There are a plethora of great places for preschoolers in and around Atlanta. If you’re looking for a huge list, click on over to our article, 52 Activities for babies and toddlers. But, if you’re anything like me…some of those places are packed with bright lights, rowdy kids, screeching noises…it’s too much. I try to focus on my kiddos, but the only thing on my mind is getting home to a few ibuprofen and a hot bath. Here, however, are seven places the bring fun, calm, connection, and peace. Whew.
Chattahoochee Nature Center – Walk the short trails, visit the animals, walk the boardwalk, or visit the discovery center. I also recommend the Pee Wee program for kids 3 and 4.
Magic Mondays at Atlanta History Center – This once-a-month program is one of our favorite indoor activities Atlanta offers (though there are some outdoor components as well!) Kids ages 18 months – 5 years enjoy story time, crafts and hands-on learning experiences. The excitement begins at 10 a.m., with multiple stations arranged around the museum. You and your little one rotate to the stations that are right for you. Tickets are available at a reduced amount, or attend the program free if you’re a member.
Southeastern Railway Museum -Preschoolers rule the roost on the second Thursday of each month in Duluth, just north of Atlanta. Children and their parents rotate through five stations, established in various places around the Southeastern Railway Museum. Each station includes a game, story and song time, a craft, a fun activity and finally, interaction with a special vehicle of the month. Vehicles this year include fire trucks, a cherry picker, a cement mixer and more. Much of the program is indoors, but if the weather is nice, there are outdoor components too.
Atlanta Botanical Garden – Spend hours in the two-acre children’s garden…walk the canopy…explore orchids in the Fuqua Center. Don’t forget to pack a lunch, and you can make an entire day of it!
Playable Art Park – Not your typical playground, this one was created by artists…with kids in mind. They can run, jump, climb, and have fun in a new and exciting way.
Center for Puppetry Arts – CPA is constantly raising the bar in puppet productions for kiddos. We always enjoy the puppet workshop after each show..and don’t miss the chance to explore the puppet museum while you are there.
Sawnee Nature Preserve – I’m not suggesting you hike to the Indian Seats with your preschooler…but there is much much more at Sawnee for the littles. Play at the playground (there are two..one traditional and another Montessori-style area near the Visitor Center,) explore the treehouse, or meander the Fairy Garden.
INK! – Your kids will enjoy the thrill of playing in an indoor town magically designed to fit them! INK! Includes a hair salon, grocery store, bank and pizza shop. Kids can pretend to be a veterinarian, a judge and more. There is a musical instrument room, a real plane they can board and the opportunity to milk a cow. Plan to spend several hours, and bring a picnic. There are no concessions, but there are picnic tables for eating snacks and lunch.
Marietta Fire Museum – The best part about this fun indoor activity? It’s free! Children love the fire trucks and memorabilia filling this two-story museum. You’ll see a rare 1879 Silsby Steamer, a ladder and a panel truck from the 50s, antique fire helmets from around the world and other fire station treats. A member of the fire team is usually available and eager to take you on a tour. We even saw a fireman slide down the fire pole! Bring a few quarters for the ride inside the museum, and bring your parking slip for validation- parking is generally $20, but it is free with validation.
We asked Sue Rodman her thoughts about field trips for Preschoolers and here’s what she shared:
Start learning early at one of the local Museums: Kids can spark their imagination at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta with a host of permanent exhibits geared just for them, as well as a morph gallery that showcases traveling exhibits. NatureQuest at Fernbank Museum of Natural History is an indoor, outdoor playground. Kids can splash in a virtual river, walk through a virtual waterfall, climb up a tree, excavate a historic dig, all in cool air conditioning.
Cool off in a splash fountain: For little ones that don’t swim, a splash fountain is the perfect way to cool off. You can visit a splash attraction like Wiggles World at Six Flags or Geyser Tower at Stone Mountain. For even less expensive options try Riverside Splash Grounds which is a few dollars or the Centennial Olympic Park downtown which are free. For more information, visit our post on Splash Water Parks in Atlanta.
Wear them out before naptime. Catch Air is a favorite bounce house for little ones, although it’s really much more than a bounce house. The Tiny Town are is specifically for kids under 4 ft. Depending on location, you can find a tiny carousel, ball pit, or even light up dance floor. Follow each location on Facebook for deals and discounts. They even have a new location in Midtown. For more information, see this post from Atlanta’s Frugal Mom on Catch Air.
SkyZone is another great place to work off some excess energy. Normally I would recommend this for tweens and teens, but they have a special toddler time where the little ones can literally bounce off the walls and their parent jumps free. Contact each location for the specific day.
Introduce them to Theatre. Regular theatre performances can be too much for smaller children. Luckily there are lots of companies that cater to small children. See our post on Theatre for the Very Young. It is filled with creative and imaginative indoor activities. Atlanta is home to Alliance Theatre, which holds a special love for children that comes alive with this program. You and your little one will wait for showtime in a room filled with bright colors, books and crafts. When it’s time for the show, you’ll enter the blackbox theatre which looks as if it were made for kiddos with low-to-the-ground seating and intimate proximity to the actors. Plays target preschoolers and offer plenty of interactive opportunity.