- Image courtesy of
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Image courtesy of 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?
Image courtesy of 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.