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Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Four harbor seal pups coming to Georgia Aquarium


Some of Georgia Aquarium's new harbor seals.

UPDATE 2/13: OMG HARBOR SEAL BABIES. There are now photos.


Four harbor seal pups will move into Georgia Aquarium’s Cold Water Quest exhibition on Saturday. Look at that face! Look at that! Now you know why I can’t stop using exclamation points!

From a story by AJCer Howard Pousner:

The downtown attraction is expecting to put four harbor seal pups on view Saturday in the Cold Water Quest Gallery, assuming their truck journey from SeaWorld Orlando goes smoothly Friday.

Born there last year, the four pups are between 3.5 to 4 feet long and weigh 86 to 114 pounds. Known for their prominent facial whiskers, they range in color from silver-gray to black to dark brown.

Here’s hoping they have a smooth transition to Atlanta and many happy years of play ahead.

Want to go? Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. N.W. Atlanta. $26-$35. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.  404-581-4000,

Continue reading Four harbor seal pups coming to Georgia Aquarium »

Dr. Seuss exhibit to open at Breman Jewish Museum

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"Horton Hears a Who!" is part of the Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum's Dr. Seuss exhibition opening Feb. 14. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

Dr. Seuss’ style is unmistakable, and Ted Geisel is leaving a mark all over Atlanta the next few weeks.


Kids can relax and read among turtles in the Seuss exhibition.

The Cobb Symphony and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will both perform pieces inspired by the famous author-illustrator’s work in the next few weeks.

The great highlight, though, will be  new exhibition opening this weekend at The Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum shows his political cartooning, then dives into his famous artwork for children.

It has a tone far lighter than the heart-shaking Holocaust exhibition across the hall, but kids and adults can both get a lot out of it. The political cartoons are mostly signed “Tedd,” and show a developing style made famous by Horton and the Grinch.

The second half takes kids (and their nostalgic parents, too) …

Continue reading Dr. Seuss exhibit to open at Breman Jewish Museum »

POLL: Should elephants be a part of the circus?

UPDATE 2/19: A zebra from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus got free in downtown Atlanta this afternoon and was eventually caught between lanes of traffic on the Downtown Connector. Here’s the story: “Circus zebra leads police on wild chase.” PETA has asked for an investigation into the zebra escape.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants dined on fruits and bread in Centennial Olympic Park in 2006. Every time the circus comes to town, it renews the animal welfare discussion. AJC file photo

Two animal rights groups contacted Mayor Kasim Reed this week to ask him to keep elephants away from Atlanta when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus opens its show at Philips Arena today.

From the AJC story:

Captive Animals Rescue and Enforcement wrote a letter to Reed dated Wednesday with the request. They say the elephant ran amok during a pre-show last week in Columbia, S.C. and endangered about 100 spectators. The organization wrote it “strongly suspect …

Continue reading POLL: Should elephants be a part of the circus? »

INTERVIEW: Nuclear Cowboyz motocross rider Nate Adams


Nuclear Cowboyz is at the Georgie Dome this weekend.

As Nate Adams and I talked on the phone, the 25-year-old motocross rider was waiting for a doctor to check out a ride-altering injury — a battered thumb.

“It’s a lingering injury. I dislocated my thumb and every time it comes out, I have to come get it treated,” he said. “It seems like such a  little injury, but you really can’t do anything without a thumb.”

Such is life on the road with Nuclear Cowboyz, the motocross show that comes to Philips Arena this weekend. He’s one of 16 “X Games-worthy” riders on stage during the two hour show, along with a lot of pyrotechnics and dancing women in skimpy clothes. This is a show aiming for the extreme — even with its spelling.

As Adams explains it, it’s the story of how freestyle riding grew, and became its own type of entertainment. (Here’s an interesting Associated Press story about whether motocross can become theater.)

“The show tells the story of how the tricks came up. We …

Continue reading INTERVIEW: Nuclear Cowboyz motocross rider Nate Adams »

Q&A: Alex Ramon, ringmaster, magician, star of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Atlanta Feb. 12-21

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ringmaster for "Zing, Zang Zoom" show is, for the first time in the circus' history, a magician: 24-year-old Alex Ramon.

Alex Ramon has been practicing magic since he was 13, has performed for family and neighbors, in libraries and homes around Richmond, Cali., where he grew up. He developed his talents enough to be a teen magic champion, then to tour the world with Disney Live! Mickey’s Magic Show, including a stop at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

And then came the phone call from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was still years away, but they were developing a show with a magic theme. Could he be their ringmaster?

