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Archive for the ‘Attractions’ Category

Atlanta Botanical Garden 2009 ‘Scarecrow’ winners, favorites


"The Urban Scarecrow" by Druid Hills High School's Urban Art Club was the non-professional winner for "Scarecrows in the Garden." AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht.

I don’t know how many crows hang out around the Atlanta Botanical Garden on a usual day, but it will be crow-free at least through the end of October.


"Gong with the Wind, Horri-belle" a combo wind chime and scarecrow by Rixart, won for the professional category.

This year’s “Scarecrows in the Garden” features 107 of the field dummies, all created by businesses, schools, non-profits, families and individuals seeking bird-fright glory.

These two, the cockroach and the bell-e of the Botanical Garden, were this year’s winners.

As an AJC story explained this week, there’s a lot going on in the themes of motherhood and helping the environment,  and there are plenty of other stunning and hilarious entries poste.

By the way, admission to the the Atlanta Botanical Garden is free this weekend for Bank of America customers. …

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First look at Aquarium’s new “Planet Shark” exhibit

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Curator Craig Thorburn works on a display of a frozen mako shark and bluefin tune in "Planet Shark: Predator or Prey" at Georgia Aquarium. AJC/Phil Skinner

The world’s largest fish tank will soon offer visitors the world’s first look at a new exhibit, “Planet Shark: Predator or Prey.”

The new Georgia Aquarium exhibit opens Oct. 3, but we got the first look at it this week. (As always, I enjoy an up-close view of shark teeth and Shop-Vacs.)

It was developed in Australia and  moved into the Aquarium’s 10,000 square foot exhibition space, where its first views include intimidatingly large shark models, a row of shark jaws, piles of shark teeth — and the message that sharks ought to be more afraid of humans than we are of them.

“Planet Shark” curators Craig Thorburn and Mike Bhana dedicated an entire gallery to fishing practices and consumer products that lead to the deaths of about 100 million sharks every year, according to Oceana, an ocean conservation …

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Atlanta Botanical Garden walkway construction to resume

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An image of the "Canopy Walk" planned for Storza Woods. Courtesy Jova, Daniels, Busby and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Ten months after a deadly walkway collapse at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, construction of the 600-foot Canopy Walk is set to resume in October.

The “treewalk” is a winding, 40-foot high walkway designed to take visitors on a canopy-level walk through the Garden’s Storza Woods. It’s set to open in May, 2010. It’s part of a $55 million Green Expansion that has already opened a new visitor center, green roof, parking facility, pedestrian path and additional garden. An edible garden and “cascade” garden are to open in 2010, along with the walkway.

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The walkway after the collapse on Dec. 19, 2008. AJC file photo

The walkway is touted by Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s executive director, as a “must-see destination for both gardeners and those who simply want to experience nature in the middle of the city.” The project has been on hold since last year, when the …

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Happy birthday, Zoo Atlanta pandas! Enjoy the (ice) cake!


Mei Lan enjoyed an ice cake for her second birthday in September, 2008. AJC file photo

The panda birthday bash at Zoo Atlanta this weekend will surely draw a crowd, and not just the kind the kind angling to get a corner piece of birthday cake.

Mei Lan fans want to celebrate the Atlanta-born panda’s 3rd birthday before she departs for China in mid-February. Zoo Atlanta is still trying to raise $500,000 to keep the other giant pandas here, but has raised only about $120,000 so far, according to the AJC story, “A panda party, parting.”


Kate Roca and Heather Roberts add bamboo to an ice cake on Sept. 16, 2009. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

You wouldn’t want to eat panda cake, anyway.

As in the past, Zoo Atlanta staffers put together ice cakes for their black-and-white beauties. The recipe changes a little every year, but giant panda keeper JT Svoke provided a list of ingredients and a details about what they’ll look like when, um, baked.

Note: I provide this information because it’s …

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Future uncertain as historic Herndon Home approaches 100

The Herndon Home was built in 1910 by Atlanta's first African-American millionaire. It's now undergoing repairs. Tours are by appointment only. AJC/Johnny Crawford

A story published today in the AJC, “Herndon Home full of history, but its future is unclear,” documented the ups and downs of the historic home of African-American insurance magnate Alonzo Herndon and his family. Its opulence and prime plot of land near the Atlanta University Center are intact, but the foundation that runs it is struggling. Twice-per-week tours have been cut back to appointment-only visits.

From the story:

Recent storms have damaged the shutters and two-story columns. Budget restraints have forced the home’s administrators to trim the staff, and tours are now available by appointment only.

“We are reducing our non-essential costs,” said Belinda Stubblefield, a member of the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation, which oversees the upkeep of the home.

