What should you do when the heat (and recently, the rain) keep you from hitting the great Georgia outdoors this summer, and your kids have caught-on to your “errands as adventures” ploy? Don’t despair! Turn your air conditioning down in your car and buckle ’em up, because Atlanta is brimming with indoor options to help you keep your cool. Read on to find a dozen ways to beat the heat during the most stifling month of the year.
Home Depot: Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Make the kids and dad happy by taking everyone to the Home Depot for a hands-on, free, air-conditioned workshop. Each workshop differs from the previous one and they provide a take-home apron, the tools, paint, and construction kit. Just remember to pick up your coffee on your way there so you can sit back and enjoy watching them make a mess somewhere other than home.
Details: Home Depot Kids Workshops, August 3rd and the 1st Saturday of Every Month, All Home Depot Locations, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Free
The High Museum of Art: While Toddler Thursdays that we loved so much end the last weekend in July, there is still plenty to see and do at the very cool High in August. Start your visit at the Greene Family Learning Center and be sure to score a Discovery Backpack, which includes art projects, puzzles, books, and games for the kids. You can explore the exhibits from there or just let your kids work off that hot weather cabin fever at the activity stations in the Center. Bank of America or Merrill Lynch cardholders? You can go for free on the first full Saturday and Sunday of every month.
Details: High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Ga 30309, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (half price after 4:00 p.m.), Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Cost 19.50 adults, 12.00 kids 6-17, and free for 5 and under
The Buckhead Library: In addition to the dedicated children’s book section and friendly and helpful staff that all Atlanta Public Libraries have, the Buckhead Branch is particularly well-versed in providing quality children’s programming. Go on Thursday, August 1st from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and catch a flick geared towards kids ages 5-12 on Ancient Civilizations. Then, on Tuesday, August 6th, preschoolers can watch movies of their favorite book characters at 10:30 a.m. Best of all, however, are the music times, but you’d better get there early to be one of the first 20 children ages 11 months to 3 years old admitted to Ms. Jennifer’s Music Class at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7. Miss that? Go on Thursday, August 8th for Ms. Alicia’s Songs for Children of All Ages concert, which begins at 10:30 a.m. All programming is free.
Details: The Library, Buckhead Branch, 269 Buckhead Avenue NE, Atlanta, Ga 30305, 404-814-3500, Monday – Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sunday Closed
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta: Let your kids run wild through the interactive exhibits built just for them. Target sponsors a Free Second Tuesday every month (August 13) from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on a first come, first served basis (they stop admissions when the museum reaches capacity).
Details: The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Atlanta, Ga 30303, (404) 659-5437, $12.75 for ages 1 and older, Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History: What’s cooler than dinosaurs? Not much, and on Saturday, August 24 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. you can party like a dinosaur at the Prehistoric Party. Celebrating the 12th anniversary of Giants of the Mesozoic, your general admission (free for members) gives your little dinosaurs in on the birthday themed activities, games, and crafts. Busy on the 24th? No worries. Fernbank’s permanent exhibitions are cranking out the AC all month long.
Details: Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, Ga 30307, (404) 929-6300, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sundays
Atlanta Monetary Museum: Your little’s need not have read Tipping Point to appreciate a self-guided tour of the Fed’s Money Museum. Take them to see a history of objects and currency that have been used for trade in the past, and plant the seed for entrepreneurial excellence (look out, lemonade stand). The real reward of a trip to the Money Museum? None other than a glimpse at the Money Robot, an automated system that moves money around the Fed’s vault.
Details: Atlanta Monetary Museum at the Federal Reserve, 1000 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, Ga 30309, Self-guided tours from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, Free
Steve’s Live Music: Don’t feel like cooking and desperate for some entertainment that doesn’t start with “Dis-ney-Jun-ior”? Head to Steve’s on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. for the folk music singalong and choose from their kid-friendly menu (fish tacos, mini cheeseburgers, and flatbread pizzas, for instance), instead. The stage will mesmerize the kids, the food will thrill them, and you’ll have a chance to take a deep breath and maybe even enjoy your own cold beverage.
Details: Steve’s Live Music, 234 Hilderbrand Drive, Sandy Springs, Ga 30328, (404) 418-6777, Free admission
The Georgia Aquarium: We all know this place rocks, but did you know that you can receive discounted admission ($19.95 per person, and children under two are free) after 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday until August 17 during the Kia sponsored Imagination Nights program? Going during regular business hours? Be sure to take advantage of the included admission to the Dolphin’s Tales performance. Sea monsters, princes, dolphins – the littles love it.
Details: The Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, Ga 30313, (404) 581-4000, Regular Hours are Sunday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; however, check the website for changes in their Summer Schedule
World of Coke: Hands down, the best thing about a visit to the World of Coke is the tasting room, but there’s no question what happens when you turn a three year old loose on the equivalent of a caffeine-and-sugar open bar. It can get a little hairy. So, if you have older children, or if you’re really brave, you should know that you can get $1 off the price of admission if you’ve been to the Aquarium anytime in the previous seven days (just show your Aquarium ticket stub).
Details: World of Coke, 121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, Ga 30313, (404) 676-5151, Sunday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Friday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History: Take your train-aholics to the Southern Museum on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to fill up their tanks with preschool-appropriate and most often, train-themed educational programming. Be sure to check the schedule on the website before promising trainapalooza, because some weeks are geared towards other topics. Don’t forget to check out The General while you’re there, and learn about it’s role in over a century of train drama between the States.
Details: The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, 2829 Cherokee Street, Kennesaw, Ga 30144, (770) 427-2117, Adults $7.50, Children 4 and up $5.50, Under 4 free
Cyclorama: It’s the world’s biggest painting. It’s about the Battle of Atlanta, and you can try to find where your house would be as you wander around, and around, and around the depiction of our fair city under wartime duress. It’s home to The Texas, which is part two in The General’s locomotive saga. And did we mention it’s air conditioned? Bottom line? The Cyclorama is cool. Go.
Details: Cyclorama, 800 Cherokee Ave SE Atlanta, Ga 30315, (404) 658-7625, Tuesday-Saturday, 9:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Guided tours are every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the exception of 12:30 pm., 13 and over $10.00, 4-12 years old $8.00, Under 3 free
Center for Puppetry Arts: First-class artistic design, interactive museum during your wait, entertaining family programming, build-your-own puppet workshop following the show, and did we mention they have HUGE seats with plenty of room for the fidgeters to stand as they watch the performance? The Center for Puppetry Arts begins its run of Rumplestiltskin on August 1st, with showtimes on Thursdays and Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m., and on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Details: Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Ga 30309 (404) 873-3089, Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Show tickets are $11.50 each
Where will you keep cool this August? Tell us below!