When you visit (or live in) a city there are must see attractions that you would be crazy not to visit. This is especially true if you are visiting a place, and you don’t know when you will be back. You need to prepare and make the most of your time there. This isn’t just for you, but for your kids as well. You are not just taking a trip, you are in the middle of building a lifetime of memories with your family.
The traveling that you do with your kids now will stay with them forever. I remember when I was a kid and the amazement I felt at the Boardwalk, the fun we experienced in the San Juan Islands, and the pure delight of Disneyland. The smells, sounds, and sights will be forever etched in my mind. I want my kids to experience new adventures like this for themselves. It’s for this reason that we took a #DadTime father and kids trip to Atlanta, Georgia. We had never been to the South before and Atlanta was a quick plane trip away from our home. What we discovered was a plethora of family-friendly options and experiences that will be talked about for years to come. Here are the top places you need to visit to maximize your time in Atlanta with your family.
When we first arrived in town, we checked into our room at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Midtown. We wanted to get a good nights sleep before heading to Six Flags the next morning. It was a good choice. Remember to get your kids enough rest before heading to an amusement park. The next morning we got ready, ate a fantastic hot breakfast at our hotel, and headed to Six Flags Over Georgia.
One tip is that if you are going here first thing in the morning, leave about 30 minutes before you think you need to. It will take more time than you think to get into the parking lot. There was a wide selection of rides for any age, from toddlers, to teenagers, to dads. The Gotham City area is a must visit. My kids loved the life-sized Batmobile. Ok, honestly that might have been my favorite part. Another attraction that was perfect for children was the turn of the century Hanson cars. Kids get to drive them and it is a nice break from the craziness of roller coasters. If your kids are looking for a thrill, the Great American Scream Machine was perfect for oldest children, but there were plenty of adults going on as well.
When it came to food, it’s best to plan to eat either at 11am or 2 pm to avoid the crowds. We found ample space to sit and dine in the shade. There was also a wide variety of food types to fit everyone’s tastes.
After a long day at Six Flags, we ordered delivery back at the hotel. For a family with small kids, it was nice having so many restaurants close enough to bring food right to your door. My kids were exhausted so they went to sleep to get ready for the next excursion. The following morning we drove to the Legoland Discovery Center. It is located at Phipps Plaza, so you enter into the mall in order to enter Legoland. My kids loved this place! In fact, we found it the most underrated attraction that we visited. The online reviews were mediocre, but my kids were entranced. If we lived near there, we would get a year-long membership.
There were plenty of Legos to build, and impressive Lego sculptures, but the tour includes so much more than that. There was a ride where you take target practice at the same time, a science area, a Lego Friends playhouse, and a huge pirate ship playground. One piece not to miss was the 4D movie theatre featuring a Lego movie. All of these are included in the price of admission. Plan to spend about three hours here.
After the Lego Discovery Center, we drove to the North Point Mall. My daughter is pretty obsessed with American Girl Dolls, so I wanted to take her to the Atlanta location of the store. Actually, I don’t think she would let me forget it if we left Atlanta without going to the store! After she looked around, and picked up a book and a few accessories, we all stopped by a coffee shop and had a snack at an amazing French bakery in the middle of the mall. Do your family a favor and let everyone pick out a macaron there. After that we drove back to our hotel and relaxed for the night.
This was my personal favorite stop of the weekend. Make sure and leave plenty of time to see all of the different rooms, 2-3 hours is sufficient. You can learn how Coke was originally made and see art from pop culture. You can also visit the vault where the secret formula is stored, as well as take a picture with the famous polar bear. There is a 4D movie here, but it would be the first thing to cut out if you don’t have time. One of the highlights is seeing a number of the Olympic torches that have been used in opening ceremonies.
My kids loved the free soda that they received at the beginning and the tasting room at the end of course. The fun thing about the tasting room is that you get to sample all sorts of Coca-Cola flavors from around the world. Warning: Some of them are pretty strange, but you must try “Beverly, “I have never tasted anything quite like it! Of course there is also a Coke store with every type of unique Coca-Cola souvenir you can imagine. Another tip is that if you are a Coke rewards member, you can redeem points to get a discounted admission.
Across from the World of Coca Cola, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, is the Georgia Aquarium. This regularly tops list of the best family attractions in Atlanta. Before we went in, we stopped for lunch first at a little cafe that is situated between the Coke museum and the aquarium. The great part of going in the aquarium after lunch is that the ticket lines were non-existent.
When we entered, we saw why this place is so popular. This is the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere. Until 2012 it was the largest aquarium in the world! There is tons to take in, but you can get through most of it in about three hours. It is divided into sections based on the type of environments that the animals live in. The aquarium is well kept-up and extremely entertaining. The must see fish here are the Whale Sharks, known as the largest fish in the world. It is one of the only places you can see a Whale Shark in the U.S. The Jellyfish exhibit is also stunning. If your kids are mesmerized by fish, you will not want to miss the Georgia Aquarium.
From the aquarium we headed to the airport with tired feet, but full of memories. This #DadTime father and kids trip was one that my children and I will surely talk about for decades to come. The Homewood Suites by Hilton made a great home base, and the attractions were all we had hoped for, but the family bonding time was priceless. Make sure and check out #DadTime and #TravelMANager on social media to get more great ideas for trips that dads can take with their kids!
Bonus Idea: Find a Good Pool
One other “must” while you are in Atlanta is to stay somewhere with a good pool. Kids are always up for swimming, and it is nice for them to be able to burn off their last bit of energy after a day trip. Plus, it can be hot in Atlanta in the summertime. We had a beautiful pool at our hotel so it was easy to get changed, head downstairs, and take a refreshing dip…or do a cannonball and soak my kids.