After living in Miami for the past five years we finally visited our neighbor state, Georgia, Atlanta to be exact. We passed through the city on a four week road trip from Miami to Orlando, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Franklin, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. Here were our favorite things to do in Atlanta with kids.
Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids on the City Pass
When visiting Atlanta with Kids if you want to save money you should consider purchasing the CityPASS. We’ve used these before on our trip to Chicago and New York and it saved us a lot of money. You can buy the pass here online and it includes admission to the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola plus admissions to any 3 of these attractions: Zoo Atlanta, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, College of Football Hall of Fame, National Center for Civil and Human Rights or CNN Studio Tours.
If you’re short on time or want to make the best use of it know that the Coca Cola Factory, Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, CNN Studio and College of Football Hall of Fame are all right next to each other. The Atlanta Zoo is a ten minute drive from these and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History is about twenty minutes from both the Zoo or the other attractions. You have 30 days to visit attractions once you use the CityPASS for the first time.
Coca Cola Factory/World of Coca Cola
Even if you don’t drink soda, we don’t, the Coca Cola Factory is worth a visit. It was fun learning the history of the company and seeing the original bottles and machines. You’ll be able to learn about the process of how it is made, taste Coca Cola from around the world (there are so many flavors), meet the Coca Cola Polar Bear and more. Hours vary by season so be sure to check here before going.
College Football Hall of Fame
Being a graduate of the University of Florida, I am a huge College football fan. However, even if you really aren’t into football in the least bit you’ll find it fascinating and enjoyable. There is an indoor playing field perfect for adults and kids alike. With over 775 schools represented you’ll be sure to find something you’re interested in.
My kids loved when we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium during our road trip through California so I knew they would enjoy the Georgia Aquarium. We all loved it! I was really glad we had the Atlanta CityPASS because the aquarium is not cheap! You can see Beluga Whales, Dolphins, and so many more sea animals here. We especially enjoyed the part of the aquarium where you stand on the moving walkway and go through a tank with the animals on the sides and above you!
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
While the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis gets a lot of love I was very impressed with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The first exhibits when you enter are somber so be prepared but I visited with my 4 and 6 year old and they learned a lot so don’t feel like you can’t visit with younger kids. The museum doesn’t just talk about the past, with an entire exhibit dedicated to current Civil and Human Rights issues. Be sure to stop at the gift shop for some great books!
Zoo Atlanta is one of the oldest zoos in the country. It’s a very nice zoo sectioned into continents, like African Savannah and Asia. My daughters favorite part of the day was feeding the giraffes (just like she got to on our trip to Kenya). Feedings only happen certain times of the day so check the schedule to make sure you arrive with plenty of time to stand in line before the feedings stop. The giraffes are free to roam wherever and don’t always come to be fed so at times there can be pauses of 15-30 minutes before the giraffes come over for lettuce.
In other sections of the park you’ll find various species of monkeys from gorillas to orangutan. There’s an amphibian section with boa constrictors, blue, yellow and red eye’d frogs and more. Personally my favorite was seeing the twin pandas, I’ve never seen a Panda before.
On the way to the exit is the children’s section which you should save time for if you have kids 8-10 and under. Here you can get up close to goats and alpacas at the petting zoo, ride the train through a rainbow tunnel, go on the carousel, play at the playground or cool off at the splash pad. There is even a ropes course with zip line for those tall enough.
Historical Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids
Visit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home
If you didn’t know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, well now you do. His birth home is protected by the National Park Service and they offer free ranger-led tours every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. The tour lasts about 30 minutes.
Explore the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church
Ebenezer Baptist Church, just down the street from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home is where he delivered his first sermon in 1947. He went on to deliver many speeches here. You can take a self-guided tour of the church from 10:00AM-5:00PM.
Walk Around Freedom Hall
Freedom Hall is where memorabilia of Dr. King and the civil rights movement are displayed. You can see his Bible, clerical robe, handwritten sermons, and the key to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where he was assassinated. Adjacent to Freedom Hall is the Reflecting Pool where both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King are buried.
International Civil Right Walk of Fame
Added to the National Historic Site in 2004 this honors some of the amazing people who made contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Other Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids
Visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
We visited our first botanical gardens on our trip to Rio de Janeiro then again in Naples and now Atlanta. It’s safe to say we’ve fallen in love with them. Each one is unique and at the Atlanta Botanical Garden the two things that set it apart from others are the Earth Goddess display and the Garden Lights which happens in the winter.
