Thursday, July 4, 2013


Top 5 Things to do in Atlanta

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.
Showing off his new ball, courtesy of the baseball team!

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.
Sitting on a statue of Willie B, a famous gorilla from the 1980's at Zoo Atlanta

4. Atlanta Botanical Gardens - The Atlanta Botanical Gardens may not seem like a place that kids would love to visit but our kids can't get enough of the open gardens, the beautiful flowers, the changing exhibits and the kids play area, all located right in Piedmont Park in the heart of Midtown. Moms and babies can take part in their Stroller Strut, Fridays from 10:30 to 11 from March through September, where parents and caregivers can explore the grounds while learning about the gorgeous gardens that surround you. 

We like to sneak straight to the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory, which seems like just a walk through the trees but for my kids is so much more. They stop and check out the various frogs which live in the entrance, and once inside they could spend hours searching for the quail and turtles which call it home. The children's garden has a small splashground (which can be avoided!) at the entrance, and once you are in it you will find slides, water features (with fish), a tree house and more to play in. Throughout the gardens are benches with frog statues that kids love to become friends with!

In October the ABG has their Scarecrows in the Garden, as well as their Garden Lights Holiday Nights in November and December, where the entire garden is swathed in holiday lights. These two events are worth the price of a membership for us!

Tickets are $18.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 3-12 and free for children under 3.
Checking out the fish in the Children's Garden

5. Atlanta History Center - This is another off the beaten path choice for kids, both in location and content. It is located away from the midtown/downtown areas of Atlanta and instead is in Buckhead, amongst mansions and upscale shopping. It is a great museum for those without children, a place you can begin to understand the rich history of Atlanta, but for kids it offers a chance to explore the Smith Family Farm, a farm that was relocated from its original location to the AHC for the purposes of educating on what farm life was like back in 1840. It includes real animals (chickens, sheep, cats) that kids love to chase, and they have a yearly Sheep 2 Shawl Festival where they bring modern day children into the lives of families in the 1800s. 

One of our favorite parts of the History Center is their monthly Magic Monday program, for kids 18 months to 5 years. This program introduces children to history and historical events in a fun, creative way, generally with a craft, games, activities and more. 

On the Smith Family Farm at the Sheep 2 Shawl Festival

Admission is $16.50 for adults, $13 for seniors and students ages 13-18, $11 for kids ages 4-12, and kids 3 and under are free.

Andrea Botham recently started Passports and Pushchairs, a blog extolling the ability to travel with kids without losing your cool. She was born with a passion for many things, some of them realized, like traveling and writing, some still a work in progress, like photography. Her goal is to not only encourage other parents to travel but to inspire them to show their kids the World, one city at a time. She lives in Atlanta with her British husband and her half British, half American son and daughter, both of whom use more British words than Peppa Pig. You can read her blog at, or find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


andrea, passports and pushchairs said...

Thank you :) Loved doing this for you!

Ann said...

Great tips for Atlanta! Love the idea of a stroller strut.

Elderly in Home Care said...

Great tips for Atlanta! Love the idea of a stroller strut.