This wasn’t my first time with CityPass, I’ve used it in San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago in the past. Obviously, this was really worth it. It saves time and money when visiting different locations in the city.
What is CityPass?
There are City Passes for many cities in the United States, and that includes one for Atlanta—The Atlanta CityPass. It costs just $76 for adults and $61 for children, giving you access to five of Atlanta’s most prominent tourist destinations at a cheaper rate than you’d get buying all of the attraction tickets individually. The following are the destinations City Pass holders will get to experience:
- Georgia Aquarium
• World Of Coca-Cola
• CNN Studio Tour
- Atlanta Zoo OR Atlanta History Center for Civil and Human Rights (pick one)
- Fernbank Museum Of Natural History OR College Football Hall of Fame (pick one)
What we did:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World of Coca-Cola
- CNN Studio Tour
- Atlanta History Center for Civil and Human Rights
- College Football Hall of Fame
Reasons for not picking the other two?
I’ve been to several safaris like in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka and several Tiger Reserves in India and I’ve found that I much prefer those over visiting the zoo – plus I’ve recently visited the Natural History Museum in New York and in Washington which are apparently bigger than the ones in Atlanta, so we chose the History Center and Football Hall of Fame instead rather than another history museum so we could do something different and learn something new.
However, if you still want to get to see all of the establishments and get the most out of what Atlanta has to offer, CityPass also gives a small discount for the other tickets so you really get to save on the attractions.
How to Use the City Pass?
- Check the validity of your tickets and be sure not to book to early because they will expire after a certain date. The validity of a CityPass booklet after purchase is typically around one year, and after you use up your first ticket inside the booklet you normally have 9 days to visit the other attractions before the entire booklet expires.
There are two ways you can get your CityPass booklet: Either have it delivered to your location or claim them at your first stop. After you receive your booklet, all you’ll have to do for the rest of the attractions is simply show your CityPass booklet and be on your way.
- Once at the attractions, go to the ticket counter and hand over your booklet in order to obtain a ticket or a pass, depending on what the establishment has put in place. Remember that you are not allowed to tear the tickets yourself – they have to do it for you otherwise the tickets are rendered void and unusable.
- Also take the time to study specific instructions as well as the time of the shows inside the attractions. For example: If you visit the aquarium too late you might miss all of the shows. For the CNN tour you have to book a certain time for your tour in order to make sure to get inside. We were only lucky it wasn’t a very busy day when we visited, but still be aware of the conditions if ever.
The best thing about the CityPass attractions in Atlanta is that they are all right next to one another – in one complex. Well, at least the attractions that I chose. The zoo and Natural History Museum will take a drive or commute but the rest are a mere walking distance away, so that made it really easy to get around, not to mention more money was saved. For those who are just going for a weekend, it’s convenient because it saves you lots of travel time.
My Experience in Each Attraction
World Of Coca-Cola Atlanta
- Original Price: $17 for adults, $13 for children, and $15 for senior citizens. Children aged 2 and under are free.
- Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Sundays to Thursdays, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
When we were deciding which attraction to visit first, the World of Coca-Cola Atlanta, opened to the public in May 2007, was a definite pick. The complex is huge and there are large variety of different attractions and activities. Once you check into the museum, they even give you a free coke which you can take back home with you as a memento.
World of Coca-Cola Rooms
My favorite part of the tour was watching the movie – all about the Coca-Cola brand and how they have helped many different countries and communities with the revenues from their product. The 4D was really nice but then again, the movie could have used more effects rather than just shaking and bumping and all. It’s definitely not for those with a bad back, but the message of the movie was still very nice.
Afterwards was the revealing of the secure and secret vault where the guarded Coca-Cola recipe is kept. They take you to other rooms talking more about the secret formula and the methods they use to keep it well guarded, then show the visitors how the bottling of the Coke products works – inside the Bottle Works room.
The tasting room, known as the Taste It Sampling Bar, was awesome. It had all of the Coca-Cola flavors from around the world, from each continent. You can try them all and see how the flavors differ from country to country. This is where I really knew I was Asian because I found myself loving all of the Asian flavors but the others were more of a hit or miss. The others in the group had differing opinions but whether you are a Cola fan or not, this room is definitely interesting.
Prepare to spend at least an hour and a half to two hours here. It’s very interactive and educational, plus there’s lots to see.
A secret: I’m not exactly much of a Coke fan, or even a soda fan for that matter. I love water more. I usually just drink cola drinks as a chaser. I also get acidic but despite not being too into soft drinks, I enjoyed the museum. Tina, on the other hand, is an avid Coke drinker so she loved the experience even more. We even did a commentary on the flavors that she tasted.
Once you’re done with the tour, you can purchase Coca-Cola souvenirs and memorabilia to take back home.
