Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard This Winter
Sometimes we forget how much there is to do right here at home! Whether you are looking for a few adventures around Atlanta or want to plan a full-on staycation, our fabulous city has a lot to offer. Check out our ideas for how to enjoy family adventures and time together in the metro area.
Visit with animals from all over the world at Zoo Atlanta. Scaly Slimy Spectacular features more than 70 species of amphibians and reptiles, and the African Savanna has elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches and more. The special area for kids includes ropes course Treetop Trail, the Endangered Species Carousel, a train, a water area and a petting zoo. This winter, the special exhibit IllumiNights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival is adding color and fun to your experience with vistas of illuminated wildlife and awe-inspiring sights. On view through Jan. 15.
Learn what life is like under the blue waves with exhibits featuring penguins, rays, fish, otters, sharks, whales and more at Georgia Aquarium. Dive into multiple habitats and species in Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone, see ocean predators in Sharks! Predators of the Deep, view more than 50 species in the 6.3 million-gallon Ocean Voyager tunnel and more. For a special experience, check out their animal encounters.
The Beauty of Nature
For astonishing views of the Chattahoochee River and the surrounding wetlands, head to Chattahoochee Nature Center for their River Boardwalk Trail and Connection Bridge. Walk 2.5 miles of hiking trails, and view reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals and birds. A special winter event includes the Enchanted Woodland Trail.
Explore gorgeous gardens as you stroll at Atlanta Botanical Garden’s two locations; both feature fantastic children’s areas. At the Ada Mae Pass Ivester Children’s Garden in Gainesville, learn about carnivorous plants, climb the Treehouse and Rock Climb, discover fairies and dragons, watch the Fairyland Trolley, catch moving water, and leap like the giant frog sculptures. The Lou Glenn Children’s Garden in Atlanta features a splash pad, Flower Bridge, vegetable garden, Venus Fly Traps, honeybees and more.
Watch the winning Atlanta Braves compete on their home field; training begins in February. Or go a behind-the-scenes tour of Truist Park. Check out their schedule for a full list of promotions.
An Atlanta must, The World of Coca-Cola will teach you about the origins of the famous soda before heading off to taste flavors from all over the world. Get silly taking selfies with the Coke Polar Bear, and check out their exhibit all about how the sense of smell effects taste.
Take in the View
Towering nearly 20 stories above Centennial Park, see a panoramic view of Atlanta at SkyView. This Ferris wheel includes climate-controlled and private gondolas for a breathtaking look at the city. This is a perfect add-on experience to a day spent at one of downtown’s other attractions.
Stone Mountain Park has it all: nature, outdoor beauty and family fun. Hike 15 miles trails, explore the 363-acre lake, and visit the historic spaces. Learn more about dinosaurs with the Dinotorium playground and the interactive Dinosaur Explore, travel across the park on the Scenic Railroad, play a game of mini golf, climb adventure courses, watch the Lasershow Spectacular and more.
Science All Season Long
Fernbank Museum of Natural History lets kids play as they learn. With permanent exhibits, delve into STEAM, forces, nature, dinosaurs and more. Walk through WildWoods for the new WildWoods: AGLOW where kids can view giant glowing mushrooms, motion-activated lights, unique music and other elements for an immersive, multi-sensory experience. Older kids will love the STEAM Lab where they can explore and interact with topics including aerodynamics, magnetism, geology, robotics, chemistry and more! Nature Quest is perfect for younger kids and brings the outdoors inside for hours of open-ended exploration and play. You can also watch educational documentaries exploring animals and the environment.
Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of science at Tellus Science Museum. Sift through sand for precious gems and stones and dig for precious fossils. Permanent exhibits include minerals, gemstones, fossils, transportation technology and more. Travel through the solar system with a show in the Bentley Planetarium.
Explore the wonder of water at Gwinnett’s first LEED-certified building, the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, which houses several educational exhibits for a full day of learning. Step back in time to see the history of how water ways worked from the past to modern engineering, play with water for hands-on learning about the water cycle, and discover the diverse ecosystem in Gwinnett County. Explore the recreational areas outdoors, including five miles of walking trails and the historic Chesser-Williams House.
All About Art
At the High Museum of Art, see gorgeous geometric mirror sculptures combining mathematical order and ancient Persian architectural motifs, along with drawings, textiles and collages with the Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden exhibit. Stop by the Greene Family Learning Gallery for interactive creative experiences and play.
Enjoy the art of theater at the Center for Puppetry Arts. With a variety of kid-friendly shows available all year long, you can choose the story you like best. While you’re there, be sure to check out the museum and make-your-own puppet workshop.
Step Back in Time
Explore the people, cultures and historical events that have shaped Atlanta at Atlanta History Center. Exhibits include Cyclorama: The Big Picture, an enormous painting depicting the 1864 Battle of Atlanta; learning how women achieved the right to vote with Any Great Change: The Centennial of the 19th Amendment; traveling to 1996 to see how Atlanta hosted the Olympics and Paralympics with Atlanta ’96: Shaping an Olympic and Paralympic City; and much more. The site also includes beautiful gardens and historic houses.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Civil Rights Movement icon who was born and raised in Atlanta. You can hear his story and learn about his life at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, which features his birth home and the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Smell the blooms at the “I Have A Dream” World Peace Rose Garden for a peaceful stop. Nearby, visit The King Center to see Dr. and Mrs. King’s crypt, The Eternal Flame and exhibits at Freedom Hall.
Following the historical tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights connects the history to the current struggle for justice and equality movements from all over the world. Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement, the Global Human Rights Movement, courageous advocates and more with photos, artifacts and documents.
Choo-choo! The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History is home to the “General” locomotive, made famous during the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. See tons of locomotive technology, historical artifacts, Civil War perspectives and more. At the interactive Jolley Education Center, kids can receive messages in Morse Code, operate a diesel train simulator, build model trains and more.
Learn what it’s like to be the president at The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library. Get an interactive view of the modern American Presidency with a life-size replica of the Oval Office, a “Day in the Life of the President” presentation, a walk-through of Camp David Meetings exhibition and a map table that allows you to monitor elections and fight diseases.
Just for Play
The hands-on Children’s Museum of Atlanta offers kids ton of opportunities to explore educational concepts with interactive permanent exhibitions on food, countries, creativity, science, problem-solving and simple machines. The winter’s featured exhibit PAW Patrol: Adventure Play will explore the fun of the show with interactive activities featuring Marshall, Chase, Skye, Rubble, Everest, Rocky, Zuma and Tracker. Drop by the Science Bar for a STEM experiment and get artistic in the Creativity Café.
The ultimate LEGO playground is LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Celebrate all things building block with the high-flying adventure in Merlin’s Apprentice, zapping trolls in Kingdom Quest, building and testing race cars and more.
The College Football Hall of Fame is a great way to celebrate the football season. The indoor playing field lets kids run off some steam and try their throwing and kicking skills. You can also check out the exhibits, including the addition that focuses on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.