Events Commemorating Memorial Day in Georgia

Memorial Day in Woodstock, Georgia

Photo courtesy of Woodstock, Georgia

Start summer 2015 at some of the many weekend events occurring this Memorial Day in Georgia:

May 22-24: Memorial Day Night Paddle at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge

May 22-24: Memorial Day Mayhem at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in Helena

May 22-25: Memorial Day Celebration at LanierWorld in Buford

May 22-25: Memorial Day Weekend at North GA Zoo in Cleveland

May 23: Memorial Day Weekend Celebration at Florence Marina State Park in Omaha

May 23: Old-Fashioned Memorial Day at Fort McAllister State Park in Richmond Hill

May 23: Memorial Day Miniature Golf Tournament at Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla

May 23: Volunteer Day – Memorial Day Face Painting at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth

May 23-25: Memorial Day Observance at Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville

May 23-25: Memorial Day Weekend – Salute the Troops at Stone Mountain Park

May 23-25: Memorial Day Commemoration at Fort King George Historic Site in Darien

May 24: Memorial Day Celebration at Hightower Creek Vineyards in Hiawassee

May 25: Memorial Day Ceremony at The Park at City Center in Woodstock

May 25: Roswell Memorial Day Ceremony at City Hall in Roswell

May 25: Memorial Day at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth

May 25: Jackson County Memorial Day Parade in Jefferson

May 25: Memorial Day Celebration in Historic Downtown in Senoia

May 25: Memorial Day Commemoration at Fort Morris Historic Site in Midway

Four Unusual Playgrounds in Atlanta

Playgrounds are the perfect places for kids to let off a little steam, but the swing set is so old fashion. In Atlanta, there are several playgrounds that offer something a bit more, from commissioned artwork to history and wildlife. Here are four Atlanta area playgrounds that go above and beyond.

Playable Art Park

Photo courtesy of Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism

 

Playable Art Park
Kids can not only touch this art, but they can climb, slide, jump, crawl, swing and play on it, too. The City of Sandy Springs officially opened the Playable Art Park at the Abernathy Greenway in July 2014. This unique playground, located in a mile-long green space, allows kids to explore six fine art sculptures. The pieces include a swing set with no upper crossbars, creating a perfect view of the sky; a dragonfly slide and climbing wall; a colorful mosaic to play in; a climbable spider; a granite relief to explore positive and negative space; and a modern day jungle gym of twisting loops, woops and curves.

Overlook Park at Morgan Falls
Kids love the playground. Parents love the view. Overlook Park is located on a bluff above the Chattahoochee River. The fireplace of a former homestead is the centerpiece for a circle of swings and benches. The playground has a soft turf base and canopy for shade from the hot sun. In addition to traditional equipment, there is a large spider web rope for climbing. Bring some bread to feed the ducks at the dock after the playground or take a short easy hike along the trails. Note, the park can be hard to find. Travel down Morgan Falls Road until you think you’ve gone too far, and then keep going. Around a sharp curve is the park.

Noguchi Playscape

Photo courtesy Piedmont Park Conservancy

Noguchi Playground at Piedmont Park
The Noguchi playground at Piedmont Park is located just inside the 12th Street gate and is a wonderful art-inspired playground. Isamu Noguchi was a sculptor and landscape garden designer whose playground designs achieved accolades only after his death. The playground at Piedmont Park was completed in 1976 with involvement from Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and renovated in 2013. It’s the only Noguchi-designed playground completed in his lifetime and the only playground in the United States. To visit other Noguchi playgrounds you’ll have to go to Sapporo or Yokahama, Japan. Noguchi called his playgrounds “the sculpture of spaces,” and it’s easy to see why. Kids can find triangles, circles, squares and rectangles to crawl over, under and even through.

