City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for the ‘Attractions’ Category

Access Points 28: Georgia Aquarium’s coral reef

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Did you recognize this week's Access Point? You might if you spend a lot of time around the coral reef inside Georgia Aquarium. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

There were dozens of guesses at this week’s Access Point, and no, it’s not an up-close shot of human skin. (The camera and lenses I dug out of AJC storage just aren’t that powerful.) It is, though, a living creature inside the Georgia Aquarium’s Tropical Diver exhibition — coral, an animal (not a plant!) related to sea anemones and jellies.

This one, in fact, is a leather coral, sarcophyton sp., that came to the Aquarium as a donation from a home hobbyist in North Carolina. Like all the other donated, purchased, shared or rescued coral there, it went through a quarantine period before it was planted inside the tank.

Atlanta’s is the second-largest coral exhibit in the United States, and there’s more to come. (Here’s a detailed article about it from a few years ago in Reefkeeping Magazine.) This is an example of a barrier …

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Panda Mei Lan to exit quarantine, celebrate Earth Hour

For the first time tomorrow, Mei Lan, the Atlanta-born panda who recently moved to Chengdu, China, will be released from quarantine to greet the public in her new home.

Tai Shan, the National Zoo panda that Mei Lan plane-pooled with to China, left quarantine today.


Mei Lan at Zoo Atlanta. AJC file photo

Meanwhile, she has also been chosen as an ambassador for Earth Hour 2010, the one-hour window starting 8:30 p.m. March 27 when people and organizations worldwide turn out the lights. (Earth Hour is a program of the World Wildlife Fund, whose logo is a panda.) Lanterns will be lit March 10, too, on each of the seven continents as a countdown to lights-out. In Asia, the lantern launch will be at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Mei Lan’s new home. Here’s a Q&A the AJC recently did with Heather Roberts, the keeper who made the journey to China with Mei Lan.

As for the pandas still at Zoo Atlanta, Mei Lan’s little brother, Xi Lan, has been weaned from his mama, and …

Continue reading Panda Mei Lan to exit quarantine, celebrate Earth Hour »

PHOTO: Botanical Garden walkway construction continues

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Workers continued construction on the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Canopy Walk, scheduled to open this spring. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

On a walk through the Atlanta Botanical Garden yesterday, I could see serious progress on construction around the garden, including the new Edible Garden and Canopy Walk. Those, along with the Cascade Garden, are scheduled to open in May as part of the garden’s $55 million expansion projects


Here's what the Canopy Walk should look like by May. Hopefully there will be more green by then, too.

The Canopy Walk project was scheduled to open last year, but was on hold after part of collapsed in December 2008. One man was killed and 18 others were injured. Construction resumed in October.

Till then, the rest of the garden remains open, including the Orchid Daze: Tower of Flowers exhibition, which is the center of its yummy Valentines in the Garden event this weekend.

Take the trip up to the garden slowly, and you can get an eyeful of the construction work …

Continue reading PHOTO: Botanical Garden walkway construction continues »

LBGT entertainment options earn Atlanta ‘gayest city’ title!


A rainbow flag moves down Peachtree Street in Atlanta during the 2007 Pride Parade. The Advocate recently named Atlanta the Gayest City in America, mostly, it seems because of how much fun we have. AJC file photo

Well, well, well, Atlanta, not to boast, but once again, our reputation for fun has put us atop  a random list by an out-of-town publication using arbitrary rankings. We win!

This time, it’s The Advocate — yep, the AJC and others reported this already, but I’ve been busy — and it says we’re the gayest city. Rounding out the top 5: Burlington, Vt., Iowa City, Bloomington, Ind. and Madison, Wis. The Advocate explains that their list covers ” a slew of secondary cities are becoming gay epicenters,” all the places where gay people moved after taking over San Francisco, South Beach and entire sections of New York.

Based on numbers of gay bars, elected officials and Netflix queues, among other stats, Atlanta is, indeed, “much more pink than you might think.”

The specifics …

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10 can’t-miss Atlanta attractions for 2010

A few days ago, we published a motivational list of 12 thing to try in Atlanta this year. It’s a good list, but many of the activities or ideas that have been around a long time. Don’t take them for granted, but there’s no time limit on most of them.

But last Sunday, we published the blockbusters — “10 Atlanta attractions for 2010.” This list features the brand-new, the short-term, the long-awaited and the one-night-only, from an exhibition about Dr. Seuss, to the new bottlenose dolphins coming to Georgia Aquarium, to a  Bela Fleck concert, to a the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s canopy walk opening.

The item coming soonest is the unveiling of 140-foot  “Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mural,” which will be behind the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium facing the Martin Luther King Jr. National History Site visitors center. It was designed by Morehouse College instructor Louis Delsarte and will be dedicated at 2 p.m. Jan. 17.

