Thursday, June 30, 2011

ATLANTApix: Lophorhothon atopus

Lophorhothon atopus
Lophorhothon atopus in the Entry Plaza at Fernbank
A family of Lophorhothon atopus greet visitors to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The Lophorhothon dinosaurs romed the Southeast and Georgia during the Crusteateous Period, 65-114 million years ago.

The adult Lophorhothon, members of the Hadrosaur family, grew up to 35 feet long and weighed 3-4 tons. 

The entrance plaza, home of three bronze Lophorhothons, is a mere glimpse of the (pre)historic wonders that await visitors inside.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ATLANTApix: Der Biergarten

Der Biergarten
Der Biergarten
Atlanta has no shortage of international cuisine options. Der Biergarten, an authentic German cuisine restaurant, is quite near Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and Centennial Olympic Park. Der Biergarten features a beer library of more than a dozen German beers, as well as genuine German cuisine.

The first time I went inside I knew from the exterior decor that it was indeed an establishment featuring German food and more importantly German beverages, but when we walked in the music sounded like what I imagine would play in an Asian bistro...so, either I was there during an off time (it wasn't during lunch or dinner time) or they embrace cultural diversity. 

Either way, I'm anxious to return for a Weihenstephan and some brats with a fine imported mustard followed by a generous slice of german chocolate cake!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ATLANTApix: Bearing Witness

Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum
It's been said that the best way to not repeat history is to know history.The survivor series, "Bearing Witness," at The William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum is in alignment with exactly that. Every month, a survivor or a family member of a survivor recounts what happened to the Jewish community, specifically them, their family and friends, during the Holocaust of World War II.

July's speaker (Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.) is Morton Waitzman, a liberator from the United States. Immediately following the monthly speaker program there is a docent led tour of the Holocaust Museum.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, June 27, 2011

ATLANTApix: Center for Civil & Human Rights

Future Home of the Center for Civil & Human Rights
Future Home of Center for Civil & Human Rights
"This Center will explore the universal search for a secure human existence, in a way that inspires vigilance and leadership among future generations," tops the homepage announcing the future Center for Civil & Human Rights

The Center for Civil & Human Rights will be located in the northeast corner of Pemberton Place, also home of Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park. At the corner of Ivan Allen, Jr. Boulevard and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, visitors to the Center will enjoy easy access from downtown Atlanta and will also be near many other attractions.

The new Center promises to be a distinctive structure architecturally with stupendous vistas, an internal plaza suitable for meditation and reflection, and a design that provokes a vision of unity.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: BAPS Mandir Revisited

I'm returning to the BAPS Mandir later today with a friend who is as eagerly interested in Indian culture as I am...and what an incredible opportunity to explore the culture—right here in Atlanta's backyard! (previous post)



The BAPS Mandir is the largest Hindu temple in the United States, which adds to its allure. But even more enticing, at least for me, is its incredible beauty. 

Visitors are not permitted to make photographs inside the Mandir, but this brief video will give you glimpse of the beauty to expect inside.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

ATLANTApix: Lily Pads at the ABG

Lily at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Lily at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
If on a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden I could see only one flower this time of year, it would have to be the lily pads...they're exotic, they're diverse in shape and color, they're even a little strange.

This particular lily (I made this photo this week) is in the elongated water pond in front of the Fuqua Conservatory, and there are lots more in the Aquatic Plant Pond to the left and beside the Conservatory. The ponds also have frogs and fish living in them so keep an eye out for them!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, June 24, 2011

ATLANTApix: Rocking on the Front Porch

Rocking on the Front Porch
Rocking on the Front Porch
If before you visit Atlanta your imagination of what a Southerner does in their spare time includes rocking on the front porch...you're not too far off. Actually, I love rocking on the front porch...unfortunately, life priorities in a busy city like Atlanta doesn't leave a lot of time for rocking (except maybe for on the weekends when we tend to rearrange our priorities).

Throughout the city you'll see rockers on front porches...and you'll see them at various attractions (like the Carter Presidential Library), in restaurants, and even in some hotels. 

The rocking chairs in this particular photo are sitting on the front porch of the Archibald Smith Plantation home in Roswell, Georgia.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ATLANTApix: World Events Sculpture

World Events by Tony Cragg
I've loved the World Events sculpture (photo) since the first time I saw it in 1996. Created by British-born, Royal Academy of Arts-trained sculptor, Tony Cragg, this intriguing sculpture today sits on the grounds of the Woodruff Arts Center just outside the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The towering 26-foot tall (not including the base) World Events aluminum bust was commissioned by the Scott Hudgens Family on behalf of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad in association with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. 

