How To Have Fun In Atlanta
There are infinite activities in Atlanta. Despite the heat and traffic, it is a very child-friendly city. The biggest problem to watch out for is traffic and timing. When planning your trip, don’t try to fit too much in. One stalled car 20 miles away could cause traffic to ruin your whole day. Bottom line, don’t spread yourself too thin.
All that said, following are two different options for a fun-fulled day in Hot-lanta!
Option 1 – The Big 3:
The Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Park and The Children’s Museum
You can’t come to Atlanta without seeing the world’s largest aquarium. Because of its size, you easily can spend all day at the Georgia Aquarium. However, you also can limit it by really focusing on one or two exhibits. The best for kids are the Ocean Voyager, featuring a moving sidewalk through a glassed-in tunnel and a viewing area of the entire tank with a floor-ceiling window, and the Tropical Diver where kids can see Nemo, Dory and all their friends. The 4D theater also is a big attraction, but take note – it may be scary for small kids (simulated thunder, a dark room, loud noise, etc.) There is an interactive kids area you can hit before you leave. Park in the parking deck for easy access. (It is slightly more expensive than private lots, but your car is shaded and there is a shorter walk.) Now through August 11, the aquarium opens at 9:00AM. Plan to arrive when the doors open to avoid major crowds.
You can’t bring outside food into the aquarium, and their options are very expensive. For a fun and delicious throwback to the good ‘ole days, walk on over to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and milkshakes – and fantastic music from the ’60s and 70s spontaneously performed by the waitstaff.
Burn off your lunch by walking to Centennial Park. It’s FREE fun for everyone! There are several playgrounds, lots of green space and, most famously, the Fountain of Rings, where you can splash around and perhaps see a water show. (Check the web site for show times.)
If you and your kids aren’t sufficiently exhausted, and you don’t mind spending just a little more, Imagine It! The Children’s Museum is another short walk away. The museum is full of interactive, imaginative, and learning exhibits for kids of all ages. It closes at 4:00PM, though, so plan accordingly.
Option 2 –
Animals new and old
Just southeast of the city is Zoo Atlanta, the oldest cultural institution in Atlanta and features all manner of animals kids would love to see – lions, tigers and bears, snakes, turtles and dragons (Komodo Dragon, that is) and everything in between. It is relatively shaded but will be hot nonetheless…and crowded so plan accordingly! You can bring a picnic lunch or buy from the Zoo’s restaurant. Or we suggest eating from one of several child-friendly restaurants in historic Grant Park (the neighborhood in which the Zoo is located).
For a quick break in the AC and a bit of a history lesson, check out the Atlanta Cyclorama (right outside the Zoo), a giant panorama depicting the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864.
If you still have some time, drive a few more miles east to visit Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Much of it is slightly dated but kids of all ages will LOVE seeing the giant dinosaur skeletons and exhibits. They also just remodeled NatureQuest, an interactive exhibit that immerses kids in all the wonders of the natural world. Note: It is crowded early in the day, but thins out after lunch. The little ones will have lots of room to move and explore.
At this point, no matter what you choose to do, you and the family will be sufficiently educated and exhausted. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and recover from a fun-filled day!
Yippee! Atlanta is my hometown, so I try to get back there often with the kids. Don’t forget to grab a meal at The Varsity at I75/I85 and North Avenue, another Atlanta institution. :o)
Awesome! Your a lifesaver…now I know what places to checkout when we visit my mom in September!!!
Sounds like fun!! I’ve been wanting to go to the aquarium.
We are heading to ATL next month on our way to SC!! We’re spending the weekend in ATL hitting up all the kid- friendly attractions! Thanks for the great article!!! Fingers are crossed we get pulled for the family pack for the aquarium!!
Oh, sounds like fun! Bet my daughter would love it!
We will have to check this out!
What a great post! I had no idea about the Centennial Park and it’s playgrounds :). That diner you mentioned, Johnny Rockets, sounds right up our alley! If we make it to ATL we’ll have to stop by there :). I’ve been wanting to take my son to the Aquarium there for quite a while now, but it’s just too expensive. It would be so amazing to win tickets!
Hope I win! Ive been wanting to go! Thanks for all your interesting articles and tips on living in the Tennessee Valley!
Hotlanta here we come!
We are wanting to go to the aquarium and would love to win this family 4 pack!!
Really like the contributors articles about some fun day trips from HSV!
We really need to take our girls, they would love it!
