Summer fun on tap in the Centennial Olympic Park District

It is that time of year again when children shed their backpacks full of books for a lighter option – bathing suits.

Every summer, which officially began today (June 21), children flock to Centennial Olympic Park to play in the world’s largest interactive fountain utilizing the Olympic symbol of five interconnecting rings. It is one of the most recognized and photographed landmarks in Georgia.

The fountain is a zero-depth pool where children and the young at heart can run through the water jets and what’s known as “water curtains.” The Fountain Ring Plaza is a popular gathering spot in the 21-acre park where families bring picnics and watch the Fountain of Rings show, which occurs four times a day. 

Did you know that each Olympic Ring in the fountain is 25 feet in width? That’s large enough to comfortably park two cars side-by-side within each ring.  Water height during normal fountain operation is 4 to 12 feet.  During the Fountain of Rings show, spray heights can reach from 15 to 25 feet.  The fountain is cleared of frolickers during the shows to keep them safe from the powerful force of the water jets.  During the 8-to-10 minute show, water is choreographed with music.  Songs range from “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” to  jazz standard “Fly Me To The Moon.” At night, the fountain transforms into a colorful light display made even more spectacular with the Ferris wheel in the background located directly across the street.    

Those who meander into the area surrounding the park will be pleasantly surprised by the array of other attractions. SkyView Atlanta is a gondola-style Ferris wheel that soars almost 20 stories above Centennial Olympic Park. Amazing views can be found in every direction when perched high above downtown.

Across the street from the park is the global headquarters for CNN. Take a tour and get an inside look at the newsroom, control room and more.

Within punting distance is the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame and Fan Experience. Inside you will find a wall that features helmets representing more than 700 college football teams, a 45-yard replica field and interactive museum.

To the park’s northeast corner is Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. It is the only museum in the city designed specifically for children from birth to 8-year-olds. Exhibits encourage learning by using all senses through play. 
A few yards away, you can immerse yourself in the country’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium.  It is home to more than 100,000 animals representing 500 species from around the world, housed in 10 million gallons of fresh and marine water.

The world’s most extensive collection of Coke memorabilia can be found next door at the World of Coca-Cola. Take a tour through the exhibits and learn the history of the most ubiquitous brand on Earth. End your tour by sampling the beverage in all its incarnations from different countries.

Directly behind it is the Center for Civil and Human Rights where you can learn about the civil rights movement in the United States and the global human rights movement. Be sure to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery.

Summer hours and special programming can be found at most attractions.

When hunger strikes, look no further than Marietta Street to find a variety of food to please all palates.  From the CNN Center food court to restaurants such as Legal Sea Foods, nearby dining options abound. No trip would be complete without taking a memento home to commemorate the visit. Gift shops can be found at all the major attractions as well as inside the CNN Center and inside the Georgia World Congress Center as well.  

Y’all come back!