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Experience Atlanta: Fun, Culture, Nature and Fitness Activities Abound

The personal finance website, WalletHub, reviewed cities nationwide using 66 key metrics and produced a report that named Atlanta as the 6th-ranked “Most Fun City in the United States.” As the 2020 Annual Session host city, Atlanta has much to offer the approximately 16,000 expected attendees at the meeting.

From reliving your favorite collegiate football memories at the College Football Hall of Fame to hiking the treetop Kendeda Canopy Walk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden with friends or family, below are a few unique and unusual experiences available in Atlanta. Some of these destinations are accessible via Centennial Park, just a block from the Georgia World Congress Center. Others are located in nearby portions of the city.

Centennial Park
Since its debut as a key attraction during the Summer Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, Centennial Park has become a dynamic downtown social and event hub, featuring 22 acres of green space, public art, walkways, fountains and a 200-foot Ferris wheel (SkyView Atlanta). The park also offers a vast array of restaurants and access to numerous major downtown venues.

Georgia Aquarium (in Centennial Park)
Billed as the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere, the Georgia Aquarium is the home of more than 10,000 animal including not just fish and sea creatures but also mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and invertebrates.  If you’re interested in a visit, why not go with your AAO friends and colleagues? The AAO Celebration on Monday, May 3 will be at the Georgia Aquarium, with the ticket price including dinner. Register for Annual Session and purchase AAO Celebration tickets. (Already registered? Access the Registration Resource Center to add tickets.)

College Football Hall of Fame (in Centennial Park)
A shrine to the greatest players and coaches in college football history, the Hall’s main Rotunda exhibit on inductees is just one of many interesting and interactive exhibits highlighting the history of the sport. Visitors can also practice throwing in the Skill Zone and challenge themselves to complete training activities at the indoor playing field.

Atlanta Botanical Garden/Kendeda Canopy Walk
One of just a few such walks in the world, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 40-foot-high Kendeda Canopy Walk takes visitors along a path through the treetops of an urban forest.  Surrounding the wooded area are 30 acres of outdoor gardens, including an award-winning Children’s Garden.

High Museum of Art
With 15,000-plus works in its permanent collection, The High Museum of Art offers American, European, African, and folk art.  An exhibit running through May 3, 2020 will feature photos taken on independent film sets in the South as the region became a hub for film production (“Our Strange New Land:  Photographs by Alex Harris).

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (in Centennial Park)
The site of the birth home of America’s iconic civil rights leader, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site also includes the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was baptized, gave his first sermon and later became a co-pastor with his father.  Exhibits on Dr. King and his family educate visitors about his life.

Inman Park/Krog Street Market
Inman Park was not named in honor of the AAO’s president, Dr. Gary Inman, but it is nonetheless a favorite of Atlanta visitors. Named by Tripsavvy.com as “One of the World’s Coolest Neighborhoods”, Inman Park was developed during the 1880s as Atlanta’s first suburb. Large, beautifully maintained Victorian homes, including excellent examples of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival architectural styles, surround a central greenspace designed by landscape architect James Forsyth Johnson and filled with carefully preserved trees.  The district’s commercial area features eclectic shops and the Krog Street Market. Named one of “America’s Best Food Halls” by Travel + Leisure, the market houses food stalls and restaurants known for innovative cuisine.

The ATL Beltline
The ATL Beltline, 22 miles of abandoned railway beds converted into attractive trails serving hikers and cyclists, surrounds the city’s downtown core. The popular Eastside and Westside trails may both be accessed within about two miles of the Georgia World Congress Center. Cyclists may obtain bikes via relay bike share stations and rental shop options like the Atlanta Bicycle Barn on the Eastside Trail.