Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oklahoma! via Atlanta

We went to Oklahoma! via Atlanta - in more ways than one.

We saw the musical Oklahoma! at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta.

And we did eventually end up in the state of Oklahoma via Atlanta - with a snow delay thrown in for good measure.

We had started our journey to Columbia, S.C., in Manhattan, so we took the northern route on our way to help settle Brent into his new home. And during the winter, one would surmise a more southerly route would be optimal for the return trip back to Kansas.

But Mother Nature had other ideas. The South was struck with a major ice and snow storm last week. We did get a a day and a half in Atlanta to be tourists before we climbed back in the pickup and tried to beat the storm.

We didn't avoid the storm all together, but at least we got out of Atlanta before the downtown was crippled by ice and snow. My brother-in-law wasn't as lucky. He arrived about the same time we were departing and says the southern capital was paralyzed by their bout with winter weather.

But, back to Oklahoma! While I love the music from this classic Rodgers and Hammerstein show, I really think Music Theatre of Wichita's productions are far superior. The singers were talented, but there was no live orchestra, and the sets were not nearly as elaborate as Wichita's summer offerings. Still, you can't quarrel with the beauty of songs like "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin' " "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Out of My Dreams."

We packed a lot of tourist stops into our short visit. We toured the CNN headquarters.

I'm not a big CNN watcher. And no, I didn't see Anderson Cooper or Robin Meade or Nancy Grace in the hallways.

Even though I have a degree in journalism, I don't think I have much in common with the CNN news anchors who end up in living rooms all across the nation. Still, it was interesting to hear the producers talking to the anchors while they were on the air. I'm not sure I would be able to think - much less talk - if someone was whispering in my ear at the same time.

Another of our tourist stops was Turner Field.

We stayed at a motel just down the street from the baseball field and its Hall of Fame.

Turner Field is home to the Atlanta Braves, but the Braves have a long history before they ever arrived in Georgia. In existence for more than 125 years, it is the oldest continuous franchise, though not under the same name. They have been the Boston Red Stockings (not to be confused with the Red Sox), Boston Beaneaters, Boston Doves, Boston Rustlers, Boston Braves and the Boston Bees.

In 1941, the Braves name finally stuck for good. In 1953, they moved to Milwaukee. Their first season in Atlanta was 1966. The team's tenure in Atlanta is famous for Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record in 1974.

They've been playing at Turner Field since 1997, when the 1996 Olympic stadium was remodeled to become the permanent home for the Braves.

Inside of every grown man, there's a little boy who dreams of being in a dugout. Randy got "warmed up" for his dugout stint while we were waiting on the tour in the museum.

Then we both got to take our turn in the stadium dugout.

Next stop on our whirlwind Atlanta tour was the Georgia Aquarium. I had to text Jill to let her know we were there, since she's always loved aquariums and zoos.

I took plenty of photos at the aquarium. There just weren't many worth sharing. The lion fish was ready for his close-up.

So was a seahorse ...

And a sea dragon ...

Tomorrow ... a flavorful stop in downtown Atlanta!

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