On this trip, we wanted to know if we could realistically count Atlanta as a day trip destination. We were delighted to discover that the kids are old enough to make the 7 hour round trip and still enjoy a day of fun seeing the sights.
We arrived around 10:30 in the morning and found parking near the Centennial Olympic Park. We enjoyed looking at all of the statues and talking about the upcoming Olympics. We then played at the two playgrounds and enjoyed the wonderful splash waterpark. We had a picnic lunch that we brought with us. At the waterpark, there are several shows choreographed to music throughout the day. We watched the mid-day show while eating Googie's Fried Pickles and hand-cut French fries (for Tom Sawyer). I had never heard of fried pickles and wanted to try something famous to the area. They were interestingly good. Total cost of the first part of this trip was $6 for parking and $10 for food at Googie (which is in the park).
After the water show, we changed back into dry clothes in the clean public bathrooms and headed for Oakland Cemetery. As regular readers of this blog know, I really like historic cemeteries. This one was amazing. It had a visitors center and a GIFT SHOP! We purchased the self-guided tour book and set off to find some famous Atlanta natives. We walked around for about half an hour and then opted for the car to tour the rest of the extensive grounds (48 acres). I was stunned by how crowded the graves were in the Jewish section known as the Jewish Flats. You would have had to step on stones to see the graves further back. This section was mostly used by poor Russian Jewish immigrants.
The next photos are of some of the more ornamental head stones as well of the lovely gardens. Unfortunately, I am still struggling to learn the ISO on my Dad's fancy camera, so the pictures are a bit washed out. I am however, very pleased to have a camera again.
Total cost of second part of our trip was $4 for the tour book.
For the third leg of our trip we headed off to the most exciting part (according to the kids). We went to Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta. We reserved our tickets online the day before for the discounted after 4 pm slot. It is open until 9 pm so there is plenty of time to enjoy everything after 4 pm. We arrived and were shown straight into the "factory" part of the tour. It was kind of cheesy, but did explain how Lego products are made. We then went on both rides that were offered. The wait time was about 10 minutes for each ride. You were allowed to go on both rides multiple times, so we went on the Castle Quest ride twice. There were tons of Legos everywhere to build with and lots of displays to explore. There was also a very cool miniature diorama of the city of Atlanta (my favorite part). The kids also enjoyed a playground (need socks sold there for $1) and we saw a 4-D movie.
The kids had a great time! I do think this Legoland is geared towards the younger set (which they said on their website), and I am glad we made it here before they got any older. Once they were done with Legoland, we went into the Lego store. I was pleasantly pleased to see that they had many of the smaller sets (in addition to the grand sets). My children worked hard to save their allowances and do extra chores to have spending money. They each had around $30 to spend and were able to find several small things they could afford. After their purchases were complete, we headed over to Zoe's Kitchen for dinner and headed home at 8 pm with very sleepy children. Total cost of the third part was $67 to enter Legoland and $27 for dinner. We also hit Starbucks for the driver's caffeine boost on the way out of town. The gas cost us $50. Total cost for the day (not including the kids' money) ~ $121!!
Reflections ~ We plan on going back in the spring to visit the famous aquarium. I want to remember that the fries at Googies were safe for Tom Sawyer. Also, Zoe's Kitchen is in the 2300 block of Peachtree street. There are two meals that are safe at Zoe's for Tom Sawyer. Starbucks and Googie sold Izzy drinks, organic sodas which Tom Sawyer loves. We really did not need so much time for the Centennial Olympic Park. If we had driven one more block away from the park, there would have been parking spaces costing only $3 to $4. Also, the Underground Mall (where you can see burned out walls from the civil war) was not far from the park and would have been a good, free place to visit had it been raining. The Aquarium, Coca cola museum, and children's museum are withing walking distance of the park.