This weekend is the official kick-off for many of Atlanta’s most beloved holiday traditions from Garden Lights, Holiday Nights to Rudolph. But just in case you’re not quite ready to deck the halls, there’s plenty of fall fun left to be had, including learning about the night sky, a harvestfest, the farmer’s market, and an antique steam and gas equipment expo. So go ahead, indulge in both fall fun and holiday happenings this weekend. It’s not an “A” or “B” kind of weekend, so “C” your way to some serious fun.

toddler leaves

Photo: Abigail Batchelder via flickr Creative Commons

Druid Hills

The Sky Tonight at Fernbank Science Center
Head to the planetarium at Fernbank Science Center to listen as an astronomer guides you through the planets, constellations, and events of that evening’s sky. Held at Fernbank Science Center, 156 Heaton Park Dr. $5/ kids, $7/ adults. Sat. at 11 a.m. All ages. Event details.



Rudolph at Center for Puppetry Arts
This faithful adaptation of the 1964 stop-motion animated special, Rudolph and his friends (including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster) takes the stage in what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes as a “holly-jolly holiday adventure for theater-goers of all ages.” Held at Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th. $20.50 (includes create-a-puppet workshop), free under 3. Showtimes vary weekly; see website for schedule. All ages. Event details.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Don’t miss the 5th annual dazzling display of twinkling lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In addition to the millions of lights, there will be s’mores, hot cocoa, and adult beverages for purchase. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Thurs. to Sun. $26/ adult, $20/ ages 3 – 12, Free under 3, Mon. to Wed. $23/ adult, $17/ ages 3 – 12, Free under 3. All ages. Event details.

Mo Willems Day at The High
Come say hello to Mo and get your favorite Mo Willems book signed during Seriously Silly! The art & whimsy of Mo Willems featuring beloved friends The Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie. To have a book signed by Mo, you must purchase your favorite title from the High Museum Shop before the signing. Mo can only sign one book per person and will be unable to personalize books. Tickets are required for the book signing so that everyone has a chance to meet Mo. Tickets are limited and are first-come, first-served at the door. Held at The High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E. Free with admission ($19.50/ adult, $12/ ages 6-17, Free under 5). Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All ages. Event details.

Play the Play with Cat the Cat
Part of The Alliance Theatre’s Theatre for the Very Young programming, this delightful production is about the art of making friends. Held at The Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street. Price varies; see website for details. Through Nov. 15. All ages. Event details.

Holiday Model Train Show
This one’s going to knock their socks off. Don’t miss the G-scale model train display that runs through incredibly decorated town and countryscapes at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Free with admission ($18.95/ adults, $12.95/ ages 3-12, Free under 3). Through Jan. 9. All ages. Event details.


NMP Gift Show
Take your little elves to the annual NMP Gift Show, where they’ll find an assortment of gifts to add to their “nice” list while you check off your gift list for everyone else, too. Want to shop alone? Don’t miss Ladies Preview Night on Thursday the 12th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. You’ll find local and tastefully curated gifts, jewelry and clothing, home decor, and gourmet foodie treats, along with bows, toys, books, and personalized children’s items. Held at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Dr NW. $5/ ages 14 and up, free under 14. Thurs. from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Fri. and Sat. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All ages. Event details.

Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market
This Saturday, check out Georgia’s largest producer-only farmers market in the state (Producer-only means that everything at the Market has been grown, raised, or made by the seller, ensuring fair prices for both the vendors and the consumers). With chef demos, samples, live music, you and the kids will certainly want to make it a weekend tradition. Held at The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NW. Free. Sat. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All ages. Event details.

Barnes & Noble Story Time
With cool weather blowing in, nothing beats a cozy story time and craft to cure cabin fever. Head to Atlanta area Barnes & Noble stores to get your fix of fun. The Buckhead Barnes & Noble offers story times on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11. Held at Buckhead Barnes & Noble, 2900 Peachtree Road NE Suite 310. Free. Sat. at 11 a.m. All ages. Event details.


STARLAB at Chattahoochee Nature Center
Ever wish you could stargaze with you littles only to remember that you prefer the sweet sounds of their snoring during the middle of the night, instead? Well now you can show them what they’re missing by heading to the CNC for a mid-day projection of that night’s sky inside an inflatable planetarium. Held at Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Rd. $10/ adult, $6/ ages 3-12, Under 3 free. Sun. from 1 to 2 p.m. Ages 6 & up. Event details.

Worth the Drive: Canton

Harvestfest at Tanglewood Farm
Celebrate autumn and National American Indian Heritage Month with loads of outdoor fun in the spirit of the Cherokee Indians who once walked this land. Hunt for arrowheads, play in a real teepee, gobble with real Thanksgiving turkeys (heritage breed Narragansetts), and meet Native American interpreter and storyteller Irving Standing Chief. Held at Tanglewood Farm, 171 Tanglewood Dr. $15/ person, Infants under 1 are free. Family tours are held Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No reservations are required for individuals or families to visit. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive: Gainesville

Nature Connects: LEGO® in the Garden
Worth the drive to Gainesville, the newly-opened Gainesville extension of the Atlanta Botanical Garden features 14 larger-than-life installations built from nearly 400,000 LEGO bricks including a giant praying mantis, butterfly, hummingbird, flowers and more. Don’t miss the grand opening this weekend with LEGO activities and games. Held in Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville, 1911 Sweetbay Dr. Free with admission (Adult $18.95, Child $12.95, Under 3 free). Sep 19 – Jan 3. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive: Cumming

Steam and Gas Expo
Have a kiddo who has a thing for machinery and farm equipment and things that go boom-boom? Head to Cumming for the Antique Power Association’s 12th Annual Steam, Antique Tractor, and Gas Engine Expo. Along with lots of steam engines, tractors, and engines, you’ll see a working saw mill, shingle mill, cotton gin, and other machinery. Held at Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Road. $5, free for kids ages 12 & under. Fri. and Sat. All ages. Event details.

Twinkling lights or piles of leaves? Tell us what you’re going to be doing this weekend in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey