Student tours headed to Atlanta may want to consider adding a day trip to nearby Chattanooga, TN. Chattanooga is rich in history and unique geological formations that include: Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and Rock City.
A class trip to Chattanooga is only a two to three hour bus ride from Atlanta, and complements any type of history, social studies, or science tour nicely. While visiting Atlanta, students can see: CNN Studios, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Zoo Atlanta, World of Coca Cola, and more.
This sample itinerary is designed for teachers, group leaders and others interested in an enhanced tour of Atlanta. An overview of destinations gives insights and ideas about how each destination ties into learning objectives.
Ruby Falls (Lookout Mountain)
The cave system underneath Lookout Mountain has been used throughout history by cave explorers, Native Americans, soldiers and outlaws. Ruby Falls is a spectacular natural wonder — an underground waterfall that sits 1120 feet below the surface. The original cave opening providing access to the falls was discovered in 1928 while a crew was excavating the elevator shaft, and was five feet wide and 18” high. Tours of the cavern include many different views of geological formations en route to Ruby Falls.
Located high atop Lookout Mountain is a unique rock formation where onlookers can take in magnificent views of the valley and Chattanooga, which is only six miles distance. See seven states, take a trip down the enchanted trail, and learn about over 400 native plant species on Lookout Mountain. Fairyland Caverns, Mother Goose Village, gift shops and a grill give provide student travel groups complementary activities after a trip up to Rock City.
Students can learn more about aquatic life right in the state of Georgia. Near the Georgia coast are whales, sharks and even sea turtles. The Georgia Aquarium captures the life of marine mammals, shellfish, and fish in the Georgia Explorer and Planet Shark exhibits. River Scout offers insight into reptiles, fish and other inhabitants of the rivers in Africa, South America, Asia and Georgia. Student groups can take a break in the 4D theater and watch Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow, a frolicking journey underneath the sea with a make believe character as a guide.
World of Coca-Cola
The Coca-Cola museum has interactive exhibits that span Coke’s history. Jean-Louis Foucqueteau of Lausanne, Switzerland’s collection is on display “For the love of Coca-Cola.” It features16 different works by 13 different artists and shows Coca-Cola’s impact on pop culture and the world of art for over 30 years. Students can sample Coca-Cola’s best sodas with Freestyle, a new sleek self-serve fountain drink machine.
Zoo Atlanta has plenty to offer student travel groups. It is best known for housing the Giant Pandas Lun Lun and Yang Yang from China. Lun Lun gave birth to a cub in November 2010, the only Giant Panda cub born in the U.S. that year. Zoo Atlanta’s birdhouse is home to over 50 bird species. Mammals include monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and more. Highlights of the plant world include a tropical garden and seasonal, native plants.
Martin Luther King, Jr.(MLK) Memorial
This National Historic Site gives student travelers a comprehensive look at MLK’s origins. Tours may include a visit to the birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr., a tour of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King, his father and grandfather preached, a trip to the visitor center, and a tour of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Groups may opt to visit the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden if there is time.
CNN Studios Tour
Ted Turner Started CNN, an all-news 24-hour per day network. Student tours begin inside the 50-foot globe where they can search 25 years of CNN footage using kiosks to access the information. On tour, students see the control room, black box studio where live footage is shot, and the CNN Overlook that gives a panoramic view of the newsroom at its busiest. Groups learn about other networks CNN owns, and listen to stories from news anchors about the challenges and excitement of their jobs.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History with Imax Movie
Students can learn about the geological history of Georgia, beginning with the piedmont and ending on the coastal barrier islands. A visit to the museum includes a look at Conveyed in Clay, an exhibit of 5,000 year old Native American pottery found on St. Catherines Island in Georgia — the oldest pottery found in North America. Giants of the Mesozoic features a close up view of pre-historic life in Patagonia, Argentina, where the largest dinosaur skeletons in the world were found. If there is time, groups may take in a movie at the Imax while visiting the Fernbank Museum.
The Atlanta tour, coupled with a visit to Chattanooga, can offer student travel groups a diverse learning experience. The Chattanooga portion of the trip includes a look at geological features and the opportunity to explore outdoor sites. A few days in nearby Atlanta gives student groups insight into the cultural, scientific, and technological savvy of a large city. Students also learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement he led.