Exploring Atlantas Most Popular Sites

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As if there werent enough reasons to lay down roots in Atlanta: Consider all of the world-class sites which entertain, amaze and educate million of visitors and residents alike each year:

Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park is the epitome of the ultimate, urban park. One hundred eighty-five acres of green space, dotted with playgrounds and baseball fields, along with a picturesque lake, has provided residents and visitors alike with a respite from the city since 1909. Originally the scene of the Gentlemans Driving Club in the late 19th century, Piedmont Park has a long history in Atlanta.

Frederick L. Olmsted was an influential landscape designer who was first involved in the area in 1895, when it was used as the site of the Cotton States and International Exposition fair. It was then sold to the city of Atlanta in 1904. At that point, the city removed the exposition buildings and, under the watchful eye of the Olmsted Brothers architectural firm, began to evolve the park into what is seen by millions of visitors each year.

The Olmsted Brothers incorporated the then-existing stone stairways and handsome, stone urns to create transitions between the different areas of the park. Much of the landscapes and vistas of that time remain today, offering residents and visitors a truly beautiful area in which to relax, picnic or participate in outdoor activities.

Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site

A trip to Atlanta is never complete without first visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. This area, which includes a visitor center and is administered by the National Park Service, includes Kings birth home, his church and his grave. Set along several blocks in downtown Atlanta, the Historical Site pays tribute to one of the nations most prominent leaders of the twentieth century.

Part of the site includes the Ebenezer Baptist Church where King once served as pastor, his childhood home on Auburn Avenue and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., which today continues Kings legacy and work.

A memorial park was erected in 1976 to honor King, which includes his marble crypt, an arch-covered walkway, a chapel and a reflecting pool.

Centennial Olympic Park

In 1996, Atlanta served as host for the Centennial Olympic Games. It was at that time that the city took a run-down park and transformed it into a beautiful gathering spot where recreation is enjoyed and where community events are held each year.

The estimated $75 million project was accomplished through private sector donations alone. The State of Georgia oversaw the parks development and assumed ownership after the Olympic Games.

This grand park of 21 acres serves not only as Georgias lasting legacy to the Centennial Olympic Games, but as a showpiece for the revitalization movement in Atlanta.

The Park sponsors community-wide free events, including the Fourth of July Celebration, Wednesday Wind Down concert series and Fourth Saturday Family Fun Days. The park also hosts festivals, fundraisers and private events. An estimated three million people visit this area each year.

Georgia Aquarium

Billed as the worlds largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium contains a staggering 8.1 million gallons of marine and fresh water and more than 100,000 animals.

The aquarium was originally built on a 20-acre patch of land in downtown Atlanta in 2005, north of Centennial Olympic Park. The largest donation to the aquarium came from Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, in the form of $250 million.

The Georgia Aquarium is one of only two aquariums in the US to house a Great Hammerhead Shark and was only one of a handful of aquariums to house five, 11-foot beluga whales.

The aquariums five different galleries include the Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold- Water Quest, and River Scout, with each corresponding to a specific environment.

The Georgia Aquarium, in addition to serving as a one-of-a-kind aquarium, is also devoted to conservation and environmental missions.

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Source by Tina Fountain