Our online friend and Atlanta native, Heather, sent us some fantastic ideas for a week’s worth of Atlanta toddler activities and also Atlanta baby activities. Heather is a writer who lives in Decatur with her husband Chris and daughter Amelia.
Atlanta generally has great weather, but some summer days can be very hot and we have been known to have a few rainy/cold days in the winter. Heather included good weather choices and not-so-good weather choices to cover all the bases. Bonus: Many of the activities are free!
Good weather: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, also known as the Carter Center, has story time from 10-10:30 AM (best for kids over age 3), and then a Garden Safari at 10:30 AM. On the garden safari, kids go on a scavenger hunt, identifying animals, plants and sculptures around the grounds. My 14-month-old mostly enjoys stomping around in the rose garden. (Free!)
Not so good weather: Imagine It! Children’s Museum of Atlanta is great for children eight and under. There is a special toddler zone with soft toys, padded floors and tunnels for crawlers and early walkers. Other exhibits allow kids to paint, sculpt, dress up in costumes, operate a kid-sized forklift, play in a pretend grocery store and kitchen, sit in a “waterfall” without getting wet, and engineer a train. ($11 for everyone over age 2. Kids under 2 free.)
Good weather: Atlanta Botanical Gardens
On warm, sunny days, kids are welcome to play in the Sunflower Fountain. This garden is stroller-friendly and the Garden Cafe is a good place to stop for a snack. (Admission is usually $12 for adults, but on Tuesdays it’s $10. Children under 3 free.)
Not so Good Weather: Nursery Rhyme Time for Babies,
Decatur Public Library features nursery rhymes, songs and finger plays. Open to 15 babies and one parent per child. Register at the Children’s Desk. Toddler Time for kids up to age 3 from 11-11:30a. Space is limited, so get there early. (Free!)
After story time, enjoy lunch on the square in Decatur. Lots of kid-friendly restaurants to choose from.
Good weather: Zoo Atlanta — See giant pandas, gorillas, elephants and so much more! This is one of my favorite places in Atlanta. I like the zoo so much that I went a lot even *before* I had a child. The zoo is open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. Strollers are also available for rental. There’s a train, 24-foot tall rock climbing wall, a carousel and playground. Something for everyone! ($18 for adults, $12 for kids 3-11, kids 2 and under are free.)
Not so good weather: Check out a performance at the Center for Puppetry Arts — Family friendly performances include “Charlotte’s Web”, “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Dinosaurs!”. Wednesday through Sunday performances are followed by a “Make your own puppet” workshops for school-aged kids. (Ticket prices and show times vary)
Freebie option: Your DeKalb Farmers Market — This place is bustling with activity and fantastic food. The people are as much a part of the attraction as the food. My little one is captivated by the sights and sounds. There is a very popular restaurant inside the store. Eat first, then shop (you can’t take your buggy into the restaurant area). Plenty of organic, vegan and kosher options for those with special diets.
Good weather: Enjoy a stroll in Piedmont Park. There are several miles of stroller friendly paths, a pond for feeding ducks, a leash-free dog park, and two playgrounds — one of which was designed by world-renown artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. There are some vendors and small cafes outside the park to grab a snack, but you’re really better off packing your own lunch. (Free!)
Not so good weather: Parents Group at DeKalb Medical Center. Parents and babies up to six months meet from 10-11 AM. Babies six months to one year old are welcome from 11-12PM. (Free!)
Toddler Thursdays at the High Museum of Art — Programs vary. ($15 for adults, children under 6 free.)
Good weather: Aviation Park at DeKalb Peachtree Airport. Playground with swings, slides, and aviation-related playsets. Lots of planes of all sizes coming and going. A “hangar” provides shade for picnic lunches, or you can grab a sandwich and watch the runway traffic from the deck of the Downwind. (Free!)
Not so good weather: Enjoy a Mom & Baby Yoga class with Oh Baby! Fitness. Meets at the Family Life Center of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Buckhead. Oh Baby! Fitness has classes almost every day of the week, including Mom & Toddler classes and stroller workouts. Check out their website for more options. ($15 for drop ins, or sign up for six weeks for $60.)
Good weather: Fernbank Forest at Fernbank Science Center65-acres of undisturbed mature hardwood forest and 1.5 miles of paved, stroller-friendly trails. Check the website for a schedule of guided tours. (Free!)
Not so good weather: The Planetarium at Fernbank Science Center at 1:30pm. 30-minute program is appropriate for children of all ages. Usually, this is a primer on the stars and the night sky, but some programs are adapted to suit the holidays (Halloween, Easter, etc.) ($4 for adults, kids under 6 are free.)
Good weather: Stone Mountain Park — Put the baby in the carrier (no strollers on the trail) and hike 1.3 miles to the top of the mountain. The view at the top is unbeatable! There are other attractions for older kids (a scenic railroad, mini-golf, paddle boats, etc.) for a fee. Check the website for events (craft, cultural, holiday and food festivals come and go throughout the year). (The trail is free, but parking costs $8. If you’re not in the mood for a workout, buy a ride on the sky lift for $7. Kids under 3 are free.)
Not so good weather: The Georgia Aquarium — There is so much to see here! Even the little ones can get into this. We took our daughter around her first birthday and she loved watching the fish, otters, penguins and sea lions. Crowds around holidays can be overwhelming, but if you go first thing Sunday morning (9 am), you should have plenty of elbow room. There is a cafe onsite with plenty of family friendly meal options. You can’t bring in your own food. Umbrella strollers work best here. (Tickets are $24 for adults, kids under 3 are free.)