Spring Break in Atlanta with CityPass

CityPASS

Spending spring break vacation in Atlanta opens your family up to a world of possibility. What if I told you that your family can visit Atlanta’s newest museums and attractions, at a discount, and jump to the front of the line?

My secret is CityPASS. I always encourage visitors and locals to consider using Atlanta CityPASS, and here are three reasons why.

  1. Atlanta CityPASS allows you to visit five of the best museums in the city while saving 43% off admission. Tickets are good for nine consecutive days, which starts with the first day of use. Tickets for kids age 3-12 are $59.35 and tickets for adults are $73.25.
  2. An Atlanta CityPASS ticket allows you to skip most ticket lines once you have your ticket booklet. You may encounter a line when you exchange a voucher for a booklet, but that should be reasonably short. Skipping the line during spring break buys you tons of additional time in the attraction.
  3. As of March 13, 2015, Atlanta CityPASS now includes two of Atlanta’s newest museums, the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Civil Rights MuseumI am sad to see Atlanta History Center (AHC) and High Museum fall off the list this year; AHC is truly one of my favorite Atlanta museums.  Here’s a tip for locals: AHC and High are both members of the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums. Depending on the level of membership you purchase, a membership at one museum can offer admittance into both locations.

Atlanta CityPASS includes the following attractions:

Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola

Inside CNN Studio Tour

Zoo Atlanta OR Center for Civil and Human Rights

Fernbank Museum of Natural History OR College Football Hall of Fame

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.

11 Unique Egg Hunts Around Georgia

Title2If your family celebrates Easter, then you know the excitement of egg hunts! My little guys ask us to hide eggs more than a dozen times a day during the Easter weekend. We have a blast! But sometimes, we like to get out and do something different. Here are a few unique egg hunts around the state that your family is sure to enjoy.

Fernbank Museum Spring Egg-Stravaganza – Timed egg hunt, Radio Disney AM 590, Giggy A. Dinosaur appearance.

High Falls State Park Glow-In-The-Dark Easter Egg Hunt – 4,000 glowing eggs, registration required.

Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta Easter Celebration – Delectable Georgia-grown lunch, petting zoo for children, visit from the Easter Bunny, elaborate egg hunt in the MO garden, prizes.

Roswell Flashlight Egg Hunt – Hunt in the dark with only a flashlight.

Bogan Park Underwater Egg Hunt – Hunt for eggs underwater, pictures with Easter Bunny, snacks and crafts, kids under 6 years must swim with adult.

Influencers Church Helicopter Easter Egg Drop – Drops for all ages, visit from the Easter Bunny, farm animals, concessions, face painting, inflatables, petting zoo, free.

BabyLand General Hospital Easter Eggstravaganza – Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, parade, food vendors, arts and crafts, games, music, prizes.

Egg3The Rock Ranch Easter Eggstravaganza – Egg hunts for all ages, visit from Easter Bunny, photos options with bunny, free, frm animals, concessions, face painting, inflatables, ziplines, petting zoo.

Peter Cottontail Express on St Mary’s Train – Multiple dates available, Journey to the land of magic eggs and Easter bunnies with Peter Cottontail taking center stage to ride the return trip and host a fun Easter Egg Hunt.

Yogi Bear’s Easter Egg Hunt – Crafts, train ride, games, egg decorating, cartoons and popcorn, hay rides, bounce house, egg hunt, Yogi Bear visit,

A final note, those in Atlanta will enjoy the annual egg hunt at the Governor’s Mansion. It is filled already for 2015, but this egg hunt packs in a world of fun! Be sure to get updates from the governor’s office for future years.

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.

5 Unique Ways to Enjoy Georgia State Parks with Kids

By Lesli Peterson

ChattahoocheeBendTitle

In 2014 our family stayed overnight at a different Georgia State Park each month, and visited multiple parks in between overnight adventures.  (You can read about Part 1 and Part 2 of our journey.)

While I highly recommend such an adventure, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t let this discourage you from exploring the parks, though! Here are five fun daytrip park adventures for kiddos.

GeorgeLSmith

George L Smith State Park

Canoe or Kayak the blackwater at George L Smith State Park

There is nothing quite like canoeing in blackwater.  The Cypress and Tupelo trees tucked in the water reflect dreamily on the blacktop.  It is peaceful and serene, and the perfect environment for learning to row. Click here to learn more about our canoeing adventure:

Iron pour at Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mountain’s name comes from the soil’s rich red color caused by high iron-ore content.  Bring the kiddos to select a scratch block mold. The crew then fires up the blast furnace, fills the mold with molten iron, and offers up your unique piece once cooled.

Magnolia Springs

Magnolia Springs

See Turtles in the natural spring at Magnolia Springs State Park

Not too far from George L Smith you’ll find Magnolia Springs. The natural spring here pumps 7-9 million gallons of water each day. It is crystal clear, and reflects beautiful shades of blue and green.  Within the spring we saw dozens and dozens of turtles, and a few alligators.  I’ve never seen so many turtles in such a small area; it was amazing.  A side note: Camp Lawton was on this site during the civil war. It was one of two POW camps, the other being the more famous Andersonville.  A museum at the park shares many of the artifacts found here. See a video of the springs and turtle here.

Hike the falls at Amicalola State Park & Lodge

Amicalola is one of the tallest falls this side of the Mississippi. You’ll want to take the kids to see it! I recommend driving up the hill and parking midway with younger kids.  A short walk will get you to a bridge, only feet from the falls. It’s gorgeous, and the kids loved it.  The path is paved, so a stroller would also work.  Active kids can make it down the stairs to the base of the falls and back. Older kids can climb up the 450 stairs to the top of the falls…or start at the top and walk all the way down. Read about our fall adventure here.

