High Museum of Art Discovery Backpack via Sue Rodman

Photo credit: Sue Rodman / Atlanta TravelingMom

The painting was of two circles and a swish, but in my son’s eyes, it was two people hugging. I love that painting now and that story is one of the reasons I love Atlanta’s High Museum of Art for kids. Here are five other reasons why the High Museum of Art is a great destination for kids of any age.

1. Discovery Backpacks

The painting discussion above came about while my boys and I toured the museum using the free Discovery Backpacks. There are two versions that help kids (and adults) discover some of the pieces in the High’s permanent exhibit. Not only does it give parents questions to engage kids, but there are also hands on materials, like a large canvas and paint brushes, so kids can not only look, but touch.

2. Greene Family Gallery

Younger kids will love the Greene Family Gallery where they can let their creativity soar. This is another area for touching. My boys enjoyed building structures just like the High’s architect Robert Meir, using the large soft geometric shapes. I thought the found objects that have magnets attached so they can be arranged and re-arranged on the metal board was a genius idea I could do at home to inspire my budding Howard Finster, a famous Georgia folk artist.

3. Family Programs

The High works hard to engage families. Programs include Toddler Thursdays, Family Tours and Arts and Rec Family Fun Days where they have special performances as well as themed art workshops. As the mother of teens, I appreciate the specialty teen programs. The High Museum of Art has a teen council that helps them plan and execute special evening events, just for teens.

4. Parents’ Night Out

The High is a great place for a date night or girls’ night out, too. Table 1280 is a hip restaurant/bar located across the piazza. I’ve enjoyed Friday Night Jazz in the museum too, but my favorite was a wine tasting paired with special tours of the latest exhibit.

5. Inspiring Exhibits

The High always has interesting and inspiring exhibits that often are on the edges of what I would consider typical art museum fare. One of our earliest visits was for an exhibit on the Terra Cotta Warriors of Asia. Although beautiful, there was also a great history lesson. The Art of Jerry Pinkney showcased children’s book illustrations, as well as a history lesson about the dearth of African Americans represented in children’s literature. Through Sept. 7, 2014, the High Museum of Art is showcasing Dream Cars, one-of-a-kinds concept cars that push the envelope of design and performance. It’s an exhibit about imagining, designing, and then creating the impossible. For each featured exhibit there is a kid’s audio tour, which helps engage children. I know my kids always seem to perk up when they have an electronic in hand.