Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta

Centennial Olympic Park (Self Guided), Atlanta

The Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is a sprawling urban oasis, covering approximately 21 acres. It was created as a central gathering place for the Centennial Summer Olympic Games held in Georgia in 1996. In the years following the Games, the area witnessed commercial development resulting in a variety of attractions and amenities suitable for visitors of all ages.

One of the notable sites within the park is the Visitor Center. Here, you can gather information about the park's history, events, and activities – a great place to start your visit and get oriented.

The Fountain of Rings is a captivating water fountain and light show that represents the centerpiece of the park. It features synchronized water jets and is a popular spot for visitors, especially the young ones, to cool off and enjoy the spectacle.

Centennial Plaza commemorates the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympics with the national flags of all the previous host cities and iconic 'Hermes Towers' representing Olympic sports, creating a stunning illuminated spectacle at night.

The Quilt of Remembrance is a poignant memorial within the park that pays tribute to the victims of the 1996 Olympic bombing.

For families, the Children's Garden and Playground provide a fun and safe place for kids to play and explore, making it a perfect destination for families.

Adjacent to the park, you'll find two major attractions: the Georgia Aquarium, home to a diverse array of marine life, and the World of Coca-Cola, where you can learn about the history and culture of this iconic beverage.

Nowadays serving as a reminder of the 1996 Olympics, Centennial Olympic Park is a focal point for both locals and tourists visiting Atlanta. So, if you're interested in the Olympic legacy, allocate some time to visit this remarkable place. The blend of history, entertainment, and relaxation that it provides, makes it well worth it.
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Centennial Olympic Park Map

Guide Name: Centennial Olympic Park
Guide Location: USA » Atlanta (See other walking tours in Atlanta)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Visitor Center (Centennial Olympic Park)
  • Fountain of Rings
  • Centennial Plaza
  • Quilt of Remembrance
  • Children's Garden and Playground
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • World of Coca-Cola
Visitor Center (Centennial Olympic Park)

1) Visitor Center (Centennial Olympic Park)

The Visitor Center in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park provides a wealth of information about the park's history, as well as the city's role in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The exhibit includes interactive displays and artifacts from the games, including the famous torch used to light the Olympic flame. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the park and learn about its architecture, landscaping, and public art installations. The Visitor Center is staffed with knowledgeable guides who are happy to answer questions and provide recommendations for other attractions in the area.
Fountain of Rings

2) Fountain of Rings

The Fountain of Rings is the primary attraction of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, and is renowned worldwide. Originally designed for the Centennial Summer Olympics in 1996, it comprises computer-controlled lights and jets of water synchronized with music played from speakers in light towers surrounding the fountain. The fountain forms a splash pad for children to play in, as well as for concertgoers and joggers to cool off on hot Atlanta summer days.

The waterplay area comprises 251 jets that shoot water 12 to 35 feet (4 to 10 m) in the air, creating a stunning water sculpture that serves as the front yard of the nearby museum. The fountain area is surrounded by flags of previous host countries of the Summer Olympics, and eight 65-foot-tall light towers reminiscent of classical Greek marker columns. Additionally, there are various sculptures scattered throughout the park, including a statue of Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic movement, and a small amphitheater located at the southern end.

The fountain is an essential formal architectural landmark that is also a fun and playful space. The concept of a computer-controlled fountain has since been replicated in other urban designs such as Dundas Square in Toronto and in commercial uses such as the Bellagio Fountains at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

There are fountain shows held at Centennial Olympic Park all 365 days of the year, four times daily, playing at 12:30PM, 3:30PM, 6:30 PM, and 9:30PM.

Why You Should Visit:
Whether you want to take a break from sightseeing or enjoy some family-friendly entertainment, the Fountain of Rings is a must-see attraction in Atlanta.
Centennial Plaza

3) Centennial Plaza

Centennial Plaza was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympics. The plaza showcases 23 national flags that symbolize the past Olympic host cities. At its heart stands the official flag of the Olympic Games; however, the most significant attraction are the striking 'Hermes Towers' consisting of eight towers that rise to 25 feet high. Named after the Greek god Hermes, they each represent an Olympic sport and are adorned with images related to that sport. The towers are made of stainless steel and are illuminated at night, providing a spectacular sight for visitors to the plaza.
Quilt of Remembrance

4) Quilt of Remembrance

The Quilt of Remembrance Plaza is a place of reflection and remembrance. Visitors can pay their respects to the victims of the 1996 Olympic bombing and other acts of domestic terrorism by viewing the Quilt of Remembrance, which consists of 71 panels featuring the names and photographs of those who lost their lives.

The plaza also features a memorial fountain, surrounded by a mosaic depicting the Olympic rings and the names of the 1996 Olympic sponsors, and serving as a place for visitors to sit and contemplate.

In addition to the Quilt of Remembrance and the memorial fountain, the plaza features a number of benches and seating areas, as well as informational plaques detailing the history of the bombing and the efforts to create the memorial. It is a peaceful and solemn space that honors the memories of those who lost their lives and serves as a reminder of the need for peace and understanding in society.
Children's Garden and Playground

5) Children's Garden and Playground

The Children's Garden and Playground in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park is a great place for families to visit. Designed specifically for children, it offers a range of activities to keep them engaged and entertained. The garden features interactive fountains and sprays, a playground with slides, swings, and other fun equipment, a maze, and a reading area. There are also shaded areas where parents can relax while their children play. The garden is open year-round and is free to the public, making it a great budget-friendly option for families looking for a fun day out.
Georgia Aquarium

6) Georgia Aquarium (must see)

Since it bills itself as the largest in the world, the Georgia Aquarium should definitely be on most visitors' lists of things to do while in Atlanta. It's a well designed aquarium with exhibits broken down by habitat and the only water tank big enough to accommodate several whale sharks, which is reason alone to buy tickets, especially if you've never seen them live.

Of course, while the whale sharks are the star attraction, the Aquarium has so much more! Their many smaller tanks feature an array of interesting species with everything from freshwater fish to penguins, otters, and beluga whales. Sea lion and dolphin shows are a part of the admission fee, but just watching the several species of jellyfish in their individual tanks can keep you mesmerized for hours as they move gracefully up and down with their flowing hairlike tentacles.

Everything is beautifully presented with large walls of thick glass so visitors can feel close to the sea life, separated by mere inches from the most amazing coral and fish, both large and small. In some places aquarium windows glitter with fish moving overhead, and at the entrance there is even a watery wall of schooling fish reflecting changing shades of blue light.

Why You Should Visit:
To experience all the world's major marine ecosystems in a single place – mostly via spectacular large displays and sometimes pop-up viewing stations/crawl spaces. From the Arctic waters where you'll see beluga whales and penguins to tropical seas where there is everything from seahorses to stingrays and sharks.

Buy your tickets online as it is a better deal – some discounts there cannot be purchased in person.
Consider paying a little extra to do the backstage tour – well worth the money and great for all ages.
World of Coca-Cola

7) World of Coca-Cola (must see)

Prepare to have your taste buds tickled and your senses stimulated at this classic Atlanta tourist destination that is a must-visit for anyone looking to understand the global impact of Coca-Cola on people's lives. For a very reasonable admission fee, you can enjoy a leisurely 2-hour exploration of the museum's exhibits spread over two floors. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted with a free can of Coke and an introduction to the historical artifacts of the company, as well as a video – essentially a long Coca-Cola ad – which acts as a nice segway into the next portion – the entrance into the main hall.

On the first floor, you'll get to explore "The Vault" (rumored to hold the physical copy of the top-secret Coca-Cola recipe), the "Milestones of Refreshment" walk-through exhibit, where you'll learn about the company's history, see the manufacturing process at "Bottle Works," and even take a selfie with the ever-jovial Polar Bear mascot. On the second floor, you'll be treated with a 4D theater that offers a wild roller-coaster-like sensation as the seats move in sync with the short film, plus various galleries, massive gift shop, and of course the most exciting portion: the Tasting Room!

In the Tasting Room, you can sample over 100 different flavors of drinks from all over the world, produced under Coca-Cola license, as well as some drink specials from the bar. A very cool way to end the tour!

Why You Should Visit:
Tons of Coca-Cola paraphernalia and memorabilia, and you are given a virtually unlimited supply of Coca-Cola beverages from around the world to taste (naturally, you won't find any Pepsi drinks or merchandise here!).

Try to book online or buy the City Pass to jump at least one or two queues for entrance.

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