Saturday, December 31, 2016

wanderlust ATLANTA's 2016 Photo Review

My annual wanderlust ATLANTA photo review has become my favorite post of the year. It's a time that I get to look back—with great astonishment—at just how fortunate I've been to do so much and to share so many wonderful experiences with friends, new and longtime.

Let's have a look back at some of the amazing firsts for Atlanta and some of my annual favorites.

Dragon Con Night at Georgia Aquarium | Superman
Dragon Con Night at Georgia Aquarium | Superman

I went to more conventions this year than ever before...a total of six! My favorite of course is Dragon Con. This was my 7th Dragon Con and my second "Dragon Con Night at Georgia Aquarium". I had the awesome pleasure of hanging out with my friend, Superman! How often does one get to do THAT? David is a fantastic Kryptonian and a pretty awesome human being, too.

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

In January I was blown away by the "Habsburg Splendor" exhibition at the High Museum of Art. Splendor hardly describes how magnificent this exhibition was. I'm so glad I saw it and all this time later, the wallpaper on my cell phone is still a photo from that exhibition!

WildWoods | Fernbank Museum of Natural History
WildWoods | Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Brand new in 2016 is WildWoods at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. I'd so very much looked forward to this new 75-acre outdoor experience...when I got to see it during its opening week, I was amazed at how incredibly wonderful it is! I can hardly wait to see it in the spring! 

It's connected to the 75 acre Fernbank Forest, which I've not yet to explore, but it's on my 2017 list!

Atlanta Blooms | Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta Blooms | Atlanta Botanical Garden

Speaking of spring, the annual "Atlanta Blooms" exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden was spectacular this year! The vivid colors and range of of species of flowers are mesmerizing!

California Sea Lion Experience | Georgia Aquarium
California Sea Lion Experience | Georgia Aquarium

I had the most wonderful experience of attending the media preview of Georgia Aquarium's new "California Sea Lions in SunTrust Pier 225", as well as other new shows and exhibitions...what an amazing night that was!

In the post that I wrote, all the photos were courtesy of Georgia Aquarium, except for the one above, which was a very serendipitous moment and only possible because I sat in the front row—read: splash zone—when most did not. I love this photo! 

Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

I'd been to The Temple on Peachtree Street many, many years ago, but visiting as a tourist for one of the The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours was a wholly new and wonderful experience. 

Mary Pat Matheson put the Atlanta Botanical Garden back on the map when she bought a 2004 Chihuly exhibition to the Garden. I first visited the Garden in 1987, two years before the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory first put Atlanta Botanical Garden "on the map". 

When I returned to Atlanta after living in DC for nine years, I was amazed and astonished at what Mary Pat had done...she's a true visionary! And she's not slowing down. 

Part of the Garden's 40th anniversary celebration, she bought back "Chihuly in the Garden", a most spectacular exhibition! The above photo is of my favorite of the 19 installations.

A Suzi Bass Award winning show, "The Toxic Avenger" at Horizon Theatre, was one of my favorite shows of 2016...I've never seen a show as many times as I did this one. And I'm not embarrassed to share that I saw it FIVE times! It was that much fun!

I'd been to the JoeLanta Toy Convention before and was thrilled to learn that new friends were very much interested in attending it this we did! The times I've been before, there's been a huge diorama in the main vendor room. This year it was Star Wars themed, and it was stellar! 

I'm totally bummed that the Atlanta Braves are leaving the downtown area. It totally sucks. But, that being said, I had a wonderful time at this year's "Star Wars Night at Turner Field". The on-field Parade was so much fun! 

It's not often that you get to see an only-one-left-in-the-world. That's one of the wonderful things I love about the Atlanta History will see artifacts, exhibitions and events that you'll never see anywhere else, like this Stutz Biarritz!

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a favorite place to visit. I usually enjoy a picnic before a long, leisurely walk in the park. I highly recommend visiting every season of the year. 

I'd read and heard about the Doll's Head Trail for quite some time and was rather fascinated by it...and finally got to see what it was all about! 

The annual Phoenix Flies tours, by the Atlanta Preservation Center, offers Atlantans and her visitors unique opportunities, and it's one of the programs I most highly recommend for EVERYONE! 

This is a most wonderful opportunity to experience Atlanta...there's no other opportunity like it! This program offers more than 200 FREE tours of Atlanta attractions, many of them not offered to the general public any other time of year. Take full advantage of this!

Did you know that the Atlanta Botanical Garden has one of the largest collections of orchid species in the United States? That's impressive in and of itself, but they never rest of their laurels. The annual Orchid Daze exhibition is spectacular, showcasing thousands of additional orchid blossoms and several weeks of related programming. Definitely a must-see!

