A grand day out

Some people want big-screen TVs, or fancy vacations, or other extravagances for every birthday or other gift-giving occasion.

My husband is not one of them. In fact, although I tease my husband about his various dreaming about things like old cars and air compressors, the things Otto likes most are usually very simple pleasures. Like weird little day trips.

So when Otto’s birthday rolled around a few weeks ago, we made plans to go somewhere he really wanted to visit, and then we had to postpone it for various reasons, and yesterday we finally made our pilgrimage.

To the World Of Coke.

Yes, that’s how my husband wanted to celebrate his birthday. We really know how to party.

Off we went, ready for an exciting day filled with… ummm… carbonation. And I was delighted to discover that the Coke Museum is actually really interesting and a lot of fun. And if you can’t find the extreme humor in a 7-foot-tall polar bear who’s wearing a Coca-Cola scarf and wandering around making funny faces (insofar as a giant muppet-like creature can make faces only through rapid eye blinking and opening its hinged mouth at various degrees, coupled with head-tilting), you are clearly not in the holiday spirit.

[Digression: I was telling my dad about it on the phone last night and he was giving me a hard time about paying to go there.

“You mean you have to PAY to go spend your day essentially taking in a gigantic advertisement for soda?” he asked, incredulous.

“Yeah, but, it’s HISTORY! There’s… memorabilia. And stuff. And over 60 flavors of Coke!”]

So there were many wonderful things there, yes, but the tasting room was the big hit. I don’t normally let the kids have soda except as a VERY special treat, on account of I’m a giant meanie. But to let them loose in a room filled with self-serve soda spigots and 60+ types of soda from around the world? They thought they’d died and gone to high fructose corn syrup heaven. I’m pretty sure the kids could’ve pushed the car home by the time we were done in there.

We had chocolate mint coke last. I was expecting it to be completely disgusting and it was actually delicious. See? WELL WORTH THE MONEY! (Also worth the money: Some clear soda from Tanzania with a funny name that tasted like ginger beer. I’m not sure I’d move to Tanzania for it, but it was pretty good.)

So it was an awesome excursion, and I’m pretty sure Otto feels well loved and also all sugared up. And it was extremely nice to take a vacation from the real world, even if for just a day, and instead focus on fizzy beverages.

My favorite part of the day happened before we even got there. I was so tickled by it, I had to capture it for posterity. Please ignore the fact that my voice is annoying.

A funny thing happened on the way to Atlanta from woulda on Vimeo.


I laughed for half an hour, easily. It just made my day.

I mean, that and the 4857235 milliliters of sugar I later ingested.

(P.S. While trying to figure out if that guy is, like, a known celebrity or something—I mean, beyond the obvious, DUH—I came across this. You’re welcome!)


  1. Leandra

    OMG! You saw Santa!!

    I went to the World of Coke years ago before they remodeled and all I can remember is one NASTY drink there. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I can’t remember what it was so that I’ll know to avoid it next time.

    You know in Japan they have a sports drink called Pocari Sweat. Um, I think marketing needs to rethink that name. I don’t want to drink sweat, thank you very much.

  2. Stacia

    Next you should try the Spam museum. It’s free and it was pretty cool too. Although the free samples of Spam probably aren’t nearly as good as 60 types of soda.

  3. Barbara

    I can vouch the fun of visiting a Coca Cola museum…we visited the one in Vegas – next to the M&M museum! Also, the Coca Cola place in Epcot is similar in providing a broad multicultural experience of the sugar-kind.

    We’ve ALSO visited the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, TX – where Dr. Pepper was born.

    My Hubby likes those kind of gifts, too. Smart men we married, eh?

  4. Trooper Thorn

    Many people harbor dreams of seeing a game in every Major League Park, or going to every art museum in the nation. You folks to visit every soft drink HQ in America. Do they still make Tab?

  5. Randi

    What a cool idea!! So what gift are you giving him for Christmas – a visit to the World of Pepsi?

  6. Jess

    I used to have a friend who lived in your neck of the woods, and we kept PLANNING to go there and never did. I’m so jealous! :)

  7. Lori

    HOLY MOLY, a real Santa sighting! It’s like seeing a teacher outside of the classroom. You know they have a life in theory but it just doesn’t seem right when you witness it firsthand. Santa drives a car. Crazy.

  8. JNo

    I LOVED World of Coke when I went there in college. My brother’s favorite part was telling people in the tasting room that the ones that were HORRIBLE were really really good and then sneaking off just far away enough to watch their horrified expression but not so close as to get yelled at for telling them to take a big swig of nasty! Ah – good times, good times!!

  9. tammy

    Santa drives a Buick. Who knew? I always thought he was a Lincoln Continental kinda guy.

