Little Loves Date Ideas: Atlanta Edition
Toddler Date Ideas: Free + Cheap
Swell Mamas Favorites List
Go West! Wrangle those kiddos, grab the stroller, the goldfish stash and go on an adventure. Check out the list of far off (or maybe not so far off) destinations below, for inspiration, parks, museums, attractions, and more for you and your little Ponce De Leons.
Farmhouse in the City: Wander over to downtown Roswell to experience “a child’s whimsical art playground.” If introducing your little one to giclees and goats is your goal, this is the place. Check out their calendar for dates and times http://www.farmhouseinthecity.com/Calendar/calendar.html
Cultural Arts Center: Catch a show! Classic stories acted out by puppets in the heart of historic Roswell. Click here for dates and times http://www.roswellgov.com/discover-us/cultural-arts-center/puppet-series
Splash n’ Play at Riverside Park: Refreshing fun for all ages and a great bargain at only $2 per person. For fun on dry land, head across the lawn to two age-appropriate playgrounds. Open hours can be a little erratic, so make sure to check before you go: http://www.roswellgov.com/government/departments/recreation-and-parks/parks-facilities/spraygrounds
Alive After Five: Alive in Roswell is a monthly free, family-friendly festival held concurrently on Historic Canton Street, Historic Roswell Square, and the City Hall Grounds. The festival occurs each 3rd Thursday evening (5:00-9:00 pm) from April through October.
Swell Mama Tip: Fickle Pickle is the spot for a casual but colorful lunch that is very kid friendly. It just happens to connect to the Sugar Shack where ice cream and fresh baked goodies abound in a general store vibe.
Marietta Fire Museum: The Marietta Fire Museum features a collection of items used by the Marietta Fire Department since the 1800s. The collection includes vehicles, clothing, equipment, antiques, photos, displays, and more. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. Admission is free, and donations are accepted and appreciated.
Cochran Shoals: Walk by the river with great views of water, ducks, geese, blue heron, deer, and lots of other wildlife! We always see something fun!
The Boardwalk at the Chattahoochee: Sara and I love to push our strollers there- I push Andrew, she pushes her babydoll, Mary. - Holly
East Cobb Park: A great playground with awesome tall slides!
Swell Music: Enjoy music and dancing with recording artist, Sarah Miles! Dates are often added so join the eblast list for details as they emerge. Swell Music by the Springs takes place in Sandy Springs and Swell Music by the Tracks takes place in Chamblee's Keswick Park. Think outdoor dance party meets community picnic for our little ones. Venue and days can vary so check out the calendar for more details here: https://swellforever.com/pages/swell-music
La Dee Da studio: Right off of 285 in Sandy Springs, settle in for story time and open art sessions for toddlers and kids of all ages. The treehouse room at La Dee Da is a great indoor escape from rain! For more details http://ladeedastudio.com/calendar.html
Chastain Park: Climb up on the newly renovated, tree-house-themed park where parents and kids can go down large slides side by side and swing together on the unique swing sets. 135 W. Wieuca Rd. NW, Atlanta 30342
Morgan Falls Overlook: Take a short family hike around the trails, have a picnic overlooking the beautiful water and end the day at the playground perfect for all ages. The porch swings overlooking nature are a great city escape.
Swell Mama Tip: For older kids, High Country has a paddle shack here, where you can rent paddle boards, kayaks and canoes. The park (and shack) are located at 200 Morgan Falls Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30350
Abernathy Greenway: Experience a playable art park that is full of imagination. Ideal for the older kid set but still fun for toddlers with great supervision as the park is a long stretch with lots of climbing sculptures that can be a bit steep. Best for fall and evenings as there is no sun protection. 70 Abernathy Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30328
Hammond Park Preschool Open Gym: When it is too hot to play or rainy outside, we love signing up for the Hammond Park Open Gym hour on Wednesday mornings. Register online in advance to get a spot. Only $5 to play! More info and to register: http://www.sandyspringsga.gov/recreation/things-to-do/sport-leisure-programs/gymnastics
Sandy Springs Farmer's Market: This neighborhood favorite is set to really stand out as it moves to the new City Springs in downtown Sandy Springs every Saturday morning of the summer and fall.
Peachtree Dekalb Airport (aka PDK): Watch planes soar into the sky while enjoying the playground, concrete bleachers and picnic tables conveniently located right along the runway.
Swell Mama Tip: Pack a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy listening to your toddler’s unending squeals of delight---plane after plane!
ZenTea: Experience high tea, or tiny tea! Best for toddlers who are comfortable holding a tea cup (3+), make a stop into this zen-like tea house. Pick from more than 200 varieties of teas. The lovely staff will even cool the tea down for little ones.
