Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mini-Vacation, Part 2

Now... where was I? Oh, yeah... Atlanta!!!!

After our exhausting day of Zoo and Coke Museum, Andy graciously ordered out pizza and we stayed home to eat pepperoni and watch Wall-E on the big screen TV. It was a nice, quiet, and relaxing way to end the day.

After a good night's rest, ZBoy and I got up - ready to tackle the Georgia Aquarium!

I was finally getting the knack of driving around with Naggy Maggy pointing the way, but I don't think she came up with this route out of the neighborhood. The corner of the logical way out is blind, so if you turn the other way and go around the block, you are suddenly in this other-world of quiet and kudzu.

It's rather beautiful, actually. I am amazed at how much kudzu is growing here though. The last time I saw kudzu taking over the world was in North Carolina. I guess Florida had better watch out! We actually have it now, but Tallahassee employs a flock of sheep to go around town and eat the stuff. I am sometimes tempted to apply for the shepherd job!

Several times, Naggy Maggy has driven us past this thing.

It's an empty field, fenced in with a nice fence, and has this "Thinker" or maybe "Atlas" statue made out of aluminum and holding a wrecking ball on a yellow chain. I'm not sure what this is supposed to convey, but the lot is for sale.

After dealing with some Tuesday morning traffic, we arrived at the Aquarium, paid our $10 for parking (again) and headed in.
In spite of having grown up in Florida, I've never actually been to an aquarium. There's a little one in Panacea run by a naturalist. It's full of open tanks. And the FSU Marine Biology Lab also has tanks of specimens. Neither one of them as like THIS!

The first (and last) thing we did was go to the Ocean Voyager exhibit. There were several exhibits. Great Barrier Reef, Rivers, Georgia Coast... and this one. It starts out with a tunnel through the big tank. ZBoy was a little leery of going in - he was nervous about it possibly collapsing. Don't worry, dude! It was built by Home Depot!!!

Of course, once he got in, he forgot to be afraid. I'll save the rest of this for our last trip through this particular exhibit. Just soak in the wonder of the tunnel!!!

We went through the River, then bought the most expensive chicken strips ever at the cafeteria. With fries and an incredibly rich brownie (which didn't get finished). I was a bit miffed at the price and groused that for that much money, they'd better be damned good chicken strips. Then I had to shut my mouth because they were.

We saw some pretty amazing seahorse-type creatures that looked just like underwater foilage. We also got to pet a stingray and a shark. As a Florida girl, I grew up doing the Stingray Shuffle, but I'd never actually touched one before. Their wings are like really thick, slick leather. Just what I expected, and yet not how I expected it to be at all.
Before we left for the day, we took one more turn through Ocean Voyager. I didn't really think there was much that could top the tunnel, but after walking through the dark and peering into the big tank from several small windows, we came around the corner to this:

A picture just cannot do it justice. It literally took my breath away.
Just like standing on the bottom of the ocean and looking around... grouper and jack and rays floated by.

A hammerhead shark and manta ray glided through several times... This tank also has four whale sharks from Taiwan. It's the only aquarium in the US to have any. They were totally awesome to see. I couldn't get any great pictures though... they swim pretty fast for something that big - that doesn't look like it's moving quickly at all.
This picture is from the Great Barrier Reef section. Lots of bright, colorful fish - and a wave machine which churned up the surface above us several times while we were there.

You'd think we'd be done once we got through the Aquarium, but NO! We still had the Fernbank Museum to wander through. They are having a big dinosaur exhibit right now. Not many pictures as lots of the areas didn't allow photography (I follow the rules, you know), but photography was allowed in some parts - so I took pictures!

ZBoy has developed a fascination with dinosaurs. He knows a lot about them, lots of names and habits... but I don't think he really realized just how BIG these things were. He knows now!

See how tiny the people are????
I did get one good picture of him with a dinosaur. The rest were just too dark.

The final bit of this museum was a hands-on sensory lab. Lots of perspective changers, hearing tricks... and this thing what splits your shadow up into the color spectrums that your eye sees. When it's split, you have three shadows

It seemed like a good way to say goodbye to our museum visiting!
We still had a little time before heading back to the house for dinner, so I called James and asked if he had time to go get coffee before he went to work. James doesn't drive, so we drove him to a block away from work, where there happened to be a Starbucks and chairs with our names on them.

Don't I have a handsome brother? (For some reason, I didn't get any pictures of Andy or of G while I was there...) We had lovely naughty coffee, a hug and he went on to work.
Z and I went back to the house and collected G for our last dinner in town. We went to a mexican place called Nuevo Laredo Cantina, which had a noisy, festive atmosphere and pretty good food. We had a nice little visit with G, then went back to the house and crashed.
The next morning, we got up and Naggy Maggy pointed us out of town. She took us down I-85 and home by way of Columbus - and memory lane. Stories for another day.

All in all, ZBoy said it was a great vacation. And he wants to go back again sometime!


Janis said...

You can't go wrong when you visit an aquarium, so many interesting under the sea species. I have to Kudzu some kind of vegetation? From your description, it sounds like its invasive. Glad you n Zboy had a good time on your mini vacation.

JR said...

Good lord... I wouldn't go so far as to say handsome. But then, I've been looking at a lot of photos of myself from 8 and 9 years ago recently. So maybe I'm biased.

Sayre said...

Janis - kudzu is an invasive vine. Came over from somewhere in China as a groundcover. Unfortunately, it LOVES it here and covers a lot more than the ground if you let it. It covers TREES!

James - I happen to think that your more mature look is wonderful. You have grown into a VERY handsome man!

Pamela said...

I think I've heard of Kudzu elsehwere. Seems we have invasive flora and fauna everywhere.

What a content look on zboys face. I would feel that way, too, I think.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you had fun, Sis. I wish I cold have been there. Imagine how nice it will be once the deck is complete and the downstairs is finished out.


karisma said...

Reading through this trip made me think..."This sounds like Zak heaven!" And that face at the end proves it. Very contented look! LOL! I just wanna squeeze his cheeks! Give me a yell next time you go and I will post my Zak over to you! Hehe!

That aquarium looked amazing, far bigger than the one we recently visited. Of course my favourite bit of this section of the trip was the road with all the green trees hanging over. Now that is my kind of place! LOL.

MtM said...

Very cool story! We visited the Key West Aquarium while we were there. I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't started my vacation writeups; I really want to, for my own interest. Thanks for taking us along on your trip!

Anonymous said...

You can't hurt fishes when you are near aquarium. How you don't do anything like that.


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PinkPiddyPaws said...

Don't forget, Kudzu will also swallow HOUSES.. yep, whole houses, if left untended. Gotta love the South! :)