Back to the Future Meets Harry Potter

This week I’m being a tourist in my own city. Have you ever done that when family or friends were visiting? Yesterday a friend and I visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve only been there once before and that was many years ago before it moved to its current location. It’s HUGE now!

We had a great time, it was almost like a visit to a mini-theme park, part museum, part Back to the Future meets Harry Potter. It’s definitely an interactive, hands-on experience.



WOC is very close to the Georgia Aquarium, so close this was my view standing in front of the building.



The tour was fascinating as we got a peek into how Coke is manufactured.



My favorite part was learning about the history of the brand which was like boarding a time machine for a trip back in time. Coca-Cola was first invented by pharmacist, John Pemberton. Unfortunately, he passed away before the drink became a huge hit.


Photo from Wikipedia


I loved seeing the old, antique signs–absolutely fascinating and so nostalgic!





Soda machines have definitely changed through the years.



This one was designed to serve both hot and cold beverages: hot beverages are displayed above the red lined shelf and the cold ones were on the blue shelf.



I think my favorite antique was this wonderful, old soda fountain; it’s over 130 years old! Did you ever get to sit at a fountain like this? Sadly, I never did but would love to have seen one in action.



Apparently, the person serving the drinks would mix the different flavors you had requested into your drink by jerking down the handle that dispensed each of the ingredients/flavors, thus giving him the name, “Soda Jerk.”



Ever heard of Ida Bailey Allen? Our guide, Anne, told us she was the “Martha Stewart” of the day and at one point was featured in some of Coca-Cola’s advertisements. I’d love to read more about her.



With lots of fanfare and drama, the secret vault where the recipe for Coca-Cola is “supposedly” stored, was unveiled. Do you think the secret recipe is really stored here? Not sure I’m buying that. lol



Our visit to World of Coca-Cola ended with an exciting “trip” around the world in “rock and roll” seats. Tip: Sit on the back row if you have a bad back.

We had fun shopping in the gift store at the end of our tour. The only thing I purchased was a magnet. I’ve started buying little magnets for my refrigerator whenever I travel anywhere, just a little something to remind me of the trip. Do you collect a specific, little souvenir or treasure whenever you travel somewhere new?



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  1. Sounds like a good time! Does the tour provide “samples”?
    I always purchase postcards when I travel. Not to mail but to use as photo memories. Thanks for sharing.

    • They do! They give you a cute red, metal bottle of Coke as soon as you walk in, then there’s a large tasting room at the end where you can mix up your own concoctions, and try a lot of the other drinks Coca-Cola offers all around the world.
      As you’re leaving the building, they give you another souvenir, a cute bottle of Coca-Cola that says “World of Coca-Cola” across it.

  2. Edith Bice says

    I grew up in the Atlanta area. We lived near Lenox Square (was a beautiful open air mall then) until 5th grade when we moved way out to Doraville…haha! Not considered far out now. There was a soda fountain in the Northwoods Drug Store. They had a soda fountain and it was still in operation until the 80’s. There is a soda fountain still in existence at the Duluth Rexall Drugstore in old town Duluth in case you find yourself in Gwinnett County. I know traffic from Cobb to Gwinnett is usually a nightmare!! We moved away in 2000 after both kids were in college out of state. I do not miss the congestion but miss being near family and all the shopping opportunities and cultural activities. Great post! Brought back some memories.

  3. I collect Christmas ornaments from each place we vacation. These are unique and nostalgic of memories.

  4. Susan, I loved this post! I am old enough to have sat at many fountains in my time, having cherry Coke mixed up for me. There is nothing like it! When Coke came out with their canned version of the old drink, I was so excited. But my hopes were soon dashed, as nothing compares to the old concoctions made by the “soda jerks.” After leaving this post, I’m going to investigate Ida Bailey Allen. That intrigues me. I would have loved to tag along with you and your friend when you visited A Classy Flea and Queen of Hearts. If you remember, I contacted Q of H after seeing one of your posts where the Shoreline starfish glasses were pictured. The owner, Peggy, is super nice and mailed those to me here in Memphis! I have looked for them all over, and there they were! I so enjoy all of your posts; thanks for all the time you put into them. I also have found some wonderful items from your blogs on Italy to take with me on my trip this month. I hope my camera works as well for me as it did for you.

  5. Are you going to the Country Living Fair?

  6. There’s an antique store not far from me that has sooooooo many vintage soda machines. I love them! This definitely sounds like a fun way to spend the day Susan.

    As for souvenirs, I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of that. Recently we went to Maine and the only souvenir I brought home was a lovely handmade cape.

  7. That sounds like a fun tour with visitors. Coke–so Americana. I remember all those soda machines. And that getting a cherry coke was a rare treat. I collected wine stoppers long ago. The adventure of trying to find one with something related to that country, and the kind people of each country helping, because not so common an item back then–best memories.

  8. My Dad was a Soda Jerk in Washington, DC in the early 1950’s.

  9. We now buy a Christmas ornament when we vacation. I used to collect teapots or snow globes but when we started to travel more it became just too much 😉

  10. Sounds like a fun day! Your photos are always so good! When I travel I try to find a Christmas ornament, if they aren’t too ugly! Hahaha!

