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! 

Zoo Atlanta

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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.

Booth Western Art Museum

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Cost: Adults, $10; Age 13-17, $7; Age 12 and under, Free

Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, 1 pm to 5 pm

Location: Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville, GA 30120

Kelly’s Comments: I had never heard of this museum until a couple of years ago, so the kids and I headed up to Cartersville last summer and were very pleasantly surprised. The museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian, and it’s in a architecturally-pleasing building that’s not too big or overwhelming, but not so small that everyone is done in half an hour. Kids will enjoy the Western, cowhand, and Native American art themes. The best part, though, is the kids’ Sagebrush Ranch, located on the bottom floor. The rugrats can ride a “stagecoach,” sit atop a (fake) horse, dress up in Western gear, play kitchen in the Chuckwagon, and generally have a great time running around/yippie-ki-yaying without bothering the adult museum patrons on the floors above.

Whole Foods Storytime


Cost: Free (only if you can manage to escape Whole Foods without purchasing something, which I certainly can’t do)

Time: Tuesday at 10 am

Location: Whole Foods Merchants Walk, 1311 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Marietta, GA 30068

Kelly’s Comments: According to the website, “Moms & their tots are invited to join us for a story time read by Once & Again Books, crafts, and a snack. Every mom who attends with their tot will receive a FREE gallon of 365 Everyday Value Organic Milk with $30 purchase.” I am a little annoyed by the presumptive use of “Mom” (what about male caregivers?! Hello, gender equity!), but not enough to form a picket line or anything. Oh, who am I kidding, I’d move into Whole Foods if they’d let me live in a little corner of their store. I do love me some Whole Foods and all its organic, gluten-free, local vendor, composting goodness. In addition to story times, this location also offers various summer kids’ offerings such as yoga and food tastings.

Update! The store has stopped referring to it as “Mommy and Me” and now calls it “Caretaker and Me” or other non-gender-specific titles. Way to go, Whole Foods!