Swell Mama Tip: The peachy non-caffeinated herbal tea and small scones are ideal for a treat that doesn’t add too much sugar.
Keswick Park: Bring the whole family to the park that has it all: playground, dog park, ball fields, this park covers more than 45 acres and is an ideal place to run off that early morning energy. Explore Chamblee’s green space at 3496 Keswick Dr. Chamblee, GA 30341
Ashford Park: The ideal destination if you’re spending the day with kids of various ages. Big kids will love the big slides and stuff to climb. Little ones will enjoy tons of ride on toys, sand toys and swings just their size. It’s tucked into a neighborhood, so make sure to enter the address into your google maps 2980 Redding Rd NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319
Frosty Caboose: Choose from a myriad of frozen delights at the aptly named ice cream shop, which lives infor the red caboose car situated along the railroad tracks near Chamblee’s downtown.
Swell Mama Tip: Choo- Choo choose seasonal offering, “Orient Express” which features green tea ice cream, ginger candy, whipped cream, cherries and fortune cookies! www.frostycaboose.com
MidtownPonce City Market: Enjoy “old-timey fun” like carnival amusements, mini golf and a giant slide (for the bigs) at Skyline Park, located on the roof of the PCM. Downstairs at PCM, check out great toy stores, like Rhen’s Nest and quaint book stores like Posman’s Books.
Swell Mama Tip: Trick your toddler into a healthy treat by ordering the frozen banana on the dessert menu! www.skylineparkatlanta.com
Georgia Tech Observatory: Take a turn gazing through the super-size telescope for an up-close view of the moon at Georgia Tech’s “Public Nights” one Thursday per month.
Swell Mama Tip: Ask for a printed picture of the moon for a fun souvenir! Check out the calendar for the remaining 2018 dates.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens: Check out the beautiful new children’s section! The new and improved playground includes a big slide, frog ponds, tree house climbing structure, honey bee hive viewing, and shaded splash pad. From special kids events to music and story times each week, they have really stepped up their game.
Swell Mama Tip: Be prepared for the cost of parking! If you opt for a membership, put a mom or good friend as the other adult on the membership if a spouse is unlikely to join often. They can still come with you but this makes it easier to split the cost with a friend.
Swell Mama Tip: Treat yourself and your little to lunch at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ beautiful new sit-down restaurant that was actually kid friendly. Check out the kids menu here.
Center for Puppetry Arts: Opt for the annual membership and help this fantastic performance venue catered to kids of all ages. The Sesame Street museum is the coolest kid themed museum around and is included in your ticket purchase. Check regularly for new shows like Charlotte’s Web and Cinderella. A puppet craft upstairs is also included with the show purchase. The Center also boasts story time “Tale Time”, Toddler Tuesday “play shops” and museum tours.
Swell Mama Tip: With membership, you get ½ off tickets and some other fun perks. And leave time to their fantastic playground. www.puppet.org
Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Get up close to dinosaurs, 3D IMAX movies, an indoor treehouse full of animals and that’s just the permanent stuff to see. They’ve recently added 75 acres of outdoor adventure and feature different rotating exhibits all the time. There’s always something new and fun to see and learn. Check out the special exhibitions on view today http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/explore/special-exhibitions/
Swell Mama Tip: Check out Mommy and Me Mondays for discounted tickets and parking, and special downloadable activities for kids under 5. Plan your trip here: http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/visit/tickets/special-offers/mommy-me-mondays/
Atlanta Zoo – Get the membership, it’s well worth it. Go for the animals, stay for the splash pad, playground, and new tree top adventure!
Swell Mama Tip: Zoo Atlanta features a petting zoo, make sure to save time during your visit to check it out. If you have 3 or 4 year old, check out the Adventure Club for age appropriate zoo experiences https://zooatlanta.org/program/adventure-cubs/
Tiny Doors ATL: Continue your fun downtown and go on the hunt for this Atlanta based art project created with the idea to bring big wonder to tiny spaces. Your little one will be sure to have a BIG reaction to this whimsical adventure! https://tinydoorsatl.com/
Gregory Christie’s studio: Meet the award-winning illustrator who extends an open invitation to children of all ages to create art in his studio located in North Dekalb Mall. Saturdays and Sundays check out the “Drop-in and Draw” class from noon to 3 pm. $5 a class is well spent for some artsy fun! http://gas-art.com/
Dekalb Farmers Market: Check out the giant tanks teeming with sea life, aisles of exotic fruits and interesting shaped veggies. Each of you should pick out a fun treat, share and experience something new together. dekalbfarmersmarket.com
The Decatur Toy Park: Explore climbing gyms, ride on toys and relax in the swings. The covered picnic tables are a great snack haven or place for a picnic, 133 Nelson Ferry Rd, Decatur, GA 30030
Swell Mama Tip: Easy walking distance to Dancing Goats Coffee, grab some delicious coffee (and locally made donuts) then relax while the kiddos play.
