Saturday, September 18, 2010

Under the HOTLANTA!

Day one of Operation take on the ATL, Smith family style was a fun, interesting and exhausting day. We arrived in the 2AM hour to our VRBO condo in downtown Atlanta on peachtree street greeted by the local homeless, oh, and my parents and sister. It was a great 2 bedroom condo with good security and questionable parking. It was true urban style. We hauled 2 full cart loads of luggage up the elevator to the 20th story abode. The local tenants truly thought they had new neighbors. We all slept in a little later than expected and woke up in a hurry to get to the trip highlight, the Georgia Aquarium! Coolest thing was we could see it from our balcony!

We were close enough to walk a quick 5 minutes to the aquarium and we did just that. It wasn't until we got to the corner before the aquarium that I realized I left our printed tickets in the condo. Mom volunteered to accompany me on the uphill retrieval. While we were gone, the rest of the crew explored what may have been the "free" highlight of the trip. Centennial Park, used in the 1996 Olympic games held in Atlanta. It was used for many events including the opening ceremonies. It's a mini central park with lots of Olympic history and 2 great playgrounds and a splash pad. It wasn't our last visit to that park. The slide/conveyor belt was in instant hit for everyone!

We finally enter the wonderful world under the sea and it was as amazing as I had heard. It has 4 sections laid out as tropical water, freshwater, ocean water, arctic water. I most enjoyed the Tropical tanks, especially the room with a solid tank wall. I think I could stay there for days! The arctic was cooler than I had expected. I didn't realize colorful fish could live in cold water. The beluga whales were amazing animals to watch. No words can describe the experience but lucky for us, photographs can.

Naptime was in order after the aquarium so we put Lincoln, daddy and Tracie down for a nap and mom and I took Jackson back to Centennial Park for a romp in the splash pad. He was one of the only ones playing and he loved it. We also had a letterbox to be found. We followed the email directions and it led us through the park and used code letters to find the location. Jackson was thrilled to find the "treasure" and it was a cool Olympic stamp.

I noticed at the splash pad that we were only a few blocks away from one of my childhood memories. We lived in ATL when I was in K and 1st grade and I fondly remember mom and dad taking us to the top of the Westin Plaza. Back then it was the tallest building in the skyline and it's still the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere. We walked over and took the famous glass elevator up 73 stories to the top. On the way up, mom and I were getting a little jittery and Jackson noticed. When we asked him if he liked it, he said "Yes, but I don't want it to drop." Ha! He's ridden a free fall and the tower of terror and I guess he thought this was similar. Thank goodness it's not. We got out and it was exactly as I had remembered it 25 years ago. We got a good look at the Braves stadium and Stone Mountain. After we were back on solid ground, we started walking home when we passed another one of my childhood memories. This gigantic escalator. It just goes down to the MARTA station but I think it's pretty cool.

Our dinner plans were to walk a couple of blocks to a place I had heard about called Fresh to Order or F2O. With our fancy phone GPS's in hand, we take off on an 8 block voyage that included an I 75/85 overpass and a stroll through the "not so nice" part of town on our way to midtown. Once we were there, it was such a cute city area but the walk was a little longer than we all expected. And, also we would be walking back in the dark. Other than dad, our family tends to be a little fearless after Tracie spent that summer in Brooklyn, specifically Bedford/Stuyvesant. That is a story for another day. We didn't take into consideration that it was a LONG walk for a 4 year old. Lincoln dominated the stroller and it's not necessarily a double but we made it work. Jackson held Lincoln in his lap for a ride in the stoller on the walk back. We walked fast and arrived safely. And that was Day 1 in the ATL!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh, letterboxing. I have found a few of those when out geocaching. As a matter of fact, I have a geocache hidden in downtown Fayetteville, and someone literally put a letterbox directly on top of it. Of course my geocache has been there for years, and they must have had no idea it was under there. It was pretty well hidden.