Family-friendly events keep good times rolling into early 2024

Parents and kids enjoy a performance at the Alliance Theatre. 
(Courtesy of the Alliance Theatre)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Parents and kids enjoy a performance at the Alliance Theatre. (Courtesy of the Alliance Theatre)

The holiday season is slowly winding down but that doesn’t mean that all the family good will should end. No! There are plenty of activities that parents and kids and extended families can do to enjoy each other’s company and create memories. And we’re not just talking about gathering the family on the couch to watch football — or to watch Taylor Swift watch football!

Here are a handful of suggestions for family-friendly activities around metro Atlanta for the first quarter of 2024.

A youngster gets a bird’s eye view of the Sandy Springs Artsapalooza. 
(Courtesy of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Festivals

The new year, based on the Chinese zodiac, is the Year of the Dragon, which is a mighty symbol of power, nobility and success that also represents honor, courage and tenacity. The Cultural Center of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office is hosting the Atlanta Lunar New Year Festival, Feb. 10-11, featuring a Taiwanese night market, food, dragon and lion dances as well as other events such as calligraphy demonstrations and art and culture exhibits.

The ever-popular Sandy Springs Artsapalooza returns March 30-31 with more than 150 painters, photographers, sculptors, food trucks, music, hands-on demonstrations and a children’s area.

Toddlers explore the world at the Alliance Theatre’s programs for little ones. 
(Courtesy of the Alliance Theatre / Casey Ford)

Credit: Casey Ford

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Credit: Casey Ford

Theater

Live theater offers a more authentic experience than movies, and the metro area boasts many theaters offering plays that are perfect for kids — ranging from toddlers to teens.

“Theater is an encapsulation of humanity, and it’s a worthwhile endeavor to bring kids — even the youngest ones — to the theater,” said Olivia Aston Bosworth, Alliance Theatre’s head of youth and family programs. “Those first three years of life are crucial to a child’s development and understanding empathy.”

The Alliance presents shows and programs during the first quarter of 2024 including “Roob & Noob” (Feb. 10-18) and “The Curious Cardinal” (March 8-April 27). Toddler Takeover, March 16-17, is a one-of-a-kind experience for children 5 and under.

“When parents bring children to the theater, they learn drama strategies that help them bring stories to life when reading to their kids. They pick up storytelling skills and take it from just reading words to full immersive experiences,” Bosworth continues. “And teenagers are inundated with screens and technology at every turn, and it’s a novel idea to sit in a room with strangers and have an experience. They feel grown up going to a play as opposed to the movies.”

Teens can try that on for size when the Alliance is presenting a new production of “A Tale of Two Cities” on its mainstage starting Feb. 21.

Meanwhile, Broadway in Atlanta will delight families with Disney’s “Aladdin,” Jan. 9-14 at the Fox Theatre.

It’s never too early to teach children — and teens — about great music, so head over to City Springs for the “The Simon & Garfunkel Story,” presented by the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center on Feb. 17. The show chronicles the duo’s beginnings to writing and performing some all-time great songs to their implosion.

Also at the Sandy Springs performing arts complex, resident troupe City Springs Theatre Company will present the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast” from March 8-24.

Who doesn’t love going on a boat — even if it’s moored at the Georgia World Congress Center? The Discover Boating Atlanta Boat Show offers families the opportunity to learn about the joys of boating. (Courtesy of NMMA)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Trade Shows

Atlanta is one of the largest convention cities, so it makes sense that some of them are family friendly, and two of the biggest and best come early in 2024.

During he 2024 Discover Boating Atlanta Boat Show, Jan. 11-14, families can check out hundreds of new boats, accessories and, well, just about anything you’ll need for fun on the water.

“Kids have a field day,” said Courtney Erhardt, show manager. “All the boats are nice and shiny and most of the dealers allow the kids to get on the boats.” In addition, there are classes on fishing and boarding, a career day, nautical story hour and a 5,000-gallon tank filled with bass where pro anglers show off their fishing and casting skills. There’s even a Family Day where two adults and two children can score a family pass for $28 online.

The Atlanta International Auto Show steers into town Feb. 29 through March 3 with dozens of the latest models as well as classic cars and events.

Tea Time

The Ginger Room in Alpharetta offers tea time when families can enjoy a classic English tea, complete with scones, crustless sandwiches and sweets. The converted 1856 home welcomes a lot of mothers and daughters and grandparents but it’s also a popular pull for fathers and daughters.

