Sunday, June 8, 2014

Georgia Travel Log - June 2014 Edition

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We have been super busy lately traveling around Georgia and experiencing some of the newest exhibits and attractions. Because there are so many wonderful things I need to update you on I came up with a brilliant idea (well I think it's brilliant). I am calling it the "Georgia Travel Log." Once or twice a month I will give you an update on several of the newest attractions, exhibits etc. Most of them will be ones that we actually get to experience that way I can share our personal experiences and show you some personal photos too. I hope you enjoy this first edition of the Georgia Travel Log. Please leave comments with information on any other new attractions or exhibits that you know of. Also remember to follow us on Instagram to keep up with our daily adventures!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center - Limited time Ninjago Laser Maze:
Several weeks ago I posted about my son entering the LEGO Junior Builders Panel at the Atlanta LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Well thanks to all my awesome followers he won the competition and actually had the most votes. All of the children that won the competition (13 total) got to attend the grand opening of the newest LEGOLAND attraction, the Ninjago Laser Maze. Since Rowyn had the most votes they let him flip the on switch. He also made the news a few times here and here.

The Ninjago Training Camp attraction will only be around for about a year so make sure you visit soon. There are two fun ways to test your Ninja skills. First there is the laser maze. This is the first attraction of its kind in the USA. To test your skills you must first select your level: Rookie, Ninja, Warrior, Sensei. Then you step inside and hit the start button. There is smoke, awesome music and of course colored lasers everywhere. The goal is to get through the timed maze by "breaking" as few beams as possible. It is a test of speed, creativity and agility. After you complete the maze don't forget to hit the stop button. As you exit your score is displayed on a monitor. The kids love the maze and my son would stay there all day playing if I let him. Even I had fun going through the maze! Check out our YouTube video of the grand opening.

The second way to test your skills is on the the reactions game. You can choose 1 or 2 players for this game. I must admit I am quite addicted to it and am still trying to beat my personal best of 15,000 points. I totally would love to have one of these at home.

Because Rowyn won the competition he received a FREE 1 year membership so you will be hearing a lot about LEGOLAND Discovery Center over the next year!

Be sure to read our full review on LEGOLAND too.

HIGH Museum of Art - New exhibit Dream Cars on display through September 7th, 2014:
Did you know cars can be art too? We had a blast at the newest exhibit Dream Cars and actually went through it 2 times. This new exhibit will be on display through September. There are 17 concept cars from across Europe and the U.S on display. You will see cars from the early 1930's to the 21st century from Ferrari, Bugatti, General Motors and Porsche. These cars are some of the rarest and most imaginative designs you will ever see. They push the limits of imagination! There are also conceptual drawings, patents and scale models to demonstrate the stages of design process.

Highlights of Dream Cars include:

  • Paul Arzens' L'Oeuf électrique (1942), an electric bubble car designed by Arzens for his personal use in Paris during the German occupation that has never before traveled to the U.S.
  • William Stout's Scarab (1936), the genesis of the contemporary minivan.
  • Marcello Gandini's Lancia (Bertone) Stratos HF Zero (1970), a wedge-shaped car that is only 33 inches tall.
  • Christopher Bangle's BMW GINA Light Visionary Model (2001), featuring an exterior made of fabric.
  • A full-scale (6 x 20 foot) rendering of a concept car by Carl Renner (1951).

My kids loved the exhibit and cannot wait to return. And I am still dreaming about the Spyder! I highly recommend downloading the Dream Cars App (Android and iPhone) or renting an audio guide. The audio guides at the HIGH are fabulous and really enhance the special exhibits. There is an adult guide and kids guide and for the Dream Cars exhibit there are also videos of the cars in action.

In the Dream Cars lounge area you can take a break to watch the videos on the audio guide or look at a book. We found a terrific kids book to read called, "If I Built A Car." The exhibit takes about an hour to get through so be sure to arrive early so you have plenty of time to tour the rest of this amazing museum. Check out Gwyns thoughts in this short YouTube video.

In addition to this awesome NEW exhibit the HIGH also has several special events and programs for the summer like Father's Day at the HIGH, Arts & Rec: Family Day, Teen Night, Conversation with Contemporary Artists: Syd Mead and more. Check the website for more details and to order tickets.

Despite what you may think the HIGH Museum of Art is very family friendly and highly encourages bringing the kids. Here are some of the family friend events: Toddle Thursdays, Father's Day at the HIGH, Arts & Rec Family Days, Discovery Backpacks, Greene Family Learning Center, Friday Night Lates, Highly Hands-On Blog and more.

