Day Three In Atlanta
My third day in Atlanta was Friday, and I was going to write it up on Saturday, but I drove home on Saturday, and now it is Sunday, so here is my slightly late third day!
I started the day as all days should start: with brunch. After debating between all the recommendations y’all provided in the comments, and some recommendations I saw online, I settled on a place called Poach Social. It was tucked away in a neighborhood outside the busy downtown of the city. The parking lot was small and enclosed by walls, painted with a bright mural.
Poach Social is found inside a small black building, but upon entering you’ll find a bright, open space with a neon yellow sign that reads “FOOD + MOOD”, fake plants, and a wall painted black and white with a chevron pattern. It’s hip! Modern! All the things brunch places tote nowadays. The menu seems to be comprised of a bit of an upscale version of classic Southern foods. And lots of mimosas!
I ended up getting the French Toast.
It was brioche, with a lemon drizzle, berries, and powdered sugar. It came with a little cup of syrup and their Jamaican rum sauce, but I only used the syrup, as the rum sauce tasted too alcohol-y for my liking. It was totally scrumptious. It was also fifteen dollars, which is definitely the most I’ve ever paid for French Toast, but that’s city-livin’ for ya.
After that, I headed to Zoo Atlanta, which was right down the street from Poach Social. I’m still confused why it isn’t called the Atlanta Zoo, but maybe that’s just me.
Once I arrived, I found a parking lot much, much smaller than I had been expecting. We’re talking like three or four rows of parking. There was a sign that said the lot was full, so I wasn’t really sure what to do about that other than hope it was wrong and search for a spot anyways. Lo and behold, a spot! Which I totally only got because someone happened to be leaving right as I was coming down the aisle.
So, I got out and started walking towards the front, only to see a machine where to pay for your parking. I was miffed that I had to pay to park, especially because it’s pretty much the only parking option, since the surrounding area is pretty much totally residential. It was three dollars per hour to park, so I chose hourly pay, but then it wanted me to put in the number of hours. I didn’t know how long it would take me to get through the zoo, so I just chose “all-day” parking, which was twelve dollars. Which is about half the cost of the ticket, which was like thirty bucks. Seems like a lot to me.
Anyways, I finally entered the zoo!
Have you ever wanted to be depressed? Say no more and head straight to Zoo Atlanta! Upon entering, you’ll be greeted with the overwhelming, gag-inducing scent of piss. At first I thought I was just close to the restrooms by the entrance, but those were all the way across the main courtyard area that contained the gift shop, a place to buy drinks, and the restrooms.
I did actually go in them and it took me THREE TRIES before I went into a stall with a lock on it. Then, only one of the hand soap dispensers had any soap in it.
Moving on, I was ready to see some morally-questionable contained animals. First up was the rhino!
And there was no rhino. I figured it had to be in there somewhere, but after standing there for a few minutes there was definitely no sign of it, so I moved on to the meerkats.
And there were no meerkats.
For some reason there were rabbits next to the meerkats, but the only rabbits I saw were these weird statues?
Finally, I did see an animal. There were three elephants standing in their enclosure space.
There was huge building next to the enclosure (you can see it in the background of the above photo), and when I went in it was just a big glass window to view the elephants if they happened to be inside instead of outside. Here’s the view of the inside:
It just looked so… industrial. There was a screen playing a repeating video of all the different things the elephants had as “enrichment”. The video showed a ball on a string they could play with, a water trough they could drink from, and a few other things, but I wouldn’t really say any of them could really be considered “enrichment”.
After the elephants, I went through a section that contained some birds. The bird enclosures seemed a bit on the small side to me (as all zoo enclosures are), especially because they are arguably the most free animals in the world, and now they will only fly around the same fifteen foot box for the rest of their life.
There were definitely some interesting ones, though, like these yellow-faced guys.
Once I was done with the birds, the next area was a kids’ center, with a little train to ride around in, a splash-pad, a carousel, and a climbing adventure course called “Treetop Trail”. The parking lot was visible from this section and I remembered seeing the backside of the climbing thing from the front entrance area.
Each attraction cost a few bucks individually, or you can get a wristband for about ten bucks that gets you unlimited rides on the train and carousel. The Treetop Trail is fifteen dollars and not included with the wristband. I thought that price was pretty expensive, considering a kid’s ticket to the zoo is twenty dollars already, so if you have three kids and they all want to do the trail, you’re looking at a hundred dollars right there.
There was also this sad looking Birthday Party Pavilion:
It was all just so incredibly lackluster.
I didn’t stick around the kids’ area for very long and moved on to the Cloud Leopard, which is one of my favorite animals!
What you see here is just about the entirety of the enclosure. On the other side of the right wall was the tiger’s enclosure. It was also sleeping.
The pandas (all three of them) were also sleeping. For some reason the inside of the glass was wet, I’d guess from the humidity. I looked at the bios of the pandas and one was born in 1997. That was a year before I was born. This panda was literally older than me and was in captivity the entire time. It seems so wrong. This feeling only got worse when I saw the ages of the gorillas (one was born in 1976).
Moving on from the clearly depressed animals in small rooms, I came across this enclosure that I didn’t even realize was an enclosure until I happened to see a turtle inside.
