My union sent me to a class in Atlanta and realizing that I probably would only ever visit that city once in my life, I went sightseeing whenever I could. The class was held in the very nice Westin downtown and my room had a great view. I only had one day to myself and I used it to visit the Cyclorama, the Margaret Mitchell House, and the Georgia Aquarium.
The Cyclorama is a gigantic diarama/painting of the Battle of Atlanta from the Civil War. The painting lines the walls of a large round room and is about three stories tall. In front of the painting along the floor is a three dimensional depiction of more of the battle that integrates into the painting. And in the middle of the room is a slowly rotating grandstand that gives people a complete view of the scene. I was impressed with both the technology and the painting, but after spinning around twice I was kind of bored with it. It’s kind of old and dusty and while it must be seen once, that is probably is enough.
After that I went to the Margaret Mitchell House which is the apartment where she wrote most of Gone with the Wind. I’ve been a big fan of the book since I first read it in high school. I’ve since read it twice more and even a couple of sequels that took the story in very different directions. I’ve seen the movie more times that I can remember and have a copy on DVD in case I want to watch it again. But I’m not a fan of this site. For one, she only lived in a small apartment on the first floor of building which burned down before it was reconstructed to be a tourist attraction. None of the furnishings in the apartment were hers although they were period appropriate. The tour was short and not all that informative. I can say I’ve been there but that’s all I took away from the place.
From there, I went to the Georgia Aquarium. I wasn’t expecting much, I mean this is Atlanta which is not very close to any oceans. But, it was amazing. It is easily the largest aquarium that I’ve been to and it has whale sharks. I’ve seen them on TV but in real life they are ever so much more impressive. Up to now my favorite fish tank has been the giant deep ocean tank at Monterey, but I have a new favorite. This one is similar but so much more, and it include a tunnel to go through it. The massive size of the whale sharks and the giant rays kind of draws all of the attention but there are lots of other fish there too. If this was the only tank, it would be enough, but thats only about a sixth of the whole aquarium. There were fresh water sections, sea otters, penguins, beluga’s, dolphins, and lots and lots of other exhibits.
All of the rest of my time in Atlanta was spent going to class, spending a night bar hopping with my classmates and instructors, and getting to and from the airport (easily the crazy-biggest airport I’ve ever been in.) I can’t see going back for anything except the aquarium and don’t ever see that happening.