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12 Awesome Ways to Do a Little Time-Tripping in Atlanta: Part One

The Margaret Mitchell House - run by the Atlanta History Center - was once home to the celebrated Southern author who wrote Gone With the Wind
The Margaret Mitchell House - run by the Atlanta History Center - was once home to the celebrated Southern author who wrote Gone With the Wind
© 2014 Kevin C. Rose/

Despite the fact that it is home to the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, has earned the title of “Hollywood of the South”, and makes the Top 10 list of Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S.*, Atlanta offers both locals and visitors an incredibly unique draw: the opportunity to time travel. First established as Terminus in 1837, it’s no wonder that history abounds throughout the city of Atlanta. Of course, you won’t need a luxury car with a flux capacitor or an H.G. Wellian contraption to explore the city’s rich and colorful past. You’ll simply need your favorite mode of transportation, some travel money, and this list of 12 Awesome Ways to Do a Little Time-Tripping in Atlanta.

Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard at Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park is wholly inspired by history – with its confederate memorial carving on the face of the mountain, Confederate Hall Historical & Environmental Education Center, and throwback-themed Crossroads area. But history truly comes to life at the Antebellum Plantation. Featuring a collection of original buildings from all around the State of Georgia – each originally constructed between 1783 and 1875, the structures were all moved from their original sites and painstakingly restored to preserve their authenticity and historical value. The rooms of the homes feature an extensive collection of period furniture and decorations that reflect the diverse lifestyles of 18th and 19th century Georgia residents. In the adjoining Farmyard, guests can interact with the animals and their trainers. During some special events at the Park, the Plantation & Farmyard plays host to historic reenactments that are not to be missed.

Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House

Poised on 33 sprawling acres in the heart of Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center boasts the elegant 1928 Swan House, the rustic 1860s Smith Family Farm, Centennial Olympic Games Museum, a revolving series of award-winning exhibitions, and 22 lovely acres of historic gardens and trails. As an added bonus, admission to the Atlanta History Center includes a ticket to the Margaret Mitchell House – where the great Southern author penned Gone With the Wind.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Home to a major Civil War battlefield during the Atlanta Campaign, Kennesaw Mountain saw its fair share of the fight from June 19 until July 2, 1864. Today, guests can view a movie about the Atlanta Campaign and Battle of Kennesaw, explore the museum, hike the mountain, or share a picnic in the shadow of a historic cannon.

Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum

On display in Grant Park since 1893, the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta is the largest oil painting in the world. Featuring a film of events leading up to the Battle of Atlanta, as well as a 3-D diorama of the Battle itself set before the painting, the Atlanta Cyclorama creates a totally immersive experience for its guests. While at the Cyclorama and Museum, visitors can examine artifacts from the American Civil War period and view the Steam Locomotive Texas – which played a key role in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. Younger patrons will likely appreciate the fact that the Cyclorama is located right next door to ZooAtlanta.

World of Coca-Cola

While the building itself is far from historic (its Grand Opening was held in 2007), many of the exhibits inside explore the history of one of the things that the City of Atlanta is perhaps most famous: the invention of Coca-Cola! Milestones of Refreshment and the Vault of the Secret Formula are exhibition halls that give guests special insight into one of the world’s most popular soft drinks, while the Taste It! hall provides visitors with an opportunity to sample from more than 100 different flavors of Coca-Cola products from all around the world.

Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site

Located less than 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in the City of Cartersville, the Etowah Indian Mounds offer guests a chance to explore a time long before the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Dating back as far as 1000 A.D., this 54-acre site was once home to several thousand Native Americans. While only nine percent of the site has been excavated, Etowah Mounds is the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast. Visitors can view six earthen mounds, a plaza, village site, and museum – filled with artifacts that include shell beads, paint, complicated hairdos, feathers, copper ear ornaments and hand-carved stone effigies that weigh in at 125 pounds and still bear some original pigments.

Check back soon for Part Two of 12 Awesome Ways to Do a Little Time-Tripping in Atlanta!

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