My recent idea for a new World of Coca-Cola visit was sparked by my seven year old. He came home from school the other day and asked me if there really was a place where you could taste Coke from all over the world. His tone of voice suggested that he thought whoever told him about it was not being truthful. I told him there was a place where he could check out Coca-Cola’s variety of drinks from different countries and that I remembered going there on a fun field trip in my high school days. That seemed to answer his question and satisfy his curiosity, but I decided to surprise him with a family field trip of our own.
We arrived at the World of Coca-Cola, and we were welcomed into the Coca-Cola Loft to check out the many artifacts, both domestic and international, spanning from the beginning of Coca-Cola to present day. The old Coke machines and the variety of signage were impressive to view. A guide explained to everyone about some of the items in the amazing collection, and she did mention that they have only three of the six paintings Norman Rockwell was commissioned to paint for Coca-Cola and that they are hopeful to find the missing ones to add to the collection. So if anyone out there happens upon a Norman Rockwell with a Coca-Cola prominently displayed in the painting, you just might want to contact the Coca-Cola Company!
Then we went to the Happiness Factory Theater to watch a funny movie about the magic of Coca-Cola. It was a fast-paced show with hilarious characters, perfect for children. Next, we got our picture made with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. He’s a cutie, so that was an absolute must! The Coca-Cola Company Polar Bear Support Fund was created to raise environmental awareness and to help save the polar bears’ habitat. Coca-Cola has given donations to the World Wildlife Fund in order to help preserve the polar bear, so it really does have a special significance. We also got to see a glimpse of the real Coca-Cola bottling process in the Bottle Works section. They have everything slowed down so visitors can get a good look at how the bottling process happens, and I was amazed to see the real time bottling process displayed on monitors; it happens amazingly quickly!
We also checked out the Milestones of Refreshment section, which recaps the story of John S. Pemberton and how the pharmacist created his famous mixture, which was originally created to help cure headaches and to boost energy. He invented Coca-Cola in 1886, and it piqued my interest to learn more about this businessman whose invention really changed the world. I returned home to read a few online articles about Pemberton, and they characterized him as the obsessive, crea-tive, mad scientist type of inventor, constantly trying to create the perfect drink. The kids got a good glimpse of this character when we watched In Search of the Secret Formula, a 4-D film about an un-conventional scientist and his assistant trying to expose Coca Cola’s secret formula. Sadly, like many genius inventors, Pemberton did not greatly profit as he sold the formula to another Atlanta pharmacist who was quite adept at marketing the product. The Milestones section shows the amaz-ing history of Coca-Cola and will leave you wanting to know more about its brilliant creator.
The Pop Culture Gallery is one of my favorite spots in Coca-Cola. It houses a collection of beauti-ful artwork like the “Coca-Collage” by Steve Penley and “Split”, a riveting two piece painting of a glass Coca-Cola bottle, by Comer Jennings . There are also replicas of very famous paintings like the “Mona Lisa” and “American Gothic”, with you guessed it--- bottles of Coke in hand. You can even sit on the American Idol Coca-Cola sofa for a fun photo opp.
Upon exiting the World of Coca-Cola, we had the opportunity to taste an assortment of Coca-Cola products from all over the world. There were a lot of unique tasting beverages served in various countries that tasted very good. One of my favorites was Vegitabeta, a Japanese soft drink, and my sons loved any of the fruit flavored drinks. The boys had to try Beverly, the bitter Italian carbon-ated drink, which left them wrinkling up their noses and laughing. After tasting the various ones, we found ourselves drawn back to the typical North American drinks: Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Mr. Pibb. Upon exiting, everyone received a complimentary Coca-Cola in a glass bottle, and that brings my story full circle. I enjoyed an opportunity to learn more about an American icon, and I found inspiration behind Pemberton’s story; you never know when an ordinary, everyday person might change the world.
For further info on visits, check out their website :