Originally created for display in Centennial Olympic Park, today, World Events remains one of Atlanta's most recognized sculptures.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ATLANTApix: Quilted Heart

Quilted Heart at the Atlanta History Center
Quilted Heart at the Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center in Buckhead has a vast array of museums, gardens, historic houses, events, and special exhibitions on its 33-acre complex, including one of their signature exhibitions, "Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South" where this quilted heart (photo) is on display with 500 other Folk Arts artifacts.

My mother used to make quilts, so I know of the time and craft that goes into creating a quilt. My favorite that my mother made was one that she let me design with shields and crests that she sent to me when I was overseas in the Navy.

Also at the Atlanta History Center is the currently running special exhibition "Atlanta's Book: The Lost Gone With the Wind Manuscript." On display, now through Monday, September 5, 2011, are the last four chapters of the Gone With the Wind manuscript, with the final chapter displayed page-by-page so visitors can see the hand-written notes and read the pages.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ATLANTApix: Westin Peachtree Plaza Site

Westin Peachtree Plaza
Westin Peachtree Plaza
In my mind, the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel is the best-known of John Portman architectural projects in all of Atlanta. Not so well-known is the site's history.

Two years after Georgia's capital city was moved from Milledgeville, Georgia, to Atlanta, the state purchased in 1870 the Victorian home of John James located at Peachtree and Cain Streets where 17 Georgia Governors lived until it was demolished in 1923.

In 1925, the Henry Grady Hotel was constructed and stood until it was torn down to make way for today's Atlanta icon known as the 73-story Westin Peachtree Plaza.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

ATLANTApix: Shapiro Statue

Untitled by Joel Shapiro
"Untitled" by Joel Shapiro
The High Museum of Art has a world of wondrous art collections inside...and there's art outside as well. 

One of the exterior pieces includes an "untitled" sculpture that resembles a running stick man. Created by Joel Shapiro, an American sculptor born in 1941, the sculpture's absence of a name, other than "untitled," is not uncommon among Shapiro's works.

Walking by this 1988 bronze sculpture on numerous occasions, it's one that tourists enjoy mimicking in pose for photographs...rather fun, I think.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: NatureQuest

A recent visit to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to see their newest permanent exhibition, NatureQuest, left me quite impressed. 

Please read the full story here or if you're time-constrained, have a peek at the marvels of the natural world that are awaiting local and out-of-town visiting youngsters in this brief video:



ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ATLANTApix: AT&T Building

AT&T Building
AT&T Building
Built in 1982, the AT&T Building was originally the regional headquarters for Southern Bell, which became Bell South. Ownership of the building transferred to AT&T when it acquired Bell South.

The white concrete, 47-story skyscraper is immediately adjacent to the Fox Theatre situated at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Peachtree Street. Also incorporated into the structure is the North Avenue MARTA Station, which was built in conjunction with the construction of the AT&T Building in the early 80s.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, June 17, 2011

ATLANTApix: Parterre Garden

Parterre Garden - Levy Parterre
Parterre Garden - Levy Parterre
The Levy Parterre, the centerpiece of the Atlanta Botanical Garden located in the Parterre Garden, is nearly as synonymous with the Garden as the Polar Bear is with the World of Coca-Cola or the Whale Shark is with Georgia Aquarium or the Argentinosaurus is with Fernbank. And it's virtually impossible to miss it...and who would want to do that anyway?!

The bright blue Dale Chihuly blown-glass sculpture is a visitor favorite, especially for those who remember the 2004 Chihuly exhibition in the Garden. I like it because it's not only beautiful, it's positioned such that you can get some great photos of it with the Atlanta skyline in the background.

This particular shot shows Mershon Hall in the background, an events space and home of classrooms for Garden members and patrons. The Levy Parterre is also flanked by Day Hall (another event space), the Alston Overlook (the highest point in the Garden), and the Rose Garden.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ATLANTApix: Heavenly Victory

Heavenly Victory by John Cederquist
"Heavenly Victory" by John Cederquist
Any regular visitor to the High Museum of Art very likely has more than one favorite piece of art. One that I've long admired is Heavenly Victory by artist John Cederquist. From his Heavenly Victory series (2007-2010), Cederquist's wooden kimono creation is actually a cabinet and is even more intricate on the inside, which you can see on his website.

Part of the High's Contemporary American Craft collection, Heavenly Victory is among recent acquisitions made in the last two years, joining one of the most distinctive collection of art in the entire South.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ATLANTApix: Centennial Olympic Park's Water Gardens

Centennial Olympic Park Water Garden
Centennial Olympic Park Water Garden
Did you know that in addition to the incredibly popular Fountain of Rings at the Centennial Olympic Park, there are water gardens and a reflective pool...and in the winter, there's even an ice skating rink? That's a lot of water, even for a 21-acre park.

