5 Things to Know about the New Shows at Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is located at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium is located at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Aquarium.

1. The new Under the Boardwalk sea lion experience AND the all-new Dolphin Celebration program are FREE with your general admission ticket to Georgia Aquarium. No need to pay extra for loads of animal antics!

2. EVERYONE is excited to see the new sea lion show, so you’ll want to get in line early. I recommend finding your place in line no less than 45 minutes before the start of the show.

You’ll find a “sea lion selfie” station near the line and the sea lion exhibit, where you’ll see these beauties splish and splash. Need something more to do? Download the Georgia Aquarium App to learn more about the animals onsite, or try your hand at this Georgia Aquarium Scavenger Hunt.

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3. Think you’ve already seen the dolphin show? Think again. Dolphin Celebration just started this month, and it is an entirely NEW show. This show is less “Broadway” and more of a fun educational experience.

The first half of the show features a dolphin trainer that talks about dolphins while they strut their stuff — dolphin anatomy, the training program and more. The second half of the show is ALL DOLPHINS! The lights dim and the music bellows as these graceful, smart mammals dive, dance and jump into your heart.

4. The first 10 rows of Dolphin Celebration are the “wet zone,” and they seem to be even more of a “damp” experience than they were in the previous show. For me and my boys, that is a TON OF FUN, but if you have a small baby or you just got your hair done, you might want to head back beyond Row 10.

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5. The sea lions and dolphins are WORLD OF FUN, but there is much much more to do at the the world’s largest aquarium. We’ve listed 52 things to do at Georgia Aquarium; the perfect way to fill your adventuring day!

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.

12 Things Your Kids Will Love in Downtown Atlanta

Whether you are visiting Atlanta for the first time or you call the metro area home, downtown Atlanta is a must-visit location for the entire family. Here are 12 things your kids are sure to enjoy in downtown Atlanta (and I promise you’ll have fun, too!)

Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park

Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park

  1. Throw a field goal at the College Football Hall of Fame.
  2. Take the Zombie Tour with Atlanta Movie Tours. Up for a bus ride from Atlanta? Take the new Zombie Tour Part 3 in Haralson, Ga.
  3. Fly high in the SkyView Ferris wheel.
  4. Laugh at the antics of the new sea lions at Georgia Aquarium.
  5. Tour the Braves Hall of Fame at Turner Field – this is the last year the Braves play downtown.
  6. Pedal to Midtown and back with a Bicycle Tour of Atlanta.
  7. Taste more than 100 flavors of Coke at the World of Coca-Cola Museum.
  8. Dance in the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park.
  9. Listen to live music on Monday nights while eating a delicious burger at Hard Rock Café Atlanta.
  10. See the sights in an open-air smart car from ATL-Cruzers.
  11. Learn while you play at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
  12. Cool off with a milkshake at Downtown’s outdoor dining attraction, Googie Burger.

Click here to find more ideas about how to do Downtown Atlanta as a family.

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 Reasons to Get Off I-95 at the Georgia Coast

Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo Island

Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo Island

Take a tour of Sapelo Island – Reservations are required to visit this island on the Georgia coast that is only able to be reached by ferry. During the day, Sapelo Island visitors are encouraged to explore the cultural history, coastal wildlife and complex beach and dunes system on the 11-mile island. Key on-island destinations include the African-American community of Hog Hammock, Reynolds Mansion, Nanny Goat Beach, University of Georgia Marine Institute and a restored 1820 lighthouse. Guests are welcome overnight and can choose to camp or stay at the historic Reynolds Mansion.

Darien's Waterfront Park

Darien’s Waterfront Park

Walk along the Darien Waterfront Park – Whether you stop off on the coast during the annual Blessing of the Fleet or make the park your destination to see the shrimp boats and let the kids get out some energy during your trip, there is a lot to see and photograph. Downtown Darien also features a growing restaurant and boutique scene.

Kayak Ebenezer Creek. Photo courtesy Savannah Canoe and Kayak, Facebook.

Kayak Ebenezer Creek. Photo courtesy Savannah Canoe and Kayak, Facebook.

Kayak the black water of Ebenezer Creek – Paddle your own canoe along the coast or kayak up or down Ebenezer Creek, just off I-95 near Savannah. Visitors may also arrange a tour through one of the many local guides.

Stay in an ocean villa at The Cloister on Sea Island.

Stay in an ocean villa at The Cloister on Sea Island.

Explore the Golden Isles – Stay overnight at The Cloister at Sea Island where you’ll be able to indulge in luxurious accommodations or at the historic King and Prince Golf & Beach Resort on St. Simons Island, both of which are within steps of the ocean. You can also choose to rest your head at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island. During the day, each island and Brunswick give visitors reasons to shop, eat and relax at various retail, restaurant and spa locations.

