Exploring Atlanta-Piedmont Park and the Fernbank Science Center

Monday, May 11, 2015

On our recent trip to New York City, we were out and about exploring everyday.  This has inspired me to get out and see more of my own city of Atlanta.  I live in the outskirts but that's no excuse for not seeing what is so close to me.  So a while back, I found a Living Social deal for tickets to the Fernbank Science Center's planetarium show.  This past Saturday we made plans to go downtown and see a show.  We had been to the Fernbank Museum before, but it was our first time visiting the Science Center and Planetarium, and it was pleasant surprise. 

First, the staff was wonderful.  We were talking to them, and one of them told the Bub, "We're so happy you could come today."  His response was, "Well actually, I really wanted to go the zoo, but my parents brought me here."  They got a crack out of that, but by the time the show was over and he had explored the science center, he didn't want to leave!

The best way I can describe the Planetarium is that it's like an IMAX theatre, but just in a dome format.  When the show begins, the room is completely dark, so that the projector above, plus dozens more around the room, can cast lights up like a starry night sky.  It's so realistic that you feel like its night time.  (Go when you are well rested, because it's so real you might doze off!)  They show you what the sky looks like in our hemisphere for that night, and other constellations you can see in our night sky.  I even learned that some planets are visible in the night sky.  They just look like bright stars.  Often the first or brightest 'star' to appear at night is a planet.  The Fernbank Science Center also has a telescope, or observatory, that is open to the public on Thursday and Friday evenings, weather permitting.   

After we left, we thought since we were so close we would go check out Piedmont Park.  I remember when we were in New York, I was reading something about Central Park, and thought that they both shared the same architect, Frederick Law Olmstead, who is considered the founder of landscape architecture.  Well it turns out, the original design for the park was by Frederick Law Olmstead's sons.  They also worked on several other 'small' projects like the Washington, D.C. National Mall, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Biltmore Estate.  Just knowing that, makes me feel like what an honor it is to be able to walk through one of their design plans right here in my own backyard.  The Piedmont Park Conservancy also has a nice history lesson written up on it's website about the origins of the park.  I can't believe I have lived here nearly 13 years and have never been.  I'm embarrassed!  In my defense, I have driven past several times with the intent to visit, but couldn't see how to get in!  My tip, if you're driving, would be that the entrance is off of Monroe Drive, so get directions that send you there.  Also there is a parking fee of $1 per 30 minutes.  But, now that I have been, I want to come back again, and also explore the city's other major parks.  

Here are a few of the sights we captured while there:

Look at that skyline! This was the view that both my husband and I said reminded us of Central Park.  

These beautiful oak-leaf hydrangeas were everywhere!  After we had explored the park for a while, we were hungry and thirsty.  We headed across the lawn to what we hoped was the Willy's we had seen while driving.  It turned out to be Park Tavern which was probably even better.  The restaurant was packed and the food was delicious.  (My recommendation is the Southwest Fish Tacos!)  They have an indoor eating area, but if you enjoy eating outdoors and watching TV on a big screen, this is the place for you.  With our bellies satisfied, we headed back across the park to our car.  All of us were saying we have got to come back.   If you haven't been, you've got to go.  

I can only imagine what other Atlanta area attractions I have been missing out on, but the plan now is to get out and see them.  If you are from this area, let me know what your suggestions are!

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