As much fun as the Fountain of Rings is, and I love the four daily Fountain shows with accompanying music, the water gardens (photo), near the Quilt gardens, are my favorite. They're such a delightful respite from the city, even though you can still see the city all around you.

As a matter of fact, in this photo you can see the top of the world headquarters of CNN, home of the Inside CNN Studio Tour. And there are lots of other attractions near Centennial Olympic Park, so go splash, play, and enjoy!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ATLANTApix: Sunflowers

Sunflowers in Georgia
Sunflowers in Georgia
I think I must have forgotten how beautiful Atlanta is during the summer or I would have come back sooner (If it weren't for my truly amazing friends, I would have been). This sunflower (photo) is part of the plant collection of the Edible Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

You can always, and I mean always, count on seeing incredible color at the Garden...and have I mentioned that they offer tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30? Join one to learn more about the new Edible Garden and see the beautiful sunflowers!

Every time I see sunflowers, I'm reminded of three things: (1) My best friend whose favorite flower is the sunflower; (2) the television show "The Victory Garden," which I saw at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia (their sunflowers were way taller than me); and (3) the movie, one of my all time favorites, "Under the Tuscan Sun."

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Peaches and Pears at the High

Balzac Petanque at the High Museum of Art
Balzac Petanque at the High Museum of Art
On a visit to the High Museum of Art yesterday, I finally was able to go out to the veranda off the main lobby to make some photographs of the gigantic sculpture of a peaches and pears picnic titled "Balzac Petanque."

The sculpture, with a bountiful 19 pieces of enormous fruit, is named for 19th century novelist Honore de Balzac and the French lawn bowling game called Petanque, which is gaining popularity in the U.S.

Peaches and Pears
Peaches and Pears
The reason I say "finally was able to" is because I have tried to see the sculpture up close more than half a dozen times over the last several months, but the veranda doors had been locked. I could see the sculpture through the glass walls, but it was teasingly out of reach.

On previous attempts, I had been told that the veranda is sometimes unlocked, but that the decision to unlock it was up to security, who consistently told me they didn't have enough guards to have it unlocked.

Finally, (there's that word again) on yesterday's visit I received further explanation (from the second lobby security guard who I saw as I was about to leave the Museum, again disappointed). She kindly explained that the sculpture had sustained some damage by previous visitors who climbed on the work of art, which is displayed in the open.

Now it all made sense. The $1.4 million sculpture, by husband and wife team Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, needed protection from the people it was intended to please, but who weren't sure exactly "how" they're supposed to enjoy it.

I'm surprised that there are no signs, especially in a country that excels in the production of "do not" signs, indicating "Do Not Touch" or "Do Not Climb"...and a little disappointed that so many visitors would treat a piece of art with such little respect (although, in our defense, there is a lot of public art where climbing is encouraged).

Peaches and Pears
Peaches and Pears
There must be an easier way to protect the peaches and pears while also allowing visitors to see them up close, instead of merely viewing their unique beauty through glass windows.

Either way, there's no missing the 8 1/2 feet tall, 45 feet wide and 55 feet deep sculpture...it's one of the first things you see when you walk into the magnificent High Museum of Art. But, I am totally thrilled that I finally got to see it up close.

On your next visit to the High, I hope you too get to see Balzac Petanque up close as well, just remember: do not touch, do not climb, and to stay out of the sand box. These simple and easy to follow viewing guidelines will help ensure that other visitors also get to see it later. Oh, and definitely do not eat.

ATLANTApix: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe

Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe
Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe
The High Museum of Art has a collection of spectacular Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe paintings. Warhol's depiction of the Hollywood icon heralded in the style and age of Pop Art.

Displayed in linear fashion, the bright Marilyn paintings catch the eyes of museum-goers who immediately recognize them as Andy Warhol's work, even though you'll see the occasional visitor double-check the placard to ensure they are indeed by Warhol and not just Warhol-inspired (I do that sometimes myself).

Located in the Modern & Contemporary Art gallery, the portfolio of 10 Marilyn silkscreens are certain to illuminate one's imagination and cause one to ponder Warhol's fascination with Marilyn Monroe.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: Tellus Video

If you missed my recent post on Tellus Science Museum, here's a very brief video that will give you a pictorial story about all the wonders awaiting you inside (and a few outside).




Yes, I know my posts are sometimes a bit long-winded, but I get excited and want to I want to share with you all the fun I've had. At the same time, I know there are so many who are just as busy, and busier, than I am, so I'm very glad that video is an option for the time-constrained.