At 23, Ramon became the second-youngest ringmaster in Ringling history, and the first magician to hold the title. On stage, he manages to make an elephant disappear and “gives kids what they’ve always wanted: control over the parents,” by making the adults levitate. (Here’s another profile of Ramon from the San …

Continue reading Q&A: Alex Ramon, ringmaster, magician, star of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Atlanta Feb. 12-21 »

Another zoo farewell: Sumatran orangutan J.T. died


Jantan, or JT, a Sumatran orangutan who lived at Zoo Atlanta since 1991, died yesterday. Photo by Zoo Atlanta

After last week’s sad good-bye to panda cub Mei Lan as she moved to China, there’s another farewell at Zoo Atlanta.

Sumatran orangutan J.T., a 20-year-old with long-term respiratory illness, died Monday evening.

Here’s the full press release sent out by the zoo:

Officials at Zoo Atlanta announced today that Jantan (J.T.), a 20-year-old male Sumatran orangutan, passed away early yesterday evening. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams had been actively treating the great ape for health complications caused by a long-term respiratory illness.

“The Zoo Atlanta family is deeply saddened by the loss of J.T., both as an individual and as an ambassador for a critically endangered species,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Senior Vice President of Collections, Education and Conservation. “Our animal management and veterinary teams demonstrated exceptional commitment …

Continue reading Another zoo farewell: Sumatran orangutan J.T. died »

Don’t forget! Valentine’s Day events around Atlanta


Looking for something to do this Valentine's Day? Maybe the classic fairy tale romance, "Cinderella," as performed by the Atlanta Ballet will do the trick. Here's Christine Winkler as Cinderella, which continues through Feb. 14 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Photo by Charlie McCullers

Maybe it’s because my neighborhood grocery store has been pink and red and heart-covered since Jan. 2, but I’d all but forgotten this is Valentine’s Day week. (What tipped me off? The aisles are starting to turn all green and shamrocky.) Time to start making some plans.

Rana at the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog has done some legwork to find a solid list of free-to-cheap Atlanta Valentine’s Day date ideas, from the High Museum to Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum, from movies at The Strand to improv at Relapse.

There are dozens more Valentine’s Day events and ideas on the calendar, too.

Here are a few more ideas, but I’d love to hear yours, too! What are your plans …

Continue reading Don’t forget! Valentine’s Day events around Atlanta »

PHOTOS: Fernbank’s new ‘Nature Unleashed’ exhibition

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The 200 mile per hour winds of an EF5 tornado in Greensburn, Kan. in 2007 bent this stop sign while debris stripped some of its plate. The sign and other artifacts from the tornado are on display at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

Flashback to eighth grade earth science: Mrs. Kuntz tries to explain Pangaea, tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes. This involves a lot of illustrations, movie clips, glossaries of terms we’ve never seen before, assurances that nobody in Michigan is likely to die from these things — not today, anyway — and the class singing the chorus of “Breaking Up is Hard To Do.” I always imagined we were imitating Little Eva, but I know now that it’s more Neil Sedaka’s thing. I’ll credit both for the education.


Fernbank's Cindy Sheehy stomps the ground to show how a (unusually sensitive) seismometer measures ground movement.

Still, that’s it. Every few years since then, I’ve written about homes ravaged by hurricanes, …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Fernbank’s new ‘Nature Unleashed’ exhibition »

Great Atlanta Black History Month events in February


Here's a moment in Alvin Ailey Dance Company's "Revelations." The company returns to Atlanta this month to celebrate Judith Jamison’s 20th year as artistic director. AJC/Hyosub Shin

February in Atlanta gives us an incredible opportunity to learn and celebrate Black History Month through art and community, no matter your age or background.

Here’s an incredibly helpful (and thorough) list of Atlanta Black History Month events including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances and gospel choirs at the Fox Theatre; dance and jazz at the Rialto Center for the Arts and Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts; the Margaret Mitchell House’s Big Read events; a portrait exhibition at the Atlanta History Center; a photo exhibition at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site; exhibitions at Hammonds House and Spelman College; children and family activities at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center; “Our Town” at …

Continue reading Great Atlanta Black History Month events in February »

VIDEO: Panda Mei Lan’s last day at Zoo Atlanta


A Mei Lan moment at Zoo Atlanta on Jan. 30, 2010. AJC/Phil Skinner

UPDATE 2/5: Mei Lan and Tai Shan have arrived in China, to “live TV coverage and a passionate crowd.”

If you thought that Mei Lan’s departure for China meant the end of our panda stories, welllllllll, well, you were wrong. We can do this forever.

  • First, the video. I wish this were an actual story, but instead, it’s a string of clips patched together in a a few minutes on iMovie. If you just can’t get enough panda, here she is, being cute on her last day at Zoo Atlanta! (Or, for fancier video, here’s WSB’s report from the airport.)
  • Second, I’ll update when I get confirmation that Mei Lan has arrived safely in Chengdu. Till then, here’s an interesting story from the Washington Post, which, of course, has people over in China to write about the arrival of Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s panda who shared a plane with Mei Lan.

Continue reading VIDEO: Panda Mei Lan’s last day at Zoo Atlanta »