If you've got a not-so-little one around, you've probably heard "I'm bored" a time or two. Having a list of boredom busters (aka awesome experiences) up your sleeve is never a bad idea. Your tweens and teens are sure to love these 12 best Atlanta things to do.
Lovers of animals who live beneath the water will enjoy spending time and viewing exhibits at Georgia Aquarium. Tweens and teens can sign up for a live animal encounter with penguins, otters or dolphins to experience these animals up close and personal. Or, they can suit up and get in the water with beluga whales. Even more daring? Check out the aquarium’s Journey with Gentle Giants program for the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, rays and more.
High Museum of Art
Every second Sunday, the High offers free "Crafternoons" for high school students. Projects are designed by local artists. Art lovers also enjoy the special exhibits and periodic special teen programming.
Six Flags Over Georgia
If there is one thing teens love, it’s a good theme park and fortunately Atlanta is home to the largest theme park in the Southeast. Six Flags boasts 11 roller coasters, thrill rides and water rides (plus three children’s areas for little brother and sister). During summer months, let the kids bring their swimsuits and enjoy Six Flags' extensive water features, from wave pools to wild water slides.
Teens and tweens play harder than the little ones, so here’s where we bust out the list of action-packed sports and activities available in the Atlanta area.
- Go karts are a super fun way to spend the afternoon, and Andretti Karting is the perfect place to go. Let the kids race their friends, play laser tag, drop a couple of quarters in the video games and have fun.
- Fore! Indoor golf at Topgolf provides a different kind of fun for teens. Reserve an indoor bay where kids can hit balls, then follow up with a game of pool, some snacks and maybe a video game or two.
Skaters rejoice. Atlanta is home to some great skate parks. From Old Fourth Ward Skate Park, which was opened with an appearance by Tony Hawk, to the 27,000-square-foot lighted Brook Run Skate Park in Dunwoody, Atlanta offers skating for every skill level. Another local skate park of note is McKoy Skate Park in Decatur.
Stone Mountain Park
While Stone Mountain Park appeals to all ages, it offers some attractions especially suited to tweens and teens, particularly those who prefer a little adrenaline rush. Geyser Towers and SkyHike offer fun and challenging rope courses with a variety of obstacles for an active adventure. Teens also enjoy a ride on the Ducks (1940s' era Army DUKWs) through Stone Mountain Lake-a great way to cool off and learn some history. And while these attractions might be enough, Stone Mountain is loaded with more permanent and seasonal offerings. Just check the daily schedule online.
On the hottest days, your teen will want to get out onto the water. How about something a little different with an afternoon on the Chattahoochee River? “Shoot the Hooch” via kayak, tube or paddle board, or take a canoe trip with an experienced guide at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
Take a Tour
Kids wondering how stuff works or curious to know what’s behind that door? Sign up for a tour. Atlanta is host to some pretty cool companies, and your teen can see how they work behind-the-scenes.
- CNN Center-The tour begins on the world's largest freestanding escalator, and from there the kids get to see the inner workings of CNN’s newsroom and control room.
- Chick-fil-A-This home office tour is one of Atlanta’s best kept secrets, until now. Remind the kids to bring their camera to capture some surprises as they get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the early days of Chick-fil-A, the museum and more.
- World of Coca-Cola-Arguably one of the most famous beverages in the world, Coca-Cola has a long, rich history just itching to be explored. Kids like to try their hand at mixing the fizzy beverage. At the end, they can sample Coke recipes from around the world.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
A little bit adventure, a little bit sightseeing. Sign your kids up for the Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure at Centennial Olympic Park and set them loose to solve clues and complete challenges while soaking up a little of Atlanta’s history and having a ton of fun.
Strike a pose
If there is one thing teens are obsessed with, it’s their smartphones. They are constantly tweeting, Facebooking, Snapping and Instagramming, so why not encourage that behavior by providing some artistic backdrops? Atlanta is brimming with public art that screams to be a colorful background in your teen's next selfie. Check out locations like the Jackson Street Bridge (famous for its appearance in the hit series "The Walking Dead"), Little Five Points with its fun architecture and street art, and the Atlanta BeltLine with its numerous murals and art installations. For a great starting point, check out our list of 7 Instagram Worthy Spots to Visit Now.
College football fans love visiting the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. Teens especially are excited by the amazing technology. At check-in, let kids choose their dream college (or maybe mom's alma mater) and their visit is customized. They can try the augmented reality booth for a 365-degree look at amazing historical moments. Warning: Visiting during the off season makes fans seriously crave the return of college football.
Most kids love music. Tweens and teens are no exception and are plugged in a good part of the time. Concerts and music festivals fill the bill for fun activities that are sure to be remembered. Teens especially love the lineup at Music Midtown, which features top acts from pop to hip-hop to electronic. For dance music alongside Cirque-style acts, let them check out the Imagine Music Festival. Hip-hop lovers won’t want to miss the A3C Hip-Hop Music Festival with five days of music in the heart of the Old Fourth Ward. Here are Atlanta's top 16 music festivals.
Joleen Pete lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their son. On the weekends they enjoy going into the city for family fun and exploration. Joleen is the family travel and lifestyle blogger behind Love, Joleen.