Cumberland Island Trees

Photo courtesy of Cumberland Island National Seashore.

See the Cumberland Island National Seashore. On Georgia’s southernmost barrier island, visitors will find maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes among the 9,800 acres of congressionally designated wilderness. Bring your camping gear and make your ferry reservation ahead of time to ensure you have the fullest experience.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Adventure on a Budget in Georgia’s Historic High Country

As the weather warms up, cool off with a trip to Georgia’s Historic High Country. For adventure high on fun and easy on the budget, try camping at one of the walk-in sites at Cloudland Canyon, then hike down into the canyon to see two beautiful waterfalls. If you’d rather not camp, Mountain Top Cabin Rentals has a special deal through Explore Georgia: buy five nights, get one free. While you are in the area, here are three more fun things to see and do.

Rock City's Enchanted Trail includes a 100-foot waterfall.

Rock City’s Enchanted Trail includes a 100-foot waterfall.

See Rock City: You’ve seen the barns painted a bright red, with a black roof and white letters proclaiming “See Rock City” – why not head to Lookout Mountain for the real thing. Look out over seven states, shimmy through Fat Man’s Squeeze and take in the beautiful views off Lover’s Leap. For something a little extra, visit during their monthly events like EarthDayz in April and Southern Blooms Festival in May.

Battle of Resaca Reenactment

Battle of Resaca Reenactment

Fight in the Civil War: Each May in the tiny town of Resaca, Georgia, Civil War reenactors remember a battle that was fought here in 1864. Come in period dress, or just as a spectator. Walk through the Sutler’s Row and talk to the soldiers, or purchase period wares from the merchants. The highlight is the battle reenactment complete with cavalry and cannons. While you are in the area, visit the new Resaca Battlefield Historic Site that officially opens on May 13. The site features hiking trials and interpretive markers. A new visitors center will open soon.

Myrtle Hill Cemetery

Myrtle Hill Cemetery

Conquer Rome: Start at the city’s historic clocktower, which has watched over its residents since 1872. Walk through downtown to the hill overlooking where the Etowah, Oostanaula and Coosa rivers come together. There, you will find Myrtle Hill Cemetery, one of the most beautiful in the nation. Download the free Myrtle Hill Cemetery mobile app to learn about cemetery residents and the history of Rome.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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Four Georgia Backcountry Trails to Hike this Spring

These four backpacking trails feature some of Georgia’s most remote mountain forests, spectacular views and surreal landscapes.

Fort Mountain View

Fort Mountain View. Photo by Candy Cook

Fort Mountain State Park – Gahuti Trail

Gahuti Trail offers four backcountry campsites along a strenuous, shaded 8-mile trail through the forest of Fort Mountain State Park. Stream crossings, exposed rock faces, and amazing views make this backpacking trail a must-see. The park also features a mysterious stone wall and one of the most challenging mountain bike trails in Georgia State Parks’ Muddy Spokes Club.

Hiking is the only way to get to the Hike Inn. Photo courtesy Georgia State Parks.

Hiking is the only way to get to the Hike Inn. Photo courtesy Georgia State Parks.

Amicalola Falls State Park – Hike Inn

Hike Inn is a remote, backcountry eco-lodge in the Northeast Georgia mountains. The environmentally friendly lodge lightens the backpacker’s load by offering 20 rooms complete with dinner and breakfast in a delightful dining hall. The gorgeous five-mile journey begins at Amicalola Falls and winds along a family-friendly trail before arriving at the mountainside lodge.

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area – Backcountry Loop

The surreal canyon loop trail leads to Providence Canyon’s seven-mile backcountry loop. After leaving the branching trail that explores the canyon floor, the backcountry loop winds along a creek bed leading backpackers to a strenuous ascent, rugged terrain and six secluded campsites. Views overlooking the canyon and breathtaking starry nights make this trail worth the challenge. Hikers must have a permit to access the backcountry loop.

A 260-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye Trail. Photo courtesy Blue Ridge Georgia Tourism, Facebook.

A 260-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye Trail. Photo courtesy Blue Ridge Georgia Tourism, Facebook.

Benton MacKaye Trail

The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) begins at Springer Mountain and rambles through forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 91 miles before continuing into Tennessee. The BMT features challenging terrain through some of the most remote backcountry of Georgia’s mountains. There are numerous access points for customizing a hike using intersections with other trails, but the trailhead is located at Springer Mountain, making Blue Ridge, Ga., the official Benton MacKaye Trail Town.

candycookCandy Cook is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.