5 Things to Love About PCM’s Skyline Park

Head to the top of Ponce City Market to enjoy Skyline Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Head to the top of Ponce City Market to enjoy Skyline Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson

There’s a buzz in Atlanta about the opening of Skyline Park atop Ponce City Market, with questions about the family-friendliness of the new-school amusement park with old-school charm. Good news – it’s GREAT for families. Here are five reasons to get there now!

Putt-putt Fun

Putt-putt fun at Ponce City Market. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Putt-putt fun at Ponce City Market. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Our family adores the colorful (and challenging) putt-putt course that takes up much of the space on the rooftop. There are great views of the city to take in while awaiting your turn. Go before 4 p.m. to get the best price – kids under 3 years old are FREE to play.

Old-school Arcade

Catch a stunning view of Atlanta from Skyline Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Catch a stunning view of Atlanta from Skyline Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Visions of Coney Island come to mind as you try to ring bottles with hoops, toss Skee balls, shoot basketballs, or take a ride (or three!) down the Skyline slide. Don’t miss the climb on Heege Tower for the best views of the city.

Flex Entry

Access to the roof at Ponce City Market. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Access to the roof at Ponce City Market. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Yes, you do have to pay to get to the roof (kids under 3 years old are FREE,) but the good news is that your wristband allows you to come and go as you please throughout the day. That means you have no excuse to pass up a meal at the PCM Food Hall.

Read Culinary Explorer Jennifer Hill Booker’s recommendations for 5 Must-Try Food Stalls at Ponce City Market 

Snacks and Libations

Enjoy snacks and drinks while you play arcade games on the PCM roof. Photo credit: Skyline Park.

Enjoy snacks and drinks while you play arcade games on the PCM roof. Photo credit: Skyline Park.

If you need a snack or a drink while you’re on the roof, Skyline aims to please. There are sodas and waters for the kiddos and a bar for adults. When we were there, hubs and I tried a frozen whiskey drink with mint and peaches. Divine! There are also pretzels, frozen bananas, cotton candy and other old-fashioned faves. Look for the new Beer Garden coming in Fall.

Date Night Options

Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Photo: Party on Ponce 2015, Facebook.

Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Photo: Party on Ponce 2015, Facebook.

If you’d rather venture without the kiddos, I recommend heading there after 6 p.m. The rooftop with a night sky and string lights is very romantic. Also, rooftop access for kids is strongly discouraged in the evenings, so it’s a little easier to enjoy a real adult conversation.

We’ve got more details and a short video of Skyline Park here.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

6 Perfect Ways to Celebrate Fall

Fall is just around the bend! When it comes, you need to be ready to enjoy the BEST of the season in Georgia. Grab your map because we’ve got a bucket list for you!

Sunflowers

Fausett Farms Sunflowers in Dawsonville are in full bloom in October. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Fausett Farms Sunflowers in Dawsonville are in full bloom in October. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Dawsonville’s Fausett Farms Sunflowers planted more than 900,000 sunflowers this spring, and they will be showing their sunny faces by the first of October. They are open seven days a week, and the cost is $10 per car. More sunflower info here.

Apples

Apples are ripe for the picking in North Georgia in the fall. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Apples are ripe for the picking in North Georgia in the fall. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

The North Georgia mountains are filled with apple orchards, including you-pick, hayrides, petting zoos and so much more. Don’t miss the Ellijay Apple Festival. We love the weekend events at Mercier Orchards, and the weekday you-pick options at BJ Reece. More apple info here.

Leaves

Leaf Watching at F.D. Roosevelt State Park

F.D. Roosevelt State Park

Georgia State Parks are fantastic family escapes for watching the leaves change color. Wondering which parks have the best showing? Try Amicalola, Cloudland Canyon or Black Rock Mountain. Find a complete listing here.

Waterfalls

Waterfall at Cloudland Canyon. Photo by Candy Cook.

Waterfall at Cloudland Canyon. Photo by Candy Cook.

There is something magical about fallen red and gold leaves on the rocks of a tumbling waterfall. Wondering where to take the family this autumn? Try Raven Cliff Falls, Fall Branch Falls or Dukes Creek for wonderful views. More waterfall info here.

