Tag Archives: Georgia

50 Amazing Places In The US To Take Your Kids

I can never resist a list. I really enjoy looking at different suggestions for places to go and see. And, for as many travel suggestion lists I’ve looked through- I’ve always found at least one new suggestion to add to my list.

I recently stumbled on a list from Good Housekeeping. They kept their list simple by making one suggestion for every state. And thus compiled a list of 50 amazing places in the US to take your children.

In reading through the list I can wholeheartedly Continue reading 50 Amazing Places In The US To Take Your Kids

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6 Off the Beaten Path Kid-Friendly Attractions in the US

Guest post from Melanie Grosjean of Travel-Wise:

When planning a family vacation, it can be tempting to just select those tried and true destinations that are notoriously good for kids. While these can be enjoyable in their own right, it can also be worthwhile to go off the beaten path.

If you’re looking for something a bit different for your family vacation Continue reading 6 Off the Beaten Path Kid-Friendly Attractions in the US

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20 Things To Do In Atlanta This Summer

As I mentioned yesterday, I’d like to inspire and encourage the “tourist in your own town” mentality this summer. So I’m doing a series of posts about things to do in specific cities with kids this summer. Over the next few weeks I’ll highlight lots of major cities Continue reading 20 Things To Do In Atlanta This Summer

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Visit Atlanta, Georgia

This weekend the country will divide itself. By Sunday evening, most Americans will identify with one of two areas of the country: New England, or anywhere BUT New England. Going out on a limb but I’m guessing if you weren’t already a Patriots fan, you’ll be rooting for the Falcons!

In light of Super Bowl week, I want to feature the homes of both teams in Super Bowl LI. Naturally, I’m starting with the best team…(not that I’m biased!)

When visiting Atlanta, the possibilities are endless (again, I’m not biased at all!) Here are 5 things your family can’t miss:

  1. Sporting Event: Obviously had to start on this subject as it’s the reason for the post. In addition to the Falcons, Atlanta is home to 4 other professional sports teams. Additionally, numerous college and minor league teams call the city home. Because it’s well known for sports, and sporting events Atlanta also holds the College Football Hall of Fame. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympic Games. You can’t come to the city without doing something “sporty” whether it’s taking in a game or revisiting sports history!

    Our family loves the sports scene!
  2. GA Aquarium: Highly regarded as being one of the best aquariums in the world, the GA Aquarium is home to the only whale sharks in captivity outside of Asia. In addition to the whale sharks, 4 manta rays live in the 6.3 million gallon tank. The aquarium is not only impressive, but it’s very educational. It’s impossible not to spend the day mesmerized by the thousands of fish at the GA Aquarium.

    Standing face to face with a whale shark is indescribable.
  3. Food: Like most Southern towns, Atlanta has great food. From every possible chain restaurant you can imagine, to endless local fare establishments, there’s something for everyone. The city also runs the gamut from incredibly elegant fine dining, to tiny little hole in the wall places. No visitor to Atlanta has ever left hungry! Two restaurants specifically known for good food, and rich history are The Varsity and The Sundial.

    Nothing not to love about The Varsity (especially the onion rings!)
  4. Stone Mountain: If you’ve never been to Atlanta and visited Stone Mountain, the description is almost too much to believe. For starters, it’s a mountain (pretty much the city’s only one!) Carved into the face of the mountain are notable Confederate soldiers: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. In addition to the Southern history lesson, guests to Stone Mountain can practically enjoy every activity imaginable. Watch a show. Play golf. Go tubing. Hike. Take a sky ride. Whatever the season, and whatever your interest- Stone Mountain offers a little something for everyone!
  5.  Zoo Atlanta: I really debated featuring 2 of 5 activities that involved animals since it’s not everyone’s thing. However, Zoo Atlanta is just too good to not mention. This zoo is one of just 4 in the US with giant pandas. The creatures are so impressive and guests love watching them play. In addition to the pandas, the zoo is home to over 1,300 different animals. Also worth noting, Zoo Atlanta is one of the oldest zoos in North America and has a rich history of animal conservation.

    My kids can’t get enough of the pandas!

