Many families are hitting the road this summer for vacation, and one of the most exciting parts is choosing which cities to add to the itinerary. Atlanta is appealing for a quick visit because a large number of tourist attractions are in close proximity to one another in the Centennial Park District.
Not only does Atlanta have a ton of kid-friendly activities, but it’s also culturally diverse, rich in history and incredibly scenic. If you’re planning a southern summer road trip with your kids and want to make a pit stop in Georgia’s capital city, here are the top things to do and see when you’re short on time.
Not all aquariums are created equal, and the Georgia Aquarium is proof of that. One of its most stunning exhibits is the Ocean Voyager which is home to 4 whale sharks. Guests can view these mammoth creatures from an underwater viewing tunnel. It’s absolutely breathtaking to watch a giant stingray or whale shark silently glide above you, and kids will love every minute of it!
There are six animal exhibits and several shows and interactive experiences in this two-level aquarium. Families could easily spend a few hours exploring everything. Make sure to download the mobile app before your visit for show times and a map.
World of Coca-Cola
The World of Coca-Cola is another attraction in the Centennial Park District. Visitors can come to check out the history of the soft drink giant in pop culture, the 4D theater and a peek inside the vault containing the beverage’s secret recipe. Kids will absolutely love posing for a picture with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. The absolute best experience for families, though, is the Taste It! area where you can sample over 100 flavors from around the world.
Centennial Olympic Park
Head to the epicenter of the Centennial Park District for some relaxation for adults and playtime for the kids. Centennial Olympic Park has two playgrounds and the Fountain of Rings splash pad, so it’s a great spot to take a break from all the sightseeing. Bring a picnic and enjoy the sunshine, or simply stroll the massive grounds.
Be sure to stay for the light and water show set to music at the Fountain of Rings. It’s around 10 minutes long and a real treat for families to watch together. The park is also a great spot to take a family photo with the skyline of Atlanta and the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel in the background.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Directly across the street from Centennial Olympic Park is the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This is a great spot for hands-on learning and exploration. You’ll find an Arts Center, a farm and grocery store where kids can learn about food, Gateway to the World, an exhibit where kids can learn about the different continents, an interactive science center and more.
For a bird’s eye view of the city and specifically Centennial Olympic Park, climb aboard a gondola on the SkyView Ferris wheel. The ride is around 10 minutes and the pods are climate controlled, which means the air conditioning will be a relief on hot summer days. Go early in the day on a weekday to avoid crowds, or at night for spectacular views of the illuminated skyline.
The Atlanta BeltLine is a trail connecting many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods where you can bike, walk or jog. The entire loop is 22 miles, but you can start and stop at many different entry points. Check out the Eastside Trail starting at Piedmont Park and walk as far as you want on the 3-mile stretch, as there are 19 different access points. Have your kids look for the tiny doors along the path, and enjoy the many stunning murals on the walls.
Everyone has to eat, so be sure to try out one of Atlanta’s food markets. Ponce City Market is located at the end of the BeltLine Eastside Trail and offers a food hall and shops in addition to a carnival and mini golf on the rooftop. Krog Street Market boasts unique southern food as well as a bustling marketplace and vibrant atmosphere. Both spots have something for everyone, which helps if you have picky kids.
For a taste of luxury visit Buckhead neighborhood on the north side of Atlanta. It’s a great spot to admire the mansions and extensive plantations, or just do some upscale shopping and dining at Lenox Square or the Shops Buckhead Atlanta. If the kids get bored, plan a stop at LEGOLAND Discovery Center in this enchanting neighborhood.
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