Friday, September 5, 2008

Unvacation 2008

What do you do when your long-planned trip to your grandma's place at the beach is rained out by thunderstorms and potential hurricane weather? Well, you look for the next best free vacation option.

That option, it turns out, could be in your own city. I've already mentioned that we like the idea of mini-vacations in Atlanta just to get a break from the stress of every day life, but this time we wanted to take a break that would really feel like a vacation. So, we decided to be Atlanta tourists and see our city in a way we hadn't before.

First, we needed a change of scenery. So, we headed over to my parents' house and, to be honest, that would have been enough for my girls. Grandparents are pretty much superheros to the girls. They love spending time there. They love spending time there camped out in sleeping bags even more. But, we wanted to hit some Atlanta top spots. If you're looking for some family friendly Atlanta spots, here are a few of our recommendations:

1. Fernbank Museum - this was the perfect wrap up for our unit on dinosaurs and the girls LOVED hanging out there. We were there in the middle of a school day so it was pretty much empty and that was the best part. They had a fantastic Ends of the Earth exhibit where the girls got to explore the worlds of penguins and polar bears. They had polar bear feet, penguin costumes and slides, and other really great interactive kid-friendly exhibits. I particularly loved seeing Kai clad in a penguin costume try to move the penguin egg from foot to foot like the daddy penguins do. And, I love how Ivy is smiling while she looks like she's getting ready to get a big swipe from that big bad polar bear behind her.

2. Georgia Aquarium - Duh. I mean, it's a fantastic aquarium so of course we're gonna go, right? We've actually got an annual pass so the kids had been before but never with grandparents in tow and it never seems to get boring to them. But this time was even more exciting because Nandi the manta ray was newly added to the aquarium and we got to check her out. Not to mention, the touch tanks and other exhibits never get boring. We were also excited to hear they're adding a dolphin exhibit in 2011. I highly recommend spending some time at the Georgia Aquarium and checking out everything it has to offer. Though, I'd skip the WAY overpriced food. $30 for stale hamburgers and chicken fingers was by no means a steal.

3. The World of Coca-Cola - Again, another no-brainer. First, Atlanta = Coca-Cola, so we had to go. Second, a certain husband of mine who shall remain nameless designs for the aforementioned beverage giant so of course the girls were super pysched to see what daddy's job involved. The World of Coca-Cola is pretty cool. They have some fun opening movie, a great 4-D movie experience, the world's smallest bottling facility, and, of course, the tasting room. Over 60 different beverages from different countries. It was a great way to talk about different countries and cultures with Kai and we got to taste some delicious and disgusting beverages. And, I developed a ridiculously powerful pregnancy craving for Inca Cola. I may just have to order a ton of that from Amazon in order to keep from losing my mind.

4. Multi-cultural dining experiences - Atlanta has some great food and we set out to explore a few of those cool options. One favorite was a local Mediterranean restaurant with great food, service, and, of course, belly dancing on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday nights. The dancer when we went was fantastic and looked, according to Kai, like a "top model." The girls absolutely loved the dancing and ended up getting up to join in. The girl was so sweet she even brought out a few jingly belly dancing scarves for them to wear while they danced with her. It was an awesome experience!

5. My parents' pool - okay, so this isn't really an attraction you can come visit, but seriously my kids love them some pool time. My theory is that this is a universal kid fact and that any trip to a pool attraction is a great vacation for kids. They barely even noticed we weren't at the beach with all that swimming going on. Plus, anytime Daddy gets in the pool with them they are thrilled. Daddy time in general is pretty much their favorite time ever.

So, there you have it. Everything you never wanted to know about our family unvacation. Thrilling, no? No. You're right, but it was relaxing and fun to just chill in our own city in a way we hadn't before.


Amanda said...

Sam and I are planning a "nerd" honeymoon. Loads of fossils, bookstores, and coffee, and art museums. Yay for educational, local fun!

Kelsey said...

What a blast! I love Atlanta!

Amy said...

Great photo's of your girls. Looks like you had a great unvacation. Funny how all these great things are right in your backyard and we sometimes don't take full advantage of them. We may need to head to Atlanta?

kellymac said...

*hugs* (Related to your Twitter statuses more than to your staycation)