There were a lot of initials and names carved into the bamboo that was all around the walking paths of the zoo. I saw this one and was confused at first why someone put a year that hasn’t happened yet.
I quickly realized what it meant and it’s super fucked up someone would do that into a STALK OF BAMBOO. Not even bamboo is safe from crazy ass fanatics.
The red panda was also sleeping.
The lions were also sleeping but we’re tucked away in a cave for shade.
After feeling like I’d seen just about all the sleeping animals I could take, I entered the reptile house. I thought it would be air conditioned inside, and it wasn’t, but at least it was out of the sun.
And I actually did find the reptiles super cool! They had tons of awesome snakes, and poison dart frogs, and an iguana. I like this lil’ guy:
I tried to take more pictures but the reflections of the glass really got in the way, but I did get one of this emerald tree boa, which is one of my favorite types of snakes:
And whatever this majestic creature is:
A quick side note (as by this point I had basically been through the entire zoo), I noticed tons of food and drink stands throughout the zoo, and every single one of them was closed.
This one was an alcohol stand so I can understand it being closed, but the food truck next to it was also closed.
Aside from the alcohol (which again, I can understand being closed) there were several of these “dippin’ dots”, snack, and drink stands throughout that were all also closed. The only food place I saw open was an actual restaurant the zoo has called “Nourish Cafe” by the pandas.
And to be clear, I was here at 12:30pm on a Friday. There were tons of families and people in general, so I didn’t understand why they’d choose not to have any drink stands open. I surely would’ve bought a water, at least.
Finally, I made it back to the front and went into the gift shop. The only thing I really wanted was a red panda plushie, but it was a hundred dollars, so I put it back. I exited the gift shop and left. I would not recommend Zoo Atlanta.
Clearly, I had a long, hard day of looking at sleeping animals, so I decided not to go out for dinner, and instead had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which is called “Livingston Restaurant + Bar”.
The restaurant was in a huge room, and quite grand. There was tons of seating, and when I arrived it was completely empty. There was no staff in sight either, so I thought maybe it was closed, but a bartender came around the corner after just a moment. There were tall columns emitting light that were covered with a white mesh fabric to diffuse the light, and a huge chandelier. I found the most interesting thing to be the purple velvet couches.
I decided to start with the cheese board. I like to judge places pretty heavily on their cheese boards.
This one had two kinds of meat, salami and what I thought was prosciutto but it didn’t really taste like prosciutto to me. The board also had four kinds of cheeses, though I should’ve taken a better picture because you can only see two, maybe three of them. Underneath the crackers are the two you can’t really see, one being a blue cheese. The other one was white and semi-firm with a dark red rind. The two visible ones are gouda and cheddar. I quite enjoyed all of the cheeses. The mustard was a dark ale mustard so it was especially strong and could only be handled in small doses. The pickled okra was something I’d never encountered before, but it tasted exactly like a normal dill pickle. And I always love honeycomb.
I didn’t get through much of this before my entree came; the teriyaki chicken lollipops.
The bartender told me that the chef must’ve been in a good mood, because he gave me an extra piece. I thought that was nice of him.
Unfortunately, I could not even come close to eating these. Before biting into them, I sampled the sauce, and my mouth was immediately on fire. I didn’t realize they’d be spicy! It said teriyaki! That’s usually a really great flavor in my book! Obviously, I’d never ask to be comped for something that is too spicy for me (because I am a baby about spice), so I told the bartender that I wanted to order something else but would keep the chicken.
So here we have the burger:
And I actually really liked it! It was cooked just how I asked, and I found the potato bun to be interesting. I will say that the fries were totally bangin’. They were super hot, crispy, overall very fresh fries.
I asked if they had a dessert menu and the bartender said there were no desserts. I figured that was for the best since I was full anyways.
The bartender also told me that this place used to have “real upscale food, steak and scallops and whatnot”, and ever since COVID they reduced their menu to basically just burgers and chicken sandwiches. I would’ve liked to try it when it was like he said it used to be.
To end my day, I went and saw Nope at a nearby AMC theater. I got an Icee and it was almost eight dollars. I was shocked and appalled, but sacrifices must be made for my red Icee.
The theater was totally packed, which is not what I’m used to. Usually when I go to the movies I’m the only one in the theater. Thankfully, it was one of those places where you buy your ticket and reserve your seat ahead of time, so I already had a seat picked out.
However, someone was in my seat. I told her “I think you’re in my seat” and she scooted one over.
This girl was on a phone call the entire movie. She had her earbuds in so she was talking through the microphone on those, and her phone wasn’t up to her ear. She was actually holding her phone, and on it a ton, and had flashing notifications on, so every time she got a notification, the flashlight on her phone went off several times.
She didn’t talk often or loud enough to whoever she was on the phone with enough to really bother me, but whenever something big would happen she’d tell the person on the phone about it. I was baffled. But it didn’t stop me from hearing the movie, so that’s all that really mattered.
Finally, I made it back to my hotel, set my alarm so I could check out on time the next morning, and went to sleep.
(Side note to this post; I recognize I have a negative bias towards zoos. I have had weird feelings towards them for as long as I can remember. I tried to keep my feelings of ethics regarding zoos mostly out of my review for Zoo Atlanta. My experience with it was negative for reasons other than my morals.)