One of the reasons I loved living in Atlanta was because it is a city filled with so many things to do. It is rich in history and many of the local attractions have been built on that history. One of our favorite places to visit when we are in town is the Atlanta Coca Cola Museum. I love the World of Coca Cola because it is such an interesting and fun experience the entire family can enjoy. There is a great mixture of hands-on activities, memorabilia and information folks of every age will appreciate.
We visited the museum on our recent vacation to Atlanta during the kids’s spring break from school in March. I had visited the museum when it was in a different location about 10 years ago, but I had never been to the new location, which was built in May 2007. Although I had taken my oldest daughter to the old museum several times, the younger kids had not been to the either location. We are a family who only drinks Coca Cola products, so of course visiting a place so rich in its history was a great choice! I am so happy we came when the weather was warm because the grounds of the museum are so beautiful. There were trees, plants and flowers in bloom, so it just added to the excitement and beauty of the day.
The first area you will see when you first enter the museum is filled with many large Coca Cola bottles which have been designed by different groups, people and artists. My favorite was the bottle designed for the Olympics which were held in Atlanta in 1996. Once the doors open, you enter a world which can only belong to the Coca Cola Museum! There is so much memorabilia to see including one of the golden cans which Coca Cola was sold in during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. While you take in all of the amazing Coca Cola historical artifacts in the room, you will hear a short narration about some of the pieces in the room as well as about Coca Cola itself. Once the narrative portion was over, I was able to ave a few minutes alone with Julio to pick his brain about his favorite part of the museum.
Next you move into the mini-theater to see an animated short featuring the Coca Cola Polar Bears. These bears made their first appearance in Coca Cola advertising 1920. They reappeared in 1993 and have become a favorite for young and old alike. As a matter of fact, there is an entire section in the gift shop dedicated to this lively and hilarious bunch of bears. When you exit the theater, you are given the opportunity to have your picture taken with a 7 foot Coca Cola Polar Bear. Caitlin was happy to oblige, but Henry was being camera shy and he declined.
Next we entered the vault where the 125-year-old secret formula for Coca‑Cola is kept. This was one of our favorite areas because there was so much to explore. There were a ton of cool artifacts to see, some of which were over 100 years old. On display are handwritten notes from Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John S. Pemberton, who created the recipe. There are bottles and tools which would have been used in a pharmacy in the 1800’s. The first batches of the delicious drink were mixed with long wooden paddles in large copper kettles. Henry said he thought Dr. Pemberton could have paddled away in one of the big kettles if anyone had tried to steal the secret from him!
One of the kids favorite activities in The Vault was the hands-on virtual Taste Maker where they got to try and create the perfectly balanced recipe. The kids both failed at finding the balance, but my husband Chris nailed it! The formula was purchased from Dr. Pemberton by Asa Candler in 1888 for $2,300. We were able to see pictures of the building which housed the fireproof triangular room where the ingredients were stored and the recipe was mixed. The product was shipped a signature red oak barrels and were delivered by horse drawn carriages.
In the pop culture room, through May, you can see some amazing artwork by Normal Rockwell, who I am a big fan of. From 1928 to 1935, the Coca Cola company commissioned Rockwell for 6 oil paintings. These paintings would later be featured in marketing pieces for the product. Three of those original works of art, “Barefoot Boy,” “Out Fishin’” and “Concert on the Steps” can be seen in the Atlanta museum.
We also enjoyed seeing how the bottling process works, which can be viewed in the Bottle Works area. Henry’s favorite was the Fizzy Bot, which is the packaging robot. We did not visit the moving 3-D theater as it was too much stimulation for Henry with his autism. Caitlin and I plan to go back on our next visit and experience this thrilling experience.
Another area we really enjoyed was the room with all of the Olympic items. Coca Cola has been a proud sponsor of the Olympics since 1928. The room includes hundreds of pieces of Coca Cola inspired Olympic memorabilia. One of our favorite items was the Olympic torch which was used in the torch relay tour prior to the Olympics in 1996. I was teaching summer camp in 1996 and my oldest, Chelsea was one of my students. We were fortunate enough to see the torch come through Midtown Atlanta during a camp outing. It was pretty cool to see my younger daughter holding the same torch her older sister saw come through our hometown!
The final area to visit, is the tasting area, which for many, is their favorite part. In this large room, you can taste more than 100 samples of Coca Cola from over all over the world. There are flavors from North and Latin America, Asia, and Europe. I love the gazillion bottles which are constantly moving across the ceiling of the large room.
Caitlin tasted samples from Asia, including the Sprite from Taiwan, which she said was a bit less flavorful than ours. Chris tried the Beverly from Italy and he said it was quite bitter and unlike anything he has ever had. Henry and I played it safe and went over to the Coca Cola Freestyle machine which offers over 100 Coca Cola beverages in just one machine.
On your way out of the Coca Cola museum, you are sent home with a small souvenir bottle of the famous beverage. Once you exit, you enter into the gift shop, which is a shopper and Coca Cola enthusiasts paradise!
There are so many items to look at, it is really an extension of the museum itself and not a typical gift shop. There is artwork, jewelry and home goods which are made with pieces of glass from Coca Cola bottles and other related materials. There are tee shirts, hats, furniture, the Polar Bear area, magnets and a ton of other cool things. How do you like the Coca Cola Polar Bear hat we found for my husband?
When you visit the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, be sure to plan to stay a while! Were were there for about 3 hours and we did not get to see half of everything they had on display. There is a parking garage, which charges $10 and is conveniently located just across the way from the museum. It was just a short walk from the car to the front door, so in my opinion, it is well worth the price. Stay connected with the World of Coca Cola on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
World Of Coca Cola
121 Baker Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
Daily 10:00 am to 6:00, but check on the date you plan to visit, as times can vary
Adults: 64+: $14
Children (3-12): $12
Children under 3 are free
Call for special pricing for groups, VIP and school tours and other special occasions.