Art in downtown Atlanta

Thursday evening I took MARTA to downtown Atlanta. I got off at the Peachtree Center station and walked to Centennial Olympic Park to ride SkyView. I don’t spend much time in downtown ATL, but the stroll reminded me what a vibrant, artistic city this is. Here are just a few views:

Short walk thru downtown ATL, 4
Unveiled in November 2011, this playground structure was designed to be a central part of the rejuvenated Woodruff Park. The original design was conceived by Jeff Santos of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Santos was the winner of the Playable 10 Contest, held in partnership by Landscape Structures, Georgia Institute of Technology, Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), Atlanta’s Taskforce on Play (ATOP) and Bank of America. The playground’s design pays tribute to Atlanta with a shape that mimics the letters “ATL.” Built into the piece are various playable elements, including climbing walls, monkey bars and two different sizes of slides.
Short walk thru downtown ATL, 2
Located in front of the Atlanta Fulton Country Library. Brushed steel sculpture Wisdom Bridge (1990) by Richard Hunt.
Short walk thru downtown ATL, 1
These two were filling the air with music. Hope they made a lot.
Short walk thru downtown ATL, 3
Called “No Goal is Too High if We Climb with Care and Confidence” All rightly, then!

 

SkyView, Altanta’s new Ferris wheel is …OK

 

SkyView, Atlanta's new Ferris wheel is located in downtown Atlanta and opened in early July, 2013.
SkyView, Atlanta’s new Ferris wheel is located in downtown Atlanta and opened in early July, 2013. The brick building in the background is The Tabernacle.

Maybe I was expecting too much. I had hoped to see something akin to the London Eye. The word was that this was an addition to the Atlanta skyline, but you’d be hard pressed to find it in most skyline views. SkyView isn’t that large. If it wasn’t located near Centennial Olympic Park, there wouldn’t be enough open space for a view of anything, since it’s dwarfed by some of the surrounding buildings. (Aside: On Twitter I asked a question of @Centennial_Park about the Ferris wheel. They quickly responded that they had nothing to do with SkyView. Hum. Do I sense animosity?) So despite the description that the giant Ferris wheel is “Located at the South end of Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta” it’s clearly off the park’s edge and not affiliated with it. It’s practically on top of The Tabernacle, Atlanta’s historic music venue, and an interesting solar powered parking lot on Luckie Street. The description further says “The wheel is almost 20 stories high with 42 gondolas that will be able to hold up to 6 people” and “A flight is four revolutions. It usually lasts around 15 minutes.”

Trust me, that’s enough.

I took MARTA downtown and walked from the Peachtree Center station (CNN station is closer). From the street, the wheel is almost hidden by The Tabernacle.
I took MARTA downtown and walked from the Peachtree Center station (CNN station is closer). From the street, the wheel is almost hidden by The Tabernacle.

To be fair, the Ferris wheel is a nice, sedate family outing. It’s safe and fairly priced. The ride is very smooth, you hardly feel any movement. The attendants were very polite, everything was clean. Children who have not spent time at a State Fair or are obsessed by Six Flags  style roller-coasters will love it. The gondolas are completely enclosed by a plastic bubble, so those who fear heights might be more at ease. You have a 360 degree view—all the way to Stone Mountain. There are buttons for air conditioning, emergency and even a phone (though it seems that you’d hit the emergency button if there was something serious enough to need to talk to the ground crew?).

The "gondolas" hold about 6.
The “gondolas” hold about 6.

I took my ride on a Thursday at about 6p. With tax, it cost $14.58 (the website says $14.45) and you can buy tickets on site. The VIP car is supposed to be pretty snazzy, though they are the same size as the others. The website doesn’t give pricing, but the ticket-taker told me the VIP car was about $50 per person. Too rich for my wallet. SkyView’s only been open a couple weeks. Since it was a weekday, it wasn’t that busy yet, but it did seem to take quite some time before I could board.

Because you can’t ride alone (it’s a safety concern), a family of four kindly agreed to let me into a car with them. They were lovely people, but 5 sweaty bodies in the sunshine quickly overwhelmed the air conditioning and we were all pretty glad to get out. We were given five revolutions, but it stops 3-5 times with each revolution, so you really aren’t moving much. From ticket buying to disembarking took about an hour. My favorite part? Watching the kids play in Centennial Olympic Park’s fountains below, since it’s one of the few rain-free days we’ve seen since before the Fourth.

It's a good view of Centennial Olympic Park and the kids playing in the Ring Fountain below. Off in the distance you can see Stone Mountain.
It’s a good view of Centennial Olympic Park and the kids playing in the Ring Fountain below. Off in the distance you can see Stone Mountain.

Would I go again? Probably not. Do I recommend it? Yes, with reservations. It’s good for small children or people who do NOT desire a thrill ride. I recommend you go on a cooler day or maybe for an evening ride, NOT at 4p in the middle of a sunny, August heat wave.

Hours for SkyView (may change in the winter):

  • Monday – Wednesday: 10 AM – 10 PM
  • Thursday  – Saturday: 10 AM – Midnight
  • Sunday: Noon – 10 PM
Solar parking lot on Lucky street, below the SkyView wheel.
Solar parking lot on Lucky street, below the SkyView wheel.
It was nice to have a rain-free day for a change. Of course, we were in a drought this time last year.
It was nice to have a rain-free day for a change. Of course, we were in a drought this time last year.

 

SkyView Atlanta's Ferris Wheel, 5

Next Stone Soup cabaret, August 9,10

In July, Stone Soup, a popular Grant Park restaurant, started a monthly cabaret show hosted by my friend Clay Spurz and his company of performers. It was a grand time. One of the highlights was Joe Kelly, accompanied by Spurz, reciting the poem Nevermore, as seen in this YouTube video below. The August Buffet and Cabaret will be Friday August 9th and Saturday the 10th. This time Alana Cheshire will join Joe Kelly, “Scooter” Fredman and Spurz with lots of new songs and scenes.

Call Stone Soup Kitchen (584 Woodward Ave SE  Atlanta, GA 30312) for reservations: 404 228-1763. Tickets are $30 and the buffet opens at 6:30p, show starts at 7:30p. Price includes dinner, show and one drink from the bar.

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Photos from the Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival

The first Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival was at the end of June. I hope it won’t be the last! This two-day celebration was presented by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, for people of all ages, races, customs and interests. According to the website: “The Festival is a major celebration of the arts while honoring the rich history of our community.”

I got a chance to go and had a lovely time. Here are the photos. It’s a lovely park with a lot of great spaces including a water feature for kids and great playgrounds.

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Atlanta Aquarium

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I don’t go to the Atlanta Aquarium often, mostly because of the price. It’s $38 for an adult and I am a frugal traveler. So I tend to go only if I have a visitor in town, as I did this past week. You can take photos, but not during the special Dolphin Tales show. There’s lots to see and even to touch. Right now is a special exhibit upstairs on frogs.

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