Jackie of Bishoku and Nikki
Jackie of Bishoku and Nikki
Nikki (right) is a dear friend. She introduced me to Jackie, owner of Bishoku, when we went to the inaugural Food That Rocks in Sandy Springs this year. Nikki and I went to Bishoku for their annual Christmas Eve Japanese Buffet...the sushi, and everything else, was amazing!

The Atlanta History Center's "Atlanta in 50 Objects" exhibition was magnificent! Today was the last day on display, so I hope you got to see it. There's always something new at the Atlanta History Center...exhibitions, events, lectures...the list goes on and on!

The Atlanta Botanical Garden's "Scarecrows in the Garden" exhibition is one that I would never's pure and total fun! That it included these awesome aliens this year was a total bonus for me! 

My friend Maria told me about a special screening of Zorba the Greek at Emory University this past spring. I love a theme, so before seeing the film I went to the Michael C. Carlos Museum for a stroll through their Greek & Roman gallery

If you've followed me for any period of time, you know what a huge fan I am of Atlanta Movie Tours. I've been on most of their tours, some of them multiple times!

This year, I had the AMAZING opportunity to go on a one-time "Captain America: Civil War Tour", days before the film was released on Blue-ray. 

If you didn't know, many of the scenes were filmed right here in Atlanta and on the Atlanta Movie Tours tour, we got to hang out with "Captain America" at one of the film sites!

Not long after that one-time tour they launched their new Hero Tour, so you too can see some of the sights that we saw that super day! 

One of the six conventions I attended this year was "Walker Stalker Con". This was my second year attending this one, but the first I went with my friend Nikki. We had a blast! 

They had a couple of HUGE photo-op screens, the one above being a "figurine" backdrop. Nikki posed and I "plasticized" the photo.


I had the awesome pleasure of attending my best girlfriend's wedding this year. I've known MaryJo since 1988 and I love here was an honor to attend her Florida wedding.

I went with my best friend Barry and of course we played tourist while out of town. I didn't realize it at the time, but Fort Pickens is a National Park...totally awesome that we went during the 100th anniversary of the National Park system. 

Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Journey to Goblin City is on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts through September 2017. This is a must-see exhibition...even if you don't think you're a puppetry fan, go see it! It's fun, it's magical, it's mesmerizing!

The first of the six conventions I attended this year (I'm blown away every time I realize I went to so many in one year!) was a Star Trek "50 Year Mission Tour". It was a smaller convention, but great fun! I got to meet Gates McFadden!!! 

The above couple I've met before at Dragon Con. They're super nice and have quite a collection of awesome Star Trek costumes!

When Barry and I were in Florida for MaryJo's wedding, we stopped by the Pensacola Lighthouse. I'd never been to a lighthouse and was incredibly excited to see much so that when we arrived with only 15 minutes before closing, I scaled the 177 steps, briefly, yet purposefully, enjoyed the vistas from the top, and returned to the beach-side grounds before they closed. 

What a magnificent experience that was!

I've been to Gibbs Gardens many times and was thrilled to return for this year's Japanese Maple Tree Festival with my dear friend Katie. She had visited when they first opened, but this was her first time to see the Maple Trees that time of year. We had a wonderful visit!

'da Kink in My Hair was fantastic! I went to see it at Horizon Theatre with my friends Nekeisha (left) and Jacquetta (right) and we all got to meet the brilliant local actress Terry Burrell.

My most recent excursion was to see the Chinese Lantern Festival in Centennial Olympic Park...stunning colors! The 200 foot dragon was my favorite.

I'm just a big kid at heart. I've loved The Muppets since I was a kid, as well as everything else Jim Henson ever did. That makes The Jim Henson Collection at the Center for Puppetry Arts a favorite destination. And there's so much more than Muppets there!

I also saw a LOT of fantastic theatre this year...more shows than I can count!

Nikki introduced me to Serenbe Playhouse, which won a bazillion Suzi Bass Awards for Miss Saigon this year...deservedly so! I also saw Carousel, Of Mice and Men, and The Sleepy Hollow Experience. Their 2017 season is going to fantastic!

I also saw lots of other great plays at 7 Stages, Actor's Express and Horizon Theatre, as well as the inaugural Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival (AMTF). I got an interview with Benjamin Davis, Founder of the AMTF, and another interview with local actor Jonathan Horne

I look forward to much more theatre in the coming year!

There you go...a recap of my wanderlusting adventures throughout 2016. I hope you too will explore more of Atlanta in 2017 and if you're a local, my hope for you that you become an expert on just how much and how many wonderful things there are to do in your own backyard—Atlanta!


Terry said...

Toxic Avenger 5 times? Bravo. Happy New Year Travis. Thanks for getting the job done.

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