Atlanta with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Constance Smith, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 30th 2010 03:53 PM

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Atlanta with Kids: A Family Vacation

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While Atlanta, Georgia may not be the first city you think of when planning a family vacation with kids, this beautiful city has a great deal to offer any family. Whether your stay in Atlanta lasts a few hours or a few weeks, you will not run out of interesting things to do, see, and experience.
Here is a suggested itinerary for the best family vacation in Atlanta with kids.


Morning


What better way to kick off your family travel in Atlanta than with a delicious breakfast? The Flying Biscuit Café is a family-friendly restaurant that specializes in Southern favorites as well as vegetarian options. This popular spot serves three meals a day, but brunch is the most popular time to visit. If you have a busy day planned, be sure to arrive early to avoid the biggest crowds. The original location is in the historic Candler Park area, but visitors to the city often find the Midtown location more convenient. Regardless of the neighborhood, you'll find the same delicious dishes with an emphasis on healthy items prepared using the freshest ingredients.

Flying Biscuit Café
Candler Park
1655 McLendon Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30307
404-687-8888
Open 7AM-10PM daily

Midtown
1001 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309
404-874-8887
Open 7AM-10PM daily

After breakfast, head to the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world, with over eight million gallons of water and over 100,000 fish and other marine animals. A must-see on any Atlanta family vacation, the aquarium is divided into exhibits by various ecosystems and areas of the world and has an abundance of information to educate children and adults about each area's inhabitants.

You can touch stingrays, small sharks (if you can reach them), sea urchins, starfish and other animals in the Georgia Explorer gallery and visit many other areas of the aquarium, including the Ocean Voyager exhibit, which houses the largest aquarium habitat in the world. The Ocean Voyager exhibit also features the best part of the Georgia Aquarium – the large, see-through tunnel underneath the 6.3-million gallon tank, which holds the beluga whales, sharks, large stingrays, a variety of fish and whale sharks.

If your kids are into movies, take them to Deepo's Undersea 3-D Watershow or the 4-D Theater. Also appealing to families with children is the kids-only zone next to the stingray tank, where children can play, run and enjoy time with other kids. It is the perfect place for parents to take a break, especially when kids have extra energy that needs to be exhausted. If your children are between the ages of 2 and 5, don't miss the Growing Guppies program, offered exclusively for curious toddlers and their parents. The 45-minute program is offered every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15AM. Reservations are encouraged, and the cost is $15 for one adult and one child, plus $10 for each additional child.

The Georgia Aquarium is open 365 days a year, but hours vary based on the day of the week and time of year. Be sure to visit the website to check hours of operation and to purchase tickets if you want to skip the line out front.

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
404-581-4000

General Admission (aquarium only):
Adults - $26
Child (age 3-12) - $19.50
Senior (age 65 and up) - $21.50


Afternoon


For an exciting and memorable cultural experience during your family travel in Atlanta, make a lunch reservation at the Sun Dial Restaurant in downtown. This fun and lively restaurant, located on the 73rd floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, is frequented by locals and tourists alike. The most notable feature of the Sundial Restaurant is that the entire restaurant rotates, meaning you can see the entire city of Atlanta while you enjoy a pleasant family meal. A complete rotation takes about 35 minutes. The restaurant features contemporary American cuisine with menus geared towards the current season. Picky eaters may not appreciate the choice of menu items at the Sun Dial, but you can still enjoy the unparalleled view of Atlanta on the restaurant's View Level. After a minimal fee and an 85-second elevator ride, children and adults alike will delight in the 360-degree panorama of the Atlanta skyline, which is sure to leave you with a lasting impression (and some great photographs) of your Atlanta family vacation.

Sun Dial Restaurant
210 Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-589-7506
Lunch: Monday-Saturday 11:30AM-2:30PM
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 6PM-10PM, Friday 6PM-11PM, Saturday 5:30PM-11PM
View Level: 10AM-close

View Level Admission:
Adults - $5
Children (age 6-12) - $3
Children under 6 admitted free

After lunch, and perhaps a short nap, it's time to do some more exploring. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one of the most interesting, kid-friendly things to do in Atlanta. The museum offers a low-cost, interactive experience with full-size dinosaur skeletons and rotating exhibits. Children and adults will enjoy the cast replicas of the largest dinosaur skeletons ever found. The Sensing Nature exhibit helps visitors explore how their senses work together to understand nature with a variety of interactive and fun activities.

The IMAX theatre at the museum shows a variety of films on its five-story high screen that are sure to interest and inspire both children and adults. Grab a snack or an early dinner at the Fernbank Café, right next to the Tyrannosaurs Rex skeleton.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
404-929-6300
Monday-Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday Noon-5PM

General Admission (museum only):
Adults - $15
Children (age 3-12) - $13
Students (with ID) and Seniors (age 62 and over) - $14
Children 2 and under – free
Museum members – free

A visit to Atlanta with kids isn't complete without a stop at Centennial Olympic Park. The park was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games and, after the games, was redesigned for daily public use. The park sponsors events throughout the year, but the biggest attraction for most kids is the Fountain of Rings, an interactive fountain with water jets in the shape of the Olympic rings. Visitors are invited to play in the fountains, but if you prefer not to get wet, stick around to watch one of the four daily Fountain of Rings shows, which take place at 12:30PM, 3:30PM, 6:30PM and 9PM.

Centennial Olympic Park

265 Centennial Olympic Park Dr
Atlanta, GA 30313
404-222-PARK (7275)
Open daily 7AM-11PM


Evening


You're bound to work up an appetite while playing in the park, and your Atlanta family vacation isn't over until you've visited The Varsity, the world's largest drive-in. Originally opened in 1928, The Varsity serves over two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2,500 pounds of potatoes, 5,000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili daily. Help your kids brush up on their "Varsity lingo" so they'll know how to answer when asked "What'll you have?" at the counter. Save room for dessert at this Atlanta landmark – the fried pies and frosted orange drinks are legendary.

The Varsity

61 North Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-881-1706
Open Sunday-Thursday 10AM-11:30PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-12:30AM

No matter your interests, there are tons of exciting places to visit and things to do during your family vacation in Atlanta. After a fun-filled day in the city, your kids are sure to be asking when you'll return!

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