  10. Fold My Laundry Please

    We took the kids to a Red Robin restaurant one time in June and Santa was there eating burgers! There wasn’t a single kid in that place that misbehaved! And he and Mrs. Claus took the time to speak to every single child that came up to say hello! Out in the parking lot we saw a Jeep Cherokee with the license plate “St Nick”. I felt a little odd taking a picture of someone’s license plate, but I’ll bet Santa gets that all the time. So now I have photographic evidence that Santa Claus spends at least part of his summer in Olympia, WA!

    Also, if you want a fun Santa link, check out the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas website at http://www.aorbsinc.com. Bet you’ll find your Santa listed there!

  11. Stace

    Hey! I saw Santa too…a couple of weeks ago we brought the kids to West Lebanon Shopping, and while we were sitting in the Wendy’s parking lot waiting for son #2 (the one with SPD) to finish his meltdown, down the road right in front of us rode Santa..on his Harley. It even made son#2 stop and stare :-P

  12. exile on mom street

    Dude, the World of Coke is awesome. It’s about as historic an icon as Atlanta has, thanks to Sherman!

    What I want to know is…if Atlanta had gotten the NASCAR Museum would you have taken Otto there too?

  13. Burgh Baby

    I have to know, was the mystery drink from Tanzania reminiscent of Crystal Pepsi? Cause I miss me some Crystal Pepsi. That would TOTALLY be worth the trip.

  14. Anna

    My daughter is very excited that you caught Santa driving to Toys R Us. Thanks for catching that!

  15. Megan

    We decided long ago that these are the best kind of gifts. They fit beautifully, you don’t have to dust/polish/launder them, they won’t end up in a landfill and best of all (once the sugar rush and the inevitable post-high headache have worn off) you’ve got family stories to tell for years. If, by chance, there are also photos that have the potential to provide off-spring blackmail opportunities then that’s just icing on the cake!

  16. Brigitte

    Heh! I saw an oil truck labeled “Santa Energy” the other day, and an older gent with a white beard was uncoiling the truck’s hose . . . Santa himself?

  17. Jessalyn

    I haven’t been to the new World of Coke yet, but can’t wait to check it out.

    LOL at St. Nick’s car.

  18. StephLove

    My 2 y/o is fascinated with the video of “Santa riding.” She made me watch it 3X.

  19. TTULizzy

    That is totally awesome. Santa doesn’t live in the North Pole, he lives in Atlanta!

  20. Katie in MA

    I am all about the Tasting Room. Coke Black (with coffee) = heaven. What other kids of heaven exist that I don’t know about…yet?

  21. Asianmommy

    Hmmm–I didn’t know Santa could drive.
    Would love to try that chocolate mint coke.

  22. Flea

    Santa certainly drives a sensible car. I guess old men are entitled to that – even Santa.

    I wasn’t so wild about the tasting room. There’s some WEIRD flavors there. My kids thought it bizarre, but loved it. I don’t think I tried the chocolate mint, though. :)

  23. Walking In My Sleep

    Every time I have a business trip to Atlanta, I go to the Coke Museum. It’s a pure blast – especially the old television commercials. So, when did they start charging, cause I never had to pay???

  24. Kath

    We love weird museums. My husband wants to go to the museum of rock n roll!. St. Nick!

  25. Traci

    You just made my son’s Christmas! I called him over to see your video and he started freaking out. “I knew it! I knew it!”
    He’s so excited because some kids in his second grade class have been telling him that Santa isn’t real.
    Thanks for providing proof. ;)

  26. mike golch

    I don’t want much for Christmas,just that the seizures would stop.

  27. Half Assed Kitchen

    You’ve inspired me to look for a coffee museum here in Seattle. They’ve gotta have one.

  28. Anna

    Awesome video! And I would probably never leave the soda room, as I am addicted to diet coke…

  29. sheila

    Very cool. I remember as a girl scout..way back in the drak ages…we would tour the 7-UP factory.

  30. Chuck

    There used to be a toilet paper museum in Wisconsin. I’m not sure if it’s still open or not.

  31. Tammy

    Wow, Santa sure gets around. He was at Cub Foods in Mankato, MN this weekend!! He was keeping a low profile though…white shirt w/red suspenders. Must’ve been doing some reconnaissance.

  32. nil zed

    Gee, in Winston-Salem NC, we had the cigarette factory museum. I wonder if that’s still operational? I think when we went in the late 70’s that adults did get a sample pack/discount cigs in the museum store.

  33. Debbi

    LOL, glad you enjoyed. We did the Coke tasting at Disney (I think in Epcot??) and of course since Bubby doesn’t drink soda often, having a gazillion sips of different ones gave him a lovely belly ache. Poor kid!

  34. Patricia

    I love the giggle at the VERY, VERY end. I can just tell that that child was holding that giggle in for a while. It is such a “I know the joke that’s coming — and yet it is STILL totally funny.”

  35. Surrender Dorothy's Husband

    Ford will be pissed when they see this picture…

    No airline bottles snuck into the “tasting” area? Damn… next time.

  36. Kailani

    Dude, was Rudolph in the back seat??

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