Bring Your Kids​ to the College Football Hall of Fame!

When preparing to visit the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame recently, I’ll be honest. As a mother of two girls and a moderate sports fan, I was not expecting much.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about what my experience would be like and I highly recommend anyone with preschoolers, or kids of any age for that matter, visit if you are in the Atlanta area.

The Museum itself sits right downtown off Centennial Park, next to all the well-known spots like the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke. You can’t miss the entrance because it’s in the shape of a giant football and has a huge LED screen. The location is beautiful for a picnic after your time spent inside. There also are several playgrounds nearby for the kids to run off some energy before or after your visit. I recommend visiting on a day with good weather so you can take advantage of the parks and outside areas. Not to mention there are great views of the City of Atlanta, so it’s a great spot for photos!

Here is why the College Football Hall of Fame is GREAT for children (and adults) of all ages!

The Wall of Helmets: When you walk into the Museum there is a three-story wall of college football helmets! When you buy your ticket, they give each visitor a tag that is registered at the entrance. When you register your tag, you select your favorite college. As you do so, the helmet representing your college will light up on the wall. It is super cool and fun for the kiddos to find the helmet. Just the sheer visual of the giant wall of helmets is exciting and entertaining.

Indoor practice field: On the first floor of the museum, they have a fun interactive practice field set up. They also stream live games in there and have tailgates and a bar set up for the adults. You can practice your field goal kicks or show off your best touchdown dance. There is something for everybody in this space.

Interactive EVERYTHING: The exhibits are upstairs and when I say interactive, I mean interactive and personalized. Your team, the one you selected when you registered your bag, is connected to your bag so as you experience the museum, they pull the stats and info from your school throughout the experience. You can even sing your fight song and have it recorded and connected to your account so when you get home you can look back at all the fun stuff you did that day. Sensory Friendly.

Lots of things to see: The exhibits themselves are very visual and fun for kids to view. So, younger kids can still enjoy them even if they can’t read the information provided. Caroline thought the old-school tailgate set up was super cool!

Time spent: You can spend the day or just a few hours here and you will get something out of it! With younger kids you might only need 2-3 hours to get your money’s worth, but if you have a group of older kids or adults you could literally spend the entire day experiencing all the fun displays, and participating in the interactive things they have throughout the museum. We spent a few hours in the museum and afterward took a walk in the park to the playground.

Fun Photo Ops: Because it is so interactive it is also a super fun place to take photos of your kiddos! So, bring a camera (or your cell phone) and be ready to snap some cute pics of your “littles.”

The College Football Hall of Fame is a spot you want to visit if you are looking for things to do in Atlanta with kids. So add it to your list of things to do the next time you are planning a day downtown! We can’t wait to go back and bring Daddy; he will LOVE this place.

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12 Atlanta Events to Kick off the 2018 Holiday Season!

Looking for family-friendly events around the Atlanta area to kick off your holiday season? Here is a list of twelve events and holiday tree lightings going on around town that are guaranteed to put you in a holly jolly mood.

1. Light the Station 2018 — Atlantic Station– Nov. 17, 1- 8 p.m.; lighting at 7:45 p.m.

Don’t miss the season’s biggest event as we officially kick off the holidays with Light the Station!  This year’s event will be held in a new location on WINTER WONDER LANE – just off Market Street and adjacent to Dillard’s. Enjoy the Atlanta Christkindl Market also opening on Nov. 17!

For more info: Light the Station

2. The Lighting of Avalon —Nov. 18, from 1-8 p.m. Tree Lighting at 7 p.m.

A celebration for the season you won’t want to miss! Get in the holiday spirit with festive music and free activities for the whole family. From the annual opening of Avalon on Ice to the magnificent tree lighting, and an appearance from Jolly Old Saint Nick himself, there’s something exciting for all to enjoy.

For more info: Lighting of Avalon

3. Avalon On Ice —Nov. 18– Dec. 21

‘Tis the season to lace up your skates and glide into the holiday spirit at Avalon on Ice.  The Rockefeller-inspired ice skating rink is open Nov. 18, 2018 through Jan. 21, 2019.

For more info:Avlon On Ice

4. Marietta Square Christmas Tree Lighting —Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m.; Tree Lighting at 6 p.m.

Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for the kick-off to the holiday season in charming Marietta Square. Festivities start at 4:00 pm in Glover Park in Historic Marietta Square. Local choruses will perform Christmas carols on the main stage. Santa will light the giant Christmas tree at 6 pm.

