College Football Hall of Fame Tour #CFBHALL

College Hall of Fame
Photo Credit: College Football Hall of Fame

With three boys and a husband in the house, football isn’t just a sport, it is a way of life! The games, the plays, the snacks and the history-making moments make it easy to understand what my guys love about America’s pastime!

Hall of Fame
My boys were incredibly lucky to get a chance to visit the College Football Hall of Fame in Georgia, and this is a one of a kind experience for fans of all ages! This three-story building is packed full of College Football history, interactive displays and more. It is centered in downtown Atlanta near the Centennial Olympic Park World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and CNN Center. If you are looking for a great way to relive some of the greatest moments in college football and take in the best moments of the game with your family this is the place to visit.
The College Football Hall of Fame is so much more than just a museum, it has tons of college trophies, artifacts, interactive displays, event space and an indoor field. It is a place you can visit time and time again with your family for history, for celebrations and a chance to play! Recommended visit time is 2-3 hours, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Quad with Helmets
On the day of your visit, you are able to activate your game day pass or all-access pass at the registration desk to cater to your favorite college football team. Your teams’ helmet that is displayed on the Quad wall with over 750 helmets lights up giving you a one of a kind interactive experience while visiting the museum.
College Football Hall of Fame Open Field
The College Football Hall of Fame has a 47-yard line indoor football field that my boys went wild for. They had so much fun playing on this! This part of the museum is every college football lovers dream. Here you are able to put your skills to test, have a chance to kick a field goal, throw a football over the uprights, catch a few passes, and work on throwing the ball through the targeted nets. The boys really enjoyed this! The kids are able to do it as many times as they want, which made their experience greater. There are always activities, games, or events going on daily here. My husbands favorite feature besides the football field where he also tested his skills, was the quad, we found all of those helmets to be quite impressive and all the interactive displays.

With over 50 interactive displays the overall experience is one of a kind. You have to be there to be in it. Get up close and personal with the 52-foot, touch screen wall that features photos and clips of players, cheerleaders, and mascots. Next, you’ll definitely want to check out the Game Day Theater. This 10-minute film is designed to have you on the edge of your seat the moment “The Game of Your Life” comes on the screen. There are coaches, players and game-day footage from all the different teams, that makes you wish College Football was 365 days a year. It does get pretty loud while watching the film but it makes you feel the rush of those players and coaches getting ready to take the field on Game Day.
Hall of Fame Football Hall of Fame
The next attraction you’ll see if the Coca-Cola Fans’ Game Day. You’re able to experience the cheers, chants, see first hand the dedication these fans have. As you walk through you’ll see storied traditions, tailgating, mascots, cheerleaders, the rivalries that have been going on for generations. Be ready to sing karaoke to your favorite teams’ fight song, show off your team colors with digital face painting, and take a seat beside Desmond Howard and Rece Davis as you read a televised script at the ESPN College GameDay desk. We each sat down and read the script and watched the playback of how we would look and sound on tv. These recordings are downloaded to your game day profile and available for viewing and downloading later.
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Walking on through the museum you get to see, listen and read about how it all began. You are able to read the history of different teams, about the coaches, players, their college life, the uniforms from when football first started to today’s uniforms. It’s a really neat experience. Visiting the third floor is an honor to see all those inductees in the Hall of Fame. Read the history of their accomplishments.
Raising boys who love football it makes you think that this could be your son one day playing for a team or coaching on the sidelines. What would their life be like in college playing football? It is an amazing experience for anyone, any age,  no matter your experience or knowledge of the game. By the time you leave, you will know a lot and see a lot that makes you ready for your team to step back on the field.

Year round, there is always a good time to visit the College Football Hall of Fame. They offer game day parties, family-friendly celebrations and seasonal events in addition to all of the great history and fanfare that awaits you inside the College Football Hall of Fame.
Admission is affordable for families with adult tickets retailing for under $22, kids under 3 are free. They offer a discount for kids, students and free admission for the military!
College Football
This was an impressive trip for my family. We had a great time and want to especially thank Sharode for giving us a tour. We had a chance to see a lot of cool memorabilia and learned so much about the history of the game. We would recommend this to other football-loving families that are in the area or come to the area! Stop by the Chick-fil-A window and pick up some lunch while you visit the museum.
College Football Hall of Fame
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Be sure to check out all the Upcoming Events page.
Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family received complimentary all-access passes to the College Football Hall of Fame. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 Things to Do at Georgia Aquarium and Travel Tips

5 Things to Do at the Georgia Aquarium

If you recently read about my families recent travel to the Georgia Aquarium, then you know it is packed full of wonderful information about the Aquarium and our stay at the TWELVE Atlanta Centennial Park Hotel. If you haven’t you can do so here.  We all know the kids are breaking for Summer very soon and planning some fun activities and vacations for the family to enjoy can be very stressful. I want to share 5 fun things you can do at the Georgia Aquarium and Travel Tips on planning your trip.

