Take the Trip: An Atlanta Itinerary for Kids
We recently took a road trip to Atlanta with my husband’s family for a week-long summer vacation. There were 15 people on the trip, with two teenagers and five kids (ages 1 to 8!), so we had a big range of interests to try and cover!
Our itinerary was very kid-friendly, and I surprised myself with my own eagerness to return to Atlanta one day to do some of the other things we didn’t have time for. But if you’re looking for a very doable road trip from New Orleans (or a getaway with a super quick flight!) with kids, you can build off of our itinerary below.
Lego Discovery Center
We’re a family of Lego fans, and this was a brand-new attraction that opened in Atlanta earlier in 2023. Located inside the upscale mall Phipps Plaza (where we ate lunch first), the Lego Discovery Center was a playground-style ode to the mighty Lego brick. We rode a Lego-themed ride, viewed the mini Lego city built entirely from bricks, and then were turned loose in a giant indoor Lego playground. There was a Duplo section for my youngest, free-building areas with giant Lego pits, a children’s building class, and for my middle child: a GIANT Lego pirate ship climbing structure. It took the better part of an afternoon for our large group. If you’re inclined to partake in luxury shopping, you could spend much longer in the mall outside of the Discovery Center!
Stone Mountain was an all day affair for us! We rode the gondola to the top, but I’d love to go back one day and hike on foot. At the bottom of the mountain, we had our pick of activities and did as many as we could: the dinosaur garden and multi-level indoor playground, the train, mini golf, the treetop SkyHike, dining, ice cream…! We just missed the opening of their official summer season, so many of their shops were closed, but it looked like they had plenty of shopping options. It looked like locals knew to pack bathing suits for a splash pad. We were hot and sweaty by the end of it, but it seemed like it had something to entertain all the kids’ different ages.
Most people are pretty familiar with the Georgia Aquarium because of their famous whale shark, which was pretty incredible to see. My kids were 100% there for the other sharks, though, and were not disappointed. I was personally excited to see the beluga whales. Unfortunately for us, the aquarium was extraordinarily crowded, and we had trouble seeing all of the exhibits. We wound up leaving with our overstimulated kids, but our family members who stayed reported the aquarium cleared out later in the afternoon. I’d love to go back when it’s less crowded and spend more time exploring the huge variety of exhibits and sea life.
I’ll admit that when it comes to zoos, I’m pretty biased towards our own local Audubon Zoo, but I wound up being impressed with the Atlanta Zoo! We beelined for the panda exhibit and waited in line to see them, then took our time strolling through the rest of the zoo. We got to see lots of different animals we don’t have here (like red pandas, a sloth, and a bald eagle!). You could easily spend a day not just looking at the animals but playing in their dedicated kids’ area, which included adult and kid versions of a ropes obstacle course, carousel, train, and more.
World of Coca-Cola
You can’t go to Atlanta without visiting the World of Coca-Cola! Friends and family know me as a Coke purist; it’s the only soda I drink, so of course I had to stop here! It was smaller than I expected, although still a sizable facility chock full of Coke paraphernalia, historical displays, and fun facts. Everyone’s favorite part was the tasting room, where you could sample different sodas from around the world (or, in my case, endless cups of free Coke). While this wasn’t my kids’ top pick of the itinerary, it only took part of a day, and could easily be paired with something else nearby in the city.
On our last day, our large family broke into separate groups to do their own thing, and my family headed to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. I’ve got three boys who are obsessed with dinosaurs, and this museum had fossil replicas arranged into full skeletons. It was a major WOW factor walking into the museum, especially for my six year old, whose face lit up at the sheer size of everything. The threat of rain kept us from exploring too much of the outside portion of the museum, but what we did get to see was fantastic, and my boys would go back in a heartbeat to play more out there. We spent the rest of the time in their hands-on science room, similar to a children’s museum. I would really like to go back and see some of their other displays. Maybe next time!
Should I ever find myself back in Atlanta, I’d revisit some of these itinerary items again or add new ones like the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Skyview Atlanta, or explore more adult dining options, but we had a great trip! For even more ideas, check out this post. If you’ve been to Atlanta with kids, what are your must-see or must-do items?