It’s time to return our seats to their upright positions and store all electronic devices, because Atlanta, we’re coming in for a landing. Make the most of your last weekend before Christmas by hitting some of our best bets for this weekend. And yes, to-do lists are calling, but remember that the things we do with our kids will live longer in their memories than the things we buy. Get out there. Have some fun.

Nutcracker 2009 - 1 - Photo by C. McCullers


See The Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox
Don’t miss Atlanta Ballet’s presentation of the Christmas classic at the fabulous Fox Theater, with music performed live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. While you’re down there, be sure to swing by The Varsity on the way home to grab a dog and see the carhops in their Santa hats. Held at the Fox Theater, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Tickets start at $23. All ages. Event details.

Holiday Tales in the Garden
This is the big one, folks. Head to the Children’s Garden to catch Queen Snowflake doing her thing. She’ll regale the kiddos with stories about a growing gigantic icicle, a flower that turns winter white and a special pine tree. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE. Included in garden admission ($13/ child, $19/ adult). All ages. Event details.

Atlantic Station

See the Snow Show
We may not see much of the white stuff in Atlanta, but you can catch it at the top of every hour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in Atlantic Station. After the show, stick around for pictures with Santa, or if you’re feeling frisky, some ice skating. Held at Central Park in Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Dr. NW. Snow show is free. All ages. Event details.


Drive Through the Lights of Life 
An annual tradition in Atlanta, Life University strings up thousands of lights and welcomes carloads to its zero-profit event, every night, rain or shine. Get out and stretch your legs at the petting zoo, pony ride, train ride, or visit with Santa (weather permitting, and $5-$12/ event). Held at Life University, 1269 Barclay Cir. Driving through the lights are free. All ages. Event details.

Lithia Springs

Hayride and S’mores
Go ahead, play hooky from this year’s neighborhood party and head to Sweetwater Creek State Park with your kiddos instead. Complete with a hayride, campfire s’more roast, and Park Rangers to answer your kids’ billions of questions, you can sit back and enjoy some fresh air. Call 770.732.5871 for reservations. Held at Sweetwater Creek State Park, 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs. $8 admission fee, $5 parking fee. All ages. Event details.


Ride the Pink Pig
It wouldn’t be the holidays in Atlanta if there wasn’t a giant, pink, 1950’s-themed pig ride in the parking lot of Macy’s at Lenox Square, and it doesn’t get any weirder if you wait until after Christmas to ride the legend. Go ahead, hop onboard. Just don’t forget to nab a sticker and wear it with pride on your way out. Held outside of Macy’s at Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree St. $3/ child. All ages. Event details.


See Your Favorite Heros and Villians at Marvel Universe Live!
Looking for a little adrenaline after all that holiday happiness? Head to Phillips Arena this weekend to marvel at the heroes and villains in Marvel Universe Live! With more than 25 Marvel characters doing all sorts of exciting things on stage, you might just pick up a smooth move or two to help you through the last of your mall shopping trips. Held at Phillips Arena, 1 Philips Dr. Tickets start at $20. All ages. Event details.

Meet the Holidays: Hanukkah
Head to the Children’s Museum to learn about the festival of lights, bop to the Hanukkah Hop, and make a take-home banner. While you’re there, don’t miss the Think Outside the Box exhibit going on now. Held at The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW. Free with admission ($12.75/ person). All ages. Event details.


Dine and Ride with Santa at Southeastern Railway Museum
If you haven’t been to the SRM’s 35 acres of locomotive nirvana yet, there’s no better time than this Saturday, when Santa will make an appearance for breakfast and lunch. Following the meal, kiddos can enjoy some holiday crafting, followed by a hayride to the train platform and a short ride with Santa. Lucky ones who’ve nabbed a reservation get to stay for a screening of The Polar Express inside a parked boxcar. Held at Southeastern Railway Museum, 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. Breakfast at 9 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m., and Polar Express Experience at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. $16/ person, kids under 2 free. All ages. Event details.

Historic West End

Storytelling at The Wren’s Nest
Need a break from the holiday standards? Head to the former home of Uncle Remus Tales author Joel Chandler Harris to hear stories told by professional storytellers, dedicated to the art of preserving the legacy of African American folklore. Rumor has it that adults enjoy the stories just as much as the kiddos. Held at The Wren’s Nest, 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. $6/ child, $9/ adult. All ages. Event details.

How are you spending the weekend? Tell us in the Comments below!

— Shelley Massey