Remember to post comments, ask questions, and let me know what attraction or museum you'd like to know more about!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

ATLANTApix: Star Trek at Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con Participants in Star Trek Costumes
Dragon*Con Participants in Star Trek Costumes
It was on this day in 1999 that the first major Star Trek celebrity passed away. DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

Although no longer with us, Kelley helped create the global sensation Star Trek, which continues to entertain and garner fans as strong as ever, even in Atlanta. Dragon*Con is "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!"

The convention, which drew 40,000-50,000 people last year, regularly features Starfleet uniform-clad fans, as well as costumes of numerous other species from around the galaxy.

In this photo, taken at Dragon*Con 2010, is a human flanked by Andorians, all wearing the same blue Starfleet uniform worn by Dr. McCoy. Blue indicated that the person wearing it works in the Sciences, in McCoy's case, medicine.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, June 10, 2011

ATLANTApix: The Quilt of Nations

Quilt of Nations
Quilt of Nations
The Quilt of Nations in Centennial Olympic Park is one of my favorite structures in the 21-acre park, the largest downtown park developed in the United States in the last 25 years. In March 2011, I posted a photo of the "ceiling" of the Quilt of Nations. This particular image depicts more of the structure as seen when approaching it.

Representing each of the 197 countries that participated in the 1996 Olympic Games, the most countries to ever participate in the Olympic Games, is a flag for each respective country. They're arranged alphabetically.

The quilt and leaf pattern seen throughout the Park was adopted by the Olympic Committee as the "official look" of the 1996 Games because of its representation of the American South.

The Quilt of Nations is one of five quilt plazas in Centennial Olympic Park.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ATLANTApix: "Maple Leaf Rag"

Maple Lead Rag by Dave Horner
"Maple Leaf Rag" by Dave Horner
When tourists enter the Hardin Visitor Center at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, they're welcomed by the breathtaking Nepenthes Chandelier by Dale Chihuly...but there's more. 

Displayed on the left wall, as you enter the visitor center, Maple Leaf Rag by Dave Horner is a collection of five maple leaves, each nearly as wide as I am tall, ranging in color from summer-green to fall-red.

The carbon steel and acrylic sculpture, designed from maple leaves from the Garden itself, shares the same name as the most popular ragtime song ever. It was composed by Scott Joplin in 1899—more than 100 years ago! I did not know the name of the song but as soon as I heard it, fun memories associated with the song came flooding back.

The next time you're at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, look up and left to check out this beautiful piece of artistry...inspired by the Garden itself.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ATLANTApix: Warthog

Warthog at Zoo Atlanta
Warthog at Zoo Atlanta
It's past the time for me to go back to Zoo Atlanta, especially with all the big news recently—a new baby girl gorilla and the expecting tiger! A lot has happened since I was there in October 2010 and there's a lot going on this summer.

The Warthogs in the Warthog habitat may not be the most attractive creatures, according to Cosmopolitan Magazine. OK, I'm just kidding. However, I don't recall ever hearing about a Warthog Show, but this one (photo) looks dapper enough to win Best in Show.

But seriously, the Warthog is an interesting creature. It has evaded becoming endangered through its keen adaptability skills...I know a few humans who could use a lesson or two from this species (Don't we all?).

That's one of the thing I love about Zoo Atlanta...you can learn so much about its more than 200 species of animals from around the world. So, go wild and go to the Zoo!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NatureQuest: Bottom of the Ocean to the Tree Tops


NatureQuest
NatureQuest
Walking into NatureQuest, the newest kids’ activities exhibition at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History immediately made me feel like I was in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Where animals, live and not so live, play the role of the singing Oompa Loompas; the blue river with "splash" technology is the river of chocolate; and the activity stations' props are the garden of edible flowers.

The only challenge was deciding what to explore first.



NatureQuest takes youngsters on an adventure through land, water, and air...and spectacularly so.

The Ocean

Coral Reef
Coral Reef
Immediately in front and to the left of the main entrance of NatureQuest is a coral reef…but you’re not looking at it from above, you find yourself actually inside it!

When you look up you see a Loggerhead Sea Turtle swimming through this magical ocean. Georgia Aquarium and Fernbank Science Center no longer have the display monopoly of this endangered species!

Also above is a dock with a motorboat tied to it. The boat is aptly christened the S.S. Fernbank

S.S. Fernbank
S.S. Fernbank
Mobiles of blue sparkling waves and many species of fish, jelly fish too, dangling from them launch the imagination to wondering about the abundance of sea life.

