As one of just four zoos in the United States that houses giant pandas, Zoo Atlanta is a favorite attraction for tourists and locals alike. But just a short hop from the lions and tigers, there are numerous other great Atlanta attractions to make for an adventure-filled day.
Zoo Atlanta sits within Grant Park, which stretches over 131 acres of green space and recreational area and is the oldest park in the city. Bring your bikes and cycle along the meandering trails, or stroll along the historic park’s brick sidewalks. There’s also a playground, athletic fields, and picnic areas. The park and surrounding Grant Park neighborhood play host to numerous festivals throughout the year, including the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival in August that welcomes artists, food vendors and musicians.
The cemetery is tucked in the northwest corner of the Grant Park neighborhood, and is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s most famous people. Take a guided tour or meander through at your own pace, to connect with Atlanta’s history. Among the residents buried are Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, golfer Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, and Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, among more than two dozen other city mayors and Georgia governors and many Civil War soldiers. There’s even a handy smartphone app available that features 65 of the cemetery’s points of interest.
Bicycle Tours of Atlanta
Biking is the No. 1 outdoor activity in Atlanta, and there are several custom bike tours that begin and end near Zoo Atlanta. Roll past historic sites as you learn about the diverse Gateway City of the South. If you’re new to the city or a long-time resident, seeing Atlanta at a cyclist’s pace will make you fall in love with it all over again. Learn about the city’s emerging street art scene by taking a graffiti bike tour. The off-the-beaten-path tour will take you by many of the beautiful murals and provocative sculptures that paint the city’s backdrop. There are also twilight bike tours, when you can soak in the sun setting behind the stunning Atlanta skyline.
Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site
Hear the story of one of the country’s most famous heroes. Visit the home of his birth, walk in his footsteps, and hear his voice in the church where he once touched the hearts and minds of Americans. The site is one of Atlanta’s most popular tourist destinations, and features the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden, Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King Jr. and his father were both pastors, and the King Center, the final resting place of Dr. King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King.
Just four miles from Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium is the largest of its kind in North America, with over 100,000 animals housed in 38 million liters of water. Encounter sharks, dolphins and beluga whales as you tour the six themed galleries. In the Ocean Voyager exhibit, for example, you can admire the magnificent whale sharks – the only four in captivity in North America – from the 100-foot deep underwater glass tunnel.
The Aquarium is an entertaining and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With an aim to be the leading facility globally for aquatic animal and conservation issues, it instills its guests with a new appreciation for the world’s aquatic biodiversity, while promoting a fun and enjoyable learning experience.
Think of a video game – except you and your friends are the characters. The real-life adventure game is a fun-filled way to spend a day or evening, and a change of pace from the hum-drum night of drinks in a bar. Groups are normally given 60 minutes to work together in escaping a room or set of rooms. Find the hidden objects, figure out clues, and solve puzzles to earn your freedom. Atlanta offers several room escape adventures, including several close to Zoo Atlanta.
Taking the room escape concept one step further – and more hair-raising – Paranoia Quest features different interactive scenarios from which to escape. Zombie Apocalypse, for example, has you and your group evading zombies while navigating your way into a secured government research center.
Atlanta Movie Tour
The film industry in Georgia has been booming since the 1970s, and with over 1,200 movies and television shows filmed in the state, it’s now No. 2 in the country for T.V. and film shoots. The city has provided the backdrop for numerous films and shows including Ant-Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Captain America: Civil War, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay parts 1 and 2; and The Walking Dead. Follow in the footsteps of your favorite characters, and see the city through the lens of a television camera.
Some of America’s most popular performers such as Norah Jones, Jerry Seinfeld, and Billy Crystal make the Fox Theater a must on their tour stops. So, take in a show, and make sure to get there early – the theater itself is a work of art.
Want to know more? Take a 60-minute guided tour. The popular tour showcases must-see details of the famous theater – often referred to as the “Fabulous Fox” – and its remarkable history. Guests will stop at ten locations throughout the building, from the orchestra pit and Might Mo, the largest working Moller theater organ in the world, to the Men’s Lounge featuring the original furniture chosen by the wife of movie mogul William Fox. Follow the hallways once walked by Elvis and The Rolling Stones. Learn the incredible story of how the city’s citizens came together to save the Fox from the wrecking ball.
The Center is the world headquarters of CNN and houses the main newsrooms and studios for several of CNN’s news channels. CNN’s multi-channel broadcasts are shown on giant screens throughout the Center. A unique feature is the atrium escalator, which has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest freestanding escalator in the world.
The Center allows visitors to get up close and personal through a couple of guided tours. The Morning Express features exclusive access to all things Morning Express, including a souvenir press pass, a tour of the HLN control room, and an opportunity to experience Morning Express with Robin Meade from inside HLN’s Studio 7. The VIP Tour promises the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of television production from inside Studio 7, where most of CNN’s daytime broadcasting takes place. You’ll also visit the CNN and HLN newsrooms.
The next time you visit Zoo Atlanta, be sure to check out the neighboring attractions and historical sites surrounding Grant Park. You’ll be sure to learn something new about this beloved neighborhood in Atlanta.