It’s easy to forget in the middle of making summer plans to head to the beach or go away to summer camp that there are a multitude of attractions located right in your own backyard. The metro Atlanta area offers an endless array of fun activities, ranging from world-famous attractions to water parks to educational opportunities. When you run out of activities for the kids to do, or if you just need to get out of the house for awhile, consider taking a day or weekend trip to one of our favorite Atlanta staycation destinations.
The Atlanta CityPASS allows you to save 42 percent on admission to the five best attractions in Atlanta: the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, Zoo Atlanta or the Atlanta History Center and Fernbank Museum of Natural History or the High Museum of Art. A regular price ticket to all of these venues would usually total $127.28 for adults, but it is only $74 with the Atlanta CityPASS, and children ages 3 to 12 are only $54 instead of $100! The CityPASS is good for a weekend of non-stop fun or spread the visits out over a nine day stretch.
If you choose the option to visit the Atlanta History Center, you can still visit Zoo Atlanta for free with the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass! The pass is available from the Georgia Public Library Service. You can check out the Zoo Atlanta DVD, and after you watch and return it, you get a receipt that grants you admission to the park. Your receipt is valid for seven days, and allows a family of two adults ages 12 and up and two children ages 3 to 11 to enter the park. Adults must have a valid library card to check out the DVD, and it can be checked out once per year per family. Zoo Atlanta is open 363 days a year, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
If you decide to make your trip downtown into a weekend affair, head to bed at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, located at 210 Peachtree Street in the heart of downtown. With more than 1,000 newly-renovated guest rooms in the 73-story tower, you are sure to enjoy your evening overlooking some of the best attractions in Atlanta.
During your whirlwind weekend of fun, be sure to head over to the nearby Atlanta Botanical Garden, located adjacent to Piedmont Park at 1345 Piedmont Avenue, to get an aerial view of Storza Woods, one of the few remaining hardwood forests left in the City of Atlanta, while walking through the treetops on the Kendeda Canopy Walk. If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the Children’s Garden, where you can splash around in the Sunflower Fountain, stop in at Peter Rabbit’s Garden and walk through the Butterfly Maze. Daily admission for adults is $18.95, children ages 3 to 12 are $12.95 and garden members or children under 3 are free. The Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. except Thursdays when it is open extra late from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Also located downtown is a unique and educational experience offered by the Federal Reserve Bank. You can take free tours of their facilities Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. by appointment only. On the tour, you will be shown various types of antiquated currency, get to hold real gold bricks and be shown how to spot counterfeit money. You will also see the bank’s vault and the cash processing area where you will see money being counted, sorted and destroyed. At the end of the tour, you will be given a bag of shredded money as a souvenir.
Just across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank is the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, now owned by the Atlanta History Center. Take a guided tour through the house, visit her Crescent Avenue apartment and see exhibitions about her life and the movie version of her book. You will have the opportunity to stand in the room where Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind and see original manuscripts. Tours begin every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and ending with the last tour at 4:30 p.m. Tours start at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday with the last tour starting at 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the House for $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students ages 13 to 18 and youth ages 4 to 12 are $8.50. If you have the Atlanta CityPASS and choose to visit the Atlanta History Center, your admission to the Margaret Mitchell House is included.
If the kids are more interested in spending the day having fun in the sun, then head just northeast of Atlanta to Lake Lanier Islands Resort. Spend the day at LanierWorld, where you can relax on the beach, visit the family fun park, enjoy waterslides or go to the Wake the Lake Cable Park. General admission to access LanierWorld is $10 per person, or purchase an all-attractions pass that is $35 for adults and children over 42-inches tall, $20 for seniors, active military and children under 42-inches tall and free for children two and under. Other attractions at Lake Lanier Islands includes golfing, boating, canopy tours, zip lines, horseback riding and sail boat charters. If you want to spend more than a day at Lake Lanier, visit the Lake Lanier Islands Resort website to find packages that include multi-day attraction admissions along with overnight accommodations in campgrounds, lake houses, villas or the Lodge.
For even more outdoor fun, try your hand at camping at any one of the Georgia State Parks. With almost 50 sites statewide and activities ranging from hiking, fishing and biking to golf, geocaching and paddle boarding, there is a State Park for everyone! Overnight accommodations include cottages, campsites for tents and RVs, yurts, lodges and group facilities.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offers a glimpse back in time. The park preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign, and offers visitors the chance to learn about history or take a leisurely stroll or strenuous hike up Kennesaw Mountain. Be sure to visit the museum in the Visitor’s Center to learn more about the area, and visit nearby Cheatham Hill and Kolb Farm to discover even more Civil War History. Located at 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, the Visitor’s Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The road leading up Kennesaw Mountain is open from 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the grounds are open 7:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. daily. It is free to visit the park, but if you want to visit the top of the mountain on weekends, you have to ride the shuttle bus. The bus is $3.00 for adults 12 and over, $1.50 for children ages 6 to 11 and free for children 5 and under.
The Chattahoochee Nature Center offers kids the chance to be part of wildlife programs, become environmentally educated and learn about horticulture. Follow the Wildlife Walk to view beaver and native birds of prey; visit the Discovery Center and explore the Chattahoochee River watershed through interactive exhibits, live animal habitats and hands-on fun; participate in the Nature Exchange; walk along the woodland trails or visit the wetland trails; meander through the Butterfly Garden, Green Roof Garden and the new Native Plant Garden or attend any of their other daily events. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. Non-member admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students ages 13 to 18, $6 for children ages 3 to 12 and children 2 and under are free. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is located at 9135 Willeo Road in Roswell.
The Yellow River Game Ranch, located just over two miles east of Stone Mountain on Hwy. 78, offers the chance to meet wildlife on a close and personal basis over a mile-long trail through 24 wooded acres. You can feed deer and other animals, take an overhead “catwalk” that gives you an extraordinary view of a feline cougar, see one of the largest herd of buffalo east of the Mississippi, walk along the Billy Goat Gruff Memorial Bridge or visit the popular Bunny Burrows. Food is available along the trail to feed the animals, so don’t forget your camera! The Ranch is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Adults 12 years and older are $8, children ages 2 to 11 are $7 and children under age 2 are admitted free with adult admission.
If you are in the market to own your own permanent staycation spot, then be sure to visit our website to see all of the new Atlanta homes that offer spacious plans with room for the whole family and beautiful communities with resort-style amenities. When you own your own amazing Atlanta home, you will feel like you’re enjoying a staycation every day!