Marietta Fire Museum

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Cost: Free

Times: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday; weekends by appointment only

Location: Marietta Fire Museum, 112 Haynes Street, Marietta, GA 30060. The museum is inside Fire Station #1. Parallel park along the street or in the deck one block over.

Kelly’s Comments: This small museum is a great way to entertain the kids (and yourself) for half an hour. It features antique fire trucks and water pumps, firefighter uniforms, fire-themed toys, and historical fire communications equipment. (I got a chuckle out of the late-80s/early-90s car bag phone–nice to know that a device from my youth is now “history.”) Since the museum is in a working, modern fire station, my 5-year-old son loved hearing actual fire dispatches over the loudspeaker (“Someone passed out at the Costco!“). The museum is not suited for the toddler set, as touching is not allowed; plus it’s bi-level, so the large staircase thwarts little legs and strollers. I’m sure there’s an elevator somewhere but I didn’t see it, nor did I see bathrooms, so be aware of these factors before you go.


The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library


Cost: $8, Adults; Free, Kids 16 and under

Times: 9:00 am – 4:45 pm, Monday – Saturday; 12:00 pm – 4:45 pm, Sunday

Location: The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library, 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30307. Parking is free.

Kelly’s Comments: I hate to admit it, but I didn’t really know much about Jimmy Carter before I visited this museum. He was President when I was born, so obviously I wasn’t paying too much attention to politics back then. I finally got around to visiting this museum sans kids, because I had the feeling it would be over their heads, and I was right. Older kids (I’d say 8th grade and up) and adults will enjoy the museum for its content, but if you bring the younger ones, at least you won’t have to worry about them breaking anything, as all artifacts are behind glass. The grounds are exceptionally lovely and would appeal to the younger set–there are a couple of lakes, several statues, and lots of shady, grassy areas, with the occasional peek of a downtown skyscraper. One of the most interesting exhibits was all the gifts that the Carters had received from around the world. Visitors will also enjoy the replica of the Oval Office as it looked during 1977-1981.

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University

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Cost: $8, Adults; $6, Kids 6-17; Free, Kids 5 and under

Times: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 noon – 5 p.m

Location: Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory, 571 South Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322. Park at the Fishburne Deck or take public transportation and save 20% on museum admission.

Kelly’s Comments: The kids and I visited this small museum for the first time this summer. It’s heavy on the ancient artifacts and archeological finds. There are some really neat displays here, such as mummies, giant ear spacers, ancient snot suckers (yep, babies have been tortured by these for millennia), coins, jewels, and cuneiform tablets. The museum is best for the 7-and-up set, as it’s very “no touch” and also quite monochromatic (many of the artifacts are brownish-clay/pottery, so not a lot of bright things to keep the little ones interested). My 8-year-old daughter loved it; my 5-year-old son whined the whole way through. C’est la vie.

Cook’s Warehouse


Cost: Varies. One-time classes are usually $50-$75, and camps range from $250-$350.

Times: Varies. Usually on weekends or weeknights, except for summer camps, which are generally half days in the am.

Location: The Cook’s Warehouse, 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 568, Marietta, GA 30068. There are also Brookhaven, Decatur, and Midtown locations.

Kelly’s Comments: I have volunteered as a cooking school assistant at the Cook’s Warehouse (fun times, by the way, if you like cooking–you get to watch the class for free, but you do wash a lot of dishes). I knew that their adult programs were awesome, so I was excited to sign up my 7-year-old for a summer cooking camp. She absolutely loved it and is already begging me to send her next year. The recipes they make aren’t typical kid fare–she made homemade pasta noodles, Greek turkey sliders, yeast rolls, etc. The chefs teach food safety and proper knife handling, and there is a high student-to-adult-assistant ratio. The younger camp is for kids 6-9, and the older camp is for ages 10-13. During the year, there are several teen cooking classes, and even some geared specifically toward college students. The camps are a little pricey, but considering the quality and amount of recipes they cook, and the amount of swag they get at the end (Mommy may have “borrowed” the swanky Le Creuset dishtowel…permanently), it’s actually a good bargain. On the last day of camps, two family members get to enjoy a feast cooked by the kids. Bon appetit! 

Sparkles Family Fun Center


Cost: Varies per activity and day of week; roughly $5 to $9 per activity; skate rental is $4

Times: Vary; see website for specifics. Some days open as early as 11 am and close as late as 11 pm.

Location: Sparkles Family Fun Center, 1000 McCollum Parkway, Kennesaw, GA 30144

Kelly’s Comments: What 30-something doesn’t remember fondly his or her days of roller skating to bands like The Bangles and Mike and the Mechanics? Sparkles brought back those memories and more, except this time I was couples’-skating with my 7-year-old. I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness and aesthetics of Sparkles, since the rinks I patronized as a youth were heavy on the ripped carpet and aluminum siding. Sadly, though, the rental skates were just as grody as I remember them, so if you have your own, bring ’em; if not, grit your teeth and wear thick socks. In addition to roller skating, children can play laser tag, visit an arcade, climb on an indoor play structure, and eat at the cafe. Little ones can bring ride-on toys early in the morning on certain days, and rolling walkers are available (for a fee) to assist new skaters.

Community Egg Drop


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Cost: Free for egg hunts; $5 for unlimited rides and inflatables

Times: 10 am to 5 pm, usually the last Saturday before Easter. In 2014, it’s on April 19.

Location: Sprayberry High School football field, 2525 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA 30066

Kelly’s Comments: The Community Egg Drop has gotten bigger and bigger each year (last year’s attendance topped 22,000!). With hunts organized by age group, and a helicopter that flies over and drops thousands of eggs from the sky, toddlers through elementary-aged children are sure to be impressed. Hey, it’s pretty cool for the adults too (we all wish we were the ones in the helicopter, right!?). Besides the great grab bags, which usually include coupons and freebies from local merchants, there are a variety of inflatables, slides, carnival-style games, and door prizes. Enjoy free pictures and high-fives with the Easter Bunny, the Chik-Fil-A Cow and the Zaxby’s Chicken.

East Cobber Parade

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Cost: Free

Times: Usually mid-September. The 2013 parade is on 9/21 at 10 am.

Location:  Parade travels one mile south from Princeton Lakes Drive to Fountains of Olde Towne Shopping Center, 736 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068

Kelly’s Comments: Read more about the 2013 parade at the following link: The parade features local school children (and teachers), marching bands, civic organizations, businesses, and East Cobb houses of worship. There’s plenty of candy thrown to onlookers!