For more info: Marietta Square Tree Lighting 

5. Children’s Christmas Parade —Dec. 1, Peachtree & 11th Street at 10:30 a.m.

The Children’s Christmas Parade will step off at Peachtree Street and 16th Street and end at Peachtree Street and 5th Street. Watch as Midtown Atlanta is transformed into Santa Claus Lane with the sights and sounds of the season. Your kids will love this Atlanta tradition and enjoy the large floats and performances in the parade. It is the largest of its kind in the Southeast! Can’t make it to Peachtree Street? You can tune in to WSB-TV Channel 2 to view the Children’s Christmas Parade live.

For more info: Atlanta Children’s Christmas Parade

6. Season of Celebration – Light the Night City of Alpharetta —Dec. 1, 4-8 p.m.

Enjoy the charm of the holiday season at the lighting of the Christmas tree and other holiday festivities in Alpharetta.

For more info: Season of Celebration 

7. Rudolph and the Center for Puppetry Arts —Nov. 15 through Dec. 30.

Enjoy a classic story told a classic way at the Center for Puppetry Arts.  Your ticket will include the performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™, a Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ your children can build and perform with their very own King Moonracer™ Rod Puppet, and admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum.

For more info: Putter Show Rudolf

8. Candlelight Nights at the Atlanta History Center —Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, from 5:30-8 p.m.

Santa Claus will welcome kids, and families can enjoy the Holiday Market filled with local crafts and artists’ creations. Visit each of the three historic houses to experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas during the Civil War era (Smith Family Farm), the 1930’s (Swan House) and pioneer days (Wood Family Cabin). Timeless holiday music will resonate, and interpreters will bring characters from the pages of history to life at these historic abodes, each handsomely dressed in period holiday decorations and featuring activities of the season.

For more info: Candlelight Nights

9. Winter Wonderland at the Fernbank —Nov. 16 through Jan. 6

Visit the Fernbank Museum and enjoy holiday décor, sparkling trees showcasing celebrations around the world in the enchanting Winter Wonderland exhibition. Their displays recognize the diversity of celebrations, holidays, traditions and events from around the world. So, come to enjoy the Museum, the decorations, and the holiday cheer!

For more info: Winter Wonderland 

10. Garden Lights and Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden —Nov. 17- Jan. 6

Each year the Garden adds something new to its botanical-inspired light display. The wonderland goes throughout the 20-acre Midtown attraction. Enjoy the always beautiful Atlanta Botanical Garden adorned in holiday cheer.

For more info: Atlanta Botanical

11. Christmas at Callanwolde —Nov. 23 to Dec. 9. Daily from 12-8 p.m. (Closed Nov. 29 for the Callanwolde Holiday Gala.)

Christmas at Callanwolde has been an Atlanta holiday tradition for 40 years, and begins with the Christmas at Callanwolde Designer Show House, a 27,000-square-foot historic mansion decorated by Atlanta’s top interior and floral designers. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a self-guided tour of the mansion and enjoy elaborately decorated holiday displays, an artists’ market, and other holiday themed activities for the entire family. See the website for daily activities and events and bring a new toy for donation to Toys for Tots.

For more info: Callanwolde

12. Holiday Lights of Hope 2018 – Woodstock —Dec. 7-23, 6-9 p.m.

Family light show that befits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. The event includes an awesome walk-through light display featuring more than TWO MILLION LIGHTS, along with entertainment for families with kids of all ages. I’ve also heard the Santa there is great for pictures!

For more info: Holiday Lights

There are so many great events going on in the Atlanta area for the 2018 Christmas Holiday season! Make sure to check back for more Atlanta family friend holiday events on the blog!

HolidaySeasonATL

11 Kid Friendly Things To Do in Atlanta for Halloween 2018.

There are so many Halloween activities for families with small children in the Atlanta area. In order to help you sort them all out, we put together a list of kid-friendly Halloween activities we think you should check out with your kiddos this year.

Here is a list of 11 things in and around Atlanta, Georgia worth checking out for a spooktacular time, in no particular order.

1.  Haunted Hall of Fame at the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame October 27th and 28th

Experience the spooky sights and sounds of Halloween during the Haunted Hall of Fame at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta! Kids ages 3 to 12 get in free when they arrive in costume. Run around the field of screams, dodge ghosts in our Skillzone challenge, trick or treat, visit our face painters and more!

