Play dates are as essential to summer as sunscreen and swimming. A scheduled play date lets kids go about the business of being kids without the structured schedules of sports and planned activities. In Atlanta, there are plenty of spots to hold a play date, but the best spots for summer playdates beat them all for all-day fun every day.
Imagine It Children’s Museum of Atlanta
275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30313
Price: $12.75 plus tax for adults and children 2 and older/free for children under two
When the temperatures soar in the summertime, plan a playdate at Atlanta’s smart place to play: Imagine It Children’s Museum in Downtown Atlanta. Not only will your group stay cool, but every family will be entertained for hours. Imagine It offers unique opportunities to get hands-on learning experiences at touch it, feel it and smell it learning exhibits. The huge interactive area is the perfect place for kids 8 and younger to learn and explore together, while developing knowledge in social studies, reading, math and science. It’s a fun and entertaining playdate for a scorching Atlanta summer day and definitely worth the trip to downtown.
Related: Best Atlanta Museums for Kids
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30307
Price: $17.50 for adults/$16.50 for students and seniors/$15.50 for children 3 to 12/free for kids 2 and under
Schedule a play date at Fernbank Science Museum, and your kids will come face to face with the world’s largest collection of dinosaurs. That’s just the beginning of a fun-filled day here. Explore the development of life on Earth, connect with cultures from around the world and visit the 12,000-square-foot special exhibitions gallery. Fernbank is located east of Midtown, near Emory University. Be sure to check out the Museum Store and Fernbank Café, which offers a spectacular view of the Fernbank Forest Overlook. For an additional cost, you can also catch a movie in the IMAX Theater.
Malibu Grand Prix Norcross
5400 Brook HollowPkwy.
Norcross, GA 30071
Price: $24.99 for an all day play pass
If you’re looking to stay cool on a sizzling summer day, Malibu Grand Prix in Norcross may be just the ticket for exciting entertainment, topped with cool, splashy fun and air-conditioned games. Start your day by zooming along a race track in a go cart. Your all-day play pass lets you go around as many times as you want. Head over to one of two 18-hole miniature golf courses. When you get hot, the bumper boats will cool you down so you and your family can do it all over again. The all-day play pass includes unlimited go carts, bumper boats and miniature golf. It excludes game room tokens, batting cages, Grand Prix track and food.
Related: Best Parks for Kids in Atlanta
11925 Wills Road
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Prices: free/$3 pool use per person/free children 3 and younger
Wills Park, about 30 minutes north of downtown Atlanta in Alpharetta, is a hidden gem for family fun, especially during the warm summer months. The 110-acre park offers swimming, tennis, Frisbee golf, a dog park, basketball courts and a spacious recreation center. Start at the Wacky World Playground, a huge wooden structure for climbing and exploring. Two additional playgrounds are located not far from Wacky World. During the hottest part of the day, cool down in the huge swimming pool that features both low and high diving boards. The concession stand offers food, drinks and popsicles at reasonable prices.
Legoland Discovery Center
3500 Peachtree Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30309
Price: $20.52 for adults/$16.20 for kids 3-12/free for kids 2 and under
Legoland Discovery Center in Phipps Plaza in Buckhead is Atlanta’s newest attraction for families and the perfect place for a play date. This ultimate hands-on fun place lets kids see iconic landmarks made out of Lego building blocks, learn master building tips from the pros and so much more. Separate areas include the Lego Factory, Lego 4-D Cinema, Kingdom Quest, Miniland, Lego Racers, Merlin’s Apprentice, Lego Fire Academy and the Lego Construction Site. It’s the hottest ticket in town and the perfect place to beat the heat and entertain kids for hours on end.
Jackie Kass is a freelance writer from Atlanta with more than twenty years of writing experience. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.