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Atlanta Family Vacation Ideas with Dinosaurs, Puppets, and Uncle Remus. 565GAAtlantaFernbankDinos The family fun-to-do list for Atlanta is extensive. From stargazing and time-travel to talking with Willie B. Junior and laughing with the caterpillars, memories are waiting to be collected. No one will be bored. Twelve months of the year Atlanta provides fun for all ages. Kids pick up on the positive energy created by experiencing the city. Included are some one-of-a-kind family vacation ideas.

It’s home to the dinosaurs. As one of the South’s preeminent museums, Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a gateway for discovery and exploration, unfolding the story of the earth’s history, the physical universe, the environment and human culture. Home to dinosaurs, including the world’s largest in the distinctive permanent exhibition Giants of the Mesozoic, it is an awesome place. The Naturalist Center, typically used for educational programs, offers aspiring rock hounds a unique resource. (Fernbank Museum of Natural History 767 Clifton Road, NE, 30307. (404) 929-6300 or www.fernbankmuseum.org).

No gallery fear here. At the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University Campus children will feel welcome. They have deliberately removed gallery fear from the building. The collections of the museum transcend centuries and span the globe. They have the largest collection of ancient art in the Southeast as well as collections of 19th and 20th-century sub-Saharan African art. Bonus points: Throughout the year they organize entertaining workshops for children like Pyramid Building and Earthmovers and Shakers. Sessions relate to an aspect of the museum’s culture and all are hands-on and innovative. (Michael C. Carlos Museum 571 South Kilgo Street. (404) 727-4282 or www.carlos.emory.edu).

Sleep over at the zoo. Zoo Atlanta, located in Grant Park, is the home of Willie B. Junior, the new zoo mascot. The famous gorilla's young son and additional family members live in the 5-acre Ford African Rain Forest habitat. The zoo grounds provide hours of meandering with discoveries at every turn. As a special treat, look for the paintings in the elephant barn. Within the complex is a Children's Zoo ideal for young visitors. The smaller zoo has opportunities for kids to interact with domesticated animals. Bonus points: It is possible for families to sleep over at the zoo in tent-cabins. During the sleep over guests learn about animal families, meet animals, visit the Animal Diet Kitchen, and tour other behind the scenes locations. The next morning there is a grand tour of the grounds while the animals eat breakfast. FYI: For a family adventure try taking MARTA, Atlanta’s public transit system to the zoo. (Zoo Atlanta 800 Cherokee Avenue, SE. (404) 624-5600 or www.zooatlanta.org).

Meet Punch and Judy. 565GAAtlantaPuppetcenterThe Center for Puppetry Arts is a place that should definitely be on any "must see" list. The center has an extensive collection of puppets ranging from hand puppets to Punch and Judy. With an international reputation for hosting the finest puppeteers, the shows demonstrate an obvious mastery of an age-old art. The center offers visitors multiple shows in three different theatres as well as puppet making workshops. Performances are ongoing and ever changing with favorites like Through the Looking Glass and The Snow Queen typical of the selections. One of the most popular is The Puppet Tree, a celebration of puppetry that includes puppets from all over the world ad from different eras. Bonus points: The Center for Puppetry Arts has shows geared toward families, kids, teens and adults. (Center for Puppetry Arts 1404 Spring Street,(404) 873-3089, (404) 873-3091 or www.puppet.org).

Stop by the home of Uncle Remus. Located in Atlanta’s Historic Westend, The Wren's Nest, is the Victorian home of Joel Chandler Harris, the author of the Uncle Remus, Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox tales. The home was built in the 1870's, and today is a museum that embraces the spirit and charm of a great story. The house, named for a family of wrens that nested in the mailbox, is a comfortable stopping place to absorb American culture. A 30-minute tour includes a slide presentation on Harris' life and lots of Uncle Remus memorabilia. The best part of any visit is the chance to hear a good story and visitors are in for just that. Bonus points: Storytelling is part of any Saturday visit and during the summer months the telling is often conducted outside in the gardens of the three and a half-acre facility. (The Wren's Nest 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, SW.(404) 753-7735 or www.wrensnestonline.com).

Time-travel with the kids. The Atlanta Historical Society provides several opportunities for families to have fun together, starting with living history at Tullie Smith Farm, a pre-Civil War working farm. At the site costumed interpreters demonstrate open-hearth cooking, smithing, whittling and sometimes even storytelling. The Swan House a classically styled mansion built in 1928 has a Victorian playhouse in the back garden. The house depicts lifestyles of the 1920s and 1930s, the Inman family, the servants and their activities. Museum of Atlanta History houses several exhibits including one about metropolitan Atlanta from 1835 – 2000. The Swan Woods Trail, a one-half mile trail marked for a self-guided experience weaves through the 32-acre grounds containing gardens and woodlands. ( Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW. 1(404) 814-4000 or www.atlantahistorycenter.com).

Laugh with the caterpillars. Atlanta Botanical Garden is the best choice for a tranquil outing. The highlight of the complex is the diversely clever and imaginative Children’s Garden area. The garden has a laugh section with absurdly huge caterpillars and a lovely butterfly pavilion for whispering. Kids may climb in a tree house or walk in a Creek Indian garden. The fun does not end there. Guided tours are available Tuesday through Friday and are designed for specific grade levels. These tours correlate with the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) guidelines for life science and make it easy for parents to learn along with their kids. Bonus points: This year the glass artwork of Dale Chihuly will be exhibited within the landscaped grounds including floating in ponds, suspended in air and interspersed within the plant life. (Atlanta Botanical Garden 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE. (404) 876-5859 or www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org).

Ride the rails with MARTA. Luckily Atlanta has an excellent public transit system so even if you drive a car to the city it is not essential to drive every day. Marta is clean and efficient making it a joy to use with children. Actually for some families MARTA is an adventure all by itself. Get the details online or call (404) 848-4711 or http://www.itsmarta.com/.
     
Content researched and created by FTF staff. Images provided by museums. Copyright 2014.

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