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Favorites: Georgia Places

2014 February 13
by Katie

It’s been on my mind lately to start categorizing things better on the ole blog.  I want to create pages where I can reference things quickly and the title of Favorites popped in the brain because a lot of times that is what people ask….what are our favorite places to online shop?  where are our favorite sources for baby clothes or gear?  what are our favorite tools?  where are my favorite places to visit in Atlanta?  (hint hint…that’s the one for today)…so be prepared in the future to see different categories of my favorites.

Sooo….I get emails all the time from folks that are planning on visiting the greater Atlanta area and are looking for things to do or places to visit and I thought that it would be fun to give a shout-out to all the spots we love here in the Peach State.  These spots are kid-friendly….because that’s what I got…I got kids…swarms of them around me at all times and they can’t be hitting up that supa-fly-techno-club until they are at least out of pull-ups.  I have to draw the line somewhere.  So here are some of my favorite places to go with them in tow….

 

The Georgia Aquarium

We have visited approximately six times and each time the experience is different!  Definitely see the beluga whales and the Dolphin Tales show…absolutely don’t miss them.  And since it is near by the CocaCola Factory, you should probably try to squeeze that in too…save on parking :)   Here’s a recap of our last experience visiting.

 

Zoo Atlanta

I feel like I grew up going to the zoo and we always loved it.  A lot of the paths are well shaded (perfect for a stroller!) and there is a fun train, petting zoo and carousel at the end so make sure you save that if you have little ones!  Here’s our recap of visiting.

Stone Mountain Park

My parents live only about ten minutes from the park and we absolutely LOVE it.  There are tons of special events, festivals and activities.  During the summer the laser show is a must-see and it gets VERY crowded so go early.  I personally love hiking up the backside of the mountain on a clear day and being able to see the Atlanta skyline and the North Georgia Mountains but if physical stuff isn’t your jam there is always a skylift to the top, plenty of places to picnic and a fun little village area that has candy shops, ropes course and a 4D theatre.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

This year marked my first visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and we loved it.  It is a little pricey for admission and parking but the grounds are gorgeous and there is even a little play area for kids.  Bring the camera as this proves to be one photo-hot-spot.  I think it would be well worth the moolah if there is a special event going on…I’ve never seen such beautiful plant sculptures!

 

Corn Dawgs

If you visit Atlanta in the fall, it is worth going outside of the perimeter and visiting Corn Dawgs.  It is a farm that converts into a fall-friendly activity center where you can do apple-launching, pumpkin picking, and navigate corn mazes.  They even have a hayride, animal petting area, and a corn pit for the kids.

The Rodeo

It is definitely a summer seasonal thing but the rodeo is a must-see if you are in town at the right time.  It’s not only exciting but you can take that time to embrace your inner cowboy and wear those boots that have been looking cute in the back of your closet.  Will loves getting to ride a pony, usually there is a half-time activity for the kids and the rodeo clowns are quite entertaining.

The Gwinnett Braves

We love the Atlanta Braves but we didn’t think Will and Weston were ready for the big-leagues of sitting still for that long.  So instead we head north to see the Gwinnett Braves play.  They sell seat tickets or you can sit on the outfield lawn for more run-around space.  I recommend looking at their schedule ahead of time to see if you can get a game with a fireworks display after!  Oh and make sure you practice the ‘chop’ before going :)

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The Fernbank is a beautiful building that has different exhibits through out the year.  I highly recommend seeing what exhibit is currently showing especially if the weather is hot because air conditioning is amazing as is the IMAX theatre.  If you don’t have kids, the Martinis & IMAX event is always a nice break from the norm and is great for Mommy & Daddy alone time :)

Mayfield Dairy Farms – Milk Factory

The Mayfield milk factory is way outside of the Atlanta area (up in the little town of Braselton) but well worth the hike for ice cream lovers.  It has a tour of the milk factory itself where you learn all about milk production, storage, shipping and sales.  They have little educational movie, activities for kids and you even get to practice milking an artificial cow.  The cherry on top is the ice cream at the end.  We are ice cream obsessed so this is a favorite for us.

Produce Picking

Georgia has great local farms where you can pick everything from blueberries to strawberries to apples.  We have visited plenty of pick-your-own orchards and farms and we have loved them all…ok ok…maybe the kids didn’t enjoy every second of the picking part but we sure did love the eating!  Here is the website I use when trying to figure out what we are harvesting next.

Imagine It!  The Children’s Museum of Atlanta

We love the Children’s Museum here.  It’s nearby the Centennial Olympic Park and it is full of fun.  It’s perfect for the 3 to 5 age and has plenty of activities.  Will loves the ball area and Weston would prefer to splash around in the fishing area or attempt to eat the building sand :)   If you go during lunch time, it’s a quick walk to the CNN center where there are loads of fast choices.