Chastain Park Playground
Although this looks like a lot of other playgrounds today, the Chastain Park Conservancy has plans to create a wonderful new play space that uses the natural terrain as a guide. Plans call for plenty of space for lawn play, as well as a tumble hill. In addition to repurposing the existing playground for young children, the Conservancy has plans for new “play pods” to entice older children to play, with activities such as zip lines and racing slides. The Conservancy expects to break ground on the $2.8 million new playground in Spring 2015 with a dedication set for late summer. There’s still time to donate to the playground by visiting ChastainParkConservancy.org and contributing to the 10th Anniversary Capital Campaign.

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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Where to Learn About Fishing in Georgia

Aqauarium at the Go Fish Education Center

There’s something fishy deep in Georgia’s Historic Heartland region, and I got to the bottom of it on my latest visit to Perry. You might recognize the quiet Southern town of Perry as home to the Georgia National Fairgrounds. It’s also home of the Go Fish Education Center, where summer kicks off with Free Fishing Days.

The Go Fish Education Center is the perfect place for beginners or experts looking for some “reel” good fishing tips. The journey begins on an educational walk to meet fish from mountain streams and blackwater swamps to the coastal rivers. Aquariums at the Go Fish Center are modeled after natural habitats to give a good look at Georgia’s variety of aquatic wildlife like catfish, bass, eels and alligator snapping turtles. Modern, interactive exhibits offer information about where to fish, what to keep in a tackle box, and even game simulations before heading out to the stocked pond where a rod and reel are waiting.

Fishing simulator at the Go Fish Education Center

Georgia’s Go Fish Education Center is extending hours for summer fun, releasing a new short film, and inviting everyone to reel in a great catch during June’s Free Fishing Days. For two days, June 6 and 13, Georgia celebrates recreational fishing, and no one needs a fishing license to go fish!

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

Georgia Theatre for Kids

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Theatre and the arts offer wonderful opportunities for children. It influences them academically and creatively. Here are nine programs that can introduce your children to the theatre, from Atlanta, Roswell and Augusta.

The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

Our family is very excited about the newest program offering, Create ATL, Family Fun at The Woodruff Arts Center. It begins June 7, 2015, and runs every Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.. It will feature various free activities starting at 1 p.m., including family festivals, art-making activities, interactive musical story times, composers-in-training sessions, instrument making, drop-in acting classes and more. See more details here: 365atlantafamily.com/CreateATL

In addition to producing Sunday family fun programming on a weekly basis, The Woodruff Arts Center will present four large-scale Sunday festivals, the first one taking place on June 14, 2015. On this date, the Arts Center’s campus will be activated with three performances by the Alliance Theatre (Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary MusicalBlub, Blub; and The Lizard & El Sol); free admission to the High Museum of Art, including access to the exhibition Seriously Silly! The art & whimsy of Mo Willems and a meet-and-greet with the beloved characters Elephant and Piggie; free art-making activities on the Piazza inspired by the High’s interactive installation Los Trompos; an instrument petting zoo; interactive musical story time; music and movement workshops; and much more!

If you can’t make the Sunday festival, you can still take in the best of Mo Willems. Knuffle Bunny is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Seriously Silly! The art & whimsy of Mo Willems, a retrospective of illustrations by the best-selling children’s book artist and author, which will be on display from May 23, 2015, through  Jan. 10, 2016. Seriously Silly features more than 100 works by the artist—from preliminary drawings to completed illustrations—that chronicle the past 12 years of Willems’ whimsical world, populated by his beloved characters Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, The Pigeon and many more.

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During its 2015-2016 season, the ASO will present Music for the Very Young performances, which will give children the chance to experience music by the ASO’s musicians in an intimate and accessible setting designed with children’s cognitive development in mind. What a great accompaniment to Theatre for the Very Young, which has been going strong for a few years.

Finally, don’t miss the annual Toddler Takeover. 2015’s action runs May 29 – May 31. This one-of-a-kind experience for children from 0–5 years old will feature performances of six original productions from Alliance Theatre for the Very Young, the return of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Music for the Very Young, stroller tours and art-making at the High Museum of Art. Kids are free; you just need to purchase an adult ticket.