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1. Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone: Aquanaut Adventure is the Aquarium’s newest exhibit. It allows guests to experience and learn about the aquatic life all while completing challenges not only fun but educational. Guest go behind the scenes area and complete up to seven challenges. The Aquanaut Adventure is included in the admission to the Georgia Aquarium.

2. Animal Encounters and Interactions: Guests can go behind the scenes and experience one of the aquatic animals through the Georgia Aquarium animal encounter or interactive program. You are able to learn about the animals, their care and the trainers.

The encounters include:

  • Journey with the gentle Giants in the Ocean Voyager exhibit built by the Home Depot. Guests can swim or dive with the manta rays and whale sharks.
  • Swimming is a two and half experience that lets you take a safety class and have swim time in the Ocean Voyage exhibit. Guests can swim at the surface with flotation devices, air supplied by small air cylinder or even a snorkel. Grab a mask, snorkel, gloves, booties, wet suit and flotation device and compressed air cylinder that are provided.
  • Diving you have to be open water certified to participate in the SCUBA dive program. You will receive mask, fins, tank, buoyancy device, weights, booties, wet suit and regulator. This experience lasts 30 minutes all while diving under the water with the whale sharks and manta rays.

3. Behind the Seas Tour this is what my family just participated in and it was an awesome experience. Click here to read all about our visit and stay. The Behind the Seas Tour lets you go behind the scenes to learn more about the day to day operations, learn more about the animals and their care. You can get an All Access Pass, unlocks the secrets of day to day operations, discover mysteries of the water and learn about their research and conservation initiatives, plus a behind the scenes tour of all the galleries. The AT&T Dolphin Tales Spotlight, where you can go behind the scenes, see the stage, props, costumes and more. Ocean Voyager Spotlight, lets you learn more about the whale sharks and manta rays on a 30 minute tour and see your favorite animals from a new perspective. 

4. AT&T Dolphin Tales is the first of its kind of production and was more than two years in the making. This is a experience that the entire family will never forget. Watch the dolphins entertain with live human actors, dramatic costumes, amazing effects in this awesome show. These shows can be seen at different times of the day. So be sure to check the times available. 

5. Explore! Atrium Show is a one of a kind show that combines live action film, dance, acrobatics and large scale puppetry. Explore! takes guest on an aquatic adventure that opens the imagination and explore their connection with the ocean. Dancing Sea Stars, a sponge diver, and a 17 foot long whale shark puppet all join in on this journey of the world’s aquatic habitats. Explore! runs twice a day on weekends through May 23rd and is complimentary with admission to Georgia Aquarium. 

Now that I’ve shared with you five of the tops things to do at the Georgia Aquarium, let me share some tips on planning your trip. 

  •  First thing is first, research. Visit the Georgia Aquarium’s website, explore the Animal Guide and different galleries.
  • Use tools to plan. Purchase your tickets ahead of time and avoid those lines. Purchase parking, add-on program purchases ahead of time as well. You don’t want to spend time in lines when you can be exploring the Aquarium. 
  • Take tips from other tourism’s to see when the best time is to visit:
  1. Pay for parking online.
  2. Visit the Aquarium early morning or late afternoon when its not its busiest time.
  3. Plan your visits around the free activities that are offered throughout the day.
  4. Want to attend the AT&T Dolphin Show? Plan to arrive 30 minutes ahead of time for seating. The best seats in the house are the top of the lower half section. 
  5. Interactive Dive Shows: Ocean Voyager and Tropical Diver galleries both have divers that answer guest’s questions while underwater. How cool is that? Dive shows can be found on the screens located at the entrance of the galleries. 
  6. Animal Feedings: Check on the computer screens outside each gallery to see daily feedings times for marquee animals. 
  7. Deepo’s 3D Wondershow can be seen in Georgia Aquarium’s 4D Theatre. There are multiple shows throughout the day and are included in your admission. 

When visiting the Georgia Aquarium it gives families and guests a chance to learn about all the aquatic life together all while creating the most memorable moments. Take a break from technology and live in the moment. Check out the Aquariums backdrops for photos, One for Grandparents (located at the Pacific Barrier Reef window inside the Tropical Diver gallery), Look Where I Am (located near the Baker Street Entrance, just near the newspaper stand outside), The Perfect Silhouette (located in the Ocean Voyager that has an artistic backdrop and even movies have chosen this spot.), Just Another Fish in the Sea (located in many exhibits where the children can get up close and look as their almost inside with some of their favorite animals.)  and Bird’s Eye View (located at the exit of Cold Water Quest on the 2nd level).