The Gwinnett County Fair

We love going to the fair and the Gwinnett County Fair is great for little ones.  There are plenty of rides that were well separated in a different section of the fair from the ‘big kid’ rides (meaning, you and your three year old don’t have to wait in line behind teenagers while they teach your kid new “words”).  Look online first to see if there is a way to score a discount on your ticket and bring cash for all that finger-licking-good-food.

Summer Festivals

There are tons of festivals in Georgia all the time…the Sunflower festival, the Yellow Daisy Festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival!  You get my point.  See if there is one going on when you come to visit!

North Georgia State Fair

This fair is one of the largest in Georgia and in my opinion has the best food :)   Besides the food, it also had a TON of animals for petting, observing and interaction with the little ones.  It has some of the best shows too…we have seen a dog trick competition, BMX bike trick show, and we hear this year they will have tigers (TIGERS!!!).

Piedmont Park

In the heart of the city is a large park called Piedmont Park.  It frequently is the hosting spot for festivals, free movies on the lawn and special events (like the Peachtree Road Race).  Last year we hit it up for the Food Truck Festival and it was delicious and fun for the kids too (imagine wide open spaces for little feet to run).  If crowds aren’t your thing, try visiting the other parts of the park that are more private and garden-like.

 

So that is the first fifteen places that I would recommend visiting while here in the ATL…especially if you have kids!  Jeremy and I both have said that this year will be a big year for us to explore more of Georgia so hopefully there will be more of this same topic in the future.



35 Responses leave one →
  1. Steph Nelson permalink
    February 13, 2014

    Our botanical gardens share season passes/admission with other attractions. Yours may too, you should check.

  2. February 13, 2014

    This. Is. AWESOME! My husband and I are new to the Atlanta area. Heck, we’re new to Georgia! We like going on weekend adventures but haven’t even known where to start looking. I can’t wait for all of the produce picking! Do you happen to have Atlanta area thrifting sources? I’m in serious need of some furniture pieces and don’t know where to look.

    • February 13, 2014

      I do but most of mine are OTP. Of course, I’ve had a lot of luck on Craigslist too.
      xo – kb

    • February 13, 2014

      are you ITP or OTP?

  3. February 13, 2014

    Luke (my 6-yr-old) and I live in VA Highlands so we do more “ITP” activities. We love Candler Park (free), Atlantic Station (always have something on the green for kids), and walking the Beltline.. You really should do it (beltline)! You can’t do it all in a day with kids but there’s so much! Restaurants, art, old fourth ward park with the splash pad (and much better than centennial’s splash pad) all on the Beltline. We love grabbing some King Of Pops during the summer months as well. Also during the fall/summer there is something called Streets Alive. It is hosted in various neighborhoods around the city. Streets are closed off and food trucks are there. Tons of activities for kids .. and it’s all free! I think our favorite thing from the winter months was Global Winter Wonderland. Holy. Crap. We were both in awe. If it comes back this year, you MUST go!

  4. February 13, 2014

    The festivals in Atlanta really start in April, not just Summer! And some more fun things are listed here: http://citymomsblog.com/atlanta/why-the-a-in-atlanta-stands-for-awesome/

    • February 14, 2014

      Yes they do! I like them all but highly recommend the summer ones!
      xo – kb

  5. Sloanesloane permalink
    February 13, 2014

    Great suggestions! Although I disagree with one thing – the Dolphin Tales show at the aquarium was TERRIBLE in my opinion. Sooo cheesy and just ridiculous. But that’s just my opinion and I also didn’t have kids when I saw it so maybe you view it differently with kids?

    • February 13, 2014

      It was great with kids! I remember being a little bit nervous that it would be too intense for Will but glad that the show was family-friendly!
      xo – kb

  6. audra permalink
    February 13, 2014

    Great suggestions! Lake Lanier is really nice, too. I love to spend the day in Historic Madison…I’ve treated my daughter and mother to the tea room, great way to spend the day.

  7. February 14, 2014

    My mom lives in Georgia, so it’s been fun checking out some of the local attractions when I’m visiting her. I actually suggested visiting Stone Mountain on our last visit, after seeing it on your blog! We also enjoyed checking out the town of Senoia, because it had both Walking Dead things and the Southern Living Idea Home last year. I will bookmark this post for our next visit!

  8. Trish permalink
    February 14, 2014

    I am sitting in my office in Cape Town, South Africa and feel like I have just gone on a little sighting holiday. Thank you for the trip. Now back to work and the boiling heat.

  9. February 14, 2014

    Hi Katie!
    Great list!! I think you covered so many great spots for families (and many places that I love to visit, even without having kids). One place you didn’t mention, though, is the Center for Puppetry Arts in Midtown! There are family shows playing all year round. The boys may not have been old enough to enjoy it in the past, but I bet Will would now (or soon!). Y’all should check it out! And then you can hop over to Atlantic Station for lunch afterward — it’s just across the bridge.

