Atlanta is incredibly child-friendly. From museums to parks to historic sites, there is constant activity buzzing for kids all over the city. You need to have at least a week to see and do it all. Being a native Atlantan, I am more impressed every time I visit on the amount of construction that’s transpired over the years, much of it giving birth to institutions dedicated to the education of children.
Given a short amount of time on a visit to the southern capital, here are five sites that I recommend not to miss when traveling with kids:
1. Pay a visit to the Georgia Aquarium (225 Baker St., 404/581-4000, Sun.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., $26 adult, $19.50 child, $21.50 senior)in Atlanta located in Pemberton Place. It’s one of the world’s largest aquariums. With more than 8.5 million U.S. gallons of marine and fresh water fish, it houses more than 100,000 animals of 500 species. You will see so many amazing creatures – sharks, whales, manta rays, stingrays and so much more. The aquarium is unique in that it has five galleries, each hosting a form of sea life in various tanks. There is something for kids of all ages, and you, yourself, will be pretty impressed, too.
2. Learn the history of puppetry at the Center for Puppetry Arts (1404 Spring St., 404/873-3391, Tues.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., $8 adult, $6 child, $7 senior) — or build your own puppet while you’re there. The museum includes 2,000 objects from all over the world. Jim Henson is a big star at the museum, and they are celebrating his legacy with three exhibits on right now. One exhibit features many puppets that Jim performed and created including Ernie, Rowlf the Dog, the La Choy Dragon, Dr. Teeth, The Swedish Chef, Bugsy Them and others. In addition to these puppets the exhibit features personal archival photographs, seldom seen designs and doodles, sketches, quotes and a behind-the-scenes video from The Muppet Show.
3. Explore the history of coca-cola at The World of Coca-Cola (121 Baker St., 404/676-5151, www.worldofcoca-cola.com, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., $15 adult, $9 child, $13 senior), located right across from the Georgia Aquarium. It showcases the 100-year history of coca-cola with paraphernalia, documentaries and a 4-D film. A self-guided tour starts with a mock documentary called the “Happiness Factory,” where animated creatures who live inside the Coke machine tell how they feel about Coke. We especially enjoyed the refreshment room where it’s possible to sample various coca-colas from around the world. When we left, we were given a free bottle of coke as a souvenir.
4. Introduce your kids to the world of art at The High Museum of Art (1280 Peachtree St., 404/733-4400, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.), Sun. noon–5 p.m., $18 adult, $11 child, $15 senior). The High was remodeled in 2005 with a new addition by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. It’s an amazing structure with permanent and temporary exhibits. The current temporary exhibit is “Dali: The Late Work.” It follows his work after he was expelled from the surrealist movement in 1939. They also have the Greene Family Learning Center where kids can play in a spacious room divided into the following sections: Building Buildings, Making a Mark, Telling Stories, Sculpting Spaces, and Transforming Treasure. The museum has an abundance of activity for kids listed on their web site.
5. Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta (275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr., 404/659-KIDS , Mon – Fri: 10:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.; Sat and Sun: 10:00 a.m.— 5:00 p.m., $12.50 per person, kids under age 2 are free) is an ideal way for kids to spend the afternoon. It’s a hands-on museum and is one big interactive playground.