Housing thousands of species of marine life in over 10 million gallons of water, the Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. Located across the street from Centennial Olympic Park and right next to World of Coca-Cola, the aquarium is right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The aquarium was the main reason we took our experimental weekend trip to Atlanta.

The area in between the aquarium and World of Coca-Cola is a lovely park called Pemberton Place...named after the inventor of Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company donated the land that the aquarium was built on.

And what is there to see in the aquarium...?

Gorgeous coral formations...
Jelly fish...
But the main attraction of the aquarium is its enormous over 6-million gallon exhibit which amazingly houses four (yes, 4!) whale sharks, a swordfish and multiple giant manta rays. The aquarium is the only institution outside Asia which has whale sharks. And they are HUGE!

How about this swordfish? I'd never seen one in person...
And the manta rays, fascinated by the divers' air bubbles, swam in 360 degrees circles in and around the bubbles...
So much else...from delicate seahorses, some of which hang upside down by their tails...
Hundreds of brilliantly-colored fish in all sizes and shapes...

A rare albino alligator...
And adorable penguins...

A benefit of our weekend trip was our aquarium tickets were included in a package deal at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta. This Marriott is within easy walking distance to the aquarium, and it is located near many popular restaurants. Check out the hotel's website for package deals which may include tickets to various Atlanta sites.

To read my post about our stay at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, click here.

For more information on the Georgia Aquarium, click on its website here.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me at the Georgia Aquarium in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



On my last post about our quick weekend trip to Atlanta, I gave you a brief tour of Centennial Olympic Park. Since our flight home on Sunday wasn't until late afternoon, we took the opportunity to walk back down to Centennial Olympic Park. It's only a 4-block walk to the park, and the weather on that Sunday morning was perfect.

As we walked through the park I noticed a 2-car tram-like street car stopped right across the street. Our progress through the park led us over to the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel...

so I took the opportunity to walk over to the tram stop to see what it was. I asked a woman who was working there where did the tram traveled to and how much it cost. She said a complete circuit of the tram route took about 30 minutes, and it only cost $1.00 to ride. We had about another hour to fill before we needed to check out of the hotel so we decided to take a ride.  I mean, for $1.00, what did we have to lose, and it would give us a chance to see a little more of Atlanta.

It turns out the Atlanta Streetcar system is about 2.7 miles long and consists of 12 different stops in the heart of downtown Atlanta. It connects the Atlanta visitor from the area of Centennial Park to the Martin Luther King historical area.

The most famous stop on the route is of course the King Historic District stop.  Here across the street from the tram stop are both of the famous Ebenezer Baptist Churches:

The original church where Dr. King preached...

And the new church which was dedicated in 1999...
Within a block or two of these two churches are both Dr. King's birth home and the gravesite of Dr. King and his wife. I am really disappointed in my lack of research regarding this area. I had absolutely no idea that this historic area was so close to the area we were staying in. Well, a good reason for another quick weekend trip to Atlanta.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me during our visit to Atlanta in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



Living in a major city like Chicago I try to take advantage of every opportunity presented to see an exhibition of art that I find interesting. When I saw an advertisement of a free exhibition of the work of artist Norman Lewis at the Chicago Cultural Center, I knew I wanted to see it for two reasons: the artwork itself, and the fact I had never been inside the Cultural Center, a 1897 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Norman Lewis was a pivotal figure in American Art, and he was one of the innovators of the post-World War II art movement known as Abstract Expressionism. Unfortunately because he was African-American, racism prevented this talented artist from attaining the notoriety he so obviously deserved.

In his early work during the 1930s and 1940s, Lewis' work focused on what he saw in the area of Harlem where he grew up and lived.

The Wanderer (Johnny) 1933



The Dispossessed (Family) 1934

Meeting Place (aka Shopping) 1941

Hep Cats (1943): Lewis himself was a dapper dresser.

Composition I (1945): This painting was Lewis' first foray into the abstract style of painting. Although these rectangular shapes could depict an urban city such as New York City, this painting showed the painter's departure from his usual subjects of life and people living in Harlem.  He was criticized for this change in painting style.

Jazz Club (1945)
Fives Phases (1949)

Roller Coaster (1946)

Spring (1947)

Untitled (1949) 
Migrating Birds (1953)
Redneck Birth (1961)

Ritual (1962)
Journey (1965)

March on Washington (1965)

Exodus (1972)

Aurora Borealis (1972-1976)

Untitled (1978)

This exhibition was a real treat. I love discovering new artists and learning the struggles they incurred to have their art appreciated. I love the brilliant color Norman Lewis used in his paintings. Although his later, abstract paintings are spectacular, I like his earlier works, showing the people he encountered and their lives in 1930s and 1940s Harlem more.

