This Summer, I have asked several friends to tell us the Top 5 Things to do in their cities. Join us each week as we learn about a new city! This week let’s head to Atlanta, Georgia.
When you think of the top cities to visit with kids I am certain your mind is filled with images of cities like New York, DC, Chicago, San Francisco. The city that doesn’t immediately make the list is often Atlanta, which is, in reality, a fabulous city to visit, full of family friendly attractions, parks and even sporting events! It is slowly becoming the Hollywood of the South, so spotting celebrities or movie sets around town is becoming a past time for many, and the restaurant scene, both family friendly and not, is booming.
With so many options to choose from we have narrowed down our top 5 things to do with kids in Atlanta – but whatever you do when you visit if you want to fit in please do don’t call it Hotlanta – we will know right away that you aren’t from here!
1. Fernbank Museum of Natural History – The Atlanta area actually has 3 science museums to choose from when planning a day of scientific fun, but this one is our favorite! From the giant dinosaur skeletons that greet you in their atrium when you enter to the permanent hands on science exploration area to the IMAX theater there is something for kids of all ages to enjoy.
There temporary exhibits range from Extreme Mammals to the Scoop on Poop, and these exhibits both teach and encourage guests to be interactive (there has yet to be one my kids haven’t enjoyed, but the Scoop on Poop was a particular favorite!)
The best part of the Museum is their NatureQuest area, which opened two years ago after an $8 million renovation, and focuses on six diverse ecosystems, includes a working clubhouse inside a treehouse, rope bridges, a working ‘misting’ waterfall that leads to a cave that can be explored, a simulated river, and even a few live animals. We love the interactiveness of the entire area, as well as the learning opportunities while playing.
Fernbank can get busy with field trips, but we have always found the staff to be helpful in letting us know what exhibits they will be heading to so we can plan our visit around them! Along with special weekend events, like Superhero Day, Reptile Day, Butterfly Day and more, this museum is well worth the cost of admission.
Adults are $17.50, Seniors and Students are $16.50, Children 3-12 are $15.50 and Children 2 and under are free! IMAX tickets are an additional fee ranging from $8 to $13.
2. Minor League Baseball – As a city we are fortunate that we have major league sports teams in baseball, football and basketball, but the games are often expensive and crowded. So we beat the crowds by attending minor league baseball games! Not only do we have the Gwinnett Braves, a Triple-A team located slightly North of the city, but there are several college teams which provide an easy and cheap way to watch some baseball! The Brookhaven Bucks are our favorite, playing at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, an area of Atlanta easily accessible by Marta or car. Players are recruited from colleges across the US to play in this Summer Sunbelt League. The teams (and coaches) interact with the kids and it is an easy – and cheap – way to watch America’s favorite pastime in action!
Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for kids.
3. Zoo Atlanta – This zoo is one of only 4 institutions in the US that is home to giant pandas! With over 1500 animals, including the largest zoological collections of gorilla and orangutans in the US, we love to visit Lun Lun and Yang Yang and their cubs Mei Lan, Xi Lan and Po. If you visit during the week there is no line to get into the panda exhibit, and despite the fact that they most that they do is munch on bamboo (procured from local residents around Atlanta!) my kids could watch them for hours. Add in the train, the carousel, the petting zoo and the playground, and before we know it a full day is gone! Bring your own food, as the food stands aren’t always open – and when they are they are overpriced – and plan on spending a day exploring the zoo. They are soon opening a splashground which can cool down on even the hottest of days. It may not be the National Zoo or the San Diego Zoo but it is something Atlanta is proud of!
Tickets are $21.99 for 12 and older, $16.99 for ages 3-11, $17.99 for students, seniors and military, children 2 and under are free.