Southeastern Railway Museum: Take your favorite train addict to this locomotive museum located in Duluth, off Buford Highway. Check out the museum, explore vintage trains and even catch a ride on the open air Grand Scale Park Train, train-museum.org
Swell Mama Tip: Most of the museum is outside, so afterwards take your little one to cool off in the downtown Duluth splash fountain. www.duluthga.net
Kennesaw Mountain: Take a hike with the jogger stroller (yes it is all uphill but paved) or choose to jump on the shuttle to the top. Just be prepared for pick up times. The museum and live ammunition demonstrations are a good start on history in our region.
Swell Mama Tip: Bring a picnic blanket and pack a lunch. Picnics are best spent on the ample grass before the hike up.
Stone Mountain Park: Plan to spend the day and hit the water for a duck boat ride. After the tour, there are tons of options to explore, including the train, tree top adventure courses, mini golf, a farmyard with animals, a dinosaur exhibit, and the skyride, just to name a few! Plan your visit stonemountainpark.com
Swell Mama Tip: Wear yourselves out and then stay for a picnic dinner on the main lawn and the laser show, an Atlanta tradition.
Marietta Picture Show: A budget friendly rainy-day option, take advantage of $1 movie tickets.
Swell Mama Tip: This is an excellent way to test out your child’s ability to sit through a movie, and they have booster seats! www.pictureshowent.com
Norcross Downtown Playground: An absolute favorite spot, especially after dinner downtown and during the free concert series in the open space next to the playground.
SM Tip: Listening to fun music and letting the kids play while trains chug by is a wonderful way to spend Friday night, concerts kick off in May, check the schedule of events here https://www.norcrossga.net/Calendar.aspx
Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park: Get lost in this large park with one section committed to all things play. Toddler and big kid sections are full of great playscapes and a manmade stream runs through the park. Next door is a skate park with a bunch of activities and a fun thing for little ones to watch. A very large trail runs around the park for a leisurely Saturday walk with the whole family, perfect for strollers and pets, who also have their own space to enjoy. 4770 N Peachtree Rd, Dunwoody, GA 30338
Swell Mama Tip: The Thursday night Food Truck nights come complete with lots of choices, lots of playground time and a fun musical act, this event kicks off April 26. Check out the rest of the events at Brook Run Park https://www.cvbdunwoody.com/events/annual-events/
Suntrust Park: Such a fun place on a pretty day. Meet up with friends for lunch or dinner even when the Brave's are not playing. Enjoy fountains, big screens, fun music, shops, great restaurants, plenty of outdoor space and splash park.
Serenbe: Serenbe Playhouse puts on several kid-friendly shows each year, performed in the outdoors. There’s also a petting zoo, and you can request free feed for the animals. There is an inground trampoline plus plenty of outdoor areas to explore, including trails for horseback riding for older kids. Take a picnic lunch or dine at the casual Blue Eyed Daisy. Serenbe also features kid camps during June and July.
Line Creek Nature Area: (Fayette County) A great place to take the kiddos to explore the outdoors. There is a pond suitable for fishing, a gazebo with picnic tables, and a short hike takes you down to the creek. Be careful, though - those rocks are slippery!
Starr’s Mill Park: Starr's Mill is a tiny village a few miles south of Peachtree City off of Highway 74. The area is extremely picturesque and makes for a nice drive. In particular, be sure to check out the actual Starr's Mill building (from which the village grew around) located off Highway 85 on Starr's Mill Pond - it was a major filming location for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Bring a picnic!
Peachtree City, GA: Rent a golf cart in PTC - explore the golf cart paths of PTC, either on two wheels or four. There are several golf cart shops that will rent carts daily for a quick exploration. One of our favorite activities is to playground hop along the paths. Make sure to stop by the All Children’s Playground, located next to the library and city hall. Picnic tables are available for a picnic lunch.
Swell Mamas Tip: Use google maps and select “bicycle” to find your way around on the paths. Just make sure to remember that there are only certain bridges and tunnels for crossing over the main highways of 54 and 74. If you happen to visit on a rainy day that makes outdoor playgrounds less than pleasant, head to the local toy store Shenanigans, which features an indoor play area for a small fee or free with purchase.