No trip to Atlanta, Georgia would be complete without a visit to the World of Coca-Cola, a multimedia experience dedicated to the world’s most famous soft drink. Located at Pemberton Place, the World of Coca-Cola is adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium and across the street from Centennial Olympic Park. This year, Coca-Cola celebrates 125 years since Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John S. Pemberton, created the distinctive beverage back in 1886. Today, Coke is known the world over, selling more than 500 beverage brands in 200 countries.
After passing through the lobby, small groups of visitors are funneled into the “Coca-Cola Loft,” which displays advertising artifacts dating back as far as 1896. The entire building houses more than 1,200 items from around the world.
Next up, visitors enter the Happiness Factory Theatre for a brand-new film called The Great Happyfication. Targeted at young kids, the movie is a surreal, musical journey inside a Coca-Cola vending machine. Following the film, the screen raises up, revealing a walkway into a bright and spacious atrium called “The Hub.” From this point on, guests are free to visit the various attractions in whichever order they choose.
On the upper level, kids will love the 4-D experience, In Search of the Secret Formula. In this theater, you’re taken on a journey around the world—from bustling Hong Kong to the wild jungles of South America to the snowy Swiss Alps. As you watch the 3-D movie, your seats shake, wind blows in your face and you even get squirted with a little bit of water. SPOILER ALERT: be prepared when you see a swarm of mosquitoes on screen—you’ll get poked (pretty hard) in the back!
In the Pop Culture Gallery, guests gain insight into Coca-Cola’s influence on popular culture. This section includes memorabilia, Coca-Cola themed collectibles and even the Coke sofa shown on “American Idol.” Paintings by artists like Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol are on display here too.
The highlight of the World of Coca-Cola definitely happens at the “Taste It!” beverage lounge where guests can sample more than sixty Coca-Cola products from around the world. Arranged by continent, you’ll find sodas with unusual flavors like Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand, Bibo Candy Pine-Nut from South Africa, Sparberry from Zimbabwe and Inka Cola from Peru. Many of the flavors were actually pretty good, especially the ones from Asia. I didn’t care for most of the flavors from Africa, as they were too sweet. The worst flavor by far was called Beverly from Italy. Why anyone would want a quinine-flavored soda is beyond me.
The World of Coca-Cola is also a working bottling facility. During the tour, visitors can watch the production of commemorative 125th anniversary eight-ounce bottles of Coke. A robotic delivery system sends the bottles upstairs where everyone gets a free souvenir bottle as they exit the museum. (Unfortunately I only had carry-on baggage and mine was confiscated at the airport.) Of course, there’s an enormous gift shop where you can purchase everything from T-shirts and jewelry to refrigerator magnets and one-of-a-kind art pieces too.
Plan on spending roughly 90 minutes at the World of Coca-Cola. It’s fun for kids of all ages and I’d recommend checking it out if you’re in the Atlanta area.
Where: The World of Coca-Cola is located at 121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (At Pemberton Place, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta.) There’s a parking garage ($10) or two MARTA train stops within a 10-minute walk. MARTA stop W1: Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center; MARTA stop N1: Peachtree Center
Hours: The World of Coca-Cola is open 7 days a week. Sunday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.)
How much: Adults $16, Seniors (65+ yrs.) $14, Youth (3 -12 yrs.) $12, Infants under 3 are free.
For tickets & more info: visit their website at www.worldofcoca-cola.com
Here are some photos I took during my visit: