Photo: M. Woodruff/Business Insider
As a kid growing up in Atlanta in the early 90s, you could hardly get through a school year without taking a tour of the epic World of Coca-Cola Museum.I was six the first time I was dragged there against my will by visiting relatives, and I’ve always wanted to return as an adult.
Since then, the museum has been entirely rebuilt and moved a few blocks away into the heart of the city’s Centennial Olympic Park.
It’s huge and attracts more than a million visitors each year, according to Seen Magazine.
I had the chance to check it out last month, and I can safely say it’s worth a visit if you’re passing through.
The new World of Coca-Cola museum has only been around for about five years. It's located in the heart of Atlanta, at Pemberton Place––just steps from CNN World Headquarters.
Evidence suggests Southern tourists are dubious of virtual ticketing. Despite constant intercom announcements, we were the only ones to skip the line and hit up the e-ticket kiosk.
At $16, general admission is far from cheap. But after visiting, I can safely say it's worth the cash.
Thanks to a stringent security system, we were in for a wait––about 15 minutes in the sweltering heat.
At last, we were in! ...Only to be corralled into another waiting area before they let our group enter the exhibits.
There was still plenty to hold our attention. You can't hear it, but a mix of Coke jingles from the last six decades played over the speaker system.
The centrepiece of the lobby was an international display of seven wooden coke bottles sculpted to depict a different country. Here's the USA:
I liked that paid photographs were optional –– on-site workers happily snapped photos on personal cameras as well.
The first 15 minutes of the museum are the only guided portion of the tour. You hear a brief history of the company and can browse massive collections of memorabilia.
Wendy, the so-called 'Cheerleader' of Coca-Cola plays tour guide in the film. If you're lucky, you can meet her in person later on.
The infamous Coca-Cola polar bear was on photo-op duty all day. The line moved pretty quickly and, again, you could use your own camera.
With all that soda flying, the floor was a sticky mess in some places. A janitor mopped up around our feet as we drank.
We were really impressed with their theatre entrance. Each aisle was connected to a door and outside of the theatre, circles on the carpet designated an available seat.
It was a fun ride. They mean it when they say 4-D––Our chairs jolted back and forth and we were blasted by water sprays and wind throughout the film.
Outside the theatre, we ran right into this interactive media wall. Tap the screen and check out pre-recorded testimonials from Coca-Cola fans around the world.
The Pop Culture exhibit next door was filled with eye candy. It would take hours just to inspect every item included in the multi-room exhibit, which includes fan memorabilia and artwork from Andy Warhol and Norman Rockwell.
They have reason to be paranoid. Coke has heavily guarded it's secret formula since it was created by John S. Pemberton in the late 19th century.
Much of the exhibit is dedicated to Robert Woodruff, a wealthy entrepreneur who purchased Coca-Cola in the early 20th century. (No relation to this reporter...unfortunately.)
That way you can skip straight to the Bottle Works. This is where you get a peak inside the bottling process.
Once bottled, the bottles roll out on a conveyor belt back upstairs to the Taste It exhibit. You can pick it up on the way out of the museum.
They had an incredible selection of bottle openers, which were probably the best value at under $10 a pop.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.