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Posts Tagged ‘Things to do in Atlanta’

The Georgia Aquarium

A couple of weeks ago while in Atlanta I was fortunate to be able to attend a private dinner at the Georgia Aquarium.  I have to tell you that I was pretty excited to go to the world’s largest aquarium and the fact that I was going to be able to take in the galleries while the aquarium was closed to the public was icing on he cake.

During the dinner in the ballroom we were able to enjoy a pretty spectacular backdrop, the Ocean Voyager exhibit.  This exhibit was created to house whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world, so you can understand why this particular tank holds 6.3 million gallons of water.  In addition to the four whale sharks, there were also four manta rays which were beautiful.  Of course the whale sharks and manta rays were the star of the show, but the stingrays and goliath grouper were also pretty amazing too.

Told you they were pretty big.

After our dinner we were able to tour the aquarium freely for a couple of hours. We visited all the regions of the world ranging from the cold ocean waters to the warm coral reefs.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the beluga whales and the southern sea otters in the Cold Water Quest gallery.  The sea otters, which are endangered species were adorable and there was a cute little baby snuggled up to its mom.

Southern Sea Otters

There were several other galleries like the Georgia Explorer where there were many touch pools and interactive exhibits.  We saw an albino alligator in the River Scout gallery.  In the dolphin tales exhibit, we saw what else…two dolphins entertaining each other.  The Frog exhibit which opened up in the beginning of the year had over fifteen species of frogs and many were quite colorful.

I really enjoy scuba diving and Key West, so it is no surprise that my favorite gallery was the Tropical Diver.  It was so relaxing and we were able to see “Nemo”, seahorses and amazing jellyfish.  At the center the exhibit was one of the largest living exhibits which I guess is to be expected since is in the largest aquarium. There was even waves crashing overhead while we sat mesmerized while viewing the living corals, thousands of colorful fish and tiny glass sweepers.

My favorite picture from the Georgia Aquarium.

Pacific Sea Nettle Jellies

Moon Jellies

I really enjoyed my evening at the Georgia Aquarium and would love to return with my family.   I also really thought the location was perfect for families, so we will have quite a few places to check out.  The Georgia Aquarium is surrounded by the World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center where you can tour the CNN Studio and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. There is no other place that can claim that they are the home of the world’s largest aquarium and the fact that there so many other family friendly things to do makes Atlanta a great place to spend a weekend. What do you think?

Have you been to the Georgia Aquarium?

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Thirty-three million copies of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize novel, Gone With The Wind has been read since it was first hit book stores in 1936.  This historical romance is the 8th most read book in the world.

Gone With The Wind is the eighth most read book in the world!

I am one of those thirty-three million.  I truly love the book and the movie which was released in 1939 and won 10 Academy Awards in 1940.  Scarlet O’Hara was one of my favorite characters growing up.  My Granny gave me a Scarlet O’Hara Madame Alexander doll for my ninth birthday and on that very same year I also had a Scarlet O’Hara birthday cake.  Of course when I was nine, I had not read the book yet, but had seen the movie, which was enough for me to reenact the romantic drama in my pretend world with my Scarlet Doll and Ken Barbie.

My Madame Alexander Scarlett O’Hara doll from 1977.

My Scarlet O’Hara birthday cake with my aunt, cousin, sister and granny in the background.

With such fond memories, the first place I decided to visit on a scheduled business trip to Atlanta was the Margaret Mitchell House. So a week ago today, I arrived a half a day early for my meeting, braved the rain and navigated the Marta from my downtown hotel to the Birthplace of Gone With The Wind.

Apartment # 1

Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh’s apartment.

Margaret Mitchell and her second husband John Marsh lived in the Crescent Avenue apartment in the 1920’s. In 1926, Mitchell left her job as a journalist for the Atlanta Journal to recover from ankle surgery.  While homebound in Apartment # 1 (which she referred to as “the dump”) and bored with reading, her husband suggested that she write her own book.  As we know today, that is exactly what she did over a three-year period.

A week has past since my visit and I am still excited that I spent time in the very apartment which she lived and penned one of my favorite stories.  The apartment was pretty small and crowded with furniture with a desk near the front window where she wrote her now famous novel.  When I say small, I mean like Manhattan apartment small.  There was no eat in kitchen and the breakfast table was actually in the only bedroom. Apparently she didn’t mind, because she didn’t like to cook for guest.

The living room with Margaret’s desk in the corner where she wrote Gone With The Wind.

The bedroom that also served as a small dining room for Margaret and John.

The small kitchen off the bedroom. The icebox was just outside the back door.

Margaret Mitchell:  A Passion for Character Exhibition

This exhibit focused on Mitchell’s life as a writer and ranged  from her early childhood to her time as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal.  The exhibit also looked at how the book affected her life.  She never had any children and referred to her novel as her child.   I really enjoyed this exhibit and found myself fascinated by the interesting facts about her family that came out in her writing.  For instance Mitchell returned home from college one day after her mother died from influenza, just like Scarlet returned home to Tara one day after her mother died.  I also wondered like many others if Rhett was based on Red, her first husband and if Ashley was based on her second husband John.  She claimed that no character was based on any one person, but on characteristics and the lives of many people she knew.  I also got a kick out of learning that after dancing to ragtime at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in the 1920s, Margaret Mitchell was denied membership to the Atlanta Junior League. In 1939, the league asked her to be the guest of honor at a costume ball for the premiere of “Gone With the Wind,” but she declined their invitation.

Margaret’s desk from the Atlanta Journal. The legs had to be cut down since she was 4’9”.  I love the picture above the desk of Margaret surrounded by men just like the opening scene of Gone With the Wind when Scarlett was surrounded by men on the steps of Tara.

A picture of a picture – Margaret’s risque dancing.

Gone With The Wind has been translated in 35 different languages.

The Making of a Film Legend:  Gone with the Wind Exhibition

The first thing I saw when I opened the doors to this exhibit was the original doors from Tara.  They were beautifully restored after being stowed away in a Georgia barn after being removed from the set.  When I turned left the next thing that I saw was the original portrait of Scarlet that hung in Rhett and Scarlet’s Atlanta Mansion.  The portrait was restored because it was damaged by the whiskey glass that Clark Gable threw at it while filming the movie.  It would have been cool if they had left it in its original state.  There was also a short film in the exhibit that detailed the transformation of the novel  to the classic film.

The original doors from Tara.

The original portrait of Scarlet O’Hara that hung in the Atlanta Mansion in the movie.

It’s hard to believe that after reading 1037 pages and watching a four-hour movie numerous times that I only spent about an hour in the home where Gone With The Wind began. Although it was only an hour it was a very happy hour which was actually around noon and not five o’clock.  Learning about Margaret Mitchell has given me an even greater appreciation of Gone With The Wind. This is something that I never would have imagined as a nine year old girl playing with my Scarlet O’Hara doll and quoting lines like “Fiddle-dee-dee” and “After all…tomorrow is another day”  in my most southern voice or giggling as I cursed for the first time whenI made my Ken Barbie say “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

When is the last time you have seen

Gone With The Wind?  

If it has been a while, and you don’t have four hours

check out this 2 minute clip from SUPERCUT on YouTube!

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