Ideas to help parents pass the test of what to do during spring break

Kids can kick it out outdoors, get smarter (without realizing it) at museums, make chocolates and more
“There are a lot of fun things to do in museums," says Children’s Museum of Atlanta Director of Exhibits and Education Karen Kelly, "You don’t have to tell them they’re learning anything" during spring break. 
(Courtesy of The Children’s Museum of Atlanta)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“There are a lot of fun things to do in museums," says Children’s Museum of Atlanta Director of Exhibits and Education Karen Kelly, "You don’t have to tell them they’re learning anything" during spring break. (Courtesy of The Children’s Museum of Atlanta)

Teacher Appreciation day should be every day, but no more so than during the upcoming spring breaks where parents and caregivers learn what it’s like to keep kids occupied all day long for five weekdays.

While some had the foresight and budget to take a trip or enroll their children in spring break day camps, a large percentage of parents are tasked with doing what teachers do every day: keeping youngsters engaged for hours on end.

“You have to be very intentional with the week, space things out and be creative,” said Meghan Peters, a Brookhaven parent. “We try to do some family activities like go to museums or the movies, but it’s so expensive.”

Some families, such as Peters’, face multiple weeks of juggling spring breaks depending on school schedules. She took her 16-year-old son, Bobby, to Costa Rica, and is seeking ways to keep Lillian, 9, and 12-year-old Barrett busy for their upcoming spring break week. On the agenda is a day at Great Wolf Lodge (a family water park and resort in LaGrange), the Balloon Museum, bowling, pickleball and hikes in the woods. “We’ll probably take some of the kids’ friends to a park. There’s a lot of fun stuff to do here.”

Halle Addington hugs Gypsy, a dog her family is fostering during spring break. 
(Courtesy of Andrea Addington)

Credit: Andrea Addington

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Credit: Andrea Addington

With many sports programs taking their own break during spring break, Andrea and Micah Addington came up with a family activity: fostering a dog that they met recently at a pet adoption. They worked with Braveheart Bulliez Rescue Pet in Roswell to foster Gypsy, a petite long-hair beagle mix that was abused and rescued, and integrate her temporarily into the family that includes Hampton, 5, Halle, 9, and Stella, 12, as well as four dogs.

“It’s good for the kids,mom Andrea said. They are handling her, feeding her, walking her and throwing the ball around. They’re actively tiring the dogs out — and themselves.”

Here are more ideas for a great break:

PALMETTO, GA - FEBRUARY 12: The Lollis family children play at the kid-designed treehouse at the Serenbe community in Palmetto, Georgia on Thursday, February 12, 2009. The idyllic community - which aspires to be something of a Napa for the New South, is about 25 miles south of the Atlanta airport. PHOTO CREDIT: ERIK S. LESSER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Credit: The New York Times

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Credit: The New York Times

Get outside and explore

There are indeed a lot of activities around town, not all of which are pricey. A walk in the woods (or along a PATH trail or the Atlanta Beltline), fishing and going to local and state parks are all easy and fun things to do. Be sure to check websites because many, such as Bethesda Park Aquatic Center in Gwinnett County, have added hours for spring break. The center offers an indoor leisure pool, a giant waterslide, river channel, water play structures, water vortex and ceiling spray.

Challenge the kids at the miniature golf courses at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf in Duluth or go horseback riding at Georgia Frontiers Trail Rides. The Canton stable offers western-style rides by appointment twice a day and three times on weekends, ensuring a more intimate experience, said owner Jessica Hernadez. “You’re not just out there with random customers.” Georgia Frontiers can handle eight kids at a time and tailors the experience set by the rider with the “least courage, talent or sense of humor,” as its website says.

For young adrenaline junkies, head out to Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg (about 45 minutes southwest of Atlanta) and go zip-lining (note that age and weight minimums start at 8 years and 50 pounds). There is also horseback riding for those 10 and older as well as kayaking, wall climbing, 15 miles of hiking trails with 12 suspension bridges and an aerial playground for kids 4 and up.

Head south to Serenbe for a back-in-nature experience with a civilized vibe. Have the kids hike the trails, enjoy the playgrounds, climb the treehouses and pet and feed the goats, donkeys, chickens and pigs on the farm. For those who want more, there is trail riding and a farm tour (both for a fee) where children learn about organic farming.