Make the most of your trip by booking ahead, paid parking, and lodging at one of the best hotels in the area, TWELVE Atlanta Centennial Park Hotel, plus check out the 7 other attractions including Atlanta Braves Stadium, Zoo Atlanta, Children’s Museum, World of Coke Cola and more, plus dine at one of the 17 restaurants all within a 12 minute walk from the Georgia Aquarium. Our favorite place to grab a bite to eat was the Mellow Mushroom at the corner of the TWELVE Atlanta Centennial Park Hotel. Oh there is so much to do that a day or two couldn’t be enough to see it all and experience it all but you can definitely see and experience in one day at the Georgia Aquarium.

Visit our blog here to check out my families most recent stay and exploration of the Georgia Aquarium. You’ll definitely want to plan your trip very soon. Be sure to learn how you can become an Annual Member and benefits.

Our trip to the Georgia Aquarium & TWELVE Atlanta Centennial Park Hotel

My family had the wonderful opportunity to take a weekend trip to Atlanta, Georgia on behalf of the Georgia Aquarium. I was provided with Georgia Aquarium’s hotel package, where we spent 3 days and 2 nights at the TWELVE Hotels Atlanta Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta, just a few blocks from the Aquarium, Coke-Cola and the Children’s Museum. We arrived to our hotel on Friday, and I couldn’t believe how nice it was. I been to nice hotels but this was one of the top notch hotels that was very classy and elegant. All the staff were extremely nice and made sure you were very comfortable. We stayed in Twelve Hotels large suite with two bedrooms, two full baths, living room and kitchen area. It was really like a small apartment with everything you need for your families stay. Below you will see our hotel suite areas.

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On Saturday morning, we went down and had our complimentary breakfast in the hotels restaurant, that has been named Best Downtown Hotel  Restaurant by Atlanta Magazine and Top Ten New Restaurants in the city’s searches.breakfastBar

After our breakfast, we grabbed a Taxi and headed over to the Aquarium. We had a scheduled behind the seas tour with our tour guide, Marvin at 10AM. The Aquarium opens at 9AM, so our first stop was to the Will Call to pick up our tickets, then headed inside to explore a little before our tour. My oldest two sons have been to the Aquarium on their school field trips this year and last and I accompanied them as a chaperone. My youngest, Eli, had never been to the Georgia Aquarium and neither has Greg, and the boys were excited to share all the fun facts and show us around, to see all the cool stuff they saw when they first visited.

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About the Aquarium – The aquarium was opened in 2005, and has seven galleries: Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, Dolphin Tales and its newest addition the Aquanaut Adventure . Each corresponds to a specific environment. It houses between 100,000- 120,000 fish and other sea creatures and also has more than 500 species. It’s also the only institution that houses whale sharks outside of Asia. The aquarium and design was built around the whale sharks, that are kept in a 6.3 million gallon tank. The acrylic window in the Ocean Voyager exhibit is the largest window on the continent of North America. There are more than 61 miles of pipes and wires ran through the Aquarium. It’s located in downtown heart of Atlanta with many shopping, dining, entertainment and much more surrounding you.

There were so many questions I wanted to know, as I am sure we are all curious about how the Aquarium functions daily, what are the routines for workers, the animals and exhibits, how are the animals taking care of etc.? I was so full of questions before our trip that I was excited when Marvin, our tour guide covered most all the things I wanted to know even without asking him and when we had other questions he was able answered them.

About the Galleries:

 Tropical Diver is the largest habitat in the exhibit that holds 164,000 gallons of water. Not only does it house tropical fish, but it cultivates live tropical Pacific coral reefs and thousands of colorful reef fish.

 Coldwater Quest houses many kinds of different fish, Cannon Ball Jelly Fish, Blue Crabs, Japanese Spider Crabs, Moon Jelly, Pacific Sea Nettle, the Hawaiian Day Octopus, Penguins and Beluga whales and many more. Maris, one of the Beluga Whales were expecting a baby calf any day. When we got back from our trip I kept checking the site and Facebook Page for an update on the birth of the Beluga’s calf and found out it was born on May 10th at 1:35 am. What a special announcement on Mother’s Day to celebrate. Watch the video below of Maris the 20 year old whale’s calf get welcomed:

Dolphin Tales is one of the most exciting shows I’ve seen.  There are live actors, amazing effects, exhilarating musical score, all to educate and entertain the audience. The dolphins are very well trained and do so many neat acts during the show. 