“You’ll see daddy-daughter dates where they get quality time together,” said Angela Avery, owner. “The girls will dress up and so will the dads. Then you see the fathers not only having a great time, but they teach their daughters how to be a lady and how they should be treated. They hold the chairs out for them and treat them like a princess. It’s adorable.”

Avery believes families like the teas because “you’re sitting in an intimate setting with no televisions or loud music. For an hour-and-a-half, you’re having real conversations over small bites. It’s a typical British tea house and it takes you back to a begone era.”

Parents seem to be learning as much as their kids at the Atlanta Science Fair. 
(Courtesy of the Atlanta Science Fair)

Credit: Rob Felt

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Credit: Rob Felt

Science fun

With more than 100 events across Atlanta, there certainly are lots of activities for families at the Atlanta Science Festival, March 9-23. The full list of activities hasn’t been released but last year some of the events included coding, robotics, nature walks, astronomy, the science of meditation and a science fashion show. The festival ends with the Exploration Expo, a free family-friendly event in Piedmont Park with hands-on activities and shows.

ZooAtlanta is always a favorite family destination, and the winter is a perfect time to see the animals and check in with the only pandas in the U.S. Of special interest is NightCrawler Overnight, which is perfect for families. Experience the zoo in moonlight with a guided tour and biofact exploration with a zoo educator. You can also observe the animals’ nocturnal behaviors using night vision scopes and then enjoy a rustic night of camping.


FAMILY FUN PREVIEW

Atlanta Lunar New Year Festival. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 10-11. Free. Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 5377 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee. 770-451-4456, taiwanembassy.org

Sandy Springs Artsapalooza Spring Arts Festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 30; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 31. Free. 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. 404-929-6095, sandyspringsartsapalooza.com

Alliance Theatre

“The Curious Cardinal.” Part of the Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young Series, intended for ages 5 and under and their caregivers. In the Selig Family Black Box Theatre. March 8-April 27. $10 adults, $5, ages 6-17.

“Roob & Noob.” Family Series program, best for ages 4-8. In Rich Theatre. 2:30 p.m. Feb. 10-18. $20 adults, $10 children.

Toddler Takeover. For ages 5 and under, outdoors on Sifly Piazza. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. March 16-17. $50 adults (two-day), $25 (one day); $10, children 6-17 (two day), $5 (one day); 5 and under, free.

“A Tale of Two Cities.” Intended for ages 13 and up. On the Coca-Cola Stage. Feb. 21-March 17. $10-$85.

1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4600, alliancetheatre.org

“Aladdin.” Jan. 9-14. $29-$169. Fox Theatre. 660 Peachtree St. 855-285-8499, foxtheatre.org

“The Simon & Garfunkel Story.” 3 p.m., Feb. 17. $51.70-$78.65. Presented by Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Byers Theatre, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. 770-206-2022, citysprings.com

“Beauty and the Beast.” March 8-24. $37-$130. Presented by City Springs Theatre Company. Byers Theatre, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. 404-477-5365, cityspringstheatre.com

Atlanta International Auto Show, Noon-8 p.m. Feb. 29; noon-9 p.m. March 1; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. March 2; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. March 3. $15 adults; $7 children. Georgia World Congress Center, 235 Northside Drive N.W., Building C. 770-916-1741, goautoshow.com

Discover Boating Atlanta Boat Show. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 11-12; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 13; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 14. $15 ages 13 and over purchased online; 12 and under free. Georgia World Congress Center, 235 Northside Drive N.W., Building C. 312-946-6237, atlantaboatshow.com

The Ginger Room. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays. $47.95, Afternoon Tea; $57.95, High tea; $37.95, Children’s Tea. Plus “Daily Special’Teas.’” 61 Roswell St., Alpharetta. 678-399-9964, the-gingerroom.com

Atlanta Science Festival. Various times, events across metro Atlanta. March 9-23. Some events have a cost; others free. Exploration Expo in Piedmont Park: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 23. Free. 770-322-4992, atlantasciencefestival.org

NightCrawler Overnight. 6 p.m.-9:30 a.m. March 16. $100, $90 Zoo members. 6 years and older. ZooAtlanta. 800 Cherokee Ave. 404-624-9453, zooatlanta.org

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