By Sue Rodman
When I find a book I love, I want to experience it. Actually go into the book and become one of the characters. Forget imagination, I want it to be REAL (well maybe not the fight to the death part of the Hunger Games, but you know what I mean). So how can you experience The Hunger Games in Atlanta and bring the book/movie Catching Fire to life? Here are five ways to experience the Hunger Games is Atlanta. We also have another post on Four Hunger Games Atlanta Tours.
Five Ways to Experience the Hunger Games in Atlanta
Visit District 12: District 12 is a poor mining town with unpaved streets, surrounded by barbed wire, and dilapidated buildings held together with overgrown vines. The Goat Farm in Atlanta’s Westside serves as District 12 for the movie. As we walked up, my son commented that the location scouts had an easy day picking this site as it looks a lot like I’ve just described. They film the Walking Dead here too. However instead of being a sad place like District 12, the Goat Farm has an artsy hip vibe. There are artists lofts and residences, as well as the Bohemian Warhorse Coffee House, which opens at 11 each day – for coffee. Here’s the post I did on our adventure to the Goat Farm.
Go Underground into the Mines: District 12 is the mining district of the country of Panem. In Catching Fire, the heroine Katniss Everdeen has a friend Gale, who comes of age and begins to work long hours in the coal mine. We don’t have coal mines in Georgia, but we do have gold mines. Take a day trip to the North Georgia town of Dahlonega and go underground for a tour of the Consolidated Gold Mine. I’ve never been in a coal mine, but I’m sure the process is similar. We had so much fun in Dahlonega, my kids are still talk about the visit several years later. For more information, here is a post I did on The Gold Tour in Dahlonega.
Become and Archer: Katniss is an expert archer, a skill that comes in very handy when she is chosen as a tribute and must survive in the arena. Panola Mountain State Park, just east of Atlanta offers archery classes on weekends. Classes include all the equipment, plus expert instruction. Be sure to make a reservation prior to heading out, the classes are popular and large groups can fill a class quickly.
Once you’ve mastered your technique, tackle the archery courses. There is a standard range and a 3D course. The 3D course is through the woods and it’s quite easy to imagine yourself in the arena, ever alert to what might be lurking around the next corner.
Take a Victory Tour: Following each Hunger Games, the winners head out on a Victory Train Tour around Panem, ending in the Capitol. Catching Fire opens with victors Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark preparing for their Victory Train tour. Take your own Victory Tour through Southwest Georgia towns aboard the SAM Shortline at Veterans Memorial Park in Cordele. SAMS has vintage 1940s rail cars. There are different tours available; including ones geared more toward children. Along the way, stop at the President’s home. That’s the US President Jimmy Carter, not the Panem President Snow.
If you want to stay closer to Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park has a train ride around the Mountain, but these are open rail cars, not the passenger trains like the Victory Tour in the movie.
Visit the Capitol – The leader of the Panem is President Snow, who lives in a mansion in the Capitol. He runs Panem with an iron fist and will stop at nothing to keep control. When Katniss and Peeta arrive in the Capitol after their Victory Tour, they attend a banquet at the President’s Mansion.
The Atlanta History Center’s Swan House is a perfect mansion in Atlanta. So perfect, it was cast in that role for the movie Catching Fire. The History Center has guided Hunger Games Capitol tours of the mansion with opportunities to take pictures with props from the movie. While at the History Center, don’t miss the Centennial Olympic Games exhibit. This games arena may not be about life and death, but it is intense competition. Your kids can challenge each other to a race around the track with the winner stepping up to the highest podium to receive their medal.
Feast at a banquet fit for the Capitol – The Capitol is known for it’s over the top parties where guests feast and feast on rich foods. The Atlanta History Center’s Swan Coach house is open for lunch and is well known for their chicken salad and an old Buckhead crowd, the closest thing Atlanta has to Capitol residents. Finish off your lunch with the MockingJay dessert.
Looking for more Hunger Games? Visit our post on Four Hunger Games Atlanta Tours.
If you enjoy making your favorite books come alive with a real world tour. You might like these posts on a Percy Jackson Tour of Atlanta and New York City.