8 places in the Atlanta area to take your out-of-town guests

Muhammad Stewart (from left) helps his daughters Sophia Louann, 4, and Olivia Rose, 5, with their motorcycle adventure during a recent family outing at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Marietta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Muhammad Stewart (from left) helps his daughters Sophia Louann, 4, and Olivia Rose, 5, with their motorcycle adventure during a recent family outing at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Marietta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Are those guest rooms overflowing during the holidays?

For some out-of-town visitors, it’s only a matter of time before cabin fever sets in or the young ones start ricocheting off the walls. A good host needs a solid game plan for field trips and activities to help spice things up like a piping cup of wassail.

Before taking a visiting family out on the town, ponder these eight escapes.


Out-of-towners won't likely find a gourmet corn dog with a Sriracha shake chaser back home. They will at this eatery and old-school soda fountain seemingly curated by Pee-wee Herman. Instead thank TV chef and founding owner Jim Stacy ("Chopped," "Offbeat Eats"), who packed the place with kid-centric eye candy, including a chromatic collection of toys and classic kitsch, and vintage cartoons flickering on TVs. Pallookaville was bought in February by James Maggard and Jason Hylton, owners of Local No. 7 and M572 in Tucker, and the Matador Cantina in Oakhurst.

17 N. Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates. 404-500-1785, pallookaville.com.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Having to entertain a young one ?  The two-story Gateway to the World exhibit invites kids to climb through the Earth's layers, and what little one wouldn't love that?  You might catch the "Super Spectacular Science Show" featuring Dr. Labcoat and other productions starring the Imaginators, the museum's in-house performance troupe. Even better, you may even enjoy all the excitement for free. Although the museum targets those ages 8 and younger, the staff says the new exhibits will likely appeal to older family members, too.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily except 5 p.m. Sundays. $14.95 ages 1 and older; $11.95 for military with valid ID. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-5437, childrensmuseumatlanta.org.

Young Chefs Academy

With cooking shows heating up the TV dial, kids seem to be picking up spatulas earlier these days. Keep them busy with cooking lessons at this hands-on facility. Instructors often whip up themes like the science of food or creating dishes with mystery ingredients.

Three Georgia locations: Marietta-Acworth, North Druid Hills, Sandy Springs.  http://youngchefsacademy.com/georgia.

Fox Theatre tours

Oh, if the walls of this immaculate 87-year-old venue could talk. Let a guide do the chatting while exploring 10 spots inside the local landmark and former movie palace with the lavish Moorish design. The Mighty Mo organ, the Egyptian Ballroom and the men's lounge with its original antique furnishings are among the stops. The one-hour tours include hot cider or cocoa during the holiday season. Tours typically run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at varying times.

$18 adults, $15 military & seniors, $5 children 10 and under. 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 855-285-8499, foxtheatre.orgLearn more about the Fox Theatre

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games

Both kids and adults can burn energy and holiday calories at this recently opened entertainment complex. Like its sister spot in Roswell, guests hop in high-speed karts and zip around tracks. A ropes course, laser tag, bowling, interactive 7-D movie theater and other options abound. The Andretti Grill plates up pizza, burgers, salads and more, including pork, ribs and other creations off Big Green Egg grills.

Open 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Tuesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 1255 Roswell Road, Marietta. 678-496-9530, andrettikarting.com.

‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

The midnight movie staple continues its weekly run at the Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland. Open-minded young adults may appreciate the entertainment phenomenon as it does “The Time Warp” once again. Atlanta-based troupe Lips Down on Dixie acts out the flick in gender-bending costume while the movie plays behind them. It’s one time when yelling out expletives at the screen is actually encouraged.

11:55 p.m. Fridays. $12. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-873-1939, plazaatlanta.comlipsdownondixie.wix.com/lipsdownondixie.

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Chattahoochee Nature Center

This environmental education center welcomes guests for its continuing appreciation of flora and fauna. On select days, expect activities such as guided treks along one of the center’s hiking trials. Indoor scavenger hunts, feeding sessions starring some of the resident critters and more take place.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $10; $7 ages 13-18 and ages 65 and older; $6 ages 3-12; free ages 2 and younger. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055, chattnaturecenter.org.

Flashback Games

The heyday of the 1980s arcade craze blasts in all of its 8-bit glory at this retro-minded haven. Ms. Pac Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, Donkey Kong and a multitude of other video game cabinets and pinball machines help fill the room. Pay a flat fee for unlimited arcade or console games. The latter runs the gamut from the classic Nintendo NES to today’s Xbox One. A combo pass allows access to everything. Power up on snack bar fare, including burgers and hot dogs, sodas and beer.

Noon-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-12:30 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 1-9 p.m. Sundays. $8.99 for either arcade or console games; $10.99 for both. 150 Athens Highway, Suite 1500, Loganville. 770-554-0220, flashbackgames.org.

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