“This is what we have to do in …

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What to know before you go: Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con Parade, 2008. AJC file photo

Dragon*Con is just amazing — it’s a pop culture convention where Star Trek and Star Wars get along, where pirates, Spidermen, goth kids, comic book readers, artists, filmmakers, costumers, families and singles and everyone you think you know gets together to hang out and explore the sci-fi side of themselves. It started in 1987 with 1,400 people at the Piedmont Plaza Hotel, and this Sept. 4-7, it welcomes more than 30,000 people to four downtown Atlanta hotels.

The conference includes some 35 topics fleshed out enough enough to be a sub-conference, more than 500 featured guests, contests, shopping, a film festival, a blood drive. But for such a large, boisterous event, it doesn’t get in the way of normal operations. You’ll be able to tell the office workers from the conference-goers, but downtown Atlanta certainly won’t shut down to those not wearing pirate hats.

Here’s a guide to help you through the weekend, but Dragon*Con regulars: …

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Zoo Atlanta’s Bornean orangutan might be pregnant again

Satu, with mama Miri. Photo by Zoo Atlanta.

Zoo Atlanta already has the nation’s largest population of orangutans, but it may be adding another to the family next year. From an AJC story published today:

Miri is still raising her last baby, Satu, born in November 2003, but keepers have observed swelling in her external reproductive areas and are hopeful she’ll deliver sometime early next spring.

Bornean orangutans are listed as endangered, and Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species.

Orangutans are the subject of the zoo’s Discovery Talk Series presentation tonight by Willie Smits, founder of Borneo Orangutan Survival.

Want to go? Orangutan Discovery Talk, 6 p.m. Sept. 3. $7, $5 for members. Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave S.E. in Atlanta’s Grant Park. 404-624-9453,

Continue reading Zoo Atlanta’s Bornean orangutan might be pregnant again »

4 views on ‘Adventures of Little Noodle,’ kids to critics

The Noodle family, including Little Noodle and baby brother Doodle, from "The Adventures of Little Noodle" at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

The foodie fable playing at The Center for Puppetry Arts tells the story of a little noodle knocked from the safety of the mixed pasta box that she calls home and into the big, cruel, wonderful world of the grocery store.

The clean-up on aisle four sweeps her away, where she meets a bully of a rat who calls her “fat,” a diet doctor who promises to maker her skinny, junk food addicts and shallow magazine cover kids. It’d be a hard world for her if she didn’t already know she was healthy and beautiful with her angel hair and rigatoni thighs.

“Adventures of Little Noodle” is a one-hour show written and directed by Jon Ludwig, the man with a “wicked twinkle,” who saw that noodle theater would need an original score, glowing puppets and voices performed live.

I thought it was adorable, and absolutely worth the time, if just to see how …

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Inside View: Ga. Aquarium’s ‘Titanic Aquatic’ ends Sept. 7

"The Ship is like a palace, my cabin ripping — hot and cold water, a very comfy-looking bed — and lots of room." — Hugh Woolner, First Class Passenger AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

On my way into Georgia Aquarium’s “Titanic Aquatic” exhibition, I was handed a replica boarding pass for a passage on history’s most famously tragic ship. Lily Potter was the name. She traveled with her daughter, Olive Earnshawa. It was April 10, 1912, when she joined the voyage from Cherbourg, France to New York.

RMS Titanic. AJC file photo

I stepped into a museum version of how the trip was intended to be for first class passengers. It was exciting, like the blown-up front pages showed, and richly luxurious, like the detailed replica room. (Going rate: $4,000 in 1912.) There was clean china with unspoiled patterns, remnants of the hot-and-cold bathtub spigots, toiletries someone carried on board. They’re all behind climate-controlled glass — no touching allowed — but they are the real thing, …

Continue reading Inside View: Ga. Aquarium’s ‘Titanic Aquatic’ ends Sept. 7 »

Access Points: Chattahoochee Nature Center watershed exhibit

Lots of creative guesses on this week’s Access Point, but just a few of you knew it was a fish in the watershed exhibit at the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s new Discovery Center.

Scales on this fish are made from old CDs. AJC/ Jamie Gumbrecht.

Indeed, many recognized the fishy qualities of the photo, but you seemed convinced that it was the giant creature outside the Atlanta Fish Market. Others saw the CDs, and guessed everything from Hard Rock Cafe to AOL headquarters.

But it was commenter PJ who first mentioned the place — the new Discovery Center at the Chattahoochee Nature Center — and Smokey the Bandit who said it was the giant fish located there. Nice work!

This fellow isn’t just a fish, but a largemouth bass. If you’ve been fishing in Lake Lanier, you’ve caught one. He is one of about 13 animals made from repurposed household goods and on display in the new Discovery Center watershed exhibit.

Rope snake. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Plenty of nature centers rely on taxidermy …

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