Day 6: December 27, 2012
Mostly Coke

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A couple of naked women is just the thing to make a walk seem shorter and this pair of dancers is near the mid-point of the walk from my motel to the World of Coca-Cola. The sculpture is Ballet Olympia. The artist is Paul Manship. Actually, Paul Manship died in 1966 and this piece was commissioned in 1992 by John Portman. I've found nothing on who it was commissioned from. It is an adaptation of Manship's Maenad. That sculpture was of a single dancer and about three feet in height. Three foot tall naked women are alright but I like this size better.

The World of Coca-Cola wasn't quite what I expected but I soon realized that it was what I should have expected. I guess I expected a fairly formal presentation of Coca-Cola history. But the purpose of this place is, aside from making money, to entertain families; Not educate scholars. That's not to say that there are not some significant pieces of the company's history on display. It's just that they are presented with a lot of flash and fanfare and much of the place is all flash and fanfare.

The first interior photo was taken as the limited -- but large -- group I was in left the lobby and entered The Coca-Cola Loft. We would soon loosely fill the floor where our red shirted host awaits. There is quite a bit of red in The World of Coca-Cola. Although the huge amount of memorabilia on display here is unlabeled, the host identifies several pieces during her up-tempo presentation and she had no trouble answering every question that was asked. I liked the 1905 Christmas bell and the cluster of signs overhead. The large metal script Coca-Cola marked the company's headquarters for decades.

Out entry into the Loft had been triggered by a countdown timer in the lobby. Our exit was signaled by the automatic opening of the doors leading to the Happiness Factory Theater. The animated film was reasonably entertaining and wonderfully effective in pacing our entry.

Beyond the theater, we were free to roam. A seven foot polar bear was on the left and an open safe on the right. The bear was available for pictures and the safe was the entrance to the Vault of the Secret Formula. On the left things I somehow managed to snap a picture of the Vault without a line of people waiting as happened a lot. Displays in the Vault stress just how secret the formula for Coke is. The fourth picture shows three people interacting with a large screen to find clues -- or something. I was at the front of the non-interactors and could hear the host's description and instructions but had only a vague idea of what was going on. This might be really cool for the participants or for a small group but I suspect most are just happy to have those interactors do whatever they do that opens the next door. That door led to a round room where a movie consisting of various Coca-Cola images was projected on the walls.

The last two pictures are from Milestones of Refreshments which really does attempt to present Coca-Cola's history. The display of the first bottle design tells of the Terre Haute, Indiana, company that got the contract to make them. There is an exhibit on this at the Vigo County, Indiana, museum that I believe includes one of the original molds. The last picture shows some of the pins traded and collected at the Olympics and other events.

Exhibits on the second floor include the Pop Culture Gallery and the Perfect Pauses Theater. The theater shows tons of Coke commercials from all periods and many countries. The Secret Formula 4-D Theater is also on the second floor. 3-Ds come through special glasses with the fourth D coming through moving seats. Of course the movie is an elaborate Coke commercial but the visuals are definitely cool.

The first picture is of Taste It where more than sixty soft drinks from around the world are available for tasting. I tried Stoney Tangawizi from Tanzania, Smart Apple from China, and Inca Kola from Peru. I also sampled the local concoction, Gingerbread Coke. There is a small but complete bottling plant on the first floor. A path goes through the center so all operations are visible although the actually filling isn't particularly photogenic due to the plexiglass surround. At the exit, each visitor gets one of those bottles that was filled just below.

Olympic Park is just across the street. At present it contains a skating rink and a huge Christmas tree. There are also plenty of smaller trees and holiday decorations and I'm sure this place looks really good at night. I was surprised to find a hamburger stand within the park and would have given it a try had it been a little warmer.

I snapped this picture as I walked back to my motel and I'll now share a view my room. I don't often photograph or even mention chain motels but this place was something special. It's your basic no frills Motel 6 but it was spotless, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful, and it is within a few blocks of lots of Atlanta attractions including many restaurants. On top of that, there's free parking. In downtown Atlanta, that's almost worth the price of the room.

Dinner was a four block walk to Metro Cafe Diner. I did not have anything from that great looking dessert case but I did have some very good Steak Tips Burgundy. The cafe/diner (and bar) is at Peachtree Center which has this good looking tree out front.

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