Honorable Mentions

  1. Chick fil A Dwarf House (the very first Chick fil A)
  2. Skyview 

    Fun Ferris Wheel that gives riders a birds-eye view of the beautiful city!
  3. World of Coke
  4. Centennial Olympic Park
  5. CNN Center 

    Ice Cream break at the CNN Center.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post where I (a bit reluctantly) highlight the home of the Patriots!

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Best Places To See Fall Foliage

Best Places For Fall Foliage

As much as I hate to admit it, fall is officially in full swing. Even in the south, leaves are changing and the calendar keeps moving deeper into September.

Though I dislike the cooler weather, even I will admit there’s nothing more beautiful than fall foliage. And nothing cuter than kids with leaves!

I love photographing my kids with leaves!
I love photographing my kids with leaves!

Although I won’t even pretend to understand the complexities behind this weather phenomenon, rumor has it that this year’s fall foliage is expected to be the best in decades.

If you’re looking for some great spots to leaf-view this season, here are 18 places I recommend:

  1. Skyline Drive (Blue Ridge Parkway), Virginia
  2. Napa Valley, California
  3. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
  4. Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Tennessee
  5. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico
  6. Adirondacks, New York
  7. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
  8. Aspen, Colorado
  9. Acadia National Park, Maine
  10. Lost Maple State Natural Area, Texas
  11. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
  12. The Ozarks, Missouri
  13. Lake Champlain Islands, Vermont
  14. Fayetteville, West Virginia
  15. Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia
  16. Glacier National Park, Montana
  17. Bardstown, Kentucky
  18. Leavenworth, Washington

I know, 18 is an odd number of places to recommend. 10 wasn’t quite enough. Then I ambitiously decided I’d do  50 before realizing there are some states that don’t even deserve honorable mention when it comes to fall foliage (hello, Florida!)  Also, I decided not to duplicate any state. Although, I could have easily listed Vermont locations for all 18 places on the list!

Road trips are my favorite way to view fall foliage. We always try to plan travel during peak leaf changing season even if the foliage itself isn’t our destination. Taking scenic routes on the way to your destination will provide beautiful backdrops.

Always pull your car over at an overlook to snap pictures and capture all the fall colors! And, of course, get a few pictures of your kids with the falling leaves!

Kids + Leaves
Kids + Leaves

Where is your favorite place to view fall foliage?

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The CNN Center- Atlanta, GA

CNN

More than just the worldwide headquarters for a major news station, the CNN Center is an incredible destination for anyone visiting downtown Atlanta.

Located adjacent to the beautiful Omni Atlanta Hotel, the CNN Center contains shops, and restaurants in addition to the newsrooms, offices and studios. The Center itself is a large atrium with the world’s longest free-standing escalator (it connects the ground floor with the eighth.)

The ground level feels much like a food court with a wonderful selection of fast food such as: Cajun Cafe & Grill, Chick-fil-A, Fresh To Order, Dunkin’ Donuts, TJ’s Sandwiches, Great Wraps, Moe’s, Starbucks, and many others.

If you are in downtown Atlanta, the CNN Center is a wonderful place to grab a quick meal or snack!

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One of the cool things about pausing for a meal at the CNN Center is that you will be able to see large TVs broadcasting CNN Live. Our children thought it was very awesome that somewhere in the building was the person we saw on the TV.

The CNN Center is within walking distance of several Atlanta tourist attractions including: The Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, Phillips Arena, College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia World Congress Center, The Georgia Aquarium, The Coca-Cola Museum and many other downtown points of interest.

There is also a tour where you can get a behind the scenes peak at the global headquarters. As part of the tour you will see how a live broadcast is produced and get a glimpse into some of the studios.

The tours run 7-days a week, 9AM to 5PM. Ticket reservations are recommended, although not required.

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The Braves at Turner Field- Atlanta, GA

Braves

 Originally constructed as a Track and Field venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Turner Field was retrofitted into a baseball diamond and opened for the 1997 season. For the last 19 seasons, The Atlanta Braves have called Turner Field home. However, at the completion of the 2016 season, The Braves will be moving to a new facility.

Knowing the window of opportunity was closing to take my children to a game at this historic venue, we made a point to get there early in this final season.

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Our family loves baseball and taking our children to different ballparks around the country is a major goal (read my post on this topic here.)

