More than 10 million gallons of water fill the gigantic exhibits inside Georgia Aquarium, making it the largest in the world when it opened in 2005. Most visitors, of course, will be far more interested in what's gliding and diving inside all those exhibits. Their journey through the world's diverse oceans begins just inside the entrance at The SunTrust Georgia Explorer, where visitors touch rays and marvel at the sea turtle's ability to keep from sliding out of its shell. To the right lies the Southwest Tropical Diver exhibit, a mesmerizing display of coral reefs and the creatures that wind among them.
Other areas of the aquarium blend education with entertainment. Dolphins leap, swim, and dance in time to music at the AT&T Dolphin Tales show, while Journey with Gentle Giants Immersion Programs let visitors dive with massive whale sharks. There's even a movie theater, although it blows most multiplexes out of the water by adding 3-D imagery and 4-D effects. Special effects built into the seats and the theater's surroundings mean that audiences don't just see ultra-real animals and rippling waters pass before them?they feel them, too.
That's just a sampling of the more than 60 exhibits and activities that fill Georgia Aquarium. But its staff do manage to make it outside of the massive facility. In addition to their exhibits and education initiatives, the aquarium houses the Correll Center for Aquatic Animal Health: a 10,000 square-foot facility dedicated to aquatic animal conservation. Its research stretches from the whale sharks of Mexico to the penguins of South Africa to the belugas of Alaska.
The resident chefs at The Cooking School at Irwin Street model their teaching style after that of the quirky, patient Julia Child as they walk kitchen cadets through the basics of food transmogrification with a collection of helpful and laughter-filled classes held in two distinctive locations. Tucked away in the historic Old Fourth Ward, the indoor kitchen lets students loose on modern appliances amid appetite-kindling hues of pumpkin and avocado. The newly unveiled farm kitchen, meanwhile, incorporates vine-fresh produce and just-picked herbs from the surrounding soil in recipes prepared under the open sky. In both of these settings, the instructors pare cooking down to the essentials—an open mind, an eager palate, and a sharp, non-argumentative knife. Classes cater to a number of dietary restrictions, from creative vegan options and gluten-free baking lessons to smoked-meat sessions for inveterate salamivores. Most classes are BYOB, and some sessions are open to parent-child combos.
With the Atlanta skyline as their backdrop, players at Dosser Works Paintball fire rounds of pigment on four outdoor fields, each covered to keep out inclement weather and the sun’s judgmental glare. Experienced paintball players run these facilities, and they channel their knowledge of the game by supervising safety and regularly changing field layouts and game scenarios. Themed competitions and night games play out on two tournament-size fields, an astroturf-covered speedball field dotted with air bunkers, and a post-apocalyptic warzone where competitors dive and shoot from behind mounds of tires, sandbags, and an authentic burned-out Ford Windstar. A sniper tower between the speedball and dirt fields lets players take aim and give constructive haircut critiques to those below. The play area at Dosser Works Paintball has expanded to include two new fields called "The Back Lands" with two airplanes, a derelict van, two mountains connected by a bridge, topped with flag towers.
Mike Moreland's portfolio bursts apart at the seams with the work of 27 years in architecture, fashion, and advertising photography. His three-hour workshops, typically lead by two–four expert shutterbugs, teach neophytes and hobbyists the tricks and tools to snap professional-grade shots. After 45 minutes of instruction, students spend just over two hours honing their burgeoning skills, capturing images on their own DSLRs or with a chisel and stone tablet. Guests walk out of the sessions knowing how to manipulate light sensors, how to adjust shutter speeds with a special emphasis on nature photography, and the basics of studio lighting, wedding portraiture, and shooting in urban settings. Read the FAQ to learn more.
The seasoned paint-slingers at The Blu' Bisque turn the art of pottery and canvas embellishment into a lively celebration with their kids' birthday parties, BYOB date nights for adults, and corporate events that emphasize carefree fun, uninhibited creativity, and paint-speckled aprons. The shop's hefty collection of bisque pieces anchors the floor with plates, coffee mugs, and figurines that wait patiently to be plucked and festooned with stencil designs, free-flowing brushstrokes, and floral motifs that symbolize the end of tax season. Not just an art studio, The Blu? Bisque also houses an upscale boutique that offers trendy gifts and accessories as well as brand-name apparel.
Kathy Antar opened The Sewing Studio planning to provide sewing services for design professionals and event producers, but was soon flooded with phone calls and emails from people who simply wanted to know how to use their sewing machines. To meet that need, The Sewing Studio began to offer a selection of beginner, intermediate, and advanced sewing classes. During each 2.5-hour session, students learn how to thread machines, wind the bobbin, and practice various stitches using their own machines. In addition to classes, Kathy custom-designs furniture upholstery, bedding, and window coverings and supplies expert design-consultation services, which can transform a client's dream design into a tactile reality.