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.
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.
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.
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?
Photo courtesy of Fred Paynter
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.
Image courtesy of facebook.com/ TheMariettaIceCenter
Cost: Age 6 and up, $8; Age 5 and under, $5; Skate rental, $3. Higher rates apply for classes and camps.
Times: Varies by day. Check http://mariettaicecenter.com/public-skate/ for details. Generally open skate is in the afternoon or early evening.
Location: Marietta Ice Center, 4880 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30068
Kelly’s Comments: The MIC is hidden behind the Kroger shopping center/East Cobb Library branch. It has two rinks: a large one for open skate and hockey, and a smaller one primarily for lessons. Hockey lessons are for ages 5 and up; figure skaters’ age for lessons is contingent on their ability to fit into the smallest size skates (I couldn’t make that up if I tried. I will say that my next door neighbor’s 3-year old grandson broke his femur ice skating. A preschooler in a leg cast? Oh my.) The center offers various learn-to-skate and advanced skills camps, as well as youth and adult “stick time” for those unofficial hockey throwdowns.