We are excited that we can now check Turner Field off the list (and add the Braves new stadium, SunTrust Park!)

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I get asked lots of questions about the best way to purchase baseball tickets and I will admit, it’s a tad confusing. Specifically addressing Braves tickets in this post (because every stadium might be different), the least expensive way to purchase tickets is in person at a ticket window or kiosk. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online. If you don’t like the suspense of waiting, definitely purchase your tickets as early as possible. The downside to purchasing online is that you will always pay a 3rd party fee. The fee is on each ticket so that can really add up for families.

If you are brave enough to wait, tickets can be purchased at the stadium:

On non-game days:

Monday- Friday  930AM – 5:00PM, Saturday 9:30AM – 2:00 PM,                      closed Sunday

On game days:

9:30AM – to the end of 6th inning

Tickets are available as far out as the end of the 2016 season. I highly recommend that you purchase your tickets as early on in your trip as possible. Besides avoiding sell-out situations, you will also avoid long game day lines.

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Our family typically purchases General Admission tickets. These are the least expensive tickets and range from $7 – $15 depending on the game. One of the main reasons we don’t make a priority of paying higher prices for better seats is because my kids rarely stay in them. They LOVE to EXPERIENCE the ballpark. We watch an inning, and then we move around. The money we save on tickets goes to purchases inside the stadium!

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To commemorate the kids’ first (and, most likely, last) visit to Turner Field we purchased a game ball as a souvenir. This was an “insider” tip I received: balls that have been used in the game and taken out of play are taken to 1 specific fan store starting in the 5th inning where they are sold. In looking for this store we thought we were on a wild-goose chase, but we did eventually find it.

We were so excited to purchase this awesome memento and we will be asking at all future stadiums if they sell the used game balls. The balls all have a code on them where you can go online to find out exactly what happened to the ball (which pitcher used it, what batter hit it, etc.)

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We had a wonderful night at Turner Field watching the Braves play (even though they lost!) View the Braves 2016 schedule here.

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Also worth noting, Turner Field does a fireworks show every Friday night. It’s spectacular and a real bonus on top of the game!

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Zoo Atlanta- Georgia

ZooATL

Atlanta is a city known for many things. A few things that come to mind: Coca-Cola, great sports teams, bad traffic, the 1996 Summer Olympic games, and its famous animals. Located just outside of downtown, Zoo Atlanta is home to 4 of the United States’ 12 pandas, a historic collection of gorillas and thousands of other plants, animals and reptiles.

We arrived at Zoo Atlanta early to maximize our day and also to catch the animals in the cool morning hours. My kids were thrilled with the colorful maps. Immediately they began to plan our route to their favorite animals. Throughout the day they were able to refer back to their maps and easily navigate us around the zoo.

We were barely in the gates when we saw the flamingo. After about 10 minutes of staring at the beautiful birds, I had to remind the kids that we had A LOT more animals to see.

One of the best parts about Zoo Atlanta is how clearly all of the animals are labeled. Because they have so many different species, it’s easy to have trouble identifying them all. Multiple signs are located around every habitat and besides the name, you can also learn facts about the animal.

Zoo

Of course, one animal needed no identification! We could not wait to make our way to the pandas.

It’s really a good thing we planned a long day at the zoo- we spent almost an hour watching the pandas without even realizing it. They are SO playful and fun! And I love how photogenic they are. At times it really felt like they were posing and smiling for my camera.

This one did a forward roll every time she walked in front of my daughter. It was hilarious!

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When we finally tore ourselves away from the pandas, we found the gorillas equally entertaining.

One of the awesome things about Zoo Atlanta is that there are multiple viewing areas for many of the animals. We were able to observe the gorillas from several different vantage points.

What better way to view Naked Mole Rats than to climb right into their tunnels…

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Other family favorites included:

The Komodo Dragon

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The Bear sleeping with his tongue out

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The Red Panda

The Lions

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Our last stop of the day was at the brand new Reptile HouseDSC_2717

My kids LOVE creepy crawly creatures. They could not tear their eyes away from this snake that was most certainly trying to get out of his cage to get me!