The barnacle-covered poles supporting the overhead dock are covered with (removable) crabs and starfish...part of the more than 50 interactive adventures ready for kids to engage in.

Nearby there’s another discovery station where kids can see what it might be like if they were piloting an underwater vessel, complete with images of sea life swimming in front of the forward viewing windows.

The River

The River
The River
Flowing into the ocean is a river, shining bright blue, which runs practically the length of NatureQuest. But this is no ordinary river.

This river has sections that splash and swirl under your feet. It’s a fascinating experience and one that will keep you walking on water for more than just to cross the river. This was the most fun technical feature in the exhibit, but I didn’t try them all so there may be other even more cool features.

Along the river there are animal tracks to be discovered; a rock crossing; and woodland and river animals nearby to keep kids company during their playtime.

The River exhibit includes a Featured Resident (the Beaver when I was there) and invites explorers to find other river creatures.

The Discovery Stations

Insect Discovery Station
Insect Discovery Station
There are so many interactive and discovery stations in NatureQuest, I think a kid could stay here all day and still not play with them all. The insect station looked very interesting with its giant aphid, termite, and ant.

The telescopes throughout, the spotlights, and the vistas everywhere in the exhibition lend to the already exciting game of discovery.

And their particular (pseudo) Tree House is a much nicer tree house than what I had as a kid (by a factor of about a bazillion), but part of what exhibitions like this are for is to encourage kids to imagine not only what’s in the world but what they can create in it…at least I hope so.

The Rope Bridge

The Rope Bridge
The Rope Bridge
The Rope Bridge has to be my personal favorite part of the entire exhibition. It stretches across the NatureQuest gallery, wraps around both sides of a tree, and offers the best vista for the land of exploration. Unfortunately, I’m a “few years” beyond NatureQuest becoming a regular destination, but knowing that thousands of kids will enjoy it, which makes me equally as happy.

To get to the Rope Bridge, you can climb steps and go around the Big Tree or…you can climb inside the Big Tree on a spiral rope ladder! 

NatureQuest is world of wonderment, it’s “a revolutionary new children's exhibition that builds on the sophisticated learning style of modern children”…it’s a nature factory filled with the delicious treats of exploration and entertainment. Every kid will feel like they themselves had won a Golden Ticket.

The Return

Will I return to continue the exploration of NatureQuest? Probably not on my own, but when the nieces and nephews are visiting, I’ll definitely take them. It’s any kid's dream destination!

Touring NatureQuest

Date toured: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Location: 767 Clifton Road, N.E. (directions and map)
Parking: Free onsite parking
Cost: Adults $17.50; Students & Seniors $16.50; Children $15.50
Website: http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/


NatureQuest Fox
NatureQuest Fox

ATLANTApix: Georgia Dome's Interior

Georgia Dome ceiling
Georgia Dome (ceiling)
Just the other day I was talking with a friend about how cool the tour of Georgia Dome is and that it's one of the least expensive tours in town. Now I want to go back for another tour.

The one really cool thing that I learned on my first tour of Georgia Dome is that the dome itself (the white part of the roof) is made from fabric. Who knew?!

You know, you think that once you've toured a place that you've seen it. Not necessarily so, my friends.

There are several attractions and museums in Atlanta that I've toured more than once and I learn, see, and hear something new every time. Whether it's a change in what's on display or the presentation technique of the tour guide, the second time around (or third or fourth) is going to be different...and maybe even better because you already have reference points.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, June 6, 2011

ATLANTApix: Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell
In the year of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Gone With the Wind, there are celebrations all over Atlanta and the Margaret Mitchell House is in on the fun.

This portrait of Margaret (photo) hangs in the first floor of the Margaret Mitchell House. The portrait would have towered over Margaret's mere 4'11" stature. On the tour of the House, visitors enter through the basement, which is where Margaret's apartment (she referred her apartment as "The Dump") is located.

The placard coupled with this portrait reads:

"Margaret Mitchell, 1900-1949. This portrait of Margaret Mitchell was commissioned by Trust Company Bank and given to the Atlanta Historical Society which deaccessioned in 1988 and gave it to the Margaret Mitchell House in 1996."

Throughout Atlanta, there are neighborhoods, parks, streets, and museums named for or dedicated to Margaret and Gone With the Wind.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

ATLANTApix: 50 Years of Italian Motorcycle Design

Passione Italiana at MODA
There's only one week remaining to see Passione Italiana: Design of the Italian Motorcycle at the Museum of Design Atlanta, also called MODA.

The exhibition's final weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2011, will include an array of events for motorcycle enthusiasts and families alike.

