In June of 2012, my husband Gene and I spent a few days with my best friend’s brother and family near Atlanta and wanted to do some sightseeing. One afternoon we ended up at Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta. It is so amazing and I was delighted to see that it is still being utilized today.
As part of the infrastructure improvements for the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics, this 21-acre park was built by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG). They decided to hold a design competition to lay out and build the park. The ACOG picked architect EDAW, with the construction and design firm H.J. Russell & Company entry as the winning bidders. For those not living in the area, it might not be known that the park was built in two phases.
The first phase was computed right before the start of the 1996 Olympic Games at a cost of $28 million. The second phase was completed the next year at a cost of $15 million. Today Centennial Olympic Park plays host to millions of visitors a year and several events, including a summer popular music concert series and an annual Independence Day concert and fireworks display. Here are some of the Spring/Summer activities at the park:
- Wednesday Winddown
- Music at Noon
- Fit Fridays
- Party in the Park
- 4th of July Celebration
- Foo Fighters to Rock Atlanta
The park is surrounded by many major Atlanta landmarks. On the west side of the park, you will find the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Dome, College Football Hall of Fame, Philips Arena, and the CNN Center. To the north of the park, you will see the Georgia Aquarium, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the World of Coca-Cola. It was so great being in the park and looking up to see the CNN center, very exciting.
One of the most notable things, actually the centerpiece of Centennial Olympic Park, is the Fountain of Rings. It is an interactive fountain that features computer-controlled lights and jets of water synchronized with music played from speakers in light towers surrounding the fountain. There are also 251 jets that shoot 12 to 35 feet (3.7 to 10.7 m) in the air, and also creates a beautiful water sculpture that is essentially the front yard of the nearby museum.
As you can imagine, it is a wonderful place for children to frolic in, as well as for concert-goers and joggers to cool off on hot Atlanta summer days. I found it truly amazing that the fountain area is surrounded by flags representing the host countries of each Summer Olympics preceding the 1996 games. I thought that was really cool. Definitely needs to be on your to-Atlanta do list even if you aren't a huge Olympics fan. If you are in the area, make sure to check out the World of Coke. It was also a lot of fun and something the whole family can enjoy while cooling off a little.