Top Things to Do in Atlanta With Kids
Find popular kids activities for your next Atlanta family vacation, from the best parks to visit, treetop ropes courses and tasting 70 different kinds of Coke from around the world.
Centennial Olympic Park
Start your Atlanta vacation at the centerpiece of downtown Atlanta—Centennial Olympic Park, a $75 million, 21-acre complex developed in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games. The Fountain of Rings—the world’s largest interactive fountain—is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. The fountain provides synchronized water dances and a cool spot for kids who play at the nearby All Children’s Playground.
Adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park is the Georgia Aquarium, often cited as the “world’s largest aquarium.” It contains eight million gallons of water and the biggest collection of aquatic animals in the world, including whale sharks, beluga whales sea lions, loggerhead sea turtles, otters and penguins.
Since the Georgia Aquarium opened in 2005, it has drawn millions of guests. That popularity also means it’s often crowded—particularly during high-profile sporting events and conventions in the downtown area. Your best bet is to buy your tickets online and arrive at the aquarium during the time period suggested by the aquarium when you make your purchase.
World of Coca-Cola
A few steps from the aquarium is the World of Coca-Cola, which moved from Underground Atlanta to the park district in 2007. The homegrown beverage is the best-known consumer brand in the world, and this facility provides the only place where visitors can explore the complete story of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola covers 92,000 square feet, including more than 1,000 worldwide Coke artifacts, interactive exhibits and a collection of Olympic torches. Kids particularly enjoy the tasting lounge featuring 70 beverages from around the world.
Next: Atlanta’s most popular family attraction—Stone Mountain Park.
Stone Mountain Park
The most popular tourist attraction in Georgia is Stone Mountain Park. This 3,200-acre resort, located 16 miles northeast of Atlanta, offers plenty of family fun activities.
The centerpiece of the park is the world’s largest relief carving on the face of the 825-foot granite mountain. This Confederate memorial features the images of General Robert E. Lee, President Jefferson Davis and Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The carvings are also the backdrop for the largest laser light show in the world, held nightly.
Some of the best Atlanta attractions for kids are at Stone Mountain Park. Riding a Summit Skyride cable car to the top of the mountain provides an up-close view of the carvings, plus vistas of the Atlanta skyline and the Appalachian Mountains. You can also travel by locomotive around the base of the mountain, or take a paddlewheel riverboat cruise on Stone Mountain Lake. Children between 5 and 12 will enjoy “The Great Barn,” a four-story funhouse with slides, climbing structures and trampoline floors.
Everyone can explore Sky Hike, the largest family adventure course in the country. Participants are secured to an overhead safety system while they explore wooden bridges and rope courses in the treetops. Options range from a beginner’s course 12 feet above the ground to the super challenge trail four stories high. The $1 million attraction opened in late 2008 as part of Stone Mountain Park’s 50th anniversary.
Stone Mountain Park is open year-round, but the availability of attractions varies by season, so check its online calendar of events. Snow Mountain takes place during the winter months on the lawn in front of the carvings, and manufactures more than 200 tons of fresh snow daily. Atlanta’s first snow park features a 400-foot tubing hill and a play area covering 30,000 square feet, offering plenty of opportunities for family fun.
Next: Atlanta Amusement Parks
Atlanta Theme Parks
If your family favors amusement parks over quieter destinations, they won’t be disappointed with a family vacation to Atlanta.
Six Flags Over Georgia has rides for youngsters and play areas themed around Looney Tunes characters and Thomas the Tank Engine. But the roller coasters, including Ninja, the Georgia Cyclone and the Georgia Scorcher, draw the tweens and teens.
Some 20 miles away in Cobb County is Six Flags White Water, the largest water park in the South. With more than 50 attractions, great family rides and play areas, White Water has won a number of national awards, including Top Water Park in the nation by Aquatics International. Visitors can float on a lazy river or drop from one of the world’s tallest freefalls, allowing family members a wide range of thrills and activity levels. A word of caution: White Water fills up quickly during hot summer days, so try to arrive early and beat the crowds.
Budget tip: You can pocket considerable savings by buying season tickets in advance for these amusement parks. If you’re already in town, check Publix supermarkets for possible deals that sometimes cost less than buying at the park.
Yellow Panda Art Studio is a great place to take your kids (and yourself) in Atlanta. They offer step by step painting instructions on canvas classes. Very cool. www.YellowPandaArtStudio.com