Are you and the kids experiencing Olympic fever this summer? With the London Games underway, it’s a perfect time to take a family trip to the Atlanta History Center to see the permanent Centennial Olympic Games exhibit. As you enter, you walk on the very maple flooring from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic basketball court where the U.S men’s and women’s teams both took the gold. As you venture farther into the exhibit, you’ll gaze upon medals and posters from previous Olympics. Most impressive: the extensive collection of Olympic torches that go back as far as the 1936 Berlin Games.
The first level of the museum briefly explores the history of the Olympic movement that began in ancient Greece, then tells the story of our community leaders and volunteers who worked hard to make the dream of an Atlanta-hosted Olympics a reality. You’ll learn that the 17-day Centennial Olympic Games in and around Atlanta in ’96 remains the single largest gathering of Olympic teams the world has ever seen.
Kids who visit this exhibit are instantly intrigued by the interactive “Olympic Mania” trivia game. To play, just sign up at the first of 12 kiosk stations where visitors get to test their Olympic knowledge. As you take your “Olympic Mania” journey, the last five stations are aligned along a model of a running track so kids can feel immersed into the world of Olympic sports. At the end of the game, kids can climb onto a victory platform from the 1996 Centennial Olympics – a great way to feel like an Olympic medalist.
Upstairs in the Sports Lab, all ages can put their physical endurance to the test – and compare it to Olympic athletes. There are tests in rowing, on bikes, and even on the assisted long jump. These interactive displays will surely help get your kids into the Olympic spirit.
– Sarah Egan
A permanent exhibit at Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta;
Hours: Mon.-Sat, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sun, noon-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $16.50 adults, $13 students, $11 ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and younger.
Aug. 11, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Atlanta History Center has planned a special family program linked to the Olympic Games. Enjoy lively tours of the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, meet Olympic medalists and take part in some Olympic sporting activities – both ancient and modern. Included with general admission ticket purchase.