This exhibition is on display at the Chicago Cultural Center until January 8, 2017. Admission is FREE. For more information click here.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me at this exhibition in October, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



At the end of my last post we were just finishing up our delicious breakfast at Waffle House. This meal gave us the nourishment to begin our walk back towards the Georgia Aquarium, made longer due to the fact we ended up at a different Waffle House than intended. But we persevered through the ever-increasing heat of that August morning. During our walk, we were pleased to discover we could walk through Centennial Olympic Park on our way to the aquarium.
Walking through the park now it's hard to imagine it was built on vacant land that had several abandoned and rundown buildings on it. The park was the main gathering site for both athletes and spectators during the 1996 Olympics; now it is a lasting legacy as a popular gathering place for both the citizens of Atlanta and thousands of visitors to Atlanta. Many of the sites surrounding the park were built after the Olympics Games, including the aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Center for Human and Civic Rights, Imagine It! Children's Museum and a ferris wheel, Skyview Atlanta. Many new hotels and restaurants were built to accommodate all of the visitors coming to see the new sites. 

To help pay for the cost of building the park (completely paid for by private donations), an Adopt-a-Brick program was launched. For $35, anyone could purchase commemorative bricks and personalize them. Over 500,000 bricks were purchased. To coincide with the park's 20th anniversary a new Adopt-a-Brick campaign to install another 40,000+ personalized bricks has been started. If you are interested in purchasing a personalized brick, click here.
To help donors find their bricks, the sections are numbered...
When you enter the park the first thing you see is the bronze, fan-shaped sculpture titled appropriately Tribute, by Greek sulpture Peter Calaboyias.
There are so many water features in the park. Here is a beautiful garden with water falling over large rock boulders.

More beautiful cascading water architecture...

Husband sits on the edge of the reflecting pool of Centennial Plaza. To the left in the background is the Skyview Atlanta ferris wheel.  One of the eight 65-foot light towers reminiscent of classic Greek columns is right behind him.
The Fountain of Rings: the most popular fountain in the park has 251 synchronized jets of water and computered-controlled lights in the design of the 5 Olympic interlocking rings. As the photo shows it is a popular play area for children.
In my next post, I will continue with our weekend adventure to Atlanta with our Atlanta streetcar ride and finally our visit to the aquarium.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by my husband and me in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



Since we don't get to travel as much as we would like due to the fact I have to go to work Monday through Friday (humbug!), we decided to try a quick weekend trip, flying into a city on a Saturday morning and flying back home on Sunday afternoon. The flight needed to be less than two hours. Since we would be gone less than 48 hours we couldn't plan to do too much. We have always wanted to visit the Georgia Aquarium: it is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and being cruise and snorkeling enthusiasts, we love gazing at exotic fish. I found reasonable airfare from O'Hare airport, and a hotel package that included both the tickets to the aquarium and breakfast the next morning. Thus, we recently spent the weekend in Atlanta, a city I had never been to.

First: the hotel. I originally chose to stay at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis because of the hotel package offered: 2 entry tickets to the Georgia Aquarium plus free breakfast for $235 per night. But when I saw photographs of the hotel's amazing 470-foot atrium I knew I wanted to stay there just to see that architectural achievement.

The 52-story hotel is located in the middle of downtown Atlanta but it is within walking distance of the aquarium. There are lots of restaurants within a block or two of the hotel including the always-touristy Hard Rock Cafe and Atlanta Braves Grill. One very interesting place is Agatha's, A Taste of Mystery for fans of mystery dinner theater.  For shoppers, the hotel connects to the Peachtree Mall through one of several over-the-street, covered pedways located in the area. (NOTE: very few stores in the Peachtree Mall are open on Sundays.) 

The atrium did not disappoint; it was at one time the tallest hotel atrium in the world. It's an architectural wonder and a photographer's dream.   

I've read where the design has been described as resembling whale's ribs. Here is a view as we rode the elevator to the top floor. It may be an accurate description...


A set of elevators runs straight up the middle of the space to the 47th floor. We did go up to the top to take pictures. However, I actually got so nervous looking all the way down that the best I could do was stick my iPhone out and click. Of course there are bars protecting someone from falling over, but still: that's a long way down!

Located on the second floor in the center of the atrium is one of the hotel's bars: Pulse. A giant TV screen is attached to the color-changing sail: sometimes green...

Sometimes red...

The hotel rooms are located on the outside balconies surrounding the atrium.  Although I requested a high-floor room, we ended up only on the 8th floor. However, our room was check-in ready when we arrived at 10:00 a.m. from the airport so that was a positive. For a one-night stay, it was an adequate room with a king-size bed and sitting area. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful (it's that southern hospitality!). When our TV wouldn't work or I couldn't get the hotel wifi to work, both problems were quickly solved. We even received a follow-up telephone call to the room to make sure the problems were corrected.

Before heading off to the aquarium, finding nourishment was essential. Our 6:00 a.m. flight didn't allow for much breakfast. Where to eat? Of course: the Waffle House! Not having these restaurants anywhere near Chicago meant it was a must-stop during our visit. Fortunately there are actually two restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
Due to discombobulation navigating the streets of Atlanta, we did end up at a different Waffle House than intended, still just blocks from the hotel but opposite of our intended direction. It did force us into a longer walk than necessary to the aquarium afterwardsHowever, it did not dampen the breakfast: delicious orange juice, hash browns with mushrooms and of course, a waffle.

In my next post, I will continue with our weekend adventure to Atlanta with a tour of two unexpected discoveries: Centennial Olympic Park and our Atlanta streetcar ride.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by my husband and me in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.