More info: Haunted Hall Of Fame

2. Boo at the Zoo– Zoo Atlanta- October on the 20th, 21nd, 27th, and 28th 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Boo at the Zoo has tons of kid-friendly activities with Zoo Boo Town, pumpkin carvings, train rides, storybook character meet-and-greets, an inflatable corn maze, and more. Watch as animals are fed their special Halloween treats and don’t forget your costume!

More info: Boo At The Zoo

3. Ghostly Gatherings at The Fernbank Museum of Natural History Sunday, October 21st and 28th

Join them on evenings in October for this bewitchingly fun special event series featuring evening hours of the new outdoor experience, Woodland Spirits, as well as musical entertainment and hands-on activities for all ages. Drinks, including adult beverages, and a variety of snacks will be available for purchase.

More info: Ghostly Gatherings

4. Dinosaur Trick-or-Treat, also at the Fernbank Museum on Saturday, October 27th, from 10:00 AM 2:00 PM complete with games, activities and special treats for kids in costumes. You can also do the monster mash at the kiddie dance party and get up close and personal with a life-size replica of a Giganotosaurus skull.

More info: Dino Trick Or Treat

5. Pumpkin Festival at Stone Mountain Friday – Sunday’s now through October 28th

Stone Mountain Park’s annual Pumpkin Festival has become a family favorite with kids and parents alike! Enjoy park attractions, fun-filled games, live shows, and more! After dark, there is a new family-friendly nighttime experience featuring thousands of carved jack-o-lanterns lighting up each night.

More info: Pumpkin Fest

6. Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Kennesaw State Sports and Entertainment Park on October 27, 6 PM to 11 PM and October 28, 4 PM to 11 PM

Enjoy breathtaking views from 2,000 feet above on a tethered balloon ride, or if you’d prefer to stay on the ground, this Kennesaw festival features seven stages of concerts, aerial performances, a costume catwalk contest, and much more.

More info:Owl-O_Ween

7. Haunted Halloween at the Atlanta History Center on October 19th

Enjoy with trick-or-treating, kid-friendly ghost encounters, tasty bites and haunted houses.

 More info:Haunted Halloween at Atlanta History Center

8. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is celebrating Halloween with four days (October 27th – 30th) of themed programming including crafts, story times, experiments and music. And, don’t forget to visit in costume on October 27 for trick-or-treating throughout the museum.

More info: Children Museum Halloween

9. Georgia A-Scary-Um at the Georgia Aquarium on October 31st featuring crafts, photo ops and trick-or-treating among beluga whales and manta rays. Even better, kids (under 12) who arrive in costume will receive free admission! Trick-or-Treat Wednesday, October 31st from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

More info: Georgia Scary-UM

10. Goblins in the Garden at Atlanta Botanical Gardens on Sunday, October 28th, 10 AM – 4 PM. Show off the kids’ Halloween costumes on the Goblin Runway, make fall-themed crafts, enjoy a storyteller and ride a pony or a train. There’s even a cash bar for adult goblins!

More info: Goblins In The Garden

11. Avalon Trick or treat October 31st Avalon celebrate Halloween in style this year with a safe trick-or-treating experience throughout Avalon Boulevard. Pick up a map from the concierge and visit participating retailers, who will hand out candy and goodies throughout the day.

More info: Avalon Trick Or Treat

5 Reasons to NOT Skip The Fernbank Museum!

Why You NEED to visit the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, GA.

We have lived in Atlanta for 10 months and I will be honest, I only discovered the Fernbank Museum of Natural History through my own Internet research when looking for new places to take the girls over fall break. And it took a rather deep dive into the search results to find it.

I’m constantly asking people for new recommendations for places to visit in the Atlanta area and find that everyone recommends the same things: The Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, and The Children’s Museum. While those are great places, there is so much more to do in Atlanta with kids than hang out around Centennial Park.

Here are a few reasons why you NEED to add the Fernbank to your list of Atlanta area places to visit with kids (of all ages).

1. The Entrance is Epic: The museum sits on a beautiful property in the Druid Hills neighborhood just on the outskirts of the city, so when you pull up the Museum is the only building you see. The entryway is awesome, featuring large dinosaur sculptures in front and making it an exciting visual when first pulling up. It reminded me of something out of a movie and the girls loved it!

2. Nature Quest: On the second floor, there is a children’s exhibit and play area called Nature Quest, designed for children ages 2-9 years. This exhibit is interactive and educational in so many ways! Both girls had a blast, and so did the baby. Among the many things to discover and explore are an under-the-sea section, a tree house, and so much more. I even crawled into the tree house lower level to play with the girls and couldn’t help thinking how awesome I would have thought this place was when I was their age.

