4 Ways for Families to Explore Atlanta

Georgia AquariumHigh-Profile Adventure:

  • Explore the newest exhibit at Zoo Atlanta – The Scaly, Slimy Spectacular Amphibian Experience, housing more than 60 animal species, including rare Cuban crocodiles.
  • Using high-tech RFID chips, each exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame spotlights your favorite team.
  • The LEGOLAND Discovery Center has more than 15 activities for families to build, play, ride and explore together.

Multigenerational Fun:

  • The Atlanta History Center mixes history and fun through interactive exhibits, living history interpreters, and a grand outdoors to explore.
  • The Center for Civil and Human Rights uses fully immersive exhibits to teach visitors of the American civil rights movement and current human rights issues.
  • Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the fabulous Fox Theatre to learn about its history and a few mysteries of the famous Atlanta landmark.
Atlanta History Center

Swan House at the Atlanta History Center

Travel with Teens or Tweens:

Little City-Explorers:

  • Visit the Georgia Aquarium for a peek at dolphins, whales, colorful fish and more.
  • Watch a performance from the in-house puppeteers at Center for Puppetry Arts, and take a puppet-making class afterward.
  • Grab an adventure pass at Stone Mountain Park to gain access to all 10 of the park’s attractions as well as seasonal events.


Lesli
Lesli 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 Day (And All Night) at The Rock Ranch

The Rock RanchThe Rock Ranch is amazing farm fun for the entire family! We visited in late spring, and I was mesmerized by how much there was to do!

SUMMER – Pick raspberries or blackberries and enjoy homemade strawberry ice cream from the Farm Market. Try your hand at Cane Pole Fishing or take a Paddle Boat on the lake. And don’t miss the Celebrate America fireworks celebration.

FALL – Watch cowboy stunt performers, relax under the giants of a hot air balloon rally, or explore first-responder vehicles like firetrucks, police cars and more. Don’t miss the fun on National Pumpkin Destruction Day where you can demolish your pumpkins with monster trucks or canons.

WINTER – Enjoy a special dinner and shopping event with a Santa workshop, tour the country Christmas lights (FREE!) or ride The Rock Ranch Christmas Express. Don’t miss the popular breakfast or lunch with Santa, or stretch your legs during the Country Christmas in Lights 5K and Fun Run.

SPRING – Celebrate at the annual Strawberry Festival, and don’t miss berry-picking Saturdays. Enjoy a free Easter Egg Hunt, or have your little one bring their favorite doll for the Dolly & Me Party.

fishing

CONESTOGA WAGONS – Camp in an unforgettable way – in a Conestoga wagon! With eight bunks, there is plenty of room to bring your friends. Sit around the fire roasting marshmallows and commiserating with the nearby cows.

FARM STAY – Looking to explore The Rock Ranch in something a little more modern? Try a stay at one of four “Southern Living” quality homes. Enjoy a private pool, linens, a modern kitchen with appliances, washer and dryer and much more.

Read more about all we did when visiting The Rock Ranch at 365atlantafamily.com/TheRockRanch and about our Conestoga wagon stay at 365atlantafamily.com/ConestogaWagonCamping.

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 Easy Waterfall Hikes for Georgia Families

Fall Branch Falls

Fall Branch Falls

Summer is a time for exploring in nature. Add these five easy waterfall hikes to your adventure bucket list.

Anna Ruby Falls. Two falls are visible from the observation deck, merging into a beautiful creek. The paved walk (stroller-friendly) is lined with boulders and flowering shrubs. Bring change for the fish feeder just outside the visitor center; my kids could not get enough of the jumping trout. You’re adjacent to Unicoi park, offering hikes, a beach and canoe rental.

Amicalola Falls. Little legs will likely not enjoy a climb from bottom to top, but don’t let that stop you from visiting. Drive to the middle of the falls and take a short walk to the bridge overlooking the falls. My son was about 4 years old before we decided to climb the stairs from middle of the falls to the bottom, and then back up.  I carried the baby in a sling. Advanced hikers can also climb up from the middle falls.

Helton Creek

Helton Creek

Fall Branch Falls. This gem is tucked away in Blue Ridge, Ga. The walk is wonderful, with towering trees and beautiful large stones greeting you. You’ll follow the creek all the way to the falls. There are an upper falls and lower falls here. Don’t miss the upper falls like I did. We visited the lower falls and played in the water, but didn’t learn about the upper falls until we were back home.

Helton Creek Falls. From the parking lot you are only about 1/3 mile from the lower falls. Wear your suite, there is a great water play area here. It is one of our favorite summer spots; we bring a picnic, books and shovels for a day of fun. Don’t miss a climb to the upper falls, also. I don’t recommend taking the kids out to the water in this area, but it is fun to view from the deck.

High Shoals Falls. There is a High Shoals Falls near Helen, Ga that is lovely, but this waterfall selection is in Dallas, Ga. Your GPS will take you to the parking lot of an old graveyard. Have no fear, just follow the trail about .25 miles to the falls. Have a picnic, play in the water and have a grand time. You can even climb to the top of the falls like we did!

 

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.

Experiential Gifts for Georgia Dads

Family trip to Road Atlanta
It’s time to show a little love to our dads! Our favorite gifts are the ones where we make memorable moments together as a family. Whether for Father’s Day, a birthday, Christmas or just an “I love you,” here are several experiential gifts for dads in Georgia that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Road Atlanta. Does your dad feel the need? The need for speed? Then steer your crew to Road Atlanta. You can take in an event like the Petit Le Mans, or send dad to the Skip Barber Racing School. Unlike NASCAR, Road Atlanta is not just a sit-in-your-seat spectator sport. There are multiple vantage points from which to view the race, and plenty of off-track excitement. The best part? Kids are free! Our family recently visited during The Mitty, and we love it! Here are nine things about Road Atlanta that you probably didn’t know: 365atlantafamily.com/RoadAtlanta.

Topgolf. Treat dad to an afternoon of golf at Topgolf Alpharetta. There are multiple games including their signature Topgolf, where players score points by hitting balls with special microchip technology. You can also send dad for a golf lesson, or enter him in a tournament. The kids will love Kidzone, free for kids 12 and under, with pool tables, video games, giant Jenga and more.

Feeding whale sharks ga aquarium
Swim with the sharks.
Spend 2.5 hours swimming with the largest sharks in the world: the whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium. You’ll stay at the surface with a snorkel or air cylinder; a diving certificate is not required. If this adventure is out of your price range, you can still enjoy these amazing fish by taking the family on a behind-the-scenes tour. My boys took their dad, and we all had a great time. You can see more details here: 365atlantafamily.com/BTS.

Additional Ideas:

Whitewater rafting in Columbus

Eco Adventure Cruise in Savannah

Fly fishing class in Blue Ridge

Cave exploring with Georgia Girl Guides

College Football Hall of Fame Museum

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.

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.