Atlanta’s own mini Central Park is stretching its borders and becoming more kid-friendly than ever. With its prime Midtown location, nestled up next to the Botanical Garden and surrounded by casual eateries, families could easily spend a whole day exploring. Check out our guide for a stress-free stroll through the park with a pre-plotted path and all the insider info you need to know to spend your morning navigating nature.
Access the parking deck via Monroe Drive, and join the other stroller-clad early birds hoping to beat the heat and the crowds. The deck allows convenient access to the center of Piedmont Park, adjacent to Magnolia Hall. A nifty park map greets you as you exit the deck, while several more maps are conveniently posted throughout the park. Once on foot, hang a right toward the Noguchi playground by way of the gravel path that loops around the Oval Sports Fields. The Noguchi playground is sparse yet shady, with architectural playscapes that lend themselves to the older set.
If you have babes in diapers, you may want to hit up the changing station located inside the restroom right next to Noguchi. Everyone in tow potty trained? Hold out for the restrooms at the next stop, they’re a bit tidier.
Head toward the Aquatic Center and Greystone building for a stop at the Mayor’s Grove Playground. Now here’s a place you may want to stay a while. This interactive playground is perfect for all ages. Bridges, swings, climbing apparatus, drums and more lend themselves to an imaginative, energetic playtime. Parents can rest on the nearby shady benches.
Lunch time! Don’t feel like packing a picnic? No worries—the Premiere Events Concessions Stand located at the entrance of the pool boasts an extensive menu of kid and grownup crowd-pleasers. Choose from BBQ, burgers or chicken from the grill, or the always satisfying hot dogs, pb&j, nachos and pizza. There’s even a “specialty menu” with more parent-pleasing options such as chicken and tuna salad croissants.
Time to burn some more energy… Load up and head north round the tennis courts, keeping toward the right for a pretty walk with wildflowers and wetlands. As part of a 53-acre park expansion, The Promenade features the Legacy Fountain, a 70-jet splash pad surrounded by lovely manicured lawns. Stop off at the restrooms for a quick potty break and clothing change. From 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the fountains provide kids hours of good, clean fun, while parents look on in envy.
Rest assured everyone will be beat by this point, and ready to head home for mid-day naps. Luckily the parking deck is just a short walk downhill from the Promenade.
Good to Know…
Parking: Save yourself the headache of finding street parking and use the deck. It’s $1 every 30 minutes, and well worth it!
Restrooms: Located at both playgrounds, the Promenade and a few more scattered in between, you shouldn’t have any trouble making pit stops.
Concessions: The Aquatic Center Concessions Stand is open Monday – Wednesday 10am – 8pm and Thursday – Sunday 10am – 7pm. The Legacy Fountain has a drink machine next to the bathrooms.
What to bring: A stroller, water (and lots of it! The Promenade area has very little shade, and while the kiddos may be nice and cool in the fountains, you’ll break a sweat watching them), snacks, sunscreen, bathing suit, water shoes (not required), towel, swim diapers and a change of clothes
What not to bring: Your dog (most of the kid-friendly areas are not dog-friendly)
Hitting the Park on the weekends? Check out their Events Calendar before you go. And on Saturdays, March through mid-December, you won’t want to miss the Green Market from 9am to 1pm.
What is your favorite, family-friendly Atlanta park? Tell us below!
–Anna Cate Little
Photos courtesy of courtesy of the author and Creative Commons via Flickr