Festivals

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens Labor Day Weekend

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens Labor Day Weekend

From hot air balloons in Callaway Gardens to Oktoberfest in Helen, and from the colors of Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground to the Fall Folklife Fest at the Atlanta History Center, autumn is amass with festive frolic options the entire family will enjoy. Find more fall festival info here.

Camping

Fall camping at Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona

Fall camping at Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona

Fall is made for camping under the bright stars. We love Swinging Bridge in Blue Ridge and Andrews Cove in Helen for the best in fall camping. Find more fall camping info here.

Looking for more fun for the family? Here are 18 can’t-miss fall events around the state.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

4 Ways to Get Outdoors in Dunwoody

Dunwoody Nature Center's Butterfly Festival

Dunwoody Nature Center’s Butterfly Festival

If you are looking for ways to get outside with your family, then head to Dunwoody for these awesome adventures. From playgrounds to zip lines to a FREE nature center, there is a weekend of excitement waiting for you!

Soar through the trees at Treetop Quest Dunwoody

Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Little ones as young as 4 years old can enjoy the Kiddie Quest ropes experience at Treetop Quest Dunwoody. Kids 7 years and older can play Tarzan on three courses, including a 300-foot zip line, and those over 12 years old have an extra challenge on the fourth course. Bring the whole family for an adventure in the trees! You can read more about our family’s antics here.

Climb and jump at Brook Run Park

Treetop Quest is just at the entrance of Brook Run Park, so don’t be scared to venture in a little farther once you finish your treetop excursion. Brook Run offers an incredible playground with shade awnings, an off-leash dog park, and a skate park arena. Read about Brook Run and other playgrounds we love in Atlanta.

Savor custard on the patio of Village Burger

Village Burger in Dunwoody

Village Burger in Dunwoody

Nothing will help you beat the heat like a frozen custard treat from Village Burger. You can enjoy it on the patio (shade umbrellas included), or take a breather at a table inside. We also LOVE the burgers and onion rings!

Explore Dunwoody Nature Center

Explore the teepee just inside the entrance to the nature center. Photo by Lesli Peterson

Explore the teepee just inside the entrance to the nature center. Photo by Lesli Peterson

You can spend hours and hours at the FREE Dunwoody Nature Center and still not experience all they have to offer. Play in the creek, walk the trails, climb the new playground structures, listen for frogs on the boardwalk….the possibilities are endless. Don’t miss the Dunwoody Butterfly Festival Aug. 20, and see our post on 22 great ways to get more out of the nature center.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

5 Family-Fun Eccentric Excursions in Georgia

This isn’t a complete list of the bit of eccentric excursions we have in Georgia, but it is a compilation of our favorites! What did we miss that you love? Let us know your favorite Georgia travel finds using #ExploreGeorgia on social media!

Old Car City USA (White)

Old Car City USA in White, Ga., is a haven for photographers.

Old Car City USA in White, Ga., is a haven for photographers.

If your kids love old cars and running in the woods, then Old Car City USA works well! It’s also a haven for photographers. You can meander 6 miles of trails or stick to the section near the entrance, which is where the oldest automobiles sit among 4,000 in this classic car junkyard. Don’t skip the second-story museum of “cup art.” See photos from our Old Car City USA visit here.

Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden (Summerville)

Explore Howard Finster's inspiring collection of folk art at Paradise Garden in Summerville.

Explore Howard Finster’s inspiring collection of folk art at Paradise Garden in Summerville.

One of Georgia’s noted art attractions, Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden has acres of folk-art sculptures and paintings to inspire your kiddos. We spent an entire afternoon examining each piece, then stayed the night at nearby Sloppy Floyd State Park, where fishing is a must. See pictures from my boys’ adventure at Howard Finster’s.

Smallest Church in America (South Newport)

The smallest church in America welcomes all visitors!

The smallest church in America welcomes all visitors!

Just off Hwy 95 between St. Simons Island and Savannah is the small town of South Newport. Don’t blink when you drive through or you’ll miss Memory Park Christ Chapel, the Smallest Church in America. It experienced a fire late last year but has since been restored and is even hosting weddings. Kids will adore the 10-foot-by-15-foot church, which is open to all denominations.

