Mei Lun and Mei Huan were born in 2013 to much excitement—the cubs are the only the second pair of twin giant pandas born in the U.S. The zoo also boasts the largest collection of gorillas and orangutans, though kids will likely be more impressed by the giraffe exhibit, where they can help feed the long-necked mammals their leafy lunch.
As Halloween approaches, a formerly self-sustaining family farm that then became a premier agritourism destination transforms into Cagle's Haunted Barn, a frightening attraction that terrifies guests within their Haunted Barn. Each year brings a new haunted theme, with past stories including a cannibalistic family home and a cursed mental hospital, so even repeat guests will be newly frightened.
Today's side deal is your second chance to commune with nature and the animal kingdom. For $20, you'll get a 20-minute horseback-riding lesson and an hour-long horseback ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest at Sunburst Stables, a $48 value. Retreat from the city to the lush trees and mountains less than two hours north of Atlanta. Take a day trip with the family or surprise your sensitive stallion with a horseback adventure for Valentine's Day.
Built into the rippling foothills of Appalachia, Atlanta Motorsports Park hosts a world-class road course designed by famed Formula 1 architect, Hermann Tilke. Tilke honored the natural landscape with his 2-mile racetrack, weaving high-speed straights amongst steep elevation changes. He even included two signature turns, inspired by Belgium's Spa-Franchochamps and the 'Carousel' turn found on Germany's fearsome Nurburgring. Track members can test their private vehicles' mettle on the track at any time, pushing engines to their limits on professional-quality pavement.
In addition to its professional-grade road course, the venue is also home to a world-class karting track. Open to all visitors, the kart course runs almost a mile, and features a stunningly-steep 43' in elevation changes built to Commission Internationale de Karting's Level A standards. The owners invite visitors to bring their own karts, but guests can always rent vehicles from the fleet. Each rental comes with a complementary helmet and driving suit to protect the driver from whipping winds, harsh sunshine, or point deductions in race's fashion show portion.
Jerry and Liz Bates happily settled into the ?alpaca way of life? in 2008. They farm alpacas, and it gives them a sense of peace to be out in natural surroundings with their fuzzy family. Tours of their farm, Southern Estate Alpacas, begin with Alpaca 101 lessons, where you learn about the origins and uses of alpacas. Next, you can visit with the herd to feed them out of your hand, pet their soft wool, or get a Facebook photo with a baby dwarf goat. Alpaca petting zoos are a good option for families with small children, since they have no horns or hooves and only a bottom set of teeth, so they can?t bite. After you?ve met your new best friend, head to the farm store to get a scarf or sweater made from his exquisite wool.
At first glance, Pettit Creek Farms looks much the same as other farms. Cows moo and goats bleat from the barnyard, while wagons full of hay and passengers trundle along. But then someone rides by on a camel. A zebra cranes its striped neck over a fence, searching for handfuls of oats, and KatieBird the emu ruffles her feathers at passersby.
It's around the holidays that this unusual farm becomes its most active. In the fall, as the temperature drops and the pumpkin patch ripens, visitors can be seen perusing the squashes and heard trying to navigate the winding corn maze. And, come winter, the farm fires up thousands of Christmas lights, creating a mile-long wonderland for visitors to drive through.