World of Coca-Cola - New features Pop Culture Gallery, App and "Moments of Happiness" film:
The World of Coca-Cola is definitely a must see. It is not only fun but very educational too and they've added even more educational features like the new mobile app. Currently it is only available for iPhone, but hopefully Android is not far behind. I have an Android device so though I couldn't utilize the app I did get a peek how it works and it is really cool. With the new World of Coca-Cola Explorer mobile app, you will get to experience the attraction like never before. The app allows visitors to interact with the attraction to deepen their experience. It's like having your own personal tour guide! The app uses location-sensing technology which allows you to discover amazing facts about Coca-Cola, create custom photos with fun frames and effects, keep a journal of your favorite flavors from around the World in the Taste It room, instantly connect on Facebook, Instgram and Twitter, follow the World of Coca-Cola guide map and get general information about the attraction. The app is designed to be used at the World of Coca-Cola and will deliver engaging content as you travel throughout the attraction utilizing Bluetooth. After you unlock the app features you can continue to enjoy them long after your visit.

Moments of Happiness is the newest film at World of Coca-Cola. Warning don't wear mascara! The film reminds visitors that happiness is all around us and happens every day. It is a six minute film that celebrates some of life's most memorable moments from people of different ages and cultures around the world. Even my 8 year old was tearing up.

The newest special exhibit is the Pop Culture Gallery and features works of art from Howard Finster. Finster a Georgia native, was a self-taught artist and Baptist minister and is considered one of the most important folk artists of the 20th century. So why is his work on display at Coca-Cola? Because he loved Coca-Cola and used the iconic bottle shape in a lot of his artwork. Gwyn really enjoyed Finster's use of mixed media!

Howard Finster: Visions of Coca-Cola includes several pieces from The Thomas E. Scanlin Collection:
  • A 13-foot-tall Coke bottle “big enough for man to stand in” that depicts historical figures in the artist’s unique style.
  • The 8-foot-tall original folk art bottle, which Finster created for the 1996 Olympic Games and inspired a global art project.
  • Tools from Finster’s studio that became works of art themselves.

World of Coca-Cola is a great place for public school and homeschool fieldtrips. They even have a FREE Teacher Toolkit to help you explore the many educational connections at the attraction.

Stone Mountain - Updated lasershow:
Did you know that the Stone Mountain Park lasershow is the longest running show in the world? It has been running for more than 30 years and attracts millions of visitors each year. This summer though the 45 minute digitally re-mastered Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular will feature more lights, lasers and music! This dazzling display of neon laser lights, fun characters, inspiring stories, historical graphics, spectacular fireworks and popular musical scores is a must see.

Show features include:

  • Lighting at the base of the mountain which shine up like fingers of light showcasing the 825 foot mountainside.
  • Overhead Laser Canopy that creates a ceiling of light over your head, immersing you into the show.
  • Laser mirror bounce shots from all directions onto the law to create the effect of lasers jumping over your head.
  • Updated play list featuring 10 new sons including "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel, "Home" by Phillip Phillips, "Cherry" by Pharrell Williams and more.
  • Mountainvision technology, which adds 3-D effects without the need for 3-D glasses. It really does look like things are jumping out at's pretty cool!

Our family got the VIB (Very Important Blogger) treatment on Friday night. We got a behind the scenes look at where the magic happens and got to speak with the technical experts. Then we enjoyed a very tasty dinner. Afterwards we headed down to our terrace level seats (Mississippi) for some snacks. Before the show the children had a blast playing on the lawn with the "Georgia Bubble Man" and their friends. Watching a lasershow on the world's largest outdoor screen is definitely a family memory must. My husband said the new show brought out his inner geek. My son loved the fireworks. And I got teary eyed during the patriotic grand finale! My daughter loved "Let It Go" and "Home."

The Lasershow Spectacular is FREE with the $10 parking fee. Or you can enjoy the show from the comfort of one of the terraces which showcase an outstanding view of the mountain, its famous carving and the world’s longest running Lasershow. The terrace seats will give you the best seat in the house, and you can enjoy the show with a snack or dinner package.

Note: If you decide to get terrace level seats try for one of the upper levels closer to Memorial Hall. While walking to the bathrooms up at the top it looked like the view was a little bit better at the top. 

Stop back in a few weeks for a comprehensive review about Stone Mountain Park.

Extreme Dinosaurs - Limited time attraction:
Ever wish you could travel back in time to the time of the dinosaurs? Well now you can for a limited time at the Extreme Dinosaurs exhibit at Atlanta Station. This is the first time this exhibit has been debuted in the USA. We had a blast a few months ago during our visit. As a matter of fact we had so much fun the kids went through twice. The exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to discover the roar and might of the Mesozoic Era. It is an educational and entertaining exhibit for the entire family. You will get an up-close, realistic look at some of the world's strangest dinosaurs from the "Golden Age." There are a total of 17 lifelike and life-size animatronic dinosaurs featured in naturalistic landscapes that roar, snarl, open their jaws, blink their eye, move their limbs and more. There are also full-scale skeletons, both real and replica fossils and several interactive activities including a children's dig site, Make Me Move console, touch panels, Dinosaur Detective quiz and more. Each dinosaur also has an informational placard with dinosaur names, pronunciations, facts and more. The self guided exhibit takes about an hour to get through. Throughout the exhibit there are staff members to answer any questions you may have.