I wish I had a motorcycle (and knew how to ride it) so I could participate in the Moto for MODA event on Saturday, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. It's basically a group motorcycle ride around Midtown. and there's a complimentary helmet check. Best of all, Moto for MODA participants get half off admission to the museum with their helmet claim check.

Drink in Design, a weekly Thursday event, is also a festive way to see exhibits at MODA!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

ATLANTApix: Magnolias in Bloom

Magnolia Blossom
Magnolia blossom
All over Atlanta luxurious Magnolia trees are in bloom, an event I always look forward to all year long.

You'll see majestic Magnolias planted along Intersates 20, 75 and 85 driving through downtown Atlanta; peppered throughout wooded neighborhoods like Buckhead and Druid Hills; and of course at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which also features the Magnolia blossom as its logo.

Of course, since 1989 I can hardly see a Magnolia bloom without thinking about the film Steel Magnolias, starring Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts (from Smyrna, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta!), Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton. Although set and filmed in Louisiana I know quite a few women in Atlanta who also are "Steel Magnolias."

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, June 3, 2011

ATLANTApix: Old St. Philips' Windows

Cathedral of St. Philip Stained Glass Windows
Cathedral of St. Philip Stained Glass Windows
When I toured The Cathedral of St. Philip in February of this year, I was blown away by the beauty inside. This panel of stained glass windows (photo) was moved from the old St. Philips, to the current church and dedicated to the memory of Henrietta Mikell Jones.

The friend who took me on the tour is Episcopalian and helped ensure that I did not commit a faux pas while on unfamiliar territory. Although, to be perfectly honest, the tour guide(s) made all of us on the tour feel welcome...and a generous dose of decorum will prevent any potential faux pas.

The church's windows are absolutely stunning...their beauty radiates more than the sun rays shining through them.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ATLANTApix: Wren's Nest Letter to the Editor

The Wren's Nest
The Wren's Nest
Lain Shakespeare, Executive Director of the Wren's Nest, home of Joel Chandler Harris, creator of the Uncle Remus stories and exponent of the New South, recently submitted a letter to the editor of TIME.

Unfortunately, it has not been published in the magazine, so Lain posted it on the Wren's Nest blog...to set the record straight.

I love that we have people like Lain at the helm of our treasured tourist sites, many of which double as education facilities. Lain also has a special interest in setting Harris' story right.

He's the great, great, great grandson of Harris. Regardless of family ties, Lain has done the Wren's Nest a great service by submitting and posting the letter, as well as through his change-leadership of this historic house museum. I will be watching this Atlanta tourist destination with great anticipation for what's to come next.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tellus Science Museum: Science Made Absolutely Fun


Tellus Science Museum
Tellus Science Museum
The Tellus Science Museum is a treasure just waiting to be discovered by the millions who live in and visit Atlanta. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you uncover, I believe. I like this museum so much because it has artifacts, exhibits, and humorous displays the likes of which I’ve never seen.

And that it’s a Smithsonian Institution affiliate museum adds to its allure.



I’d heard about this really cool science museum (Tellus) way out in Cartersville, Georgia, and wanted to see it, but the distance deterred me...until now.

On the day of my visit, I picked up a friend about 30 minutes later than originally planned (I had to stop by the office for a quick meeting) and then we were off. My GPS said the drive was a little more than an hour, but it took only about 40 minutes to get there. That’s a lot less time than many Atlanta citizens spend driving to work every day.

The Arrival

Geodesic Dome
Geodesic Dome
We saw the grounds of the museum almost immediately after pulling off Interstate 75. There was no mistaking that we had reached our destination…the tell-tale signs being a geodesic dome, a huge satellite dish, an observatory, and an alternative fuel windmill.

The building itself is also uber-cool. It departs the traditional square box to such a degree that you know without a doubt that you’re somewhere special.

The components of the structure include black tiled units shaped like the “sandcrawler” transport that carried R2-D2 and C-3PO in one of the first scenes of Star Wars: A New Hope; sandy color more traditional stone units; a higher placed white plank structure; and taupe units covered in subway tiles. It looks like Frank Lloyd Wright meets The Jetsons.

Travis next to the Tonka Truck
Travis next to the "Tonka Truck"
Well, before we even got to the parking lot, we could see the biggest Tonka Truck (actually, it's a Komatsu) either of us had ever seen and you know guys and big trucks…we made a beeline straight to it where photo-making immediately ensued. 

At 6’2” and 6’3”, neither of us even reached the top of the tire rim, let alone the top of the wheels…this thing is huge and so cool! There are several other rather large vehicles on display with this one, but the “Tonka Truck” was just so much fun.

