Ways to Save on Indoor Fun in Georgia

Georgia has had a pretty cool spring, but we all know the hot weather is coming. If it gets too warm to play outside, there are plenty of places around the state to beat the heat by heading indoors. However, admission fees can add up. Here are some strategies to save money on indoor fun.

Tellus Science Museum's Fossil Gallery in Cartersville

Discover how life on Earth began in the Tellus Science Museum’s Fossil Gallery in Cartersville.

Get a Bank of America Card: The Bank of America Museums on Us program is your free ticket to museums, science centers, botanical gardens and more. There are four participants in Georgia, and more than 150 nationwide. In Georgia, you can visit the Atlanta History Center, Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, and SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah. How does it work? Show your Bank of American credit or debit card at the entrance to any participating institution on the first weekend of every month for free admission for the cardholder.

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games in Marietta

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games in Marietta

Visit the Website: Go to the attraction’s website and look for a tab on specials or online deals. If there isn’t a specific tab, look under the pricing information. Sky Zone is a trampoline park with locations throughout Georgia. A quick search on their website returned a buy 10 visits for the price of eight, as well as several buy one, get one free deals. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games in Marietta has a Wild Wednesday special for adults 18 and up with half off activities and free arcade games.

Shamrock Bowling Center in Dublin, Georgia.

Shamrock Bowling Center in Dublin, Georgia.

Sign up for Free Programs: There are several industries that court kids during their summer break. Bowling lanes such as Stars and Strikes in Sandy Springs and Shamrock Bowling Center in Dublin offer two free games of bowling each day during the summer months for school-aged children. Parents can purchase a family pass for the adults that let them bowl with the kids, making it a family affair.

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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Attending Georgia’s Music Festivals with Kids

Attending 420 Fest in Atlanta with kids

Attending 420 Fest in Atlanta with kids. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

There are a few music festivals that hubby and I attend every year; we just love listening to music under the sun, experiencing the city, and chowing at the food trucks. This year, we did something different: We brought our kiddos!

Our 7-year-old and 3-year-old went with us to Sweetwater 420 Festival at Centennial Olympic Park. I’ll admit, we were nervous. This was our first large music festival with them, but we ended up having a wonderful time! There were a great number of other children there, too!

Thinking of bringing your own kids to one of the summer’s music festivals? Here are a few things we learned that made it an easy adventure.

  1. Bring ear protection. Even when you aren’t in the crowd near the stage, the music can be very loud. It’s important to protect little ears. We found that over-the-ear protection was easier to manage with little ones, and we found affordable solutions at the big chain home improvement stores.
  1. Plan an abbreviated visit. When hubby and I attend a concert, we usually arrive early and stay until the last song of the encore. That doesn’t work work with kiddos, especially young ones. This time, we studied the itinerary and picked the ONE concert we wanted to see each day. If we heard more than one band then that would be a special treat, but our expectations were set for no more than that.
  1. Shade and games are your friends. Pack a Frisbee or a Hacky-sack, and a blanket. Work to secure a spot under the trees so the kids can escape to a shady area when necessary. When they seem restless, offer an ice cream or King of Pops treat – and be sure to get one for yourself!
  1. Expect the best, plan for the worst. Chances are, your kids will be by your side the entire time, but just in case you are separated, make a plan. For older kids, plan a meet-up place, or point out the police and staff uniforms so they know where to go for help. With younger kids, pin your business card or phone number to the back of their shirt.

Trying to decide which Georgia Music Festival to share with your kids? Follow Glen Sarvady, Georgia’s Music Explorer, for more ideas.

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.

What’s New and How to Save at Georgia Theme Parks

Looking for a thrilling weekend adventure? How about a visit to one of Georgia’s theme parks? This year, there are even more reasons to visit, too. Here’s a taste of what’s new at your favorite Georgia theme parks, and how to save on a visit.

Photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Georgia

Photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia
What’s New:
Revolution at Dare Devil Dive. The existing Dare Devil Dive roller coaster has added a thrilling new element: virtual reality. Now while you are dropping, twisting and going upside down, you can fight aliens using special virtual reality goggles. For the younger set, Bugs Bunny Boomtown has seven new attractions, and DC Super Friends is a new themed area that opens this summer.

Money-saving Tip: If you plan to visit Six Flags Over Georgia twice this year, purchase a season pass. It will pay for itself in two visits, and you’ll also get admission to White Water, a water park in Marietta.

Wild Adventures

Photo courtesy Wild Adventures theme park, Valdosta, Ga.