    I also LOVE going to the Botanical Gardens for Scarecrows in the Gardens in October. The weather is great, fall is in the air, and the scarecrows that local businesses and organizations create are so much fun.

    • February 14, 2014

      We’ve hit up the Center for Puppetry Arts the past couple years with Will and we had a couple experiences that were not that great. I am sure it’s just one of those bad luck things but that’s the reason it didn’t make the list. I think if we had a redeeming experience, it would definitely be something I would recommend :)
      xo – kb

  10. Carol D permalink
    February 14, 2014

    OTP ??? ITP??? What do these mean?

    • February 14, 2014

      Outside the perimeter. Inside the perimeter. Atlanta is a horizontal city…as in it is spread far and wide…and there is a road that contains the downtown part.
      xo – kb

  11. Rachel permalink
    February 14, 2014

    We took my little sister to Atlanta and bought the City Pass, so we did the World of Coca Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo, Fernbank, and CNN. I thought the kids’ exhibit on the third floor was awesome! So many hands on things for them to do- even my husband had a blast looking through the fossils and splashing in the pretend stream. I’ve never seen that before, but we thought it was so neat. It’s been a year or two so I don’t know if they changed it, but they had a stream that was made of light, and it moved like a splash when you walked through it. They also had a “waterfall” made of water vapor- it was so neat!

    • Rachel permalink
      February 14, 2014

      Should specify that this was at Fernbank. And DINOSAURS- the hubby was in heaven!

  12. February 14, 2014

    What a great post for all the Georgia readers, and visitors! My parents are looking to retire in Georgia, so I’ll have to pass this along to them! :)

  13. KoCa permalink
    February 14, 2014

    What about Monroe?! It has to be one of your fave places in GA! What are some fun things to do there?

    • February 14, 2014

      Monroe is an antiquing hotspot…unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot of attractions there for kids :(
      xo – kb

  14. February 14, 2014

    Yay! I plan on surprising my mom and kids to a long weekend trip to Georgia in March probably. We live only 5 hours away in FL and think it will be a great time. What does OTP and ITP mean?

    My best, Lynn

    • February 14, 2014

      Outside the perimeter (285) or inside the perimeter :)
      xo – kb

  15. Ruthie permalink
    February 14, 2014

    I love that you did this! We are within a days trip to Atlanta so I can’t wait to do a weekend trip when my little is old enough!

  16. February 14, 2014

    Katie – Thanks for naming Georgia Aquarium one of your top favorite places to visit in Georgia! We are thrilled to be included and promise to have something new for your family each time you visit.

    -Bailey Rogers, public relations specialist at Georgia Aquarium

  17. February 14, 2014

    Oh and any good food spot recommendations? Family friendly in Atlanta of course. Thanks!

    MB, L

    • February 14, 2014

      I’ll put that on the list of things I need to put together.
      xo – kb

  18. February 14, 2014

    From an Atlanta native, this is a great list! Made me realize that there are plenty of places I’ve yet to visit!

  19. February 15, 2014

    I was born and raised in Atlanta and haven’t been back to visit since 2002! Gosh, reading this list makes me miss the area and all the memories of my childhood there even more! Next up, how about a list of yummy places to eat in the area….just so my pregnant self can indulge from afar :)

  20. Emily permalink
    February 15, 2014

    If you like Chick-fil-A, then you should come on a Backstage Tour of the Home Office! Lots of cows, classic cars (even a real Batmobile!), and you can get your picture made on a real size billboard. I would love to host you!

  21. Katie t. permalink
    February 16, 2014

    Katie, this is perfection! I had lived in ATL for 6 years and moved away; but just moved back and now have a 20 month old. This is a great list and makes me excited to have some warmer weather! Thanks for putting this together!

  22. Lauren permalink
    February 26, 2014

    Love this list, Katie! I live in DC, but travel up and down the east coast frequently and will add these spots and activities to my list for my next trip to the Atlanta area! Also, have you been to the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove?? There’s a story I read a while ago about an unlikely friendship between a lion, tiger and bear (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/lion-tiger-bear-negligence_n_4374091.html) who live there. I just think its one of the cutest things ever and would love to visit the sanctuary and see all of the other animals that live there. If you have visited or go in the future I’d love to hear what you think and if the boys like(d) it!

    • March 2, 2014

      That is soooo cool! I hope that we can hit that up soon…I think the boys would love it!
      xo – kb

  23. Ali B permalink
    May 14, 2014

    Hi Katie, thanks so much for this post. I have lived in Atlanta (ITP) for 13 years and still haven’t done all the things you listed. I had no idea there was a milk factory in Braselton! My husband and I don’t have kids so we tend to stick with in-town activities that are geared towards adults, but I really do want to venture out of the city more often and explore. I am especially interested in the berry picking because I want to try making homemade jam.

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