East Cobber Parade

Image courtesy of www.eastcobber.com

Image courtesy of http://www.eastcobber.com

Websitehttp://www.eastcobber.com/parade

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: http://www.eastcobber.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2013-Media-Kit_ParadeFestival.pdf. 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!

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North Georgia State Fair

Image courtesy of www.northgeorgiastatefair.com

Image courtesy of northgeorgiastatefair.com

Website: http://www.northgeorgiastatefair.com/

Cost: Varies, depending on what you want to do. General admission: Adults, $7; 10 and under, Free; Parking, $3.

Times: Varies by day. See http://northgeorgiastatefair.com/Directions/directions.html

Location: Jim Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta, GA 30008

Seasonal: In 2013, the Fair is open September 19-29.

Kelly’s Comments: I haven’t always been an Atlanta girl, you know…I grew up in the country. Thus, I have a soft spot in my heart for good ol’ fashioned country fairs. The North Georgia State Fair is a great example of such a venue, although admittedly it isn’t as good in the livestock category as other, more rural fairs (such as the Coosa Valley Fair in Rome). On Family Day (9/21) kids and adults can enjoy free admission and rides for an hour. Bring cans for MUST Ministries on select days and receive free or discounted admission. Each night, the 7,500-seat arena has free concerts, pageants, or other events. There are rides for every age level, even the wee ones. Do I smell funnel cake?

Zoo Atlanta

Image courtesy of www.zooatlanta.org

Image courtesy of zooatlanta.org

Website: http://www.zooatlanta.org

Cost: Ages 12 and up, $21.99; Ages 3-11, $16.99; Ages 2 and under, Free. Discounts for seniors, military, and students.

Times: Weekdays, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; Weekends, 9:30 am to 6:30 pm

Location: Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30315

Kelly’s Comments: Monkeys…naked mole rats…warthogs…these are all words we use to describe our own children. Of course, one can venture to Zoo Atlanta to see the real creatures, too! As a teacher, I like the zoo because it offers two free Educator Days per year (usually in March and September). In addition to the fun animal exhibits, many of which are in the shade, there are two playgrounds, a kiddie train, a petting zoo, and enough animal-themed crap in the gift shop to make your kids wild with excitement (who doesn’t need gorilla-shaped lip gloss?). Come early or on a weekday to beat the crowds. Snag a coupon for $3 off in various Atlanta-themed magazines around town.

Big Creek Greenway

Website: http://www.bigcreekgreenway.com/ or http://www.alpharetta.ga.us/index.php?p=136

Cost: Free

Times: Open daily from dawn to dusk

Locations: There are several trail access points; the closest to East Cobb is at 6800 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Kelly’s Comments: I’ve passed this woodsy biking/hiking trail for years and finally rode on it this morning. I’m now mad at myself that I’ve wasted all this time before going! It’s gorgeous! It’s very shady, quiet, and serene (Did I mention that I saw 5 deer this morning?), but not so much that one feels unsafe. The trails are paved, wide, and flat, which is unusual in Georgia. This makes it great for kids (or for parents pulling their 3-year-olds in a trailer behind the bike.). There are a couple of bathroom stops along the way and also a cool little free bike repair kiosk. The Fulton part of the trail is about 8 miles long. I didn’t even begin to explore the mountain bike trails (with a 3-year-old? Bwahahaha!) or the pedestrian-only paths, so I look forward to learning more about the Greenway in the years to come.

Roswell City Pool

Photo courtesy of Fred Paynter

Photo courtesy of Fred Paynter

Website: http://www.roswellgov.com/Home/Components/FacilityDirectory/FacilityDirectory/86/1945

Cost: Roswell residents, $3; Non-residents, $4.50; Under age 2, free

Times: Tuesday through Friday, 1 pm to 5:15 pm and 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 1 pm to 7 pm. Hours vary when school is in session; check website for details.

Location: Roswell Area Park Pool, 10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell, GA 30075

Seasonal: As an outdoor facility, the pool is generally open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Kelly’s Comments: An “Old Roswell” mainstay, the Roswell Area Park Pool has been around a long time. It has three distinct parts: a shallow end (where my 6-year-old can stand up, yay!), lap lanes, and a deeper end with low and medium diving boards. Ankle biters age 4 and under can enjoy a kiddie pool, complete with water mushroom. An on-site snack stand will fuel you with all the junk food your heart desires. There are lounge chairs and umbrellas available, and there is a nice grassy lawn area upon which to put down a beach towel and ponder the meaning of life (or watch your children try to dunk each other). Youth can take lessons or join the associated swim team.

Monkey Joe’s

Image courtesy of www.monkeyjoes.com

Image courtesy of http://www.monkeyjoes.com

Website: http://www.monkeyjoes.com

Cost: Weekdays, $8.99/child; Weekends, $9.99/child; Age 2 and under, $5

Times: Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm (Barrett location stays open until 8 pm on Friday/Saturday); Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm

Locations: Marietta Monkey Joe’s, 50 Barrett Parkway, Suite 111, Marietta, GA 30066; Roswell Monkey Joe’s, 700 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 200, Roswell, GA 30076

Kelly’s Comments: Monkey Joe’s was one of the original “jumpy house” pioneers, and the company is still going strong. There are two locations close to East Cobb. Each features inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses, including toddler-only areas. Separate adults-only sections feature wireless internet, television, and comfy chairs. A bunch of junk food is available for purchase on-site, so I’d recommend bringing your own snacks and leaving them in the car. Socks are mandatory, but if you forget them, you can always purchase a pair at the front desk.

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church classes & camps

Image courtesy of www.johnsonferry.org

Image courtesy of http://www.johnsonferry.org

Website: http://www.johnsonferry.org

Cost: Varies. Classes and the preschool are very reasonable, and sports/camps are middle-of-the-road priced.

Times: Varies. Music classes and sports offered year-round; preschool and MMO during school months; various summer camps.

Location: Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068

Kelly’s Comments: As one of the largest churches in Cobb County, JFBC has a ton of offerings for all age groups, not just kids. While I have not yet enrolled my children in their programs (although I’m eyeing their sports camps for next summer), I have friends who have been quite satisfied with the classes their children have taken. The church offers competitive sports including baseball, softball, soccer, dance, basketball, cheerleading, and football; sign your kids up for summer camps in these areas, plus volleyball and tennis. (The church has numerous athletic fields on-site.) If your little ones prefer music, there are classes for babies through 5th grade. If you need a preschool or Mother’s Morning Out (although you know I prefer the term Parents’ Morning Out–yay SAHDs!) program, JFBC’s got you covered. You don’t have to be a member of the church (or for that matter, religious) to utilize the church’s offerings.