I went to the Atlanta History Center, which was really nice, and toured their Civil War exhibit and their Atlanta exhibit. They also have some historic homes on the grounds and I wandered through those as well. Pretty cool, but no photography allowed in the grand mansion. A museum is just sort of a museum so there isn't really much to say, but I did like this particular museum a lot in relation to some of the ones I've been to so far.
I did learn a few things, though. There are no Civil War-era buildings in Atlanta. The city was hit pretty hard by General Sherman and what wasn't destroyed didn't survive the growth of the city anyway. And none of the battlefields have been preserved because by the time they got around to thinking about it the land was too expensive for the government to buy. Progress makes me sad. Being at Gettysburg and thinking "It happened right here. Soldiers touched these same rocks." is really awesome. But then, at the same time, there's something to be said for being on a residential street that seems so peaceful and thinking "This was once completely destroyed by war, but look at what was able to grow back." It's a different feeling, and it's not without meaning.
After that I went with the family I'm staying with to Stone Mountain park which is about 30-40 minutes northeast of Atlanta. I wanted to go there originally but was going to bypass it since it was in the opposite direction of all the things I wanted to do here. Stone Mountain is the "Mt. Rushmore of the South." It's a huge granite "mountain" and carved into the side of it are Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson all on their horses with their hats over their hearts. It's lovely.
We hiked to the top of the mountain which gives incredible views of the surrounding area.
We hiked back down and drove the car around to the front of the mountain where the carving is and where a big lawn is. Every night they have a laser light show with fireworks on the side of the mountain. Part of it is a tribute to Atlanta, part of it is a tribute to the South, and the end is a tribute to the United States. They had a Civil War segment, too, which was pretty cool. How many places in the country are there Civil War themed laser light shows? I love it here!
Here are the pictures from yesterday:
That's the carving! Davis front, Lee in the middle, Jackson in the back.
In case you hadn't gathered from the rest of the pictures, I went to the zoo today. Atlanta has got a pretty awesome zoo. It's laid out a little funny and the map isn't super accurate, but the exhibits are good and it's in a nice park. I had a good time there. And my AZA membership got me 50% off admission! It's doing pretty good paying for itself. I also got a snow leopard Christmas ornament in the gift shop. I plan to have an animal themed tree. At first I thought "this is ridiculous, it's not even very Christmas-y" and then I remembered the cheetah ornament I bought last year and I decided I was already getting myself into it so I might as well keep going.
After the zoo I just explored for a little bit, then went and got ice cream and read a book for a few hours. Went and found dinner. A place called EVOS that is just burgers and fries, but they're grass-fed burgers and baked fries so it's a slightly healthier burger and fries, but the cost isn't any different and everything tasted really good. That was a good, random fined. I saw a Panda Express in a shopping center so I turned in but then I saw a sign that said healthy, fresh fast food and thought I should at least check it out before I committed to fried Chinese food.
I'm leaving for Tampa in the morning. Going to be a long day. It's an 8 hour drive and I'm going to try to leave early so I can get there at a decent time, but we'll see how that goes. Good thing I'm tired right now, hopefully I'll get to bed early so I can be up by 7 and on the road by 8, in Tampa a little after 4. That's the plan!
Time to pack up so I can read and then get into bed early.