We are getting ready to leave this great city we’ve called home for so long now. I moved to Atlanta as a young divorcee, found true love, got married, and had babies. This city has truly shaped my young adult life, and I will miss it dearly.
One of the things I’ve learned as a stay at home mom to two small children is there is a real need to get out of the house and change your focus. Everyone – kid and adult alike – needs a creative field trip now and again. Every year we invest in family memberships to some of the best places the city of Atlanta has to offer. We’re trying to use these memberships as much as possible in our last few weeks here – and I thought I’d share my list with you. If you’re looking for an original Christmas gift that will be sure to be appreciated and used, you can’t go wrong with any of these!
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
This might be my favorite place to go with the little ones when the weather is nice. They have an incredibly cute children’s garden (which is closed right now for a major renovation). Although they do have a weekly story time geared towards little ones, my girls have never been incredibly impressed with it. They would rather run around the paths, look at the flowers, and just have a good time. Centered right in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, the gardens have the most beautiful view of the Atlanta skyline and are one of the best places to just go and be. A family membership is $99 and I think it is absolutely worth every single penny. Make sure you remember the Gardens are closed on Monday … I’ve gone a couple of times and ended up with very disappointed tinies. If that does happen to you, you can go next door to Piedmont Park – which has a great playground and amazing green space.
High Museum of Art
We go to the High at least once a month – and many times once a week. Every Thursday the High has Toddler Thursdays, where they have a story time and special art projects for little ones. They have a great family room that has creative toy areas based on pieces of artwork located in the museum, so even if you don’t go on Thursday you can spend hours there. There’s always some new exhibit to check out – right now there’s an exhibit of Mo Willems work as well as an exhibit of amazing dresses designed by Iris van Herpen. This is one place in Atlanta that you just can’t see in one visit. This family membership is $95, and if your family likes art and creative outlets, this is definitely worth the investment. The High is also closed on Monday … what is it with Mondays?!
I’m confident that our zoo is one of the best in the nation. Every time we go on vacation in another city we visit the zoo, and we have always been disappointed. You can hear the lions roar from our front porch, and we will miss being able to walk 3 blocks to see animals, ride the carousel, play in the splash pad, and just run down the paths. The best time to go is late in the day, just as all the other families are heading home. We have always gotten the Family + Adventure Pack Membership, which is $149, but offers you lots of extras (including free ride wristbands after 6 months of visits!)
Atlanta History Center
I discovered Magic Mondays at the History Center last year. It’s a themed day for toddlers, with story time, special crafts, and all sorts of other fun activities. The History Center has a great family farm that you can visit and my girls love checking out the sheep and chickens. There’s also a really cool playhouse that they could spend an entire day playing in. The History Center is a little bit further away from us so we don’t go as often, but with a family membership being only $75, we thought it was worth it. The History Center also has partial reciprocal membership with the Botanical Gardens, so if you have a Gardens membership, you can use it at the History Center (but not the other way around).
There are several other places in the city that offer family memberships, but those are our top four favorites. We’ve tried out a membership at the Imagine It: Children’s Museum, but it has been closed for the better part of the year – and now that we are moving I’m feeling like I wasted my money on that membership.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and The Georgia Aquarium also have family memberships, but we never felt the investment was really worth it. Fernbank and the Center for Puppetry Arts are really geared towards older kids, and the Aquarium Membership comes at a hefty price.
No go explore the city!