Find out where local family love to go on their weekend. Our Atlanta Parent Squad and local mom, Jessica Dickson, shares with us her family favorite things to do in Atlanta for any season. Jessica is a full- time mommy (of two unbelievable children) and wife as well as a part- time event planner/ family educator at a local community center.
When my husband, the eternal Yankee, committed to staying in Atlanta with me, his eternal Southern wife, he made me promise that we would always live ITP so we could access all that Atlanta has to offer. I kept this promise for many years however like many people we finally moved OTP…to Dunwoody. However we realized Atlanta really is our oyster. All we have to do is get in the car and go… and that is what we do. Below are five of our top local activities with our kids:
As we approach spring my husband starts to get jittery with the excitement of Festival season. Between the Dogwood, Inman Park, Virginia- Highlands, and many other festivals there are many to choose from. Luckily in Atlanta we have both spring and fall (love the Daisy and Sandy Springs) festival seasons. I am not sure if we enjoy the food, crafts, weather, or the family activities most. There is always something fun to experience at an Atlanta festival. However I would be remiss if I did not give a huge shout out to the Inman Park Festival Parade which allows us to teach our kids about history, diversity and most importantly how to tell which floats will throw candy all in one place!
Stone Mountain Park
We have bought many family memberships for Atlanta area attractions- few we get our money worth. However we love our Stone Mountain Park memberships. There is so much to do for people of all ages. There is relatively posh camping with little drive from home to set up your site. Three months of the year the activities such as the 4-D movie, the Sky Hike, playing in the Barn, mini golf, and train rides (all included in the Park Membership) are all open. In the winter (for an additional charge unless you are a premium member) the Snow Mountain experience is phenomenal. Even if you choose not to buy the park membership, it is well worth buying a parking pass to bike ride, climb the mountain, watch the laser light show, or enjoy the wonderful playground.
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Just over the Chattahoochee River in East Cobb is a family friendly location (a hidden gem if you will), the Chattahoochee Nature Center. At CNC people can learn about nature from the small museum area or from the many talks and walks that they offer. This is a wonderful facility but the real highlight takes on the bottom floor of the CNC – the Exchange Center where children can bring nature items to exchange for other items based on a point system. The staff at the Center takes time and awards kids extra points for research and answering questions about their items. Kids can either trade for an item each time they are there or bank their points for a larger trade later. This system encourages learning about nature, math (point values, etc) and research. It is a wonderful place!
Yellow River Game Ranch
A two mile drive past Stone Mountain Park is an animal rescue facility that allows hands-on time with “wild” animals. The first time I took my son we almost pushed the stroller over a 200 pound pig in the middle of the path! Better than the zoo for small children, YRGR offers a close up look at all its animals. Bring some carrots from home to feed animals out of your hand. Germaphobes beware otherwise this is one place where the early bird finds the most hungry animals.
Free/ Cheap Activities
Summer in Atlanta brings a plethora of free and cheap activities to do with kids. Check out the Roswell Summer Puppet Series through the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Roswell Parks and Recreation Dept also offers two wonderful spraygrounds for young children that are nearly free. If you want to get out of the sun (or go in the winter) Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Dept boasts several indoor water parks which have minimal admission fees. Decatur’s Music in the Square program is enjoyable as are the many movies under the stars.
My best recommendation is to get out there and partake in all that Atlanta has to offer!