BabyLand General Hospital (Cleveland)

See vintage and new Cabbage Patch Kids at BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland.

See vintage and new Cabbage Patch Kids at BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland.

Kids can pick out their favorite Cabbage Patch doll straight from the source at BabyLand General Hospital. Licensed Patch Nurses (LPNs) are available for an adoption consultation. A fathers’ waiting room is available, as well as rocking chairs on expansive Southern porches looking out on the Georgia mountains.

Peanut of Peace (Plains)

Plains on your way to the Peanut of Peace and Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Farm.

Explore Downtown Plains on your way to the Peanut of Peace and Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Farm.

The world’s second largest peanut stands at 13 feet tall in Plains. It was originally made for display in a 1976 political parade with Jimmy Carter and has stood the test of time. Davis E-Z Shop, on whose property is sits, dubs it the Peanut of Peace. You can visit Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Home during your visit of the peanut! It’s a special way to sneak some educational travel into a fun adventure.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Where to “Talk to the Animals” in Georgia

If your family is looking to explore their wild side, Georgia is filled with opportunity. From the city to the mountains to the coast, there are a number of places to talk to the animals!

Zoo Atlanta (Atlanta)

Feed the giraffes, go behind the scenes with African elephants, and watch giant pandas in all their cuteness. Zoo Atlanta holds the nation’s largest collection of gorillas, the largest zoological collection of orangutans in the U.S., and many vanishing reptiles and amphibians.

Chehaw (Albany)

Bogart and Audrey at Chehaw Park. Photo from Facebook.

Bogart and Audrey at Chehaw Park. Photo from Facebook.

Pet a python, take the Veldt ride, feed Bogart the Bactrian (two-hump) camel who loves people. Chehaw is a special animal sanctuary that obviously takes pleasure in learning about and growing with their animals. If you can stay longer, then camp or sleep in a cabin in the park for an even more enjoyable adventure. See more photos here.

Yellow River Game Ranch (Lilburn)

25 acres in a rustic setting allow you to pet deer, see black bears, and visit a petting zoo at the Yellow River Game Ranch. I love this location for kids of all ages, but especially smaller kiddos. It isn’t too large or too busy, and keeps the sensory experience in check. Don’t miss Beau, Georgia’s Official Weather Forecaster.

Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary (Locust Grove)

BLT at Noah's Ark. Photo from Facebook.

BLT at Noah’s Ark. Photo from Facebook.

This animal rehabilitation center south of the city offers FREE admission (donations appreciated.) At Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, you’ll see roaming bison, feisty emu, tons of monkeys and parrots, and the famed trio BLT — the bear, lion and tiger — that live harmoniously together.

North Georgia Zoo (Cleveland)

Lemur at the North Georgia Zoo. Photo from Facebook.

Lemur at the North Georgia Zoo. Photo from Facebook.

400 animals and Georgia’s largest petting zoo make the North Georgia Zoo a fun family daytrip to accompany your mountain adventures.

Wild Animal Safari (Pine Mountain)

Get up close to exotic animals at Wild Animal Safari.

Get up close to exotic animals at Wild Animal Safari.

Kids will ADORE this drive-thru animal park. My son said, “I love this more than the zoo because the animals can roam around, but WE are in the cage.” You’ll follow a 3.5-mile paved road through the 220-acre Wild Animal Safari park. You can even purchase food to give the animals as you drive through. You’ll see buffalo, pigs, zebra, emu, deer, giraffe and more. Read more about this fun other and nearby attractions here.

Oatland Island Wildlife Center (Savannah)

At Oatland Island Wildlife Center, animals are exhibited in large natural habitats along a rustic trail through forest and marsh lands. The “Wolf Wilderness” exhibit features gray wolves, armadillos, flying squirrels, screech owls and a selection of reptiles. Along the trail are cougars, bobcats, bison, alligators, red fox and birds of prey. Cows, sheep, goats and rabbits can be viewed in the “Georgia Farm” area.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.