May 1, 2015

The Dargatz Family Heads South . . .Atlanta's Last Stand

Being on "teacher time" means vacation or getaways during the school year often include larger groups of people to deal with wherever you go. This couldn't be more true then at our next stop on the family vacation, the Georgia Aquarium. We came to see whale sharks and sea turtles and we saw. . . . whale sharks and a stroller parade. We were bombarded with children. Seeing as I am bombarded with children regularly, I felt right at home, but there were more than a few times when my wife asks me how I can spend day after day with groups of children.

I understand her feelings. It was loud. They were running. Running around us. Running into us. Practically running through us. 

But we got a bit loud too (mainly my better half) when we caught our first glimpse of whale sharks.

"Whale sharks! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" will forever be imprinted into memory as my wife got giddy with glee when catching a glimpse of the wonderful and docile creature. We were also enamored with the filter-feeding manta rays. However, though I searched and searched, no sea turtle was found. . .at least not by me. (Once I returned to school, a student who had also traveled to the aquarium mentioned he saw the turtle quite a bit.)

Weaving our way through family after family, we did enjoy every exhibit (some multiple times) before heading back out on the town and stopping at our new favorite Atlanta hot spot, Centennial Park. Since we had already walked all through the different corners of the park in previous visits, we let Embry make the decisions this time around. 

As you may have already figured out, this meant time at each of the little playgrounds the park had to offer. While that was fun, the main event was stripping down to diaper and t-shirt and enjoying the "Baby Bellagio" fountain display.

After getting a bit wet and feeling the temperatures start to dip, the desire to avoid vacation hypothermia sent us to dinner. That was followed by dessert and drinks at Hard Rock, a tourist trap I had been able to avoid until now. A dead-tired and dazed daughter devoured a delicious chocolate treat before calling it a night.

 Our final day in Atlanta was a conglomeration of craziness. From packing up our gear to meandering through the streets to find the car rental place, we were ready to leave the big city and head to the mountains.

Of course, before we departed, the mandatory trip to the local zoo was in the cards. Taking pictures wasn't however. We did snap a few pictures of a carefully cultivated turtle pond, but overall, the zoo was standard, not special. Finding a parking spot in the neighborhood adjacent to the park and dodging massive (but friendly) carpenter bees throughout the grounds was about as exciting as it got.

Once we had our fill of animals, we headed north. Out of Georgia and into North Carolina. That's when our adventure really took off.

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