Wasted time, Amish and the Georgia Aquarium

Yes, it’s a blog post and no, it’s not Thursday. I know I need to get into a routine, especially because I have things to write about but it’s not always easy. When my husband is home, I want to spend time with him. When he’s away, I seem to find ways to fill my time whether it’s working on projects, reading, cleaning or watching TV.

Take yesterday…I planned to write a post and then I wound up watching an Amish: Out of Order marathon on NatGeo. Before you start rolling your eyes, this series isn’t the trashy. It’s an honest and often heartbreaking look at what Amish face when they decide to come to the English world. As I watched it, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the family I was born into and the life I have. I can’t imagine that there’s anything I could do to make my parents reject me and yet these ex-Amish men and women are literally shunned by those who are supposed to life, guide, and care for them. By time the last episode aired and poor Cephas died in that horrible car accident, I knew I wasn’t going to write.

Tonight, there is no TV or reading until blog posts are written. So please journey back to early June with me as I write about our trip to the Georgia Aquarium.

I’ll share just a few thoughts and then some photos from the trip. First, admission to the aquarium is expensive but it’s worth it. The whale sharks are just amazing. If the aquarium was nothing more than four whale sharks, it would be worth the cost of admission, just watch a feeding and you’ll agree.

Second, food in the dining area is expensive and worth it only because you can’t bring in outside food and you’ll need some kind of fuel to keep you going through the aquarium because it is a lot more than just whale sharks. I suggest getting a few sides and sharing. The food isn’t that great so you’re just looking for something to keep you going.

Here’s a random list of do’s and don’ts…some of which McB and I learned the hard way.

  • Avoid the aquarium on Saturday if possible. Arrive early if you are going on Saturday. My guess is Sunday is pretty nuts too.
  • Buy your ticket in advance.
  • Be prepared for crowds and general rudeness.
  • Know how to turn the flash off on your camera. McB wrote a nice little post about becoming a zenmaster and shooting gorgeous pictures in a crowded aquarium.
  • Get a schedule and go to a feeding in the Ocean Voyager area.
  • Experience at least one touch tank but don’t terrorize the animals. Yes, kids are always bad about this but on our visit we saw some misbehaving adults as well.
  • Don’t expect the dolphin show to be educational. It’s high production value, singing and light-up costumes but it is not educational. I was disappointed in what I saw so if you need to cut something from your schedule, cut this.
  • Bring some hand sanitizer.
  • Be sure to see the Beluga whales. They’re really neat creatures and it’s great fun to see them blow bubble rings. (not my video, not the GA aquarium) We learned that they have to put some effort into blowing these rings and seem to just do it for fun.
On the conveyor belt

Looking up from the people mover in Ocean Voyager

Diver at the Georgia Aquarium

Scrub-a-dub-dub This diver has to clean a giant “tub.”

Diver and whale shark (right) in the Ocean Voyager tank

Shark  Unlike the whale sharks, he has large teeth.

Colorful fish

More from Ocean Voyager

Fresh to Order – Buckhead

Fresh to Order BuckheadIn our travels earlier this summer, we visited Fresh to Order in Buckhead, Georgia. The restaurant was recommended by a member of the valet staff at our hotel. I’m so glad we took the time to ask him for a recommendation.

Fresh to Order, or f2O, is a casual-dining atmosphere with fantastic meals made in about 10 minutes for roughly $10 per entree. The ingredients are chosen with care and the meals are very tasty.

When we walked in to f2O, the staff greeted us promptly and explained the concept. They were very eager to help with questions. Since everything was made fresh, they were happy to accommodate special requests with our order.

soup flightSince we both had light lunches, we were pretty hungry. We each started out with an appetizer. I chose the soup flight that features five different soups in sampler sizes. This is a great idea and I’m surprised that more restaurants don’t offer this.¬† My flight including tomato basil (Yumm and I don’t like tomato soup.), corn chowder (good but got a bit too sweet at the end), chicken and dumplings (good), chicken tortilla (very nice), and mushroom (my favorite!!).

Mr. McB had the ale laced chicken fingers. He said they were hot, juicy, and flavorful.

steak paniniFor our entrees, I had the bourbon filet steak panini. It was delicious beef with bleu cheese, caramelized onions, baby greens, and horseradish aioli. The flavors played well together. The sandwich was hot and the bread was deliciously crusty. The kettle chips were a nice side for the sandwich.

McB's meal from f2OMcB ordered the balsamic steak with baby greens and mac and cheese. The beef was tender and the balsamic Cabernet reduction added a fantastic flavor. He was happy with the mac-n-cheese as well.

We had a great experience at Fresh 2 Order. Our delicious food was prepared quickly and the whole meal was affordable. I’m sure we’ll make time to visit f20 on a future trip to Atlanta.