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Lots to do in Atlanta before, after the games — but expect crowds

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 7:20 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 9:02 a.m.

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10 things to do in Atlanta

Several of Atlanta’s top attractions are within walking distance of the Georgia Dome, site of the 2013 NCAA men’s Final Four basketball tournament. Others are minutes away from downtown Atlanta using its public transportation system.

• World of Coca-Cola at Pemberton Place: A museum dedicated to the cola known around the world. It features more than 1,200 artifacts and is also home to the 125-year-old secret formula. Go to worldofcoca-cola.com.

• Georgia Aquarium: The 8 million-gallon aquarium claims to be the world’s largest, with more than 60 exhibits. Go to georgiaaquarium.org.

• CNN Center: The global headquarters for the cable network offers tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Go to cnn.com/tour.

• Zoo Atlanta: The zoo is located in Grant Park. Among its main attractions is a giant panda exhibit. Go to zooatlanta.org.

• The High Museum of Art: The museum is in midtown Atlanta’s arts and business district. It has more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, including an anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art, European paintings and decorative art, and a collection of African-American art. Go to high.org.

• Stone Mountain Park: Located 15 minutes east of downtown, the park boasts golfing, a theme park, hiking trails and the world’s largest exposed granite monolith. Go to stonemountainpark.org.

• Atlanta History Center: Located in Atlanta’s Buckhead district, the history center sits on a 33-acre campus and includes historic homes and gardens. Go to atlantahistorycenter.com.

• Legoland Discovery Center: Also in the Buckhead district, the center features a four-dimensional cinema and opportunities to build and learn how to build with Legos. Go to legolanddiscoverycenter.com/atlanta.

• Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Features permanent and traveling exhibits that focus on pre-historic civilization to the modern age. Go to fernbankmuseum.org.

• Centennial Olympic Park: Located in the middle of downtown, the $75 million, 21-acre park served as the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Go to centennialpark.com.

Source: Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lots of Shockers fans are headed to Atlanta over the next few days.

And although their primary destination is the Georgia Dome – site of the Final Four – there are other sights worth taking in between events that celebrate Wichita State University basketball.

But those familiar with Atlanta say fans should be prepared for crowds during the NCAA championship weekend. Rachel Peavy of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau said Wednesday that officials are expecting 100,000 visitors.

Long waits at restaurants are likely with so many people, and Sunflower Travel Corp. president Devin Hansen recommends making reservations.

“They’re all going to be packed, so that would be smart,” said Hansen, who plans to be in Atlanta on Saturday.

The streets as well as the restaurants are likely to be clogged. So Hansen and Will Scroggin, a former Wichitan now living in Atlanta, recommend using the city’s public transportation system called MARTA.

Not only will driving be difficult, “parking will be next to impossible,” said Scroggin, who works for Cox Communications.

Scroggin said the good thing is that there are a number of attractions close to the Dome, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and CNN Center.

“The aquarium really is amazing,” he said. “It’s a good time.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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