Get down with the diamorpha at Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Diamorpha are succulants found in the pools of rock outcrops like those at Chattahoochee Bend and Arabia Mountain.  In spring they turn bright red, and then burst with a white bloom.  Primarily found in Georgia, they are on the endangered species list in Tennessee. In fall and winter they appear brown and “dead,” but they are not. Showing kids how special they are in spring, helps them to understand and better respect these beauties in the cold months. We inspected these charmers here.

What are your favorite things to do with kids at Georgia State Parks?

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.

Make a Splash at These Indoor Pools

By Lesli Peterson

atlanta hotels with indoor pool

What makes a hotel family-friendly? It could be the in-room amenities, like refrigerator or bathtub. It could be special touches, like children’s programming or a babysitting service.  For this family, the number one rule of thumb is a pool.  Our city-exploring happens during the day, but pools provide entertainment for my kiddos in early morning and late evening, when we would otherwise be stuck in the room.  It helps to start the day by getting the wiggles out, and it relaxes and calms them before bed…also ensuring they sleep through the night.  You’ll find numerous hotels around Atlanta with pools, but the number dwindles a bit for winter guests looking for an escape from the cold. Here are details about our favorite family-friendly Buckhead hotels with indoor pools, and a list of additional hotels as well.

RC Buckhead

Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

Ritz Carlton Buckhead’s pool is one of my family’s favorites.  It is a saline pool, heated to perfection.  The ceiling is glass, and while the cold outside weather created a dew on the ceiling that prevented us from star-gazing, we did enjoy the open feeling that came from a view of the sky.  You’ll find boogie boards and noodles strategically placed around the pool deck, which our boys enjoyed.  Guest services even provided the kids with rubber ducks, as swim partners.

The pool is attached to the fitness center, so we were able to leverage the locker rooms.  There were lockers, showers, plastic bags for holding our wet suits, extra towels, and fruit for the boys to munch on.  I must also admit that hubby and I tried out the sauna and hot tub, as well. Heaven!

See more photos of our pool adventures here.

MO Atlanta

Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta

Mandarin Oriental is one of Atlanta’s most beloved hotels, with inescapable opulence and grandeur. Don’t let this fool you, though; they love children.  Strollers, cribs, and even baby monitors are available on request. Be sure to inquire about the Little Fan’s Passport program, also. But the real fun is at the pool.  Through a beautiful hallway, and down an elevator, kid’s will love the secret entrance to the swimming area.  The heated pool is only steps away from an extra restroom, perfect for little one’s “emergencies.” In warmer months the doors open to a view of the sunken courtyard and garden, as well as the views of Buckhead.

Learn more about our stay at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta here.

JW Marriott Buckhead

There are many things to love about JW Marriott Buckhead and its conveniences. One of my favorite: it is adjacent to Lenox Mall.  That small detail opens a world of family-friendly options for shopping and dining.  Until September 1, 2015 Marriott is offering complimentary valet parking to ease your unloading, and a free kids’ meal at the onsite restaurant with the purchase of an adult meal. Kids will also enjoy the heated pool and whirlpool for exerting the leftover energy that kid’s pack during vacation. You’ll also enjoy the glass ceiling, allowing in ample light for your swim.

See their site for more details about this Kids Eat Free package.

Additional Atlanta hotels with indoor pools:

Atlanta Airport Marriott

Atlanta Marriott Marquis

Comfort Inn & Suites Galleria

Embassy Suites Atlanta – Buckhead

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Hampton Inn & Suites Galleria

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown

Renaissance Atlanta Waverly

Sheraton Atlanta Downtown

Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta             

Springhill Suites by Marriott Atlanta Buckhead

Staybridge Suites Atlanta – Buckhead

The Westin Peachtree Plaza

Wingate Inn & Suites Atlanta Galleria

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.

Bring Your Whole Family to This Atlanta Coffeehouse

By Lesli Peterson

Hodgepodge Coffeehouse

I almost didn’t go. It had been a long and difficult morning, but I needed caffeine. Once Imumbled my intention aloud, my girlfriend was game. “I love that place. We’ll come with you.”

And that, my friends, is how I first met the love of my life…er, I mean, Hodgepodge Coffeehouse in Atlanta, Georgia. Let me introduce you to my new favorite hangout. It’s perfect year-round, but especially wonderful in winter. Here are four reasons I love Hodgepodge; I want you to visit, too.

AWESOME COFFEE. So let’s be real. You can’t have fall in love with a coffeeshop that has bad coffee. Here you’ll find Batdorf and Bronson beans, roasted locally. Delish! I’m a fan of the Oh Honey! – Espresso, steamed milk, honey, and a hint of vanilla.

hodgepodge3

ART ATTACK KIDS. Every Monday, Art Attack helps kids create and art project. Pair this with story time, and you have the recipe for an awesome start to the week.

PLAY SPACE. There’s a corner defined by a rug against huge windows. There are toys – worn and loved, but still awesome. Books…rocking chairs…an old-school rocking horse. This is where the children gather to play. I’ve cried big tears and laughed a million laughs all with my girlfriends, while my littles played beside me.

hodgepodge4

PALEO BROWNIES. There is great food here. Love the chicken salad on spinach. Kudos. But there are also sweets for everyone, including Paleo brownies! And they are so yummy! I recommend a stop for lunch, and don’t skip dessert.

Don’t miss another day. Delicious coffee to warm your bones, and family-friendly to arm your heart. Bring the kids, invite your bestie, and have a great time.

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.