Tellus Observatory
Tellus Observatory
Even more excited to get started, we headed into the museum. The ticketing staff was incredibly nice (as were all the staff throughout our visit). We were asked if we’d like to see a planetarium show, that there were five to choose from. Not that I even had to ask, I pointed to the The Search for Life: Are We Alone?” option and without a word, my friend gestured an affirmative. 

We’re both space people,” he said to the ticket agent. Maybe we should have clarified that we’re not actually from space, that we’re actually space enthusiasts, but I think they kind of figured that out…hopefully, anyway.

We had about 25 minutes until our show so instead of going into the first gallery and feeling like we were rushed by having to make our show time, we opted to go to the cafĂ© for a snack…it was approaching lunchtime, after all. 

The Moon Pies
The Moon Pies
Again, more very pleasant members of the Tellus staff helped us with our lunch selections. While standing in line I noticed a lot of the expected snack items and then there were the Moon Pies, a Southern delicacy from my childhood. I opted for a salad and a mango dessert, but it was fun to see the Moon Pies (they were foretelling of the humor we’d see as we explored the museum).

As we lunched, we looked over the museum brochure reading blurbs about the four galleries, the planetarium, the Solar House, and the Fossil Dig and Gem Panning areas…there was so much to do!

The Planetarium

Tellus Planetarium
Tellus Planetarium
We got to the planetarium in plenty of time and were enthusiastically greeted. Don, the projectionist, joined us in the theatre (we were the only ones there) and chatted with us for a couple of minutes before time for the show to start. 

He kindly gave us a pre-show of the stars, as would be seen from Cartersville that evening, before starting our “Are We Alone” show. We’d been there less than an hour and were already made to feel like we were VIP members.

The show was great and I learned something new (that we’re discovering approximately one new planet in our galaxy every month). I hope Don is working next time I visit…he was the perfect host.

The Minerals

Periodic Table of Elements
Periodic Table of Elements
The entrance to the Weinman Mineral Gallery is marked by a seven-foot tall amethyst geode (that's actually white instead of purple). Its alluring call from across the great hall foretells the wonders to be found inside…and indeed they are wondrous.

I first have to tell you about one of the funniest exhibits I’ve ever seen in my entire life…their Periodic Table of Elements. The “table” is a rather large exhibit reaching heights taller than me and comprised of illuminated boxes.

Iridium
Iridium
Expecting to find rather dry scientific information within the individual boxes, I was quite pleasantly surprised when I looked in the container for Iridium (I was curious because of my knowledge of the satellite company called Iridium). 

The inscription, along with its Latin name, element number and symbol, reads “Iridium. Discovered 1803. The asteroid that likely killed off the dinosaurs had high levels of this element.” Inside the case is a toppled over green toy Stegosaurus!

The clever displays went on and on. And so did lots of color…

Crystal Ball
Crystal Ball
The Weinman Mineral Gallery, named for William Weinman, a mining pioneer who spent a great deal of time in Georgia, is a geologist’s dream come true. There are more than 50 cases containing a wide variety of the most colorful Georgia minerals and gems, as well as a considerable amount of gold.

Two of the coolest cases, I thought, contain a collection of minerals, each specimen in spherical form. There are also two very large spheres nearby, one of crystal, glowing white, and the other is of the deepest, blackest Obsidian.

Getting back to the chronology of the gallery, when you first walk in, the first exhibit shares with visitors how the Earth was formed billions of years ago, with a massive display of the Earth’s layers, from its crust to its core.

Mineral Spheres
Mineral Spheres
One of the best surprises in the gallery was the fluorescent mineral room. With the touch of a button, you get to see various minerals under different spectra of light, which makes the minerals glow in a range of colors you’d only expect to see on a paintball field.

Another display features the twelve birthstone gems. I was born in January so my birthstone is garnet. In the display, garnet is shown in its natural form, its harvested form, as cut gems, and even set in a piece of jewelry.

This gallery contains fossilized trees; huge amethyst geodes; a nine-foot, nearly 5,000 pound copper boulder; and so much more! This exhibit has everything…including the kitchen sink! 

That’s right…there’s an exhibit that shows what minerals are used in food and automobiles, as well as home construction using a cutaway of a kitchen sink as an example. 

The Fossils

Glyptodon
Glyptodon
A Tyrannosaurus Rex is ultra-cool no matter where you see him (or her). But couple it with dozens of other dinosaurs and you’ve got yourself one incredible exhibit! 

The best thing about the Tellus Fossil Gallery, for me, was the inclusion of numerous dinosaurs that I’ve never even heard of or have never seen outside of the pages of a book (some not even in any of the now countless Hollywood films featuring dinosaurs).

