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to visit replicas of famed sites such as Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, