I have a confession. I have often imagined what it would have been like to have lived during the Middle Ages. I’ve dreamed of wearing the rich, ornate gowns of the nobility. Never mind that it was likely they only owned one or two dresses, that hygiene was poor and living conditions a bit unsanitary, even filthy, a major contributor to the Black Plague! Just think, if it hadn’t been for that time period, perfume may never have been invented or needed!
In my mind, I have completely romanticized the Middle Ages into something that it most definitely was not. I guess it’s that crazy notion that has attracted me to Renaissance Faires, Shakespearean plays and knights in shining armor.
In light of that admission, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when my husband was working in Georgia, one of the attractions I wanted to visit was Medieval Times Atlanta.
Last week, after waiting nearly a year, my family finally had that opportunity. We traveled to Atlanta to be transported back in time to the 11th century as guests of King Philippe and Princess Leonore for a celebration featuring a feast and tournament. The Castle is located at the Discover Mills mall and you really can’t miss it. Just look for the huge stone fortress in the parking lot.
Medieval Times Atlanta, one of nine Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament locations in North America
We’d arrived early to hook up with our group, to look around and to tour the Torture Museum that was located in the Dungeon. We had been cautioned that the Torture Museum was not intended for young children due to the graphic nature of the illustrations and equipment on display. Since I have teenagers I really didn’t think it’d be a problem, we do watch the History Channel, you know. I was wrong.
I can’t say that I found the pictures terrible, in and of themselves. After all, they were crudely drawn, simple black and white drawings, authentic to the style of the time period. What was disturbing was to see the objects of torture and then READ how they were used by the accompanying descriptions. That was disturbing. All fondness I had for that age quickly disappeared after glimpsing the chastity belt and other devices that I’d rather forget. As I escaped the dungeon I found myself wishing I’d never entered.
After looking at the souvenirs available for sale, we waited in the Hall of Arms for our number to be announced which would allow us to enter the arena where the festivities were to be held.
Since we’d booked as a school group,we found small cheering banners and commemorative programs at our seats. Unlike evening shows, the matinee includes special educational programming explaining different aspects of the time period to the audience. My oldest son really enjoyed that aspect of the show. My daughter hated it.
The food was served to us by serving wenches. Keep in mind we were in the Middle Ages so there were no utensils. Our menu consisted of a piece of chicken, corn on the cob, a potato, garlic toast and a chocolate chip cookie. Hmmm….not sure that the chocolate chip cookie fits in the time period but we ate it, so who’s complaining?
I’d love nothing more than to say that my family absolutely loved the show at Medieval Times Atlanta, or rather that I loved the show. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just wasn’t what I’d expected or built it up to be.
There were some aspects that I really enjoyed—the falcon demonstration was incredible, the dancing horse was pretty neat, and the jousting was entertaining.
Bottom line, I’m glad we went but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was just a teeny tiny little bit disappointed. But then I’ve discovered that sometimes happens when I blow things up, larger than life, in my mind. My biggest disappointment of the day? Medieval Times Atlanta does not have a smashed penny machine! My son did buy a really cool sword though.
My family saved over $100 visiting as part of a school group, so if arranging a field trip is an option for you, it would be well worth checking into.
If you REALLY love horses, really LOVE the Middle Ages (and not just the clothes from that time period), and have never been to a jousting event, I think you’d be thrilled with the experience, the other families in our group seemed to be.
Have you been to Medieval Times Atlanta or any of the other locations? What was your experience like?