Wild Adventures
What’s New:
Dinosaurs are invading Wild Adventures! Guests can interact with 20 life-sized moving, roaring dinosaurs. Wild Adventures has also added nine play spots throughout the park with games like giant checkers and drum sets for families to play. In the Animal Kingdom, they’ve also added a South American exhibit.

Money-saving Tip: Bring a picnic lunch and save on food in the park. Wild Adventures has picnic tables outside the gate and allows guests to leave and return provided they get a hand stamp.

Geyser Tower at Stone Mountain

Geyser Towers at Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park
What’s New:
The Jump is the latest attraction added to the Crossroads at Stone Mountain near Sky Hike. Guests free fall 10, 15 or 20 feet from a tower.

Money-saving Tip: Stone Mountain often partners with Kroger. Look for discount coupons to the park at local Kroger stores. You can also visit after 4 p.m. and purchase a Sunset Pass for less.

Photo courtesy Lake Winnie and SoakYa Water Park

Photo courtesy Lake Winnie and SoakYa Water Park

Lake Winnepesaukah
What’s New: The Twister! Can you stomach it?

Money-saving Tip: When planning your trip, visit the Lake Winnie website and click the “specials” tab where you’ll find money saving coupons. Be sure to plan ahead though; coupons are for specific days.

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.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

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Your Picks: Best Fried Chicken in Georgia

In the south, its all about home cookin’ and southern favorites like mac-n-cheese, BBQ, turnip greens and most importantly: FRIED CHICKEN. In Georgia, we’re known for fried chicken so juicy and delicious, people travel from all over just to taste this southern delicacy!

With so many amazing fried chicken spots, how could we decide which restaurants had the best in Georgia?! The answer was right in front of us. Ask the locals, of course!

We asked our Facebook fans, “Who do you think has the BEST fried chicken in Georgia?!”  Their picks came from all over the state from Alma to Greensboro to Waycross. Share your favorites with us on social media by using #GeorgiaEats!


ATLANTA – MARY MAC’S TEA ROOM

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AUGUSTA – WIFESAVER

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BRUNSWICK – NICK’S BUFFET

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 COLUMBUS – MINNIE’S UPTOWN RESTAURANT 

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CULLODEN – LOCKETT KUNTRY COOKING

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MONTEZUMA – YODER’S RESTAURANT

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ROSWELL – GREENWOODS ON GREEN STREET

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SAVANNAH – MRS. WILKES DINING ROOM 

Photo: Britt Reints

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SOCIAL CIRCLE – BLUE WILLOW INN 

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WINDER – MAGNOLIA PLACE RESTAURANT 

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MORE FACEBOOK FAVORITES: 

 

 

 

Four Romantic Dates that Won’t Break the Bank

Planning the perfect date or getaway for Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to include expensive champagne, diamond jewelry or five course meals. This Valentine’s Day, why not spend less money on things, and spend more time together? Here are four romantic dates in Georgia that won’t break the bank, but will give you some quality time with your honey or the entire family.

heart

Hike to the Heart: Hike the 1.6-mile Fort Mountain loop trail at Fort Mountain State Park in North Georgia and see if you can find the heart-shaped stone located in the Water Tower. During the 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Corps mason carved the stone for his sweetheart, setting it into the fire tower. The lad’s romantic gesture must have won her heart, because they were married 59 years. If you’d like to take the whole family, on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m., there is a family-friendly group hike to see the stone and hear the love story.

C. Japonica "Purple Passion"

C. Japonica “Purple Passion”

Gather some “Winter Roses:” Why buy just a dozen roses when you can have an entire garden? Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley is hosting the Festival of Camellias throughout the month of February when the flowers are at their peak. Camellias are known as “winter roses,” and the gardens showcase thousands of varieties. For the truly frugal, celebrate a little early; the gardens offer free admission on Saturday, Feb. 6.

glass floats created by local artists on Jekyll Island

Hunt for glass floats created by local artists on Jekyll Island.

Go on a Treasure Hunt: In the early 1900s, fisherman used hollow glass balls on their nets as markers. Occasionally these balls would wash up on Jekyll Island’s beach for lucky beachcombers to find. In the spirit of those early “finds” Jekyll Island has commissioned artists from across the country to create one-of-a-kind glass balls. Throughout January and February, treasure seekers can hunt for the glass balls around the island. Each float is marked with a special tag and instructions for treasure finders to register their find at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center.

Stargaze: What’s more romantic that looking at stars? The Fernbank Science Center planetarium has three different programs running in February: Solar Quest; Earth, Moon & Sun; and Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity. In addition, Fernbank’s observatory is open on Thursdays and Fridays for viewing the real night sky.

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.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.