The Children’s Garden here is also great. We spent at least an hour here while my daughter built her own house, made music, watched bees make honey and more. If you’re there in the summer kids can also enjoy the splash pad. I equally enjoyed the children’s garden as well as the orchids area.
Spend the Afternoon in Piedmont Park
Since our Airbnb was just two blocks from Piedmont Park we went a few times. You can combine a visit here with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as it’s technically inside of Piedmont Park. There are two play areas, Noguchi Playscape and Mayor’s Grove Playground.
The spring weather was great during our visit so having a picnic dinner with all the space in the world to run around was fun. We ended up grabbing food from Willy’s Mexicana Grill, at the Piedmont Ave entrance to the park. I also got a $1 bottle of bubbles from Target and UNO and we had a great evening, simple can be lots of fun!
Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympics and the park which housed many events is still there, along with the Olympic Rings. There is a huge ferris wheel and the park often has live music. It’s right by the the Coca Cola Factory.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta
Living in Miami we frequent Orlando a lot (check out our post on things to do in Orlando besides theme parks) so we’ve been to the LEGOLAND theme park there. The Discovery Center is much different but very fun in its own way. It’s indoors and has 12 attractions including two rides, a 4D theater, virtual reality experience and playground.
You walk through the various sections where you can build your own structures, test out if they’ll survive the shakes of an earthquake, see if you qualify as a ninja and walk through Atlanta Miniland, a recreation of the city completely made of LEGO’s.
Stone Mountain Park
A visit to Stone Mountain Park requires a one mile hike but if my four year old can hike Pedra do Telegrafo in Brazil yours can hike here. If you have younger kids, leave the stroller and use a carrier. We’ve always loved our Ergobaby, which we used with both kids but you could also consider a hiking carrier.
At the top there is a Summit Skyride, high-speed Swiss cable car, and other rides. Kids will also enjoy the train rides, mini golf, and you can watch the Lasershow Spectacular.
Skyline Park at Ponce City Rooftop
If you and your kids like carnival games you’ll enjoy Skyline Park at Ponce City Rooftop, it was actually one of my favorite things to do in Atlanta with kids. The downside is you have to pay an entry fee that doesn’t get you games, that is an extra flat fee but the games and rides are unlimited. There are four games, a story slide, mini-golf and of course carnival food like funnel cakes and elephant ears.
Center for Puppetry Arts
If your kids like Sesame Street you’ll want to add the Center for Puppetry Arts to your itinerary. Check out their calendar to see what live shows they’ll have during your time in Atlanta.
Where to Stay in Atlanta with Kids
While there is quite a bit to do in Downtown Atlanta I don’t recommend staying here with kids. Restaurants close early so it’s not the best for after hours when you want a convenient place to quickly grab food. I really recommend getting a vacation rental while here. We’ve frequently rented from both Airbnb and VRBO. If you’re nervous about home rentals check out my article for 8 tips to guarantee a great Airbnb experience.
On my most recent stay that was just with my youngest daughter we stayed at the Airbnb pictured here in Midtown. I absolutely loved the location as it was walking distance to make restaurants, Piedmont Park and the grocery store. We were able to park within 2 blocks of the building every night for free. If by chance you don’t find street parking there’s a nearby garage that’s $12 a night.
Where to Eat in Atlanta with Kids
When visiting Atlanta with Kids we discovered a few places we think are great to eat with them. For breakfast we all loved Buttermilk Kitchen, which is closed on Monday’s so plan accordingly. It’s about 10-15 minutes from Downtown Atlanta but worth the drive.
For lunch or dinner check out the food hall at Ponce City Market. With so many options even the picky eaters can find something they love, I know, I’m one of them.
When you’re craving something sweet you have to go to I Scream Ice Cream Rolls. It is the most unique ice cream shop I’ve ever been to with amazing flavors and the most beautiful presentation.
How to Get to Atlanta with Kids Affordably
Since we were on a road trip we drove to Atlanta. However, we’re known for finding cheap flights through flight deals. The last time we flew we got tickets for $85 round trip! Budget airlines like Spirit fly to the city and since they offer penny fares, yes one penny they can be a great option.
We had a great time enjoying the various things to do in Atlanta with kids. When we left we headed to the next stop on our road trip Chattanooga, TN, just two hours from Atlanta. I highly recommend visiting if you can add more days to your trip, you can check out that itinerary here. Did you find this article helpful? If so please share it!