A spring break idea: zoom, zoom, zooming by Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville.

Credit: RCT

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Credit: RCT

Smart fun at museums

“Museums are obviously wonderful ways to spend times with kids,” said Karen Kelly, Children’s Museum of Atlanta director of exhibits and education. “There are a lot of fun things to do in museums. You don’t have to tell them they’re learning anything. It’s a great way to keep their minds engaged.”

The museum, which typically is closed on Wednesdays, is sending a lifeline to parents by opening on Wednesday, April 3. The museum has a variety of programs during spring break focused on being at the beach. Kids will study everything from the science of buoyancy to what it’s like to swim in a coral reef. Guests, including the Peachtree Puppets and 11Alive meteorologist Melissa Nord, will make guest appearances.

While there are a variety of well-known museums worth a visit, how about visiting ones that serve niche interests (are may be less likely to be swarmed)? At Marietta’s Fire Museum, you can see and learn about antique fire equipment, some dating to 1854 — perfect for kids who dream of being a fireman or firewoman.

Or drive over to the Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville and view specialty cars including the 2018 Ford Fusion NASCAR, 2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible, 1994 Dodge Viper RT 10 and a 1996 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn.

Kids old enough to have an allowance or earn their own money will enjoy a visit to the Atlanta Monetary Museum. Located at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Midtown, the museum tells the history of money as well as the Federal Reserve System. A highlight is watching robotic vehicles move cash to the vault.

Kids can learn the secrets of making chocolate at Bitzel’s Chocolate  in Suwanee.
(Courtesy of Bitzel’s Chocolate)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Delicousness in the chocolate factory

You don’t need Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket to watch chocolate being made at Bitzel’s Chocolate in Suwanee.

Younger kids “can do a self-guiding tour and watch the process, but for kids 13 and up there is the chocolate theater where you’re set up like a chef and you can learn how to make your own truffles, including filling, capping, rolling, dipping and decorating,” said owner Ray Bitzel. “You walk out with all the chocolate you make.” Then he knowingly added, “It’s amazing how many chocolates kids can make and eat.”

No matter the activity or even the time and money it takes to ensure an enjoyable spring break, it’s important to remember and appreciate two things: One, they will go back to school the next week; and, two, you made memories with your children.

Have a family fun "par-ty" during spring break at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf in Duluth.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf


Atlanta Monetary Museum. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. Free. 1000 Peachtree St. 404-498-8500,

Bethesda Park Aquatic Center. Spring Break hours for Indoor Leisure Play Pool: noon-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday. $3.25-$10.50 (depending on age and if you are from or outside Gwinnett). 220 Bethesda Church Road, Lawrenceville. 678-277-0179,

Bitzel’s Chocolate. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Behind the scenes tour: 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, $20. Chocolate 101: 1 p.m. Saturday, $120. Chocolate tasting: 2 p.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Sunday, $95. 453 Northolt Parkway, Suwanee. 770.758-1550,

Children’s Museum of Atlanta. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. April 3. $15.95-$19.95. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive. 404-659-5437,

Georgia Frontiers Trail Rides. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. One hour, $65; 90 minutes, $85; two hour, $100. $5 off if paid in cash. 545 Ruff White Road, Canton. 678-234-8852,

Historic Banning Mills. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Various prices. 205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Whitesburg. 770-834-9149,

Marietta Fire Museum. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Free. 112 Haynes St., #51, Marietta. 770-794-5466,

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Captain’s Course: adults, $11.75; $10.75, ages 5-12. Playing 27-holes: $14 adults, $12 children, 4 and under, free. 3380 Venture Parkway. Duluth. 770-623-4184,

Savoy Automobile Museum. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. $15; ages 3-12, $5. 3 Savoy Lane, Cartersville. 770-416-1500, savoymuseum.or

Serenbe. Strolling the community, visiting shops, free. Farm tours: 3 p.m. Saturday, $15. Trail riding (must be over 12): 10 a.m. 2 p.m., 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, $98. 9055 Selborne Lane, Chattahoochee Hills. 770-463-9997,