This past Friday, on our anniversary, we had our plans laid out. Well, what we didn’t plan for was the rain. A better description would be incredibly nasty downpour that lasted all day. Regardless, our plans were to be outside the entire day and those got the ax once we looked out the window.
We went to plan b- The World of Coca-Cola. Darren had been wanting to go for some time. He’d read that it would be all decorated for Christmas, so I was excited to see it. We’d been to the old World of Coca-Cola at Underground Atlanta many times. We hadn’t been since they relocated to their new location near the Georgia Aquarium.
So, off we went in the nasty, cold rain to enjoy something fun indoors. Your adventure starts in the lobby. There are quite a few large, decorative Coke bottles in the center. The one that stood out to be was the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bottle. On one wall of the lobby, were a ton of tv screens. Different pictures, stories, and quotes scrolled across them.
After a few moments, a door opened and we were taken inside to meet our tour guide. He was in the Coca-Cola Loft. He talked for a few moments, giving a brief history of the company, the advertising, and the new facilities. There was so much amazing memorabilia inside the room we were in. There was an original Norman Rockwell painting in the display case. Also in the display case was the oldest piece of Coca-Cola memorabilia at the World of Coke- the original syrup machine used by Joseph Pemberton, the creator of Coca-Cola. There were many large size advertisements from past ad campaigns. This room even featured the letters that used to grace the outside of the headquarters building.
After our history lesson, we went into a theater to see a short film about the newest Coca-Cola slogan- open happiness. It was animated and voiced by members of the Coca-Cola team. It was very cute. Raileigh loved it. She sat attentively on Dareen’s lap, taking in every second of the video.
Next, we were led into a beautiful decorated open indoor courtyard area of sorts called The Hub. Christmas decorations were everywhere. They had dozens of these shiny red trees made entirely of red balls. They were beautiful. Also in the courtyard was a polar bear. Well, someone dressed as the Coke polar bear. You could have your picture taken with him. I didn’t know that Raileigh was going to like this. She has never been receptive to costume characters before. I wanted to give it a try, though. To my surprise, she hugged and kissed the bear and gave him 5!
Off of The Hub, was a wonderful little area that showed you how Coke is made and bottled called Bottle Works. There were a lot of informative signs to let you know what was happening along the way. Raileigh’s favorite part was distracting the poor man that was trying to work at the end. She kept waving and smiling, and he couldn’t help but to wave back.
Also off of The Hub, was Milestones of Refreshment. This area walked you through the history of Coca-Cola. There was a replica soda counter at the beginning. Raileigh was not a fan of the statue behind the counter. There was also a little computer thing where you could try to freehand replicate the Coca-Cola script. It would show you how close you were at the end. Darren and I failed miserably. There was also a really neat old Coca-Cola delivery truck.
After this, we headed upstairs. Our first stop was the Coca-Cola couch. It was featured on one of the seasons of American Idol. After we rested for a moment, we headed to the 4D theater. The movie that was showing was entitled “In Search of the Secret Formula”. We all got our 3D glasses, including a kiddie pair for Raileigh. It was short little movie about a scientist and his assistant who were in search of the Coca-Cola formula. The movie ride was much rougher than I anticipated. It was very jerky. Raileigh seemed to enjoy it just fine. She sat in Darren’s lap and watched every second of the movie.
Outside of the 4D theater, there was a display on the 2010 Winter Olympics. It had a feature on some of the torch bearers. Some were Coca-Cola employees and some were teens who have made a difference in their community. it showed the route the torch would take and had one of the actual torches on display.
When we had entered upstairs, we’d taken the elevator. So, we took Raileigh down the stairs to see the beautiful trees up close on the landing. She loved seeing herself in every shiny red ball. She even kissed herself a few times. While we were looking at the trees, Raileigh spied the bear again downstairs. We walked down and she was lucky enough to see the bear up close twice! This time, she even sat in his lap!
After our second bear encounter, we headed upstairs again. This time, we headed to the Pop Culture Gallery. What a neat exhibit! There was one section that featured letters from people about Coca-Cola. There was also a green screen where you could get your photo made with the Coca-Cola Santa. I thought the most interesting part was the section that documented when Coca-Cola tried to change the Coke formula. This was a part of the Coca-Cola history I wasn’t familiar with. One piece of art that I loved was this giant metal Coke bottle that had little metal Texas silhouettes hanging from it.
Next door to the pop culture exhibit was Perfect Pauses Theater. There were three different segments to watch, and we viewed all of them. The segments all featured highlights of Coca-Cola advertising. It was really interesting to see all of the old ads. Raileigh fell asleep in here.
Next up was the most anticipated part at the World of Coca-Cola- the tasting room. There are over 60 different beverages from all over the world. The only soda I drink is Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist, so I grabbed some Minute Maid Lemonade. Darren tried the holiday Gingerbread Coca-Cola and said it just tasted like gingerbread. He wasn’t impressed. He drank a lot of his favorite soda, Barq’s.
It is widely known that the worst beverage is Beverly. It is a pallet cleanser in some European country. We decided to give Raileigh some just to see the face she would make. I filled up half a cup with Beverly and sat Raileigh on Darren’s lap. I was all set to record the awful face she would make. It never came. Raileigh didn’t seem fazed by the drink at all. In fact, she drank all of it. At one point, there was a group of employees standing around, watching in amazement that she was drinking the Beverly. As you exit the tasting room, every person is given a commemorative bottle of Coca-Cola.
After almost 4 hours, we were ready to leave. Of course, you have to exit through the gigantic Coca-Cola store. There is every Coke product imaginable. Raileigh wanted a giant stuffed polar bear that was way more money than we wanted to spend on a stuffed animal. Instead, we got her a Coca-Cola pillow that was on sale for $5 (originally $25). She’s quite happy with it.
Though it wasn’t what we originally planned, the World of Coca-Cola was a lot of fun. If you’re ever it Atlanta, it would be a great family attraction to stop at. Or, if you live here, take a day and spend it with your family at the World of Coca-Cola. You will learn more than you ever imagined about this globally recognized brand.