Every Summer, savvy visitors to Atlanta know a secret. It's called CityPASS, a magical key to Atlanta's top attractions that saves 40% on combined admission prices, with the added bonus of allowing CityPASS holders to skip most ticketing lines and head directly into attractions. Even better, Atlanta CityPASS is valid for nine days after your visit to the first attraction so you can enjoy at your own pace.
Purchase a CityPASS and you get tickets to five of Atlanta's most popular attractions. Every package includes admission to Georgia Aquarium, CNN Studio Tour and World of Coca-Cola plus choices for your last two attractions. For your fourth attraction, choose between Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. For your fifth attraction, choose between Zoo Atlanta and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Guide to Visiting Atlanta's Top Attractions with CityPASS
Not sure how to visit five attractions in a few days? Check out our day-by-day guide.
Two of Atlanta's most popular attractions, Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola, reside right next door to each other on the perimeter of Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta, making it easy for you to visit one in the morning, pop in to a Downtown restaurant for lunch, then head to the next attraction in the afternoon.
Georgia Aquarium is home to tens of thousands of animals in more than 10 million gallons of water. Just a few of the animals you'll see are whale sharks, beluga whales, California sea lions, African penguins, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, big-bellied seahorses and Southern sea otters.
Insider tip: Go early to avoid crowds, and note that there is a cafeteria inside for snacks, drinks or meals.
Dive in without getting wet at Georgia Aquarium. (📷 Georgia Aquarium)
By the time you leave the aquarium, it probably will be time for lunch, so take your pick of Downtown Atlanta restaurants.
In the afternoon, head to the World of Coca-Cola on Pemberton Place, which you undoubtedly noticed on your way to and from Georgia Aquarium. Once inside, you will learn a little about the famous soft drink, then see a short 4-D movie before moving into the museum where you'll meet the Coca-Cola polar bear, visit the Vault of the Secret Formula, see all variety of Coca-Cola memorabilia from throughout the years and, as you depart, sample from more than 100 Coca-Cola drinks from around the world.
Insider tip: If you are buying souvenirs to take back home, save a few dollars for the spectacular World of Coca-Cola gift shop.
The World of Coca-Cola is a world of fun.
Start your day by taking a CNN Studio Tour. The CNN World Headquarters is just across the street from Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta. The 50-minute walking tour begins with a ride up the world's longest and tallest free-standing escalator. As your tour guide takes your photo behind an anchor desk and shows you how the teleprompter works, keep a sharp eye out since you might just see a reporter or anchor you recognize. Even if you don't, in the gift shop you can take a selfie with a cardboard cutout of Anderson Cooper.
Insider tip: This tour often sells out, so call ahead or go online to make your reservation. Also note that there are plenty of places to grab a bite in the CNN World Headquarters food court.
Sit behind the anchor desk and find your inner journalist at the CNN Studio Tour.
As with Day One, you can have lunch at any of several nearby Downtown Atlanta restaurants, and while you're eating, perhaps decide on which of Atlanta's top attractions you'll want to visit next. Your options for the fourth attraction are Fernbank Museum of Natural History or the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.
If you choose the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, you can stay Downtown because it's located just off Centennial Olympic Park near the attractions you've already seen. When you step inside to get your pass, you'll be asked which of the 770 college football teams represented in the museum you would like to follow as you make your way through the museum. As you step inside the "Quad," your team's helmet will light upon the massive helmet wall. In the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone, fans can run, kick and pass on the 45-yard playing field. There's plenty more, but be sure to stop for the 10-minute "The Game of Your Life" film. It will have you counting the days until fall rolls around and with it another college football season.
Insider tip: We know you love to belt out your team's fight song. Do it at the College Football Hall of Fame and get a video of you singing it.
College football fans of all ages love the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.
If you pick Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you'll need to leave Downtown and head east to 767 Clifton Road. It's not far. In fact, if this is your choice, then you may want to have lunch in Midtown, where there are plenty of great restaurants or at the Food Hall inside Ponce City Market. Parking is free at Fernbank, and you won't even get inside before the thrills begin at the Dinosaur Entrance Plaza, where you can mingle with enormous bronze dinos. Inside, you may have trouble deciding what to do first. There are Giant Screen Imax movies, special exhibits and, yes, more dinosaurs at the permanent Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit. Take a Walk Through Time in Georgia, or, out back, take a walk in WildWoods and Fernbank Forest.
Insider tip: Check ahead for Giant Screen Imax movie times and plan your arrival time accordingly. Also know that there is a cafe inside for drinks, snacks or meals.
The Giants of the Mesozoic will take your breath away at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. (📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
Your final choice between top attractions in Atlanta is the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, located Downtown near Centennial Olympic Park, or Zoo Atlanta, located in the city's Grant Park neighborhood, a short car trip away.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights explores civil rights history in America and human rights history around the world through interactive, multimedia displays. You'll see TV news clips of the tumultuous days the the civil rights struggle in the United States. You will sit at a mock lunch counter, don headphones and hear the types of angry insults civil rights protesters had to endure as they sat peacefully, honoring their pledge to remain non-violent. You may take a seat and watch as the historic 1963 March on Washington unfolds before your eyes. And you can learn about the courageous Freedom Riders.
Insider tip: Be sure to continue your tour upstairs where you'll learn about human rights challenges across the globe, learn about some champions of human rights and, um, some not so noble souls in the area of human rights.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is just off Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta.
If you opt to visit Zoo Atlanta, you'll meet giant pandas, see the largest population of gorillas and orangutans in the United States. You can visit rare and endangered species at the zoo including Komodo dragons and clouded leopards. Enter the Scaly Slimy Spectacular, the zoo's amphibian and reptile house, where you'll be eyeball to eyeball with a green anaconda, a gila monster, a diamondback terrapin and an African slender-snouted crocodile. In addition to the animals, there is a popular playground with a splashpad, merry-go-round and mini-train, plus wildlife presentations and opportunities for wild encounters.
Insider tip: An infant crowned lemur was born at the zoo on May 4th of this year. Perhaps you can sneak a peek while there. Crowned lemurs are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are found on the northernmost tip of Madagascar, the only place on Earth where the more than 100 known species of lemur are found.
It's OK to walk on the wild side at Zoo Atlanta.
With Atlanta CityPASS, you have nine days after your first visit to see all the other attractions. CityPASS is a great way to save 40% off admission to Atlanta's top attractions while also exploring some of the city's best neighborhoods.
For more things to do in Atlanta, check @DiscoverAtlanta or visit atlanta.net.
Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
This is a sponsored blog post in collaboration with CityPASS.