The New World of Coca-Cola: Atlanta's Most Famous Brand

The New World of Coca-Cola is a museum dedicated to Atlanta's most famous export. The museum is located in downtown Atlanta near the Georgia Aquarium, Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Dome. The area is easily accessible from the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector. MARTA, Atlanta's public transit system, has three train stations, each about five blocks away. Several bus lines serve the area.

The World of Coca-Cola has been an Atlanta tourist mainstay since 1990, when it opened in its original location at nearby Underground Atlanta. It drew more than 13 million visitors in its 16 years of operation. In 2007, the old location closed and moved to its present location at Pemberton Place, named for the inventor of the original Coca-Cola formula. The new museum is one of only a few buildings in the Atlanta area to be LEED-certified, that is, to meet certain "green'' building standards. Even the cups used to taste Coke products inside are made of 100% compostable cornstarch!

The New World of Coke (as locals call it) is bigger and more interactive than the former space. At 92,000 square feet, it is twice as large as the old facility and holds 1,200 items of memorabilia. The general manager of the museum says in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that more interactivity was the most requested feature of visitors to the first location. Now, she explains, "The scale of interactivity in the building is extraordinary. The New World of Coca-Cola promises a totally different experience.'' Features of the new attraction include:

A "4-D'' movie, which features moving seats, puffs of air and squirts of water

Taste It, an area where visitors can sample all 70 Coca-Cola products from around the world

Milestones of Refreshment, an exhibit documenting the company's advertising campaigns since the 1890s

Bottleworks, a miniature Coca-Cola bottling plant, which produces a take-home bottle of Coke for each visitor

The Pop Culture gallery, which features Coca-Cola-themed artwork from well-known artists

The Far Coast cafy, where visitors can sample Coke's line of brewed beverages

The Coca-Cola Store, which sells every imaginable product stamped with the Coke logo

All areas of the museum are available for event rentals. The maximum space available is 45,000 square feet, which can hold up to 1,500 guests for a reception or 400 guests for a dinner. Teacher Toolkits that relate Coca-Cola to its social context, history and media presence are available for all grades for school field trips.

Although the New World of Coca-Cola remains one of the most popular attractions in Atlanta, reviewers on a popular travel website have given it a wide range of ratings - almost equal numbers have rated it as "Excellent,'' "Very Good,'' "Average,'' and "Poor.'' Many negative comments have to do with the price, especially since, as one person says, "You don't see anything of real value.'' The one feature that seems to be universally popular is the tasting room - "So many to taste, so little time!'' - and children like it more than adults. One commenter noted, "The kids said it was their favorite thing we did.'' As for the new experience compared to the old, one Georgia couple who were frequent visitors to the old museum said, "This is ten times better. There's no comparison.''

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