew what CNN stood for. Someone offered "Clinton News Network" ;) It actually stands for Cable News Network founded by Ted Turner of the Turner Broadcasting System back in 1980. When it first launched it was the the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage and the first all-news channel in the United States.
The tour itself was only about an hour, maybe less and then we headed back to the picnic tables we sat at the day before. The big boys and Jared went to get our food from the car, while some of the kids rested :)
Next up--the World of Coca Cola! Which was just across the grassy square from our picnic tables. (Anybody see JJ?)
But first--some pictures with the bottle cap! I especially enjoy the one with just Jared :)
As we entered the doors, we came into a large lobby. Not too different from a movie theater, except that the handful of people behind the counter were not selling anything...they were giving away aluminum bottles of Coke--regular, diet or zero. I saved four of the kids' bottles. I thought these were souvenirs and didn't want them opened. Jared and Jake drank theirs. Technically, Jake was supposed to be in cross-country training and wasn't supposed to have any soda. But he did and he took this picture and sent it to his teammates who then razzed him for it :)
We decided to stand next to the African one in honor of Grandma and Grandpa Lee. It was decorated and designed with millions of itty bitty beads!!!
Soon we were lead through the double doors into what felt sort of like a movie theater, minus the screen and seats. Instead there was Coke paraphernalia every where you looked, even up!
The guide pictured above gave us about a 5-10 minute presentation about a brief history of Coca-Cola before we emptied out into the rest of the museum to go wherever we wanted.
We had told the kids we would take them to meet the polar bear who was standing in the center of the museum. There was a line, but certainly not amusement park level by any means.
Karcyn was SO excited!!
Pure joy on her face!
They had a professional photographer there to capture the moments, but I loved that they allowed you to give them your camera to a second staff member who would also take pictures for you with your phone. Jared, Jake and Cooper didn't feel the need to stand with a stuffed bear, so we tried it with the three little kids. We kept telling JJ the polar bear wasn't real, just pretend. I'm not sure what was going through his little four-year-old head, but he wasn't so sure about the polar bear. Aunt Kelly and was gently persuading him to stand a little closer! :)
Then I tried to do the same!
All the while, Calvin was hiding behind the bear's scarf. Seriously? And JJ wouldn't take his eyes off the bear.
Yay! A picture with four-fifths of us looking at the camera. JJ still wasn't so sure.
But eventually, even if just for a split second, JJ conformed. His face says it all.
Calvin gave the polar bear a high-five! JJ kept a safe distance.
Then it was off to the vault where the secret recipe is stored! We had to go through security here, too!
More displays outside of the vault.
Next stop--the 4-D Theater!! We weren't sure what to expect (I personally, hate 3-D anything), but it was very similar to being on a small amusement park ride. The seats moved, bumped, shook and tilted and we got poked and jostled and sprayed with air and water! SO FUN! The show was less than 15 minutes, but we all loved it!
After the 4-D theater, we looked at a few more displays. Some of the kids designed their own Coke bottle artwork.
Last but not least--the tasting room! Here you could taste Coca-Cola drink products from five different regions from all over the world.
As one may imagine the floors were a bit sticky! But it was cool to at least say you've tried colas from other parts of the world.
Personally, I tried one or two from each region, but man, GROSS! They tasted like bubble gum or medicine or licorice or were too dang sweet or just plain wrong. I tolerated the ginger ale soda from Mexico. But that was about it.
I can't believe all of these different Coca-Cola products are here in North America. I haven't heard of or seen three-fourths of these drinks!
There was also a station where you could make your own cola by combining different Coke products. (What is Coca-Cola Life on the end in the green?)
Cooper dabbled in that and here he is pondering on his concoction of four different colas :)
And then it was time to go. Once you left the tasting room, you were exiting the museum. This led to another line where each patron selected their own old-school glass souvenir Coke bottle that says "The World of Coca-Cola" on it. At the end of the line, a worker gave you a small drawstring bag to put your bottle in to carry it. Wow--a Coke when you enter and a Coke when you leave. Pretty cool--even if you aren't into soda :) I highly recommend the World of Coke as a stop if you are ever in Atlanta. Especially if you don't have hours to spend at the Aquarium. It was a great experience!
I hadn't noticed this part of the museum until we were leaving...the floating Coke bottle.
On the way back to the suburban, Jake couldn't help his Parkour self.