Thanks for the great info about Atlanta! I’ve always lived near there, but never been to spend a fun weekend in Atlanta, it’s always passing through. I would love to take my kids to the Aquarium!
Thanks! We’ve done Option #1 but haven’t tried anything from Option 2. We also have a blast seeing a Braves game. ;).
Ps. Yes – Atlanta traffic is horrrrrible!
I did not know about Centennial Park, we will have to visit.
Thanks for all the great advice!
Atlanta is such a great place to visit, my family loves it!
I would love to go see them and take my son to the aquarium
I’ve heard such great things about the Atlanta Aquarium and hope we get the chance to go! We would be so excited!
Love Atlanta, so many fun things to do!
Yet another great article! Thanks so much for pointing out all of the fun things to do! Huntsville is in such a convenient place 🙂
Awesome article! Very informative…thanks!
Sounds fun. Would love to go to the Zoo & the Aquarium. 🙂
Great info!! Thanks!!
This would be a perfect fall getaway for us!
Oh my word!! We have been wanting to take a trip with the kids to HOTlanta!! Thx for the info! Would love to win!
When the boys and I made our Summer Bucket List, several of the “to do” items meant going to Atlanta! We love it there. Well, I do hate driving there, but I keep my GPS very close by.
My family of 3 took a short trip to Atlanta a couple years ago when we wanted a fun vacation but didn’t have the funds or time for a beach trip. We LOVED it, and it was very affordable. We stayed for 5 days/4 nights and purchased some combo pack tickets through the Braves organization which were a great deal with many options. I think we paid $75 per person for tickets to 5 different things. We did tickets to a Braves game, Coca Cola, Aquarium, Stone Mountain, and Six Flags. Each one of these was amazing, but there were options for fewer places as well. We also took the time to do a cheap ($6/person, I think) tour of Turner Field and ate at The Varsity among other Atlanta visit musts. We loved it, and would love to go back to visit the Zoo and do some of these same things again. What a great city! I <3 ATL!
would be great fun to go to Atlanta again
Either of these would be awesome! My sister is in Marietta so we could visit her too! Bonus!
I have not been there since they added the dolphins. They look amazing!
Sounds like a great time! Would love to go to the aquarium!
Would love to win. Never been to the Georgia Aquarium before. I’m sure the kids would love it! 🙂
Would love to win this for my family!
I have never been to the Georgia Aquarium…would love to take my girls!
I would love to visit the aquarium in Atlanta. My little man loved the fish at the Tennessee Aquarium and would love for him to see another aquarium.
I love the ATL shawty 😀
I’ve always wanted to go here.
Great Article! Would love to win tickets and I appreciate the opportunity to enter! Thanks!
We’ve never been to any of the big Atlanta attractions, but they look awesome! Thanks for the info!
This is an awesome list! My mom just moved very close to Atlanta and this is a good list I can reference when we meet up. Definitely will be fun for the kids!
I will definitely take this guide with me next time I take the family to Atlanta! Thank you
Love to take my son!!
Great tips. My son is just now at the age where we are excited to find activities for him (and us!) to do in cities we visit!
We would love to win these tickets, we’ve never been to the aquarium and heard it’s great!
my kids love the aquarium!
I can’t say I’ve ever had fun in Atlanta; all of my experiences have been with the airport.
The aquarium sounds like a blast and the only fish the kids have ever seen have been on a hook.
Great tips! We are headed to Atlanta soon and this was perfect timing. Thanks!!
Would LOVE to win the Disney on Ice tickets!!
I would love to take the kids. Sounds like a blast!
Sounds like a great idea to beat the heat!
Great suggestions! We love the Olympic Centennial park!
we love atlanta!
Thanks for the great fun ideas while visiting Atlanta!
So glad I read this…. Atlanta has always made me nervous. Too many choices and too many cars! Haha!
This sounds awesome! I would love to win some tickets.
Thank you! We are going tO Atlanta tomorrow, we will be there fOr the weekend.
I’ve really wanted to visit that aquarium! Thanks for the awesome giveaway.
The aquarium in Atlanta seems like the perfect indoor family attraction!
I have been trying to make my hubby take the kids & I to ATL, but he always gives excuses about the traffic…this post might just take my whining to a new level!
Definitely a place to take my 3yo. He loves animals. Thanks for the idea!
I am from Atlanta! Great article on many activities there! Fern Bank is a treasure!
We need to go to Ikea and this is helpful! It’s also worth mentioning the CocaCola Museum!