Hello, Atlanta!

My job recently relocated me to Atlanta in the middle of the year and with three kids in elementary and middle school, the move was not easy. I made every effort to make the move smooth and fun for them, so I bought every guidebook there was on the state of Georgia and told them they were welcome to plan some trips. Every Sunday for the first couple of month of our move, I took the kids to the places of their choice. At the end of every daytrip, the kids and I rated the location on a scale of one to ten. I decided to write up all of our nines and tens so other people can reap the benefits of our organized ranking system!

First and foremost was the Georgia Aquarium. We moved from a small town in Tennessee where the local aquarium was a few fish tanks set up in a fourth grade classroom. The Georgia Aquarium blew us out of the water! That was a definite ten on our chart. Also up there was the Zoo Atlanta. We’d been on a family trip to the St. Louis Zoo before, so we knew great zoos—and now we had one in our very own city! The kids were thrilled about that. Also a raving ten was Stone Mountain Park, where we all piled into a glass-bottom boat and saw all the underwater life of some of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. We happened to be there during annual Indian Pow Wow, so the kids got a historical and cultural look at the area as well. Not too far out of Atlanta is the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The kids loved playing in the Chattahoochee River (and they loved trying to pronounce its name too!). We rented a canoe and saw the beautiful wildflowers as we paddled down stream. We packed our day with fun. Went hiking, had a picnic, and even went horseback riding—it was Justin’s first time and he did great!

Those were the tens. The nines really just include some malls that grabbed our attention as malls we’d like to return to. For us, going to the mall means spending an afternoon shopping, eating, playing at an arcade, eating some more, going to a movie, and taking advantage of other perks that the mall may have. Malls that fit our criteria included Mall of Georgia, Perimeter Mall, Gwinnett Place, Cumberland Mall, and Lenox Square Mall. The Mall of Georgia is number one mall, complete with a skatepark and a simulated NASCAR racing center—you can imagine how that went over with the kids! I personally vote for Cumberland Mall because of the Costco!

Lately the kids have been saying that Atlanta is not so bad after all…phew!

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One Response

  1. Oh, man, I’d get a season pass to the aquarium. Every time Toronto builds another g-dam sports facility, I whine, “Why not an aquarium?” It would be such a nice tourist draw and research facility. The only famous one is on the other side of the country, in Vancouver.

    If your children are interested in animals, you might take them to see the unique pygmy pigs near Savannah. They are direct descendants of pigs brought from Spain in the 1400s. Living on the small barrier island of Obasaw without predators and with limited resources, they’ve become small. They average 60 pounds and about 18″ high at the shoulder. They are also important reseach subjects. Their food supply is seasonal, so they fatten heavily, with up to four inches of lard, which they digest with unique fat-metabolizing enzymes. But along with that ability comes a sort of Type II diabetes for pigs. I don’t think we know yet if that’s an unfortunate coincidence or a necessary corollary. They are currently being studied by the University of Georgia for their relevance to human obesity. Sorry to get all detailed like this, but as a tween I’d have been fascinated.

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