ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Georgia is the land of peaches, grits, and… Coca-Cola? Who knew?! It’s a beverage that’s as American as the Constitution…or Michael Jordan…or Walmart. The Coke museum, known formally as The World of Coca-Cola, is a pop lover’s dream. Get your fix of vintage ads and fizzy drinks all in one afternoon. Trust me, it’s a lot cooler than it sounds.
The World of Coca-Cola used to reside near the somewhat unsafe and definitely sketchy Underground Atlanta shopping center until it moved to its new tourist-friendly location across from Centennial Olympic Park in 2007. I very desperately miss the original Coke museum, but first let’s talk about why you should still visit the new location.
The overall feel of the new location is much less “museum” and more “theme park” but don’t turn away yet. After you’re immediately shuffled into a theater to watch an extended “Happiness Factory” campaign video (It’s entertaining, but I didn’t like that I was forced to watch it), dodge the line of lemmings waiting for a pic with a guy in a polar bear costume whose mouth moves. It’s awesome and frightening at the same time.
Now on to the goodness. Truck it straight to the tasting room to get the bad taste out of your mouth. Serve yourself unlimited amounts of Coca-Cola products from all around the world including the infamous Beverly (bitter Italian soda). I dare you to finish a whole glass. This is the best part of the museum. Try every drink!
About a quarter of the original museum’s beautiful vintage print ads are on display along with impressive artifacts like Olympic torches, original Coke bottles from around the country, and modern Coke “art.” Watch real Coke get bottled and then take your own hand-picked World of Coca-Cola Coke bottle home at the end (prior to exiting through the ginormous gift shop, of course).
The old museum was overflowing with vintage print ads and merchandise featuring the classic pin-up girls, beautiful Santa illustrations, and sports partnerships. You could pop into a terrifically terrible 15 minute Coke-tastic clip fest (complete with the 1970s “I’d like to teach the world to sing” song), grab a seat at a real soda fountain to taste what Coke was like “back then,” and take a seat in a dark corner of the museum to watch a continuously running stream of what seemed like every Coke commercial ever made. Seriously amazing. Memories!
The old Coke museum was a magical place. This new museum doesn’t nearly live up to it. But because I have so many good memories from the original location, I don’t want to be a hater. The World of Coca-Cola is still worth a visit. However, if you only have a few hours to spend downtown the Georgia Aquarium trumps this stop any day. I’m sure they sell Coke inside.
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