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Center for Puppetry Arts

Atlanta is very lucky to have the nation’s largest organization dedicated to puppetry arts: Center for Puppetry Arts. Puppetry is a wonderful, creative, expansive art form.   It engages and entertains, bringing a sense of wonder and theatricality to a story. While there are adult and teen programs, and even film showings, the number of family-friendly programs is stupendous. The 2015-2016 schedule includes The Ugly Duckling, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and the beloved Rudolph show. See the entire schedule here: 365atlantafamily.com/CPAschedule

Each show includes a puppet workshop and access to the puppetry museum. Strapped for cash? No worries. You can take advantage of the GA Public Libraries Passport Program, valid up to four admissions.

Bonus: If the kids love puppet shows, don’t miss the Roswell Summer Puppet Series. Each program is designed just for kiddos. Tickets are only $5, and kids under 2 are free. New this year are special puppet workshops. Details here: 365atlantafamily.com/2015roswellpuppets

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Springer Opera House

The Springer Opera House Children’s Theatre Series produces theatre for families and young audiences. You can see shows at daytime school performances and general public performances. Upcoming shows include Charlotte’s Web, Mary Poppins, Beauty and The Beast and more.

If your young person delights in theatre, don’t miss a tour of this historical space. It has been the State Theatre of Georgia and a leading Southern cultural institution for 141 years! With a colorful history behind it, today it is one of America’s most vibrant professional theatre companies with a popular Mainstage Series, an innovative second-space series called Studio II, a Theatre for Young Audience Series featuring some of this region’s most talented student actors and a national touring program called Springer Theatricals.

LesliLesli is the 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.

 

All Aboard These Georgia Train Rides

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Do you have a little train lover in your family, too? You’re in luck! Georgia is rich with railroad history. Here are nine train excursions around Georgia for your future engineer.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge. By no means have we made our rounds to every train adventure in Georgia, but of those we have visited, BRSR is our family favorite. Our kids prefer the open-air car for the ride to McCaysville where we straddle the Ga/Tn line for a photo op, and enjoy lunch by the river. This train ride made our list of 52 Georgia Adventures Every Kid Must Experience.

Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain. Catch a ride on the 1940s open-air train for a ride around the base of Stone Mountain. Your ride is free with an Adventure Pass into the park.

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw. You’ll find a plethora of artifacts here from the Civil War, including much about the use of railroads during that time period. The best part? This is home to The General made famous during the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.

Locust Grove Train Watching Platform in Locust Grove. Pack a picnic and spread out on this safe and comfy platform to watch more than 40 trains pass through each day.

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Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. Visitors are free to roam the museum grounds, closely examining over 90 pieces of transit equipment. Several cars beckon to be explored from inside. Be sure to see the website for multiple family-friendly events throughout the year. My toddler loves the Mommy and Me program.

SAM Shortline in Cordele. Ride a vintage train from Cordele to one of several stops, including Leslie, Ga, home of the Rural Telephone Museum and Plains, Ga, made famous by Jimmy Carter. An overnight at Lake Blackshear will make it a weekend to remember.

 

St Mary’s Railroad in St Mary’s. While adults are welcome welcome, St Mary’s sets their sites on introducing kids to railway adventure. Try the Wild West Steam Express excursion or the Pirates Express through woodlands and marsh.

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Thronateeska Heritage Center in Albany. Walk through Albany’s historic Union Station and view a steam locomotive. Don’t miss the Model Railroad Exhibit inside one of the train cars. If you are looking for a family adventure in Albany, here are a few other optimal stops.

Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah. This National Historic Landmark includes an operational turntable. Visitors can explore railcars and take guided tours. Rides are also available on steam or diesel trains.

Can you think of any other places to see or ride a train?

LesliLesli is the 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.