The best time to visit Turner Field may very well be on an off day. Then, when you don't have to get around 50,000 other fans, you can explore Atlanta's fabled baseball park to understand how the Braves became our national team.
At the Ivan Allen Jr. Braves Museum & Hall of Fame, groups set out every hour to hear lively stories shared in the quiet of a summer day. As your guide leads you up to the Coca-Cola Sky Field, you can see the sports tradition nurtured here.
The guide will first point across the street to the 1996 Olympic cauldron and the outline of the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Braves' former home, where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run.
Turning back to the new stadium, your guide will describe where 30,000 additional seats once ringed the diamond, providing the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Games. Now, an enormous Coca-Cola bottle made of baseball equipment crowns the park.
One of the most thrilling stops on the tour provides a view from the bottom. In the basement you get a quick peek into the Braves' locker room. Next, you'll follow in the footsteps of such greats as Chipper Jones and Greg Maddux by walking into the BraveF' dugout. Atop the bench, you enjoy the best field view in the park.
Take time after your tour to explore the museum that commemorates 131 years of Braves history. From its beginning in 1871 in Boston, through Milwaukee, and to Atlanta, the team is the oldest continuously running franchise in major league history. So don't feel awkward about gawking at the 1995 World Series trophy, the ball and bat Hank Aaron used for his famous home run, and the dugout bench from the old stadium. Everyone who visits can't get enough of these great artifacts.
End your day by picking up some tickets for the next game. It's time to get out there and root, root, root for our home team.
Turner Field Tours: (404) 614-2311 or www.braves.mlb.com.
This article is from the July 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.