River Scout has a wide diversity of animals that were found in the rivers of four continents including North America, Africa, South America and Asia. Animals range from the cute Asian small-clawed otters, albino alligators and many others.

Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow is an awesome 3-D show in a 4D gallery, that every guest will love to watch. Grab your 3-D glasses at the entrance and go under sea with Deepo and his friends. Each show last 30 minutes and plays at different times. 

Aquanaut Adventure is the newest gallery and is a hands on Discovery Zone. It lets guests of all ages adventure on educational journeys through the Aquarium’s upper levels while completing a series of entertaining challenges. Once the guests have completed fie our of seven challenges they become certified Georgia Aquarium Aquanaut or Aquarium Scientist, so to speak. You can explore marine habitats, learn how animals thrive in extreme environments and even learn what it’s like to have a career in marine and aquatic sciences.

 Ocean Voyager was built by Home Depot. It’s the world’s largest aquatic habitat and the only aquarium to house whale sharks. It holds 6.3 million gallons of salt water. Along with the four whale sharks, there are also four Manta Rays (2 females and 2 males). They are many different kinds of fish, Leopard WhipRays and many others in this exhibit. 

Since the Whale Sharks are a main part of the Aquarium we wanted to learn as much as we could. We learned that unlike most sharks the whale sharks mouth is located at the front of the head instead of the underside of rostrum. The whale sharks mouth’s are very huge and when opened can reach up to 4 feet wide. They have 300 rows of teeth located on the inner side of each of their jaws and even though they have a large mouth opening their throat size is about the size of a quarter making their favorite meals like small shrimp. When feeding time there are four people who will get in the rafts and line up along the four separate lines and go back and forth feeding the whale sharks. They feed twice a day eating up to 18lbs of food.whalesharkWe were able to catch the feeding of the whale sharks. The ventilation fans used to create ripples in the were turned off during feeding time and the whale sharks know that it is feeding time. When you see the ripples in the water throughout the aquarium, those are created by fans so that viewers can’t see the rafters and pipes from each exhibit. 

whalesharkfeedingI was able to catch a short video of the feeding. Check it out below. 

There is also a 100 foot long underwater tunnel that you are able to walk through or ride the conveyor belt viewing all the animals in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. It’s acrylic windows weight 185 tons and is the second largest viewing window in the world.The Ocean Voyager is a must see because of the whale sharks, manta rays and other animals you are able to see and learn about. It is definitely a one of a kind sight to see. After exploring the Ocean Voyager, we went up the second level, to Marvin at the Tour Guide desk to begin our tour. 

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The behind the seas tour is a must if you have time. It takes about 2 hours and in that two hours you are able to see and learn so much about the animals, exhibits, how the Aquarium runs it is totally awesome. We were able to see the Husbandary Commissonary, which is a very large kitchen, equipped with stainless tables, counters, freezers, refrigerators, where all the animals foods are prepared. It has a freezer that holds up to 20,000 pounds of food and is -10 degrees, an a refrigerator that holds up to 6,000 pounds of foods. We were also able to see the Veterinary Clinic, where the animals are seen by the doctors, the loading and unloading docks where they receive packages and also a opening ceiling that can open when they have large animals come in like the whale sharks that were brought in using a very large crane. All of the hallways are large enough for the forklift to come through to move heavy things to their places.  

PART 2:

Misc AquariumAlso shown in the images is the food prep room, vet, tool room, loading dock, and filters room. The water is purified by a system that contains 141 sand filters, 218 pumps, 70 Protein Skillers that pump 261,000 gallons of water per minute throughout the aquarium.

PART 3:pipesIn the white bags contained sea salt that gets dumped into the tap water system so that it turns into ocean water. We were able to feel the water being pumped through the large pipes. The picture of the red and black round equipment piece is the actual size of the pipes and can be opened and closed off just by turning the wheels on it side. 

babypenguinBefore our tour was over we were able to see a baby Penguin that was just a month or so old. It hadn’t shed it fur yet so it wasn’t ready to be introduced to the waters.  Our overall trip to the Aquarium was a trip my entire family will not forget. We learned so much and was able to experience an opportunity that everyone should try. To schedule your trip to the Georgia Aquarium visit here. You and your family are sure to love the experience and adventures you get to learn about plus it is very affordable. Be sure to check out TWELVE Hotels Atlanta Centennial Park Hotel Packages that includes room and visiting the Georgia Aquarium here. 

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What is your favorite exhibit to visit when going to the Aquarium?

I created another blog post to share with you the top 5 things to do at the Georgia Aquarium and travel tips to help you plan your trip. Visit here to check it out. 

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