Monday, March 14, 2011

Stone Mountain Georgia

Tree pose on top of Stone Mountain with Nolan 2011
Galloping down the mountain with Ana 2009

Stone mountain is a popular park and tourist attraction with visitors to Atlanta.  It boasts a great easy 1 mile hike to the top, southern plantation tours, a huge amphitheater with front row confederate general guests, and a shopping village. You can ride the "ducks" which are boat cars full of 20 kids with kazoos, or take a gondola ride if the climb is too strenuous.  It is a gaurenteed day of fun, and we were very lucky to live so close in Dunwoody.  We happended to ascend the mountain on two occasions. Once shortly after our arrival to Georgia in 2009, and again before our departure in 2011.

Amplitheater where Concerts & Fireworks are held
The literal depiction of Stonewall Jackson

Stone mountain has seasonal celebrations for families as well as hotel facilities. They have a famous pumpkin festival, fourth of July show, and Christmas light display.  My favorite part is still climbing the mountain and I'm proud that my daughter was able to make it up and down near her 3rd birthday. We passed several military personnel in training who were running both directions.  I envy their dedication and free time, but not their solitude and sweat. I am happy to have my children in tow and admire from afar. I will miss Stone Mountain and would put it on the top five Atlanta outdoor attractions list.

Glass Blowing Shop in Stone Mountain Village

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Georgia Centennial Park & Aquarium

Centennial Park Artwork, Atlanta GA

I would be ashamed to call myself a resident of Atlanta if I never took time to walk around Centennial park.  A wonderful gathering place for families, there is a large fountain that children often run through and two playgrounds just outside the aquarium. It is near this statue in the middle of the park you can still see shrapnel marks from the 1996 Centennial Park bombing.  If you need a place to cool off and grab a shake, there is a Johnny Rockets right across the street... mmm.

Georgia Aquarium Seahorse

Georgia aquarium is one of the most visited Atlanta attractions and happens to be near centennial park. We received a years pass as a birthday present for the birth of our son and I loved taking my fellow SAH mom's there during the week.  The weekends are crowded but we found a secret free parking spot and tried to arrive at opening.  The food court is pricey so pack a small snack.  We thought goldfish would be an ironic choice.  Family favorite exhibits at the aquarium include the Jelly fish, Baluga whales, and of course the fish tunnel.  The reef exhibit is also extremely impressive with an overhead wave generator and good lighting for a photo opp. There are several interactive exhibits for kids of all ages,  but I would say the educational quality is just mediocre as there are few posted signs.  The 3d fish show is also very flashy and may be scary for a small child.

Georgia Aquarium Jellyfish

Ana on the playground at Centennial Park