Highlights of the exhibit:

  • Animatronic Dinosaurs - View lifelike dinosaurs in their most realistic forms thanks to some of the best animation technology.
  • Fossils - Explore dinosaurs through the eyes of a paleontologist with an intimate view our real fossils and fossil casts.
  • Skeletons - View phenomenal skeletons like the 57 foot long Omeisaurus which will captivate you with its incredible size and extensive details.
  • Feathered Dinosaurs - Did you know that in the last two decades feathered dinosaurs were discovered? See their bizarre features up close through five animatronic species.
  • Interactives - Ever wonder what it might be like to control the movements of one of these large creatures? Now you can with our Make Me Move interactive. Kiosks, dig tables and more will give you a hands-on look at Extreme Dinosaurs.

The kids had so much fun and we all learned a great deal. As a homeschool mom I loved all of the hand on learning opportunities available for the kids. The staff was very friendly and answered any questions the kids had. We had been to a similar traveling exhibit a few years ago which doesn't even come close to the quality of the Extreme Dinosaurs exhibit. 

To enhance the experience even further parents and teachers can download a FREE education guide. This exhibit will only be around a limited time so be sure to add it to your Summer fun list.

Tiny Towne - New "edu-tainment" attraction:
Tiny Towne is not open to the public yet, but we had the opportunity to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony. The kids also got a test drive. Let me just say this place is going to be awesome when it is completed. Tiny Towne is an innovative concept and will be the first of its kind. The attraction will be a family-oriented, high-tech "edu-tainment" center with a vision of inspiring a generation of safer drivers. In addition to two different level driving tracks there is also an arcade room, party rooms, a restaurant, fieldtrip classroom, computer lab with touch screen computers and simulators, and plenty of waiting areas for parents. At Tiny Towne children ages 3-15 will be able to drive high tech mini cars on realistic streets where they will have to follow road signs and traffic signals, respect each other and respect police officers. Drivers must complete various educational activities such as quizzes and successful rounds in the simulators in order to advance to more fun and higher-level tracks. It is a place where fun and education come together to teach children an very important life skill...driving!

Follow Tiny Towne on Facebook to receive updates. The attraction will be open to the public later in June. Also visit their website to claim a $20 voucher.

I hope to bring you a full, detailed review early next month!

Six Flags Over Georgia - Hurricane Harbor:
Six Flags Over Georgia recently opened their new multi-million dollar water park Hurricane Harbor. The water park is located in the back of the park and is included FREE with your admission. There are 4 fun attractions in the water park: Paradise Island, Bonzai Pipelines, Calypso Bay Wave Pool and Tsunami Surge.

The kids and I had the privilege of attending the media day event. First we played in Calypso Bay the 38,000 square foot wave pool. There are two massive wave generators that create 4 foot waves in 8 different wave patterns. It is just like being at the ocean minus the sand and salt. The kids spent hours in the wave pool and I had to practically bribe them to get out. There are life vests and inner tubes available for visitor use.

Next we headed over to Paradise Island which is a giant children's water playground. It is about 1 acre and features 6 water slides, multiple water buckets that dump about 2,000 gallons of water every 5 minutes and hundreds of interactive water elements like water blasters, sprayers, fountains, pumps, etc. The kids had a blast and really enjoyed the slides in this area.

The other two attractions Bonzai Pipeline and Tsunami Surge we were unable to try out because we ran out of time, but we will definitely be hitting them up in a week when we go back. The Bonzai Pipeline has 3 unique water slides that sit atop a 41 foot tower. Visitors will barrel down through 180- and 360- degree curves. There are single and double tube options.

Tsunami Surge is the first hybrid zero-gravity slide and sends you down five stories into the splash pool below. You will drop through an enclosed tube and into a whirlpool bowl with 360 degree curves and then out into a massive wave wall and for a moment you will feel zero gravity, or weightlessness. Tubes are available for single, double, triple or quadruple riders.

Check out the kids thoughts in this YouTube video.

Inside Hurricane Harbor there are 11 relaxing cabanas with reserved seating and food service, a beach-themed restaurant with window service, several retail locations, bathhouses, locker rentals, tube rentals and lounging chairs to sit back and enjoy the summer sun. Six Flags over Georgia is now open daily through August 10.

Note: It has been 8 years since we last visited Six Flags Over Georgia. My husband and I did not have a very good experience there our first time. However I will say that this return trip impressed me. There was security throughout the park, the staff was very friendly and it was very clean. I definitely felt that the park stepped up their game over the last few years to provide a safe, family friendly  park. Be sure to arrive early because it will take you an entire day to see all that this massive park has to offer. 

I hope you enjoyed this edition stayed tuned for more Georgia Travel Log updates!

1 comment:

Leigh Anne Borders said...

Wow!!! You have been busy. We went to High today and saw the dream cars. I am really looking forward to the Tiny Towne. My son is 15 and I would love for him to do this.

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