BEST FOR OLDER KIDS: The CNN Studio Tour is one of those attractions that almost demands two separate reviews: one for families visiting with older kids and teens, and a different one for the under-10 crowd. We visited with our seven-year-old daughter, and found that she was definitely under the age of the target audience. The three-star review is based solely on the fact that we were traveling with a younger child. If you have older children, consider it at least a 4-star attraction.
FUN LOCATION: At first glance, you would think all ages would have fun. The CNN building was originally an indoor amusement park and still boasts the world’s largest free-standing escalator that ascends into a giant globe high up in the atrium. On the first floor you’ll find a food court, gift shops (including one for the Cartoon Network), and lots of seating. As you’re riding up the escalator, be sure to look down at the tile floor under the food court seating - it’s a complete map of the world with all of CNN’s news bureaus marked out.
KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDES: Our guide at CNN was great. He was more sarcastic than I’m used to, but it somehow worked with this tour. He was able to answer every single question asked by the people in our group about anything to do with making the news and CNN worldwide. Not only did he know all about CNN, but he was also able to recommend the best shopping and interesting neighborhoods in Atlanta to visit, best place to find a good burger, etc. in between tour stops.
SEE HOW TELEVISION NEWS WORKS: The first half of the tour was entertaining and educational for everyone in our group. Visiting “Studio 7E” was definitely the highlight of the tour. Volunteers from our tour group got to do some hands-on demonstrations to show hard it actually is to read a teleprompter, how a weather forecast greenscreen works, etc. You also get to check out an actual news studio and (depending on the time of day) may see live anchors at work. We all enjoyed this part of the tour, but as we headed downstairs, the tour went downhill in more way than one.
NEWSROOM...AFTER NEWSROOM: The second half of the tour consisted mainly of looking at offices full of people sitting at desks. B-O-R-I-N-G. While the guide did his best to make this part of the tour interesting, encouraging questions and even running out some cheesy jokes, the second half of the tour was just not fun at all. Little kids won’t even be able to see into the newsrooms, and even if they could, there isn’t anything interesting going on. I would have really appreciated something more for young kids. Providing something as simple as a little activity book to work on during the dull parts and a sticker at the end of the tour would have make a big difference.
BOTTOM LINE: If you are travelling with teens, news buffs, or with kids that are very interested in how TV works, you’ll have a good time. If you are travelling with younger children, they will be extremely bored by the second half of the tour. If we had it to do over again, I would wait until my daughter was older. If you are planning on visiting any other major Atlanta attractions, I would highly recommend checking out CityPass. It’s a great deal and cuts out most waiting lines as well.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Accessibility: The regular CNN tour is not wheelchair or stroller accessible as it uses a very tall escalator and 8 flights of stairs. There are limited elevator-assisted tours each day, but you will definitely want to call ahead to get more information and reservations as they sell out quickly.
Souvenir Photos: Souvenir photos are taken during the tour and can be picked up at the gift shop on the way out. Prices range from $20 - $30, depending on which package you choose.
Gift Shops: There are gift shops on the first floor. Right next door to the CNN gift shop, you can find the Cartoon Network shop.
Parking: There are several paid parking locations in the surrounding area. However, if staying in the metro area, you may find public transportation to be simpler. There is a MARTA train station just around the corner from the CNN building.
Food: There are several options in the food court on the first floor.
Nearby: Within easy walking distance you’ll find the Georgia Aquarium and The World of Coca-Cola. Centennial Olympic Park is really close by (don’t miss the dancing fountains). There are lots of restaurants in the area if you choose not to eat in the food court.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary visit to CNN STUDIO TOUR with CityPass. No other compensation was received and, as always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
This was definitely worth it. We were thinking about going to the Aquarium but only had two hours. My daughter mentioned she watches Kid CNN News at school so we popped in here and so glad we did.
This place was pulsing with energy and starting the tour we took the longest freestanding escalator and waited as everyone got to take silly breaking news photos that later are available for purchase.
Our tour guide was good at explaining how the monitors work, what the producers and directors do, and we even listened in on an active show. My daughter got to be the volunteer to show how the meteorologist's green screen works. And peering down at the news writers and editors got this writers blood pumping.
You should be in good walking condition for this-no strollers, and there are 8 flights of stairs. There's a food court at the base of the building so we planned our tour perfectly to sit and eat afterwards.
If my conservative, Fox News-loving dad liked this tour I think that pretty much sells it!
We had a lot of fun on the CNN Studio Tour, but it was a bit of a downer visiting on a Saturday when no news was happening. The studios were at bare-bones staff levels since nothing big was going on in the world at the time.
As a newspaper editor it was cool to look down into their massive newsroom. It was also kind of funny to see staffers sitting around chatting and doing whatever on their massive computer screens, pretty much what happens in my newsroom on a slow day.
I think my wife and I enjoyed the tour more than our son, simply because we're both journalists. But he had a blast standing in front of the green screen where he did a weather report. The tour gives great insight to what goes on at CNN, and it's easy to imagine similar situations at other TV stations. It's a really cool experience for those kids who want to learn more about the broadcast news industry.
The CNN tour is a must for school-aged kids, but will not interest toddlers and preschoolers. For the older set, it's a great way to learn how broadcast TV works, and parents will love it too. We learned a lot about studio equipment (like green screens and teleprompters) and enjoyed seeing a broadcast in production. The tour also views a news gathering room and the Spanish-speaking studios.
This tour was a highlight on our trip to Atlanta, but again, it's not for young kids.
Fantastic tour - both my kids and I loved it and were completely fascinated the entire time. It doesn't take that long and there is action everywhere. Would recommend to anyone with kids over 7 or 8.... Younger kids would be bored the entire time. We got to see 3 live broadcasts - CNN, HLN & CNN Latin. Very funny to see the anchors munching on food while they were off camera for 10 seconds and completely back to business when the camera came back to them.
A "mall' food court on the ground floor.
As part of our "Hometown Tourist" project this year, we went took the "Inside CNN" tour this week. Our tour group was fairly small. We loved seeing the anchors in the studios during the news as well as during the breaks. The explanations of how the news shows are made were fascinating as well as the newsrooms. Since there are lots of stairs, strollers would be impractical. The tour lasted about an hour; have a snack and use the restrooms beforehand.
I went a tour of the CNN building with a school group. The tour begins with riding the world's longest escalator. It takes a long time to get up that thing too! There was a green screen explanation and demonstration which the kids enjoyed. We toured a lot of studios within the building and received great information about how things worked in the CNN building and in the CNN network. I think the tour would have been more exciting if there had actually been some reporters in some of the studios. I guess we were there on a quiet day.
A fun time watching the way things are done behind the scenes. The CNN building is neat with lots to see and places to eat. They have gift shops and the kids will love the Disney gift shop. They have a ramp where there are step with is great for strollers. Good for the whole family.
We went to the CNN building while traveling through Atlanta, however we did not tour because it was rather pricey for our family. We enjoyed lunch in the food court! There were many yummy choices! And we bought souvieners in the CNN giftshop. Our kids enjoyed browsing in the Cartoon Network gift shop! We took a fun picture in front of the CNN sign and looked around the building in amazement! It was really a neat place to go, even if it was mostly just for lunch.
We went on this tour with a school group. It was kind of cool seeing the news studios and watching an actual broadcast of the news. Be prepared for a lot of walking though! We went up an incredibly huge escalator at the beginning and then spent the tour walking back down. Get a snack before you go because there is no food allowed on the tour. Try out the food court beforehand.