This is a solid list to guide your calendar, but I’m …

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Access Points 21: CNN Center tour in downtown Atlanta


Tours through CNN Center show off the TV

Did you recognize the photo in this week’s Access Point?

While an afternoon of wandering inside Target can be great fun, the image was definitely the CNN logo toward the front of CNN Center, across from Centennial Olympic Park. Good eye, KMP!

I sometimes felt like the only person who’d been to Atlanta and hadn’t been on a CNN tour. I’m a bad journalism cheerleader and an even worse arbiter of fun things to do. It’s one of our landmarks; a Russian journalist who stayed at my house for a night before heading home had two requests for her short time here: to see the Margaret Mitchell House and the CNN Tour.”Gone With the Wind” and Anderson Cooper. That’s us.

I decided to check it out this week after Mayor Kasim Reed announced Monday that $1 from each CNN tour will go toward Atlanta recreation centers — another source of fun and education for a lot of families in town.

Turner Broadcasting System spokesperson Misty Skedgell confirmed for …

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Stone Mountain becomes Snow Mountain Dec. 26-March 7


Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park! AJC/John Spink

Here’s something to cheer you up on this decidedly gray, rainy day: there’s snow on the way. Don’t you feel better already?

What I’m talking about, though, is the best kind of snow — fluffy stuff that will never back up traffic, but happens to be perfect for tubing. As of Dec. 26, Stone Mountain Park becomes Snow Mountain Park, complete with tubing on the laser lawn, snow play areas for building igloos and snowmen, special spots for little kids and areas to take it all in or warm your feet by the fire.

Like in past years, Snow Mountain uses a closed-loop system that chills snow from Stone Mountain Lake. They’ll take several weeks to pile on layers, creating a nice slick for the daredevils who arrive on opening day. Here are some photos of Snow Mountain construction, shot yesterday by AJCer John Spink. The attraction opens a little earlier this year, catching that post-Christmas crowd that so badly needs to get …

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Best Event of 2009: Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park

After tallying your nominations and analyzing your votes, the clear winner for Atlanta’s Best Event of 2009 was The Green Concert at Piedmont Park with Sir Paul McCartney.


Paul McCartney's Green Concert at Piedmont Park was voted Atlanta's Best Event of 2009. AJC file photo

Why, despite the huge crowd, rough weather and ticketing troubles? Just check out this user-submitted photo gallery.

Or consider what one commenter wrote: “Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park reminded us all of what an amazing feeling you get when you join with thousands of other people to experience the performance of a musical legend and master communicator.”

Indeed, much of Atlanta seems to be celebrating Piedmont Park — now drought-free, three of the five most popular events were held there.

Of course, all the finalists drew big crowds, and I hope we’ll see all those festivals and events grow and get more creative. More fun=better Atlanta.

Here are the other events that filled out your Top 5 Atlanta Events …

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Short on funds, Zoo Atlanta pandas still likely to stay

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Xi Lan: Y'all can press your faces against the glass all you want, I'm not going anywhere. AJC file photo

About $240,000 short of the fund-raising goal in the panda-promoting Give So They Stay campaign, Zoo Atlanta president and CEO Dennis Kelly said it’s unlikely that the zoo’s famous pandas are going anywhere.

The Zoo is making one last push with a fund-raising membership offer of $99 for two adults and up to four children, who don’t have to live in the same household.

From a story reported by AJCer Howard Pousner:

“We think it will add significantly to our total,” Kelly said. “It probably won’t put us over the top, but I think we’re close enough that the board has confidence in us and that we’ll go ahead and … declare victory and keep the pandas.”

In truth, the deck was stacked strongly in the pandas’ favor from the start. Seeking to raise $2.5 million to extend the animals’ stay five years, a deal similar to one that San Diego Zoo had just inked with the Chinese …

Continue reading Short on funds, Zoo Atlanta pandas still likely to stay »

What’s in store for the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site?


U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, left, bumped fists outside a house just down the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home. Federal stimulus money will go toward stabilizing the house. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

AJCer Rosalind Bentley talked with Judy Forte, superintendent of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, for a Q&A that ran Sunday.


Judy Forte

Every time I’m there, it’s packed with field trip students, out-of-town visitors and adult locals inevitably returning after years without seeing the exhibits, rose garden or birth home tour.

In this interview, they talked about the park service gradually taking over more property around the King birth home, and stimulus money that will go toward stabilizing the home pictured above — all of which could improve the visitor experience.

There’s also some talk about how the historic site, King Center and the new Center for Civil and Human Rights might fit together.

Q: Under your administration, have you explored …

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