What Should We Do This Year?
Ann McDermitt - Atlanta
January 24, 2012
New year, new goals and thoughts of challenges ahead, but the greatest achievement will be sharing experiences with your child and family. Set aside a few moments to explore throughout the year and you will have a lovely set of 2012 memories. Better yet, your child will remember these experiences for a lifetime!
Here is a list of possibilities and ideas in Atlanta. Time to have some fun!
- Ride the Marta train to a destination. Your kids will love the simple adventure of riding a Marta train downtown to the High Museum of Art or other destinations along your chosen line. The mere process of waiting for the train to whoosh by and plotting the stops on a map are enchanting. A sample itinerary might take you to the High Museum for their Toddler Thursday between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Follow that up by eating in the High's courtyard or at a restaurant like the popular DaVinci's Pizza which is behind the museum and near the Marta stop.
- Cycle or walk on the Silver Comet Trail. The Silver Comet Trail is a converted rail-trail which begins in Smyrna, Georgia at the Mavell Road trailhead. It travels through three counties. (Cobb, Paulding, and Polk) and you can choose to start at the beginning for your adventure of choose one of the other trailheads along the way. Pack a lunch with you or make the town of Rockmart part of your adventure. You can find the Frankie's Italian Restaurant.Whether you walk, bike, scooter, or rollerblade you will enjoy the moments away from the city.
- Find a free event like the Fourth Saturday Family Fun Days in Centennial Olympic Park. Beginning in May, these themed afternoons feature artists and exhibits from around the Southeast for families to explore. Last year the activity themes ranged from kites and flight to games and gadgets. Googie Burger is near the Fountain of Rings at the park. There are also restaurants in the Luckie Street district nearby and a complete food court inside the CNN Center to feed your hungry crew.
- Explore the famous festivals of Atlanta. Atlanta hosts the premier arts, historic, and food festivals in the Southeast. Do a little research and pick one festival or street fair where your family can soak in the culture of our city. The variety is endless and each season offers unique experiences like The Dogwood Festival, Sweet Auburn Springfest, Yellow Daisy Festival, JapanFest and more. Each festival features learning opportunities and amusement.
- Relive your childhood by admiring Jim Henson's genius at the Center for Puppetry Arts. The special Jim Henson: Puppeteer! section of the museum features sketches and creative processes through which characters for Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Muppets, and more were created. Families will be surprised to fine something of interest for any age in the museum treasures. If you are a Fulton County resident you can participate in the Free Museum Saturday dates which usually fall on the first Saturday.
- Pick your favorites at a food truck event. The latest food craze offers a fun experience for those who are interested in trying new and interesting foods in Atlanta. Each Thursday the Street Food Thursday in Midtown Atlanta (12th and Peachtree) offers a regular gathering. You can find out about other gatherings throughout the city in locations like Atlantic Station and Krog Street on the Atlanta Street Food Coalition's site. By following your favorite vendors and the Street Food organizations on twitter and facebook you can be up to date on the latest news concerning their events. Be sure to sample the King of Pops' offerings regardless of the weather. Flavors such as Bananas Foster, Coconut Lemongrass, and Mexican Chocolate have garnered them a long line of fans each time they show up with their popsicles.
- Take 'em out to the ballgame. Braves Baseball is synonymous with Atlanta sports. Turner Field also houses special features like Cartoon Network's Tooner Field, Coca-Cola's SkyView, and Scout's Alley. All three are good reasons to get to the games early and enjoy some time exploring. The SkyView area is popular because of a base run for children to experience along with the replica of the large Coca-cola bottle. The Chick-Fil-A Kid's Club offers a wonderful opportunity to receive discounted game and Hall of Fame tickets along with other features. You can decide if the vouchers offered through this club would make a significant discount to your overall cost. Take a moment to check out this fun list published by the Braves organization with 101 things to Do and See at the Turner Field. Two training teams − the Gwinnett Braves and the minor league Rome Braves − are nearby and also offer positive family atmosphere for sports viewing.
- Seek storytellers. There are opportunities to hear lively storytellers at libraries and schools all over Georgia. There's even a Southern Association of Storytellers to be found, but two of the most famous locations to find regular storytelling are The Wren's Nest (Joel Chandler Harris' home) and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. These masters take the words of a book or tale and make them come alive with character and feeling. Both you and your child will be enchanted.
- A picnic with live music. Community parks and town squares all over the metro area feature lunchtime concerts or Saturday events which are perfect for a picnic setting with your little ones. Let them shake the sillies out while enjoying a beautiful day outdoors. Don't forget your camera to capture a few giggles and memories. It's simple and delightful! Want to find out about these events before the last minute? Sign up for newsletters or on the facebook page of the park or town you would use for a picnic. You'll be the parent "in the know" with fun ideas.
- Have a water balloon fight. This only requires your backyard, warm weather, and some minimal preparation. In fact, you can train your child in the fine art of preparing water balloons. Set up forts for the opposing sides (Mom's team versus Dad's team?) and fire away. Your kids will have a new appreciation for your ability to play after the balloon battle is over.
- Learn The Varsity's lingo. As the world's largest drive-in diner, but also the coolest, The Varsity is an Atlanta classic. It's not exactly health food, but it is delicious. You can even pull up to the drive-in area and have the royal treatment from the classy car hops. (These are true gentlemen...but bring your cash for this part of the diner.) You should study up before visiting because there is a special lingo you must know before the counter person yells "What'll ya have?" to you. Georgia Tech game days are particularly busy so beware!
- Unplug. Whether a movie marathon or a simple day talking about music at the piano, scheduling time to be "un-scheduled" will benefit your whole family. Eliminate the distractions and bring out the board games and popcorn. Sometimes the little moments are the best memories you can create with your child. Relax and let them happen.