- 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: $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. 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: Around $50/month for weekly 50-minute classes; see website for details
Times: Vary. TLC offers dance classes at numerous East Cobb daycares, and they also have classes in their studio, generally on Monday-Thursday evenings and Friday-Saturday mornings.
Location: TLC Dance Studio, 850 Old Piedmont Road, Suite 1, Marietta, GA 30066
Kelly’s Comments: My daughter took ballet for almost 3 years through TLC. Her teacher, Ms. Kim (love ya!) has some of the best classroom management and dance teaching skills that I’ve ever seen. It was so convenient for my lil’ one to take ballet at her preschool, but TLC also offers several classes at its Marietta studio. In fact, the company provides dance and fitness classes for older kids and adults, too, so its name is somewhat of a misnomer. TLC hosts its annual recitals at the Southern Polytechnic theater or the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, and the studio is a great place to have little girls’ birthday parties.
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.