- Original Price: $38.95 for adults and $32.95 for children
- Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekdays, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekends
Of course, I prefer seeing animals in the wild but this aquarium was awesome. It teaches a lot and they have a complete exhibit of various animals. The animals are divided into sections so you can skip and stay at the areas you have the most interest in. The sea otters, the beluga, whale shark, and mantas were my highlights. The dolphin show, called the Dolphin Tales, was incredible too, I loved it a lot. No photography and videography were allowed during the shows which was great because I got to focus – no people covering the view trying to take videos.
If you decide to sit in the first 10 rows, then beware – it is the SOAK zone and you WILL get wet. VERY wet. It’s not a simple splash, you really will get soaked, so it’s a good thing I stayed higher up to avoid the water.
This was one of the most interesting dolphin shows for me. It was more educational, you get to learn more about the dolphins, not just watch them do tricks. You learn about how they think and interact with each other and humans. It was a very good experience.
They also had two 4D movies available but unfortunately we only had enough time to watch one. We ended up watching The Ocean and Beyond and OMG my heart – I cried. The movie was so beautiful.
The museum is also planning to go paperless in the near future so ask all the needed information beforehand so that you can plan your trip right.
To be honest, you can spend half the day here, there’s lots of interactive stuff and things to do.
The different sections of the aquarium:
- Coldwater Quest – for non-fish species including belugas, sea otters, and penguins
- Ocean Voyager – sharks, whale sharks, stingrays and other mid-sea animals
- Tropical Diver – see the water tanks get refilled by the aquarium staff
- Breeding Programs – seahorses, corals, and penguins
We finished the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola in one day. Even if they’re right next to each other, we still ended up spending a lot of time – it was super interactive and before we even realised it, it was already 5PM.
Center of Human Civil Rights
- Original price: $19.99 for adults and $15.99 for children
- Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
I learned a lot in this museum, but this time about history. I learned about inequality, the fight for justice, the division and segregation of color – what black people went through in the past and how they fought for their freedom. The museum itself was also interactive; lots of readings, listening, and story-telling.
There are several highlights in the center, including:
- Freedom Riders wall: A bus which is plastered with mugshots of individuals who were persecuted for fighting for civil rights.
- Wall of Defender portraits: Detailed paintings of various individuals who led the fight against inequality
- Writings of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Wall of martyrs: Pictures of individuals who lost their lives during the civil rights movement
- Human rights map: Shows the level of freedom of countries around the world
These were things I had a vague idea on but didn’t really know about to the fullest extent, so this was a good way for me to learn about the history of how the South was like in the past.
Because I do love learning about history, I spent around an hour and a half here. Tina, on the other hand, who isn’t really into museums, spent around 45 minutes but she said she still appreciated the exhibits and learned a lot.
Inside CNN Studio Tour
- Original Price: $35 for adults
- Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
The studio has timed tickets and the tour runs only three times a day, with just 12 people allowed in at a time – so you really have to call beforehand or go on a quiet day. The tour lasted for around 45 minutes, perhaps about an hour. It is a guided walking tour.
Visitors get to go behind the scenes and see how CNN is broadcasted live. See how the staff rush to get things in place. It’s really nice seeing how everything comes together especially during live broadcasts. We also learned some camera tricks and tips they use, like how to do the teleprompt, the importance of green screens, how weather reports actually look like, how the set looks like behind the cameras before it is shown to televisions across the world.
This tour is definitely a must. It’s very informative and gives outsiders a peek into what broadcast media is really like behind the glitz and glam of a TV screen – if you want to take some memories of your trip home you can visit the gift shop inside the establishment.
College Football Hall of Fame
- Original Price: $21.99 for adults, $17.99 for kids
- Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sundays through Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturdays
To be honest, we would have typically gone for the natural history museum but as I’ve said earlier, we’ve seen similar ones in other parts of the States. As a result, we opted to see this attraction instead.
It was also very interactive. You can record your own voiceover, do games, learn places, there are Virtual Reality (VR) exhibits of the different fields….if you happen to be a football fan, you’ll probably enjoy this museum a lot. Personally, I am not a football fan at all so I was a little bit lost in terms of teams because people were registered and coded in teams.
Despite that, I still got to learn a little more about football – the game itself, the spirit, how people used to watch the games years back, the life of some of the most prominent players and some plays from top coaches that bagged them the wins.
The last area of the Hall of Fame is a skills area where you can practice some throwing, kicking and whatnot – it was quite cool.
For a non-fan, you could probably still learn something out of this but I personally breezed through the exhibits faster than the rest. I did see many fans really enjoying the museum, talking and going at each other in a fun and in jest manner.
Where else can you use Citypass?
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- New York City, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Southern California
- Tampa Bay, Florida
- Toronto, Ontario