By Raisa Habersham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dec 5, 2019
The World of Coca-Cola is offering free admission to its guests for the first time in honor of The Coca-Cola Company’s 100th anniversary of becoming a publicly traded company.
The first Coca-Cola was served in Atlanta on May 8, 1886. The company made its initial public offering in 1919, according to a news release. An original $40 share and reinvested dividends would be worth more than $18 million today.
In the years since going public, the iconic brand has touted its secret formula and is known for its Coca-Cola Polar Bear, a fixture in its advertising since 1922.
The original World of Coca-Cola museum opened in 1990 in Underground Atlanta beneath a 30-foot high neon Coca-Cola sign, drawing some 9 million visitors, until 2007.
A new museum opened that same year with a 20-acre complex just north of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. The Pemberton Place complex also includes the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, just blocks from where John Pemberton — pharmacist, Civil War veteran and Knoxville, Ga. native — created the original Coca-Cola formula in 1886.
Museum visitors can sample more than 100 drinks from around the world, see the vault where Coca-Cola’s secret recipe is guarded and snap photos with the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bear.
The Coca-Cola Company is also marking its 100th anniversary on Monday, Dec. 9, by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, according to the release. Sixteen percent of shareholders live in Georgia.
Guests can get free admission Sunday, Dec. 8, and will receive a commemorative glass Coca-Cola bottle while supplies last.