Vacation locally

My wife just enjoyed a well-deserved long weekend in New York away from the family for the first time in 4 1/2 years (since my girls were born), which meant I had sole responsibility for the first time as well. The full-time parenting I was prepared for... what I feared was having to do their hair for the first time!

The girls and I kicked around the idea of going out of town for the weekend, but circumstances led us to stay close to home. We definitely wanted to get away, though. So we decided to book a hotel room in downtown Atlanta for the weekend and take a vacation in our home town. It was a great solution, despite the street closures from the tornado that struck downtown Atlanta a week ago (note photo taken on Saturday: the Omni Hotel's new tower on the left is open while their older tower in the center is closed).

We had a very full weekend and with the exception of the Georgia Aquarium, visited the main tourist destinations: Zoo Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park--the Children's Playground was a hit, and the World of Coca Cola. We walked and used MARTA rail to get around downtown, and riding MARTA made me wish Cobb County wasn't so ignorant as to not support a regional light-rail transit system. Perhaps that will change with gas approaching $3.50 a gallon, since years of poor air quality have not.

Stretching The Budget: To save on admission to the World of Coca Cola, show your MARTA Breeze card for $2 off each ticket. For other fun things to see and do in Atlanta, visit Viator and enter "FABSAV" (without quotes) as the promotion code for a 7% savings. I'm giving my wife an Atlanta Segway Tour as part of her birthday gift. To keep the hotel cost down, go through Ebates for a 2% rebate and then book the room through Hotwire. Lastly, to save on parking (my hotel charged $18 a day for self-park), consider parking at one of MARTA's stations with long-term secured parking for as little as $4 per day.

Soap box warning... If Atlanta wishes to ever become a major tourist destination, it needs its tourist attractions to be open during minor holidays such as Easter. Both the World of Coca Cola as well as Imagine It!: The Children's Museum of Atlanta were closed last Sunday. I understand the desire to allow employees to be with family on Easter, but you don't find Disneyworld closed on Easter (nor any other day of the year).