The one that I personally found most fascinating was the Glyptodon, or the “Giant Armadillo.” At nine feet long, you would think it invincible, but it’s believed that the saber tooth cat and humans may have led to its extinction only 11,500 years ago.

Protostega
Protostega
Speaking of nine feet, there’s on display the jaw of a Megaladon (a shark), which was larger than a school bus (evidenced by a pictorial placard comparing the size of the two side by side).

The Georgia Underwater exhibit is a must-see! It features some rather scary giant fish and one very cool reptile (a sea turtle or sorts) that are native to Georgia. I found myself fascinated with the Protostega, a sea turtle measuring 11 feet long and 15 feet wide. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle at Georgia Aquarium would seem like its tiny baby in comparison.

Others I really liked were the Triceratops; the 17-foot Xiphactinus; the Mammut; and a fossilized dinosaur egg from China, although it doesn’t note what kind of dinosaur would have hatched.

Not to compare, but—ok, that’s exactly what I’m doing—as much as I love the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Tellus gives you more bones for your buck, more dinos for your dollar, and more of a collection for your coin. If you’re little one(s) is a dinosaur enthusiast, bring him or her to Tellus.

The Motion

Space Capsule
Space Capsule
Ok, so that heading isn’t exactly telling. It’s actually called the Science in Motion Gallery. And its displays are a plethora of its namesake, particularly via vehicles. And by vehicles, I mean buggies, bikes, cars, boats, helicopters, airplanes, rockets, and space ships!

As much as I love space, when I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted nothing more than to be a helicopter pilot. Alas, that dream did not come true (not yet anyway), but my passion for the aircraft has remained steadfast.

The 1948 Bell-17 Helicopter on display became the center of gravity for me while touring this gallery…I was drawn to it multiple times.

1948 Bell-17 Helicopter
1948 Bell-17 Helicopter
I also enjoyed the rocket models (they have a small model of the 200-foot tall Proton rocket, which I’ve seen up close at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan—very exciting!); the space capsules; and the space suits (especially the American one that is also a photo opportunity—you can put your head in the helmet).

There’s also a full-size replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. This gallery covers more means of transportation than you would see in an Atlanta two-hour traffic jam!

The Big Tree

The Big Tree
The Big Tree
The Big Tree is inside the Collins Family My Big Backyard gallery and it is indeed a “big” tree…towering at least two stories. Not having a kid or kids with us, we spent only a little time in this gallery, but enough to see how much fun it would have been had we visited many (many, many, many) moons ago.

There’s a barn, a green house, a big yard, a tool shed, and the Big Tree. Each of them has science discovery stations that include alternative fuel demonstrations, (safe) electricity experiments, and fully-contained biospheres. 

The Dig

Fossil Dig
Fossil Dig
There’s more! In the back of the museum there’s a Fossil Dig room and a Vulcan Materials Company Gem Panning room, complete with a working water wheel.

I saw the word “Vulcan” and of course had to check it out. 

We were greeted by Kathy, who, despite these particular attractions being geared toward children, made us feel welcome and right at home. She explained what the exhibits were all about and invited us to dig and pan.

Unable to resist the urge, we did in fact dig (I found a Sand Shark tooth) and we panned for gems (I found some amethyst and quartz). Lots of fun!

The Grounds

Georgia Tech Solar House
Georgia Tech Solar House
Well, the visit wasn’t complete without a tour of the grounds, beyond the initial excitement over the giant Tonka Truck, that is.

We went to the Solar House that was built by students at Georgia Tech and displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2007. I lived in D.C. at the time and vividly remember seeing the house then. A rather unique “small world” story, right?

Tours of the Solar House are available Thursdays-Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Also on the meticulously kept grounds are an observatory (I don’t think it’s operational though), solar and wind energy devices, and some large scale satellite dishes.

The Return

Will I go back to Tellus? Let it be said far and wide that I will indeed return to Tellus, to explore the museum in greater detail, to attend one of their monthly lectures, or even one of their special events. 

There are also quite a few other museums in Cartersville, so I want to explore those, too. And while I’m in town, I’ll definitely stop by Coconut Ice Cream again in downtown Cartersville for another cone of coconut ice cream—delicious!

Touring the Tellus Science Museum

Date toured: Friday, May 20, 2011
Location: 100 Tellus Drive, Cartersville, GA (directions and map)
Parking: Free onsite parking
Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Children/Students $8, Active Military Free
Website: http://www.tellusmuseum.org/


Tellus Science Museum
Tellus Science Museum