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While my children and husband soaked in every little snake and creature in the room, I chose to study the awesome facts. Zoo Atlanta did a fantastic job with the education piece of their exhibits.

Our visit to Zoo Atlanta was one of the highlights of our visit to a wonderful city. The zoo is clean, well laid-out, and it beautifully incorporates the animal habitats. The animals were also easy to view.

*Our visit was hosted by Zoo Atlanta*

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The Dwarf House- Atlanta, Ga

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During a recent trip to Atlanta, we decided to visit the very first Chick-fil-A. As I mentioned once or twice yesterday, we love Chick-fil-A (read about why here.)

Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant in a small town called Hapeville (just south of Atlanta and very close to the airport) back in 1946. The restaurant, then called The Dwarf Grill, would go on to inspire the chain Chick-fil-A.

The menu and dining experience at The Dwarf House are slightly different from that at a more traditional Chick-fil-A. Although you can order any typical menu item, you can also order items from the original menu. A few items include: pancakes, waffles and hashbrowns (served all day.) The most surprising thing on the menu- a hamburger!

The Dwarf House is also set up in the original format, which is like a diner (with servers). There is also an option to eat at the counter where they cook in front of you.

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After thoroughly enjoying our meal, we were able to go on a behind the scenes tour with the manager. This is an experience that anyone can do and you do not need to set it up ahead of time. Simply ask when you arrive, and you are in for a treat!

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It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the tour, but it was probably when we stopped at the pie station. Chick-fil-A makes all their pies from scratch in their stores. They.Are.Delicious.

We also enjoyed hearing about all of the things that make The Dwarf House unique. For example, they have 3 completely separate kitchens. Also, they are open 24 hours a day (but obviously still closed on Sunday.)

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Another neat feature is that part of the building is from the original structure built back in the ’40’s. Of course, they have added on to make accommodations for a larger facility and a drive-thru.

After our meal and tour, it was hard to leave such a fun place. However, getting to exit through this dwarf door certainly made it easier!

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The Dwarf House is an awesome addition to any trip to Atlanta. It’s located extremely close to the airport and The Delta Flight Museum. It’s also a short drive (depending on traffic) from the downtown Atlanta area.

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Delta Flight Museum- Atlanta, Ga

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My kids have a *slight* obsession with airplanes. They love everything about them- riding on them, being at the airport, and watching them fly overhead. They even know every word to the the Disney movie, Planes (and it’s sequel, Planes Fire Rescue!) So when I found out Delta had opened its Flight Museum up to the public, I knew we had to put that on the travel itinerary!

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The Delta Flight Museum is located in Atlanta, Georgia adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Museum is contained in two old hangers. On one side, you have more of the historical exhibits where you will learn the history of the airline industry and how Delta evolved into one of the leading airlines. The display cases are full of interesting artifacts, and there are several real planes on display in that hanger.

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The displays are organized well, and grouped in an easy way for kids to understand. There are also great stories and facts documented to read as we walked through the Museum.

The other hanger contains a more modern experience of Delta and the airline industry. To move between hangers you pass through a sound tunnel. The sound evolves from the original prop sound, to a more modern engine.

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One of our favorite stories was about The Spirit of Delta plane that is on display in the Museum. The Boeing 767 was purchased for $30 million dollars by employees.

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At the Museum you can actually board the Spirit of Delta.

View the cockpit (no armored door!)

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The original first class seats were left on plane.

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The rest of the plane is devoted to display cases.

The kids loved this particular display case with all the different models of planes flown by Delta over the years.

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We also really enjoyed seeing the various uniforms worn over the years. Because Delta is headquartered in Atlanta and Atlanta was home to the 1996 Olympics, there is a lot of special memorabilia.

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Another highlight of the museum is the real-time screens showing airport traffic. We were able to watch all the airplanes moving around at the Atlanta airport, and also watch world maps to see where planes were currently flying. If there was a TV channel at home that played this, my kids would watch it all the time! Even I have to admit, it was a little addicting.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Museum! If you ever find yourself with a long layover in Atlanta, you could easily leave the terminal and visit the Delta Flight Museum for a couple of hours!

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The Delta Flight Museum is nonprofit. Be sure to check the events calendar on their website prior to your visit as the museum does close for private events.

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