There’s a Doll’s Head in there somewhere: Constitution Lakes Park in southeast Atlanta is reclaimed wetlands with a “wildlife preserve” designation that makes it an unlikely peaceful refuge along an industrialized stretch of Moreland Avenue. It’s home to a wide array of migratory birds and hiking trails, including the colorful “Doll’s Head Trail” of found art. 
Photo: Park Pride
Photo: Park Pride

7 places to explore with kids in Atlanta in the spring

Whether it's spring break, an after school adventure or a weekend away from home, these Atlanta area play spaces are perfect for family adventures.

Take the family truckster up GA 400 to get to Sawnee Mountain Preserve (4075 Spot Road, Cumming, GA 30040). The Forsyth County park is home to eleven miles of trails that take hikers past abandoned gold mines, views of the Appalachian Mountains and to a point known as Indian Seats where you can stop and enjoy the view. Most of the year there are planned activities every Saturday. Sorry, fella, but no dogs allowed. 

On the other side of the metro area, Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford, GA 30519) offers a number of hikes and outdoor programs for children and adults, including themed Toddler Treks each week. Plenty of festivals are planned too: Living History Day on March 26, five days of special programs during spring break, April 3-7, and the Spring Planting Festival on May 6.

Are you ready for a SkyHike? How about Geyser Towers, sort of a SkyHike with water sprays? Stone Mountain Park (1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083) has fancy man-made thrills along with loads of natural fun including a very large rock. Remember, there’s a $15 parking fee, so consider the $40 annual pass instead.

» RELATED: 5 trails for the whole family around Atlanta

Explore what the surface of Mars is like without leaving the metro area at Arabia Mountain Natural Heritage Area (3350 Klondike Road, Lithonia, GA 30038). The Preserve's monadnocks offer up exposed rock littered with outcroppings of flowers with space to play, picnic and hike that is commonly described as close to what you'll find on Mars here on Earth.

Rent a bike. Try your hand at archery. Climb a tree like an expert. All are possible at Panola Mountain State Park (2620 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281). In addition to access to park land, the Georgia state park offers programs this spring including ranger led hikes, bird walks, a guided introduction to tree climbing and archery classes.

Creepy or cool? Let the little ones decide on the Doll’s Head Trail in southwest DeKalb County. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Kids and adults can spot treasures of all kinds on a stroll along the Doll's-Head Trail at Constitution Lakes Park, just inside the southern end of the perimeter off Moreland Avenue. (1305 South River Industrial Blvd., Atlanta). The walking trail features a view of one of the lakes while at the same time offering up a macabre display of transformed baby dolls and other objects as art along the trail.

» RELATED: 10 ways to play, eat and stay at Callaway Gardens

The Atlanta Beltline isn't just for passive play. The Atlanta BeltLine calendar is filled with free classes that won't break your budget with activities for children and adults including skateboarding, aerobics, mountain biking and yoga. Want to learn more about the future of the Beltline? Sign up for one of the BeltLine bus tours that allows you to explore otherwise hidden areas like Bellwood Quarry.

Just can't get enough? Pools throughout the metro area will be opening soon and the city's best playgrounds are practically begging to be explored. Want to pack a meal? The AJC recommends these parks for picnicking.

Whether you're diehard climbers or the kind of family that needs a little encouragement to get off the couch for a few hours, there are lots of hikes your kids will love near Atlanta.

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