  11. That tour sounds like such fun. I loved the original coke with real sugar. There was such a delicious burn when you swallowed.

    If you ever come to Texas, I will treat you to a soda. There is still a real soda fountain in Highland Park and the sodas are delicious. There are also some interesting shops along the way.

    When I travel, I buy coffee mugs or small pieces of art work for mementos.

  12. Linda Page says

    This is a fascinating place. It brought back so many memories of Coca Cola products that I remember seeing my entire life. The guided tour was great. This is a great place for everyone. I remember soda fountains from the 1950’s. There was nothing better than a fountain Coke unless it was a Coke float!!

  13. We will be down in Atlanta for the Ga. Tech homecoming game. That sounds like a fun side trip. If you have any suggestions for flea market type/antique malls in the area I would love to hear about them. Maybe a blog post ;-).

    • A Classy Flea in Marietta is one of my favorite places to visit. There are several antique shops in Marietta and Roswell, too many to name. We don’t have a lot of Flea Markets here. You may want to google and see if Scotts Antique Market will be going on the weekend you are here. It’s one weekend each month, although I think they skip some months.

      • Thanks for the tips Susan. I had already checked on Scott’s but unfortunately this will not be a weekend they are open….bummer. I will look around google for some places close to midtown since we are flying in. Thanks again for responding. I meant to thank you sooner but Matthew decided to pay us a visit and we just got power back this afternoon 🙂

  14. Renee Cook says

    I enjoyed that so much… We still have not had a chance to visit the World of Coke or the Aquarium, but I’m sure I’d love it because I enjoy nostalgia. I liked the old signs and machines in your pictures. I have fond memories of the kind-looking Santa on the Coke displays. Sixty years later, it still makes me feel warm and fuzzy! Growing up, I remember hearing people call it Co-Cola. Thanks, as always, for sharing and bringing back sweet memories!

  15. My husband has been a Coca-Cola collector for many years and he would absolutely love this tour. That said; as a Christmas gift from Santa last year I made him a Xmas Coca-Cola truck out of coke cans (similar to their old T.V. commercials) as it was something he didn’t have. I totally winged the project and accomplished it by watching a U-Tube video where I didn’t understand a word since it was all in Spanish where the gentleman was making something comparable (his being a flatbed one) but as it was so well done it was easy to follow. Thanks so much for sharing and it sounds like you had a fun time. -Brenda-
    P.S.: Myself I would love to see the aquarium as the only one I’ve been to was in Florida. Oh, IF you wish to take a peak at the truck, search: pinterest mrsben2 Coca-Cola truck Craft & Costumes DIY Level Advanced. It consists of a two-page collage being the cab and the trailer.

  16. My children took me to the World of Coke about 10-12 years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it, being a native of Georgia and a Coca Cola fan. I think maybe it is time to go back, though. Love the Aquarium, too. It is fun to be a tourist in your own area, isn’t it?

  17. By now, I’ll bet some of your readers have already googled Ida Bailey Allen. Just typing her name in the search engine brings up a lot of web sites for “treasure hunting.” She was born in 1885 and died in 1973. That alone gives us a lot to think about – what changes in the country she must have lived through.

    “Ida Cogswell Bailey Allen (1885–1973), once popularly known as “The Nation’s Homemaker”, was the author of more than 50 cookbooks. She was described as “The original domestic goddess” by antique cookbook experts… – pulled from one Google search.

    Loved the post, btw.

  18. When I hear Coca cola…I think of my mom’s favorite chocolate cake…yum!! Friends of our collect Coca-Cola memorabilia…3,200+ in their basement!!! franki

  19. I collect Christmas ornaments when we travel.

  20. Nancy Akeroyd says

    I always fantasized about having a soda fountain in my house in a dream game room for the kids when I was younger……never had a game room….wouldn’t that be too cool.

  21. I’ve got Diet Coke in my veins. Thanks for the tour and interesting tidbits to research further! I like the sampling part at the end of tour and the 3D film. An ATL tourist highlight.

    • lol I think I have Classic Coke in mine. 😉 Yeah, I totally forgot to mention the sampling part. I like some of the “Europe” drinks, not as sweet as some of the others. I had no idea Coca-Cola made so many different beverages.

  22. bobbi duncan says

    Oh, my, real fountain cherry cokes–those were the days! Sitting in booths with all your friends after school–kids, today, have missed out on so much of life’s simple pleasures. Such fun seeing this post as I never went there when I lived in Marietta.

  23. Robin Gasser says

    We visited the old location of World of Coke when our daughter and son-in-law lived in Atlanta. They were building the new location at the time. Yes, I have bought magnets from vacations for many years–also pencils!

  24. Hi Susan 🙂 I guess I never thought of where coke was first made! Now I know. Looks like a fun tour, and tasty one too! It’s fun to be a tourist. We have been tourists many times in our own “backyard” having visitors wanting to go to San Francisco, Carmel, Lake Tahoe… A thrill for visitors and for us! I know folks that have lived here all their lives and have never been on a SF trolly! Everyone should be a tourist in their own town.

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