8 places to visit before kids head back to school

Contributed by Jeff Roffman

Contributed by Jeff Roffman

For many, there are just a few days before kids are back in school, which means there is time to partake in adventure—and education-filled fun for the entire family. When planning your next excursion, think local, like metro Atlanta, which is home to a slew of activities including an amusement park with water rides, a cable car mountain trip, puppetry arts with a gallery dedicated to The Muppets plus free movie nights. Wondering where to go? The following places are perfect for everyone, whether you’re a kid or just want to feel like one again.

Stone Mountain Park

Spend a few hours or a weekend at this 3,200-acre park. For day-only trips, ride a cable car to the mountaintop for city views, take a five-mile train ride, trek on a ropes course, visit a goat farm and see the Megabugs exhibit with larger-than-life bugs. For families that want to stay and play, the park has an RV and motor home site; yurts, RVs and tents are available to rent with campground amenities such as picnic areas, a swimming pool and children’s playground.

Attraction day passes are $31.95 - $34.95; weekend camping packages are $162 - $479.34. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690, stonemountainpark.com.

Spend a day outdoors and ride a cable car or train, trek on a ropes course, see big bugs and more at Stone Mountain Park. Contributed by Stone Mountain Park

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LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta

More than just building blocks, this colossal indoor complex offers 10 LEGO build and play zones, two adventuresome rides, a 4-D cinema and photos with favorite characters. Online tickets are currently $17.95 - $37.95. Children under two years old receive free admission. 3500 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-848-9252, atlanta.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Image courtesy of LEGOLand

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Piedmont Park

Pack a picnic basket, blanket and plan to spend the day at this park with two playgrounds. If you prefer to purchase food, shop at the local farmers market from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Free and open to all. 400 Park Dr. NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275, piedmontpark.org.

Center for Puppetry Arts

This art center features international and domestic puppetry, a library and Jim Hensen gallery with displays of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Bert and Ernie. For smaller fans, Wiggle Wednesday for Toddlers offers creative activity with singing, puppet-led storytelling and crafts. Tickets are available as museum-only but opt for the family package for access to the museum, a family series show and create-a-puppet workshop.

$8.50 - $19.50. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-873-3391, puppet.org.

The Center for Puppetry Arts will continue its tradition of performing its original puppet show adaptation of the TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” CONTRIBUTED BY CLAY WALKER

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Six Flags White Water

Be prepared for a soaking wet day, sans rain, at this amusement park with bob slides, a fast 50-foot water plunge and pools. Single-day advance tickets are currently $38.99 - $43.99; on-site, $43.99- $48.99. Children under two years old receive free admission. 250 Cobb Parkway N, Marietta. 770-590-4067, sixflags.com/whitewater.

Six Flags Over Georgia

If an action-packed adventure calls for no water, this amusement park may be your speed, whether thrillingly fast or calmingly slow. Hop on popular rides such as Batman: The Ride, a beastly roller coaster known as Goliath, go-karts, big trucks for toddlers and a lift for little ones. Advance tickets are $51.99 now through Aug. 11; after, $51.99 - $71.99. Children under two years old are free. 275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell. 770-739-3400, sixflags.com/overgeorgia.
MORE THINGS TO DO: Everything you need to know about theatre season in Atlanta

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Special games and activities throughout August include National Dog Day (families can adopt a furry friend on the spot); free admission day; TinyCon, a two-day celebration featuring science fiction, comics and gaming for young children; and Eid al Adha with music, henna art designs, crafts and costumes to commemorate the Festival of the Sacrifice. Families can also check out "Doc McStuffins": The Exhibit, on display now through Sept. 8. Ongoing early learning programs such as a science and art club every Monday, slime and art painting known as Messy Thursdays and music-filled Friday Jam Session are available too. $13.95 - $18.95; children under a year old are free. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437, childrensmuseumatlanta.org.

Kids play at Children’s Museum of Atlanta and celebrate the new year during the day. AJC FILE PHOTO

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Candler Park movie night

Some of the best things are free, like movie night at this Atlanta park. "Ralph Breaks the Internet" will be shown Aug. 17; "Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse," Sept. 7. Free and open to all. 7 p.m. in front of the pool house. Guests can settle in and pick a good spot an hour before dusk. 1500 McLendon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-546-6757, candlerpark.org.