Amara at Dunwoody library, Children's Museum of Atlanta, and posing at a garden
We've been doing a lot of local activities over the last few months, mainly because we've had a slew of events at home and Chewy hasn't been feeling all that well. While we're trying to get a handle on Chewy's health, I've been exploring Atlanta with Amara. It's amazing to me how much this city offers and especially the number of free or very cheap things to do with toddlers or young kids.
So, you can imagine my surprise when two different newcomers to the city complained to me about how there's nothing free to do with toddlers here. I started reeling off some of our favorite activities --- most things they had never heard about --- when it occurred to me that this should be a post on its own.
Here you go, Atlanta parents. 21 Free or Cheap (Under $10) Things to Do in Atlanta With Toddlers or Young Kids:
1. Watch the horses run at Chastain Horse Park. Free
2. Visit a mini aquarium at Chamblee's The Fish Store, the largest fish store in the Southeast. Free (though you'll probably want to buy something here).
3. Run with the dogs at Piedmont Park's Dog Park (though careful of the occasional aggressive dog). Free.
4. Feed the ducks at Lullwater Park at Emory University. Free; stroller accessible.
5. Cuddle the adorable miniature animals at Tanglewood Farms. $10 per person and they have picnic tables where you can bring your lunch.
Splashpads and Playgrounds
6. Splash in fountains and swing in the futuristic playground at Old Fourth Ward's park. Free
7. Go all out on slides, splashpads, and tubes at Browns Mill Family Aquatic Center. Rates vary depending on residency but are all under $12 per person. You could easily spend the whole day here.
8. Roam around in Cozy Coupes and other riding toys at Decatur's Toy Park. Free.
Hikes and Trails
9. Get messy at Herbert Taylor Park's beach, which is one of our favorite spots for a family outing, with dogs and toddler in tow. Not stroller accessible. Free.
10. Go fishing or meander through a gorgeous pine grove at Henderson Park. Not stroller accessible. Free
11. Get into the Atlanta spirit with a walk on the Beltline. Free.
12. Take a guided Tyke Hike at Red Top State Mountain Park on Lake Allatoona, about 1 1/2 hour's northwest of the city. $5 parking.
13. Play in the tents at IKEA. Free (though you'll probably be sucked into buying something because it is IKEA, after all).
14. Marvel in the masses of produce and giant lobster tanks at Your Dekalb Farmer's Market. Free (though you'll probably end up buying your week's groceries there). This place is always packed on the weekends so we prefer to go on the less busy weekdays.
15. Watch the trains zoom by under the bridge at Westside Provisions District. Free. There are several great kid-friendly restaurants right here, including Osteria del Figo, Taqueria del Sol, Flipburger, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Amara loves getting ice cream, sitting on the benches, and watching the trains.
16. Sing, play, and romp at Jump Start Gym's free Moving Monkeys class, which starts at 3 months until the child is able to toddle. Free, except that you need to pay an annual $35 registration fee.
17. Get your toddler on the balance bar and doing jump kicks at Peachtree Gymnastics' free class for 16 to 24 month olds. The Buckhead and East Cobb locations both offer free classes. Free, but early registration is necessary. We love this class for young toddlers who are full of energy!
18. Make friends at one of Dekalb County's fantastic storytimes, targeted toward different age groups. All of the storytimes incorporate physical play, nursery rhymes and songs, and a short independent or group reading session. Toddlers will particularly enjoy: Musical Mother Goose for ages 12 to 24 months at the Dunwoody and Decatur libraries; Building Blocks for ages 0 to 24 months at all of the libraries; and Tales for 2s at the Decatur and Dunwoody libraries for ages 2 to 3 years. Free.
19. Find a new book at Little Shop of Stories, Decatur's cutest indie children's bookstore, which holds weekly storytimes. They also have cool author visits and signings, and other fun events, like a bring-your-dog-to-storytime annual event. Free.
Indoor Activities and Museums
20. Go crazy at Hippo Hopp, our favorite indoor playground in the city. Toddlers from age 1 to 3 cost $5.00, but if you charge a HippoCard, you get a 25% discount, meaning that admission is only $3.75.
21. Have a blast at the Children's Museum of Atlanta, especially on free Target Tuesdays, held on the second Tuesday of every month. Free, but parking nearby costs $10.
I have lots more free suggestions for toddlers but my toddler is calling, so I'll have to wrap it up here and save the rest for another post. Have fun with your little one in this great city!