3. It’s not just indoors: Unlike most natural history museums, the Fernbank, has an amazing outdoor space they call the Wilderness. The Wilderness is canopy-covered walkways with beautiful wood sculptures and fun multilevel play area for older kids to climb and explore. When you are done walking the beautiful pathways and taking in the views, there is a space for the younger kids to play and learn. They have an entire playground with a fun waterfall area including an interactive educational component and play structure for smaller preschool and elementary aged children.

4. One word — Dinosaurs: What kid, young and old, doesn’t love dinosaurs? The Museum itself is housed in one building that is three stories high. When you walk past the entrance, it opens to a large space with two huge dinosaur skeletons. This view wowed my oldest daughter who is in preschool and our neighborhood friend, a first grader. I think we can all agree that these prehistoric creatures are exciting for everyone. They also have an exhibit with more dinosaur fun and a life-size T-Rex.

5. Your kids will LOVE it: The girls enjoyed both the outdoor play areas, and I enjoyed the beautiful walkways and calming views of the Wilderness pathways. Inside there was so much exciting and interactive stuff for them to do. The Fernbank provides kids young and old enjoyable hands-on learning experiences, making it a win-win for parents and children. When I asked Caroline what her favorite part of the visit was she told me, “Everything!”

Overall, we loved the Fernbank and cannot wait to go back and explore even more of what they have to offer throughout the year. If you live in the Atlanta area or are planning a trip into town with your children, make sure to add the Fernbank Natural History Museum to your list of things to do. You won’t be sorry you did.

Tips for your visit:

  • Go on a day with nice weather so you can enjoy the outdoor space.
  • Pack a lunch. They have a nice café where you can buy food, but it is pricey and they allow you to bring in food.
  • Get an annual pass to save on admission if you are local because you will want to come back!
  • Visit on a weekday if possible as there will be less of a crowd.

High Museum of Art – Atlanta, Winnie The Pooh Exhibit

My daughters and I made our first trip to the High Museum of Art, in Midtown Atlanta last week and we want to tell you all about it. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day and in hindsight, we should have postponed our visit so we could explore and enjoy the entire property and all it has to offer. Be that as it may, we went and enjoyed the trip in spite of the rain.

I discovered the museum on the Peachtree Road Race run on July 4th, since the race route goes right through Midtown and right by the museum. It looked like a cool spot and I knew I wanted to check it out, but sometimes kids and art museums are not a great mix, so when I discovered they have a Winnie the Pooh exhibit right now, I jumped on it!

During a late-night Instagram surf, I saw another local blogger post photos of the exhibit and then when I visited the website on Wednesday, night I discovered Thursdays are “Toddler Thursdays.” I took this as a sign and made the decision to bring the girls the next day.

We drove down there around 9:30 a.m. and traffic was not bad, but can’t say the same for the weather. The museum parking garage and the one next-door were full, so we had to drive around for almost 45 minutes until we found a garage with an open parking space. Next time, I plan on taking the Marta since the station for the museum is right across the street. That’s a good way to avoid the hassle of parking. To be honest, I feel like I am one of the few people living outside the city who enjoys taking the Marta! Something I love about traveling in Europe and the northeast are all the trains and subways that you can take to get from town to town, so when I can use public transportation in my own country and city, I’m always up for it.

Once we found parking, we got soaking wet trekking in the rain to the High Museum of Art. By the time we got our tickets the kids were hungry, so we ate lunch in the main area next to toddler play. While eating, I discovered the SmArt Art Box kiosk and signed Caroline up for the SmArt box, a free program for kids offered by the Museum. We got a fun plastic box that had an art project inside aimed to educate kids about an artist and his or her work. It also had crayons and a drawing pad. The idea is you come back with your box every month and they give you a new project, free of charge. It is a cool program especially if you plan on visiting monthly, and if you do, make sure to become a member to save some money on entry fees. However, the kiosk is in a public area next to toddler time so, you don’t necessarily have to purchase a ticket to stop by and participate monthly.

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We went upstairs looking for the Winnie the Pooh exhibit and discovered it wasn’t even in the main building (would have been nice to know when we got our tickets). The girls and I went back out in the rain and headed next door to see the Winnie the Pooh exhibit. They have a covered walkway so we did not get too wet, but of course, there were puddles everywhere, and what kid can avoid jumping in puddles?

The exhibit was designed as if you were actually in a storybook. Like many child-themed things, the most annoying part was the children whose parents are oblivious to others, but other than that I thought it was great. We were a tad worn out from the start since we had a soggy and slightly frustrating journey to the exhibit, but overall we loved the High Museum of Art. The Pooh exhibit was very clever and interactive; it was also small enough that we got to see it all before toddler meltdowns started.

If you are visiting Atlanta or looking for a nice day trip into the city, I highly recommend checking this museum out  — with or without kids. The High Museum of Art property is pretty and has all kinds of outdoor sculptures and courtyards to hang out and explore, in addition to the museum itself.

I look forward to going back to the High Museum of Art on a sunny day to enjoy the property and check out more of the exhibits with the girls. Thursdays are set up for kids, so we will likely return then or over a weekend when Jake (aka Daddy) can come with us. My recommendation would be to visit on a weekday in spring or fall so you have good outdoor weather in which to enjoy the property. We can’t wait to go back!

W Downtown Atlanta – “Staycation”

This year has been a whirlwind of life-changing events — buying and selling a house; moving our family (and newborn daughter) to a new state, neighborhood and town; changing jobs. My husband started a new job and I left my executive-level position and am still looking/working toward my next career opportunity here in ATL (or virtually). To top it off, July 19th my husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary!

I always imagined spending my 10-year wedding anniversary in some exotic country, exploring a new culture, eating new food with my hubby, and camera in tow … but sometimes life does not line up the way you expect it to, and that’s okay.

This anniversary, we decided to stay locally and explore our new (and awesome) city of Atlanta, GA. We haven’t had an opportunity to see much of the city yet so we figured we would start with Downtown.

Atlanta has a lot to offer. There is Midtown, Downtown, Buckhead and all the awesome places that sit right outside the perimeter, and we look forward to exploring it all, but Downtown seemed like the right place to start.

My husband and I typically love W Hotels and stayed at the Buckhead W a few years back. We had a good experience, so we picked the W Downtown Atlanta as our staycation hotel. My hubby has platinum-status with Marriott and Starwood so we used points for a two-night stay in the city.

When we arrived, we mentioned it was our anniversary and the front desk staff was very sweet, offering us an upgrade and $50 credit to be used anywhere at the hotel. This was very nice, but as a side note, since Jake is a platinum member, he would have likely been upgraded regardless. BUT, I don’t think we would have gotten the $50 credit, so that was super nice. We spent it all at the bar of course!

I was SO excited for this stay. I needed a break and some time to be an adult and wife again. Having a baby clinging to you 24/7 is hard and it is important to give yourself a break every now and then. The week of our staycation, I was so anxious I would miss the girls, and especially the baby, since I’ve been home with them for the past nine months. But I knew it was important to have this time with my husband. As parents, it can be hard to take a step back and appreciate our spouses in the mix or hustle of everyday life. Anniversaries are the perfect excuse to have some adult time — and sleep in! We were so lucky my mom was willing to watch our girls while we enjoyed this Atlanta adventure.

So getting back to the hotel. We went up to our room and it was nice at first sight; the setup was kind of like a mini suite. The room had a nice couch and chair with a king-size bed, and was a corner room with wall-to-wall windows. Unfortunately, our view sucked, but the window wall corner concept was cool. As we looked around it was obvious that this hotel room had been partied in quite a few times. There were chunks missing from the furniture and the carpet was stained. To be honest, it was nowhere near what I expected of the W standards and of a higher-end hotel. As the weekend progressed, we realized the W Downtown Atlanta was not our Jam. The pool was small and had a loud DJ on Saturday and only like 15 spots to sit. The hallways reeked of weed, I mean like EVERY time we walked to and from our room. The hotel was also kind of offset from everything downtown. Some people might prefer this, but I like the hustle and bustle of cities, so next time we will stay somewhere closer to Peachtree Street, or by Centennial Park if we stay down there with the kids.

While on our staycation we ate and drank at some great places. On the first night, we had drinks at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails. The vibe was rustic and hip and but more casual then expected. We only had drinks and I ordered something with gin from their craft cocktail list that was very good. We sipped down our drinks and headed to dinner at a Turkish Restaurant Called Truva.

Our dinner was yummy — not anywhere near as good as Turkish Kitchen in NYC or Zaytinya in Washington DC, but good. The restaurant is on the second level and has a very cool Mediterranean vibe. I was pleasantly surprised when they had a Belly Dancer perform! It made the visit to Truva worth it and added a unique element to the night. This is a good date-night spot, but I want to point out it would also be a great place to bring the family. Without hesitation, I’d bring the girls to dine at this Atlanta restaurant.

After dinner, we wanted to have a drink and check out the Red Phone Booth. The experience is set up to be like a secret speakeasy from the prohibition days. There is no sign outside and you must dial a code into a red phone booth to get in. The bar had a great craft cocktail menu and the drinks were good. It is a cigar bar too, so if that is not your deal (it’s not mine!) the smell will bother you. If you are looking for a unique experience downtown check it out, but it was not the best date-night spot due to the smoke.

On Saturday, we tried to have breakfast at the Atlanta Breakfast Club, but the wait was two hours! I want to eat there another time though, as the menu looks amazing! Instead we walked around and grabbed coffee and some food in the CNN Food Court and decided to have a bigger lunch at the Der Biergarten. The atmosphere was great, and we enjoyed chatting and sipping on a beer but the food was very blah. I guess that is to be expected of traditional German food. In summer it was too hot and heavy for my liking, but the ambiance was fun. Since it is by all the touristy stuff, it was way overpriced so if you do check it out, order drinks but skip the food.

After walking around and exploring, we tried to go to the pool but that was too loud and there was nowhere to sit. So we went to the room and relaxed before heading out for a rooftop tour of Downtown Atlanta. First we went to the Westin Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View on Peachtree Street, and let me tell you the glass elevator ride up is NOT for the faint of heart, but the views were worth the trip. We ordered a drink and appetizer. The food was super basic and the drinks were good, but this is not a place where you come for the food. It is all about the views. If you are staying in downtown Atlanta and not afraid of heights, you need to at least visit the bar and take in the 360-degree views on the observation deck.

After the Westin, we went for dinner at Nikolai’s Roof. At first they sat us at a table with a freeway view so I asked to move (it was our anniversary celebration after all). They moved us but not to the table I asked for. They said it was reserved, however the people did not come until about five minutes before we finished our meal, so to be honest that was a tad annoying. The food was very good and they had a good drink selection as well. After dinner, we went back to the bar at the W Downtown Atlanta before heading up to bed. The bartenders were nice and it was not too loud or crowded for us to have a conversation, so that was nice. The next morning, we finally got a spot by the pool but it was 9 a.m. We ordered breakfast and it took forever to get there, but it was nice to have some hot coffee and relax in the morning for once.

Overall our staycation in Downtown Atlanta was a great time. I can’t even think of the last time I ate so much good food and ordered so many adult beverages in one weekend! I recommend staying downtown, but would check out a different hotel — something we will do next time.

If you like W hotels you will  most likley be disappointed by the W Downtown Atlanta like we were. I have higher expectations for a luxury brand and the W Downtown Atlanta did not meet them. However, we would recommend the Buckhead W and look forward to trying out the Midtown W when we get the chance.

Anniversary travel tip: Always let staff know you are celebrating!

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

First timers at the ATL Children’s Museum

Most large cities have some sort of children’s museum, so when we moved to Georgia, I was excited to visit the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. For the size of Atlanta the museum is small, but it was recently remodeled so all the exhibits are in great shape. When we walked in, the girls gravitated toward the most adorable pretend diner set up. It was so authentic, even I was having fun playing pretend behind the counter! Next to the diner is a market where the kids can grocery shop, and beyond that is a farm. Caroline also was obsessed with an indoor tree house set up.

At the center of the museum was a cool climbing thing. For the smaller kids it was easy to get up but difficult to get down. I saw several children get stuck and Mommies having to go in after them. Luckily, Caroline is not into taking risks so I didn’t have to go in after her. There was a giant globe in the center that the kids could climb up into and have a view of all the fun attractions below.

While we were there, there was a cute little educational performance with songs and audience participation. Other cool features were the craft and engineering labs.  In the engineering lab helpers built an airplane with the kids, and in the craft room the children did an art project. There was a sign-up sheet by each door, so if you want to make sure you get a spot, stop by and sign up when you arrive.

On the second floor there was not much, but they have some very cool piano stairs that make the journey up a good time. The lunchroom and vending machines are on the second floor, but there’s no restaurant or place to purchase non-vending food. This is nice because you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on food, but if you forget to bring lunch you’re out of luck.

I recommend visiting the museum if you have children between 18 months to 6 years of age. There were some more advanced hands-on learning for older kids, but since mine are 9 months and 4 years old, we stuck mostly to the “play pretend” areas. They also have some cool kinetic sand, and a little baby spot where you can sit your baby down to play and get some hands-free time in a baby-safe space.

 

Tip- Arrive when they open on a weekday and park next door in the parking garage. There were tons of spots and it was a short walk to the entrance.