For two months of the year, normally warm-weather Atlanta morphs into a wintry paradise during Global Winter Wonderland. The annual event stretches into January, ushering in featured entertainment, family-friendly happenings, and meet-and-greets with Santa. Here, participants can head to the Global Village to visit replicas of famed sites such as Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, and the Great Pyramids of Giza, which were originally made out of snow. Elsewhere, holiday fun in the form of giant candy canes, a snowman, and a Christmas castle infuses the grounds with festive cheer. The whole event is set to a rotating soundtrack of live music from artists including funk band DC Cooper, pop singer Lexi, singer Coco Jones, plus dance performances by UniverSoul Circus and SALSAtlanta.
At Hop Around Play and Party Center, kids clamber through plastic tunnels, zigzag around obstacle courses, and bounce off the walls of colorful inflatables. They slip down slides and burn off extra energy during open play times or activity-filled birthday parties. Parties can be customized to accommodate between 8 and 40 kids and include a party attendant, play time, and use of a private party room.
Atlanta Rocks' expansive vertical playground is home to hundreds of climbs, 50 top-rope stations, and more than 12,000 square feet of professionally set routes atop a safe climbing surface. All passionate climbers themselves, the staff has created interesting and intricate problems to solve for climbers of all skill levels. Climbers looking to enhance their know how can participate in one of the gym?s many programs, and the staff also drops knowledge on beginners with introductory climbing courses that include all required gear and cover subjects ranging from advanced lead climbing to the fundamentals of massaging knots out of tense rope.
Imagine That! and Future Tech founder Kelly Williams has always loved science and art—up until her children were toddlers, she had spent her life building a career as an environmental engineer working for the EPA. But when she began volunteering as a leader of art and science programs at her local church and school, she unexpectedly discovered that she loved teaching children even more. Since 1995, Imagine That! and Future Tech learning centers have fostered a passion for science and technology in students aged 3 through 14. Alongside hands-on, age-appropriate instruction in the basics of physics, chemistry, and simple machines, the kids learn to work futuristic wonders such as building and programming robots to navigate obstacle courses and follow instructions. Science camps and workshops at locations all over the Atlanta metropolitan area give children a firm foundation in the sciences and prepare them for tomorrow’s world of ever-more-advanced computers and automatic doors.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center gives kids a little round-headed person's view of the world, surrounding them with blown-up versions of normally miniature plastic environments. At the Atlanta park, children ages 3 and older—and their adults—tour a factory that makes LEGO bricks, travel through a dungeon blasting skeletons with laser guns, and build and test their own race cars on a colorful track. Visitors can also enter the 4D Cinema, where 3D LEGO films are enhanced with in-theater weather effects such as wind and snow. They can also look out over LEGO-brick recreations of the local city that feature scale models of landmarks, trains, and airships.
An exploration of the bright world of plastic bricks doesn't have to end at the attractions. In a Master Builder Training Academy, experienced LEGO architects pass on their construction tips to eager students. To continue the fun at home, shops at each location house hundreds of current LEGO sets.
Brightly colored bowling balls careen down slick lanes, colliding with upright pins that spill over in a cacophony of satisfying crashes. Despite the help of bumpers and a last-second push from the tooth fairy, the 6-year-old who rolled the ball couldn't be more proud of his first strike. Up to eight guests can share a lane at Suburban Lanes' family-friendly facility, splitting time between cathartic bowling matches and the plethora of games in the arcade, including Ms. Pac-Man, Whack A Duck, and skee ball. On weekends, guests stay late to indulge in the black lights and neon colors of cosmic bowling, sipping on draft glasses of Shock Top, Magic Hat, or Pabst Blue Ribbon and sharing snacks of pizza, chicken tenders, or funnel cakes. Bowlers can get serious about their hatred of gutter balls by joining a league or competing in a tournament, with youngsters starting their bowling careers early in youth leagues or summer camps.