The votes are in and one thing’s for certain: Atlanta Parent has the best readers in Atlanta. Our families are passionate about spending time with their children and want other families to discover all the places they love. For family fun, you can’t go wrong with any of the top venues in each category –  we want readers to try them all!

Best Local Attraction to Spend an Afternoon with the Kids

Atlanta BeltLine: Walk, bike or run the 22-mile trail that connects many Atlanta neighborhoods. Admire artwork, search for the Tiny Doors and stop for a treat at Krog Street Market or Ponce City Market along the way.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta: Spend the day learning about science, food and technology, or enjoy daily storytelling, performances, science experiments or art projects.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Families love the new addition to Fernbank, WildWoods, which features outdoor areas to explore, playgrounds and nature-viewing vistas.

Best Place to Wear out the Kids

Sky Zone: Play basketball, jump on trampolines or into the large foam pit. Five locations in metro Atlanta.
Catch Air: An indoor play and party space with slides and more. Six locations in metro Atlanta.
HippoHopp: Eco-friendly indoor play areas, a reusable discount card and a large toddler area. Atlanta.

Best Playground

PlayTown Suwanee: A magical bus, castle, log cabin, boat, elephant, slides and more located on Main Street in Suwanee.
Bessie Branham Park: Large wooden play structure with bridges, swings and slides located in Kirkwood.
Chastain Park Playground: Outdoor piano, treehouse, large slides and more in Chastain Park.

Best Nature Center

Chattahoochee Nature Center: Wildlife and nature, hands-on fun, camps and more await families in this Roswell treasure.
Dunwoody Nature Center: Butterflies, birds, classes, day camp and overnight stays – plenty to love.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve: Spot beavers, monarch butterflies, birds and other wildlife in this nature area on Roswell Road.

Best Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden: Visit the newly-remodeled children’s garden and attend special programming and exhibits in the heart of Atlanta.
Gibbs Garden: More than 50 acres of daffodils bloom from March to mid-April – just one of many reasons to visit this 292-acre garden in Ball Ground.
Woodlands Garden: The urban preserve in Decatur has birds, bugs and many native plants to see. The garden hosts Fairies in the Garden and other children’s events throughout the year.

Best Museum

Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Walk through Georgia’s history, see towering dinosaur skeletons, view a traveling exhibit, and participate in special children’s activities.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta: The museum has always offered interactive activities for the toddler set, but after the expansion and renovation, it now keeps older kids engaged, too.
High Museum of Art: Helps children develop an appreciation for art at an early age with children’s programs, permanent and special exhibits.

Best Specialty Museum

Tellus Science Museum: Dig for fossils and pan for gems, see dinosaur bones and science in motion.
Center for Civil and Human Rights: Learn about Civil and Human Rights leaders through interactive technology. Kids get free admission on SPARK Saturdays.
College Football Hall of Fame: See memorabilia from football greats, try your hand in the Skill Zone and access your stats online after you leave.

Best Kids Theater

Center for Puppetry Arts: The newly-expanded center offers a variety of classic story adaptations, new works and traveling shows.
Theatre for the Very Young at Alliance Theatre: The grandparent of children’s theatre offers year-round shows for ages 0-5 and their parents.
Aurora Children’s Playhouse: Adaptations of popular books and stories, and intended for kids to experience puppeteers, magicians, storytellers and musicians.

Best Animal Attraction

Zoo Atlanta: Visit the new twin panda cubs or stay overnight with the NightCrawlers program, and learn what it takes to be a zookeeper.
Georgia Aquarium: See a giant whale shark and learn about other creatures that live in and around the sea, or take part in Toddler Time, a program for toddlers with costumed characters, storytime and crafts.
Wild Animal Safari: Visit a safari right outside of metro Atlanta in Pine Mountain. The drive-through park has 65 species of animals from lions to giraffes to peacocks and lizards.

Best Place for a Sweet Treat with the Kids

Morelli’s Ice Cream: Over 200 homemade flavors to make your favorite combination. Moreland Avenue; Chamblee-Dunwoody Road inside Farm Burger.
Jake’s Ice Cream: Old-school ice cream shop with weekly inventive flavors. Atlanta.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Has national scoop shop locations and Atlanta is lucky enough to have three of them. Atlanta and Decatur.

Best Family Restaurant

Flying Biscuit: With healthy and decadent options, there is a brunch item sure to please every family member. A fluffy, buttery biscuit is served with each meal. 14 locations in metro Atlanta.
Yeah Burger: Kid favorites: burgers, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and vegan and vegetarian burgers. Virginia Highland and West Midtown.
Fresh to Order: Eight locations in metro Atlanta with kid’s menu items including: seared salmon, grilled chicken, Caesar salad and more.
Bantam + Biddy: Southern favorites on the kids’ menu including: fried chicken or vegetable plate. Full breakfast menu also available. Three locations in metro Atlanta.

Best Local Kids Toy Store

Rhen’s Nest Toy Shop: Wide variety of educational and unique toys. Atlanta.
Learning Express: Five metro Atlanta stores make it convenient to find educational and fun toys, and play with them before you buy.
Richard’s Variety Store: Toys, games, random finds, arts and crafts and more. Atlanta and Buckhead.
Treehouse Kid & Craft: Toys, décor, crafts, clothing and more at two locations in Decatur and Athens.

Best Place to Buy Books for Kids

Little Shop of Stories: Carefully selected books with an especially good section for pre-teen and teen readers, storytime, and special author events.
Half Price Books: Discounted selection of books including best-sellers.
Barnes & Noble: Storytime, activities and plenty of books make this a favorite.

Best Birthday Place

Main Event Entertainment: Laser tag, gravity ropes, bowling and more. They handle invitations, set up and clean up.
Stars & Strikes: Bowl, ride in bumper cars, or play laser tag. The party team takes care of set up and guides the kids to each area of play.
Little Shop of Stories: Themed storytime of your child’s choosing. Invitations and paper goods provided.
Tiny Towne: Kids love to learn to drive in this miniature city park in Norcross. Activities, food and a party coordinator make party planning easy.

Best Place for Music Fun

The Music Class: 14 locations in metro Atlanta.
Gymboree Play & Music: Four locations in metro Atlanta.
Community Music Centers of Atlanta: Three locations in metro Atlanta.

Best Place for a Kids Haircut

Pigtails and Crewcuts: Five locations in metro Atlanta.
Salon Red Kids: Three locations in metro Atlanta.
Relish Kids: Atlanta.

Best Kids Place for Crafting

Little House of Art: Chamblee;
Art Attack: East Atlanta.
2 Crafty Chicks: Decatur.

Best Kids Consignment/Resale Store

Once Upon a Child: Ten metro stores.
Kid to Kid: Nine metro stores.
Sweet Repeats: Buckhead.

Best Kids Clothing & Specialty Retail

Happy Mango: Atlanta.
Mint Julep: Atlanta.
The Seed Factory: Atlanta.

Best Place to Have a Baby

Northside Hospital Atlanta:
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital:
DeKalb Medical:

Best ER Facility

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta:
Northside Hospital Atlanta:
Grady Hospital:

Best Restaurant for a Special Date Night

Canoe: Set on the Chattahoochee River in Vinings, Canoe offers a warm atmosphere with an exposed kitchen and flavorful dishes.
Murphy’s: Upscale comfort food focusing on local ingredients, located in Virginia Highland.

Best Night out for Moms and Dads

Skyline Park at Ponce City Market: Feel like a kid again while playing mini-golf and carnival games, but also gaze at the awesome skyline views.
Starlight Drive-In: The largest of Georgia’s dwindling selection of drive-in theaters.
Catching a show at Alliance Theatre: Enjoy a wide variety of theatrical productions throughout the year.

Best Day Trip with Kids

Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills

Best Overnight Trip with Kids

Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain:
U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.:
Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tenn.:

Best Family Vehicle

Honda Odyssey
Toyota Sienna
Ford Explorer

Best Kept Secrets in Atlanta

Our readers had many great suggestions for best kept secrets. Here are our favorites:

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve: Hike to the waterfall and Civil War battle site through mossy trails and forests. 2852 Cascade Rd. SW, Atlanta.
EAA Young Eagles Aviation Program: Gives ages 8-17 their first free ride in an airplane.
Hudgens Center for the Arts Toddler Fridays: The last Friday of each month the center hosts hands-on activities and storytime for ages 1-4.
IKEA Småland: A fun, supervised play area in the entrance lobby for children while you shop.
Lake Claire Community Land Trust: Gardens, community event areas, paths and even an Emu. 270 Arizona Ave. NE Atlanta.
Rent a Boat on Lake Lanier: Rent a pontoon boat with life jackets and water tubes included and enjoy a day on the water.
Movie Tavern: Breakfast and a flick on Saturdays and Sundays.
Atlanta Streetcar: Take a ride on the loop and visit the playground at Woodruff Park, and then have a snack at Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market: Quickly become transported around the world with flavors and produce galore. Don’t miss the tanks full of live fish and the café serving dishes from many different countries.

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