October 16, 2017

Itinerary: 3 Days in Atlanta with Kids

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Atlanta With Kids

Atlanta is such a great city for families. Not only is there so much to do, but there’s a lot to do within a small radius, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time in the car getting from place to place. Take a look at how to enjoy three days in Atlanta with kids.

Day One

Start your day at the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium opens at 10 am and it’s a good idea to arrive ahead of the crowds. When we first arrived, my kids rushed over to the touch tank in the Georgia Explorer gallery. They loved touching the rays as they swam past. In another room, my kids were able to touch starfish, sea urchins and other small sea creatures. A third touch tank was set inside a tugboat. So fun. 🙂

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As you continue to explore, you’ll encounter beluga whales, penguins, sea otters, whale sharks, albino alligators, jellyfish and many, many colorful, tropical fish. Plus, there are many hands-on activities for kids from touch-screen kiosks to behind-the-exhibit crawling spaces. We loved the huge, two-story aquariums and were mesmerized as we walked through a clear tunnel with sea life all around us.

The AT&T Dolphin Tales show is an absolute must-see. It’s nothing like any other dolphin show you may have seen. It was practically a Disney musical, complete with singing (even singing from the audience), music, dancing and special lighting and sound effects. It was amazing and a fantastic way to cap off a visit to the aquarium.

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Next, head across the street to Centennial Olympic Park. The free Fountain of Rings musical show is a must. It takes place four times a day (12:30, 3:30, 6:30 & 9 pm). Put the kids in swimsuits and bring along towels so they can run around in the water fountains outside of show times.

On the other side of Centennial Olympic Park is CNN Center and you’ll find a large food court with all kinds of restaurants on the lower level. Before you go, pop into the CNN Store and the Braves Clubhouse Store to pick up gifts and souvenirs. Then, head upstairs for the one-hour Inside CNN Studio Tour to get an inside look at how the news is gathered and reported from CNN’s world headquarters.

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Day Two 

Make the World of Coca-Cola your first stop of the day (it’s across a courtyard from the Georgia Aquarium). Even if you don’t drink soda, it’s a must-go for the new six-minute Moments of Happiness video alone. You will cry, so bring tissues. But before you head in to see the film, you’ll have a chance to view all kinds of Coca-Cola memorabilia. It’s interesting to see how the signage and messaging have changed over the years.

There’s much to see and do at the World of Coca-Cola, including photo ops with the Coca-Cola polar bear, the vault that stores the secret Coca-Cola formula, a bottling area, a 4-D movie experience, and of course, a tasting room that lets visitors sample more than 100 drinks from around the world. You’ll even leave with a small bottle of Coca-Cola as a souvenir.

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Eat lunch at the Pemberton Café inside the World of Coca-Cola before heading back across the street to Centennial Olympic Park to burn off some energy on the shaded playgrounds. You may also want to take a spin on SkyView Atlanta, the 200-foot Ferris Wheel adjacent to the park.

End your day at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, which is just across the street from the World of Coca-Cola. Here you’ll find plenty of hands-on activities that allow children to explore healthy foods, creative arts, science, and safety. There are also various musical performances and workshops that take place throughout each month.

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Day Three

Start your day at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. You’ll find great exhibits on dinosaurs and fossils (including a huge Argentinosaurus on display when you walk into the building), as well as exhibits focused on the natural history of Georgia, including which dinosaurs were found in the state. Before you go, an IMAX movie is a must. We saw Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. It was fantastic.

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Next, head on over to Stone Mountain Park for the rest of the day and into the evening. It’s about 20 minutes east of Atlanta, and there’s so much to do, including hiking trails, mini golf, a sky ride up the mountain, a scenic railroad, rope bridges and more. Plus, no trip to Stone Mountain Park is complete without the Lasershow Spectacular, which takes place at 9:30. It’s a 40-minute laser and fireworks show. Bring a blanket and let the kids run around on the lawn as the show projects on the mountainside.

If you’re staying in Atlanta for a few days and want to see it all, get a CityPASS (like I did). The pass enables you to see five top attractions over a nine day period and even skip ticket lines at many attractions. I suggest that you order the CityPASS online and pore over the included attractions before you go. You may also want to check out the latest Atlanta hotel deals for your family vacation.

Disclaimer: I was provided with two Atlanta CityPASS ticket  booklets, which allowed me complimentary admission to the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Fernbank Museum of Natural History. However, all views expressed here are my own. 

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