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5 Best Things To Do In Atlanta For Families



With the coronavirus keeping us home for most of this year, I’ve been reminiscing on previous trips I’ve taken with my kids. Back in 2018, I took my older son to Atlanta for a long weekend. There are lots of things to do in Atlanta for families, more than you might expect. Downtown has a handful of great attractions.

As is typical, the trip was made possible by miles and points. We jumped on a fantastic fare deal that perfectly used a $300 United voucher I’d been holding. We paid only ~$7 out of pocket for our flights, and our hotel was primarily paid for using points as well. This left us only footing the bill for our activities and sightseeing. Here are five of the best things to do in Atlanta for families:

Centennial Olympic Park

This tops my list of best things to do in Atlanta for families. Why? It’s free! And it gives you a good feel for the city and attractions around you. I suggest you start here.

We walked through Centennial Olympic Park every day. You can basically stand in the middle and point at 4 or 5 other popular downtown attractions, so you really can’t avoid visiting Centennial Olympic Park.

Whether it was the ring fountains or the playground, I found myself there with my 7-year-old for at least a part of each day.

We enjoyed the musical Olympic Rings fountain multiple times. The fountains are programmed in sync with an variety of different songs, and shows are regular. We enjoyed a couple songs on multiple occasions when just passing through the park between the downtown attractions and the American Hotel Atlanta Downtown where we were staying.

Georgia Aquarium

My son and I visited with the “Mommy and Me” pass, which is an incredible deal if you’re a parent flying solo with your kids. The ticket was $44.95 plus tax, and it covers one adult and up to 4 kids. This is an incredible deal for larger families. It was available for several weeks at the tail end of the summer and into the fall, and I hope it comes back again.

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States by volume of water contained. It has a massive main tank in the Ocean Voyager section, where the aquarium has its whale sharks. The Georgia Aquarium acquired these before a capture of the species was banned. Whale sharks are found in multiple tropical areas, and those at the Georgia Aquarium were obtained from Taiwan.

There is a ton to see here. We visited the aquarium for several hours and didn’t see everything. If your kids really like aquariums, this is an all day excursion.

Center for Civil and Human Rights

While not geared toward younger kids, the Center for Civil and Human Rights is a place that you should consider for tweens and teens. They are old enough to understand the background and ramifications of the civil rights movement and history since that time. My son enjoyed a couple sections, but given the style of the exhibits (and not much of a grasp of U.S. history at that point as an international adoptee), he wasn’t keen on it overall.

Still, kids from 10-17 should be able to get a lot out of the museum. One of my favorite (I guess?) parts was the lunch counter experience. You have to sit at the counter with your palms down, listening to people verbally assault you through the provided headphones. The purpose of this is to directly experience what the protesters did at the lunch counter sit-ins at Woolworth’s and other stores.

The World of Coca Cola

I have to admit…I approached this attraction with my cynical side on high alert. It was going to be one giant marketing scam, I just knew it. And it sorta was. But it was also my son’s favorite attraction after the Delta Flight Museum, go figure.

I suggest you walk into the World of Coca Cola with eyes wide open as to what it really is (i.e. an add for Coke that you willingly pay for). The kids will enjoy many parts, including the 3D film and maybe even the “secret recipe vault”. Just endure.

The best part comes at the end. You’ll get to try a ridiculous number of Coca Cola product flavors from around the world. I hardly ever drink soda, but this was rather fun. The Chilean Manzana Lift is the solid winner. Apple flavor and not too sweet. It’s about as good as it gets until you wander outside of the Coke and Pepsi world into craft soda.

Did you just pay $17 per person to try some soda. Yes, yes you did. But the kids had fun, and that’s what counts. At least that is what you’re going to need to tell yourself, as they will probably love this attraction 100x more than you.

Stone Mountain Park

This was one Atlanta attraction I was bummed to miss, but it simply didn’t fit well into our plans. Note that this recommendation doesn’t come from personal experience, but it has been highly recommended to me. It looks like a great choice based on the research I’ve done. The park is centered around a large stone monolith with a Confederate memorial engraved into the side. There are other attractions on the grounds, including a gondola ride to the summit and a railroad.

Unlike the other top Atlanta attractions for families, Stone Mountain Park is located a good distance from downtown Atlanta.  This was the main problem for us, as I’d need to rent a car to get there for the day.

I was still ready to do for our final day, but the cost and time factors sealed the deal. The whole park isn’t open on many weekdays. It would have cost us a $45 rental car, $15 parking, and $30 for tickets, and we wouldn’t have gotten to see or do most of what the park offers. It’ll have to be next time.

Honorable Mentions

I personally enjoyed the Center for Civil and Human Rights. My son wasn’t quite as thrilled. His English reading skills are still very poor, and anything that wasn’t interactive or a movie failed to capture his attention. I did my best to engage him and explain as much as I could through the museum. It was a unique experience trying to explain both the history and. If you do visit, make sure you and your older, mature kids experience the lunch counter.

We skipped the CNN Studio Tours, Atlanta SkyView and the College Football Hall of Fame. None of these really appealed to me. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta gets a mention as well, but the cost would be brutal for a family. It would be nice if they added visitor rates, as the current entry fees really push you toward a membership. Pretty useless for someone out of state, but not a bad deal if you live in Atlanta.


The best part about Altanta is that aside from Stone Mountain Park, all of these attractions are withing walking distance of plenty of hotels. You can easily get to any of them, or a couple of the others that didn’t make the top 5 things to do in Atlanta list, on foot. I highly recommend heading out to the airport as well to the Delta Flight Museum, which is another excellent area attraction. On the whole, we really liked Atlanta and would consider it again for a vacation.

The post 5 Best Things To Do In Atlanta For Families appeared first on TravelUpdate.

By: Family Flys Free
Title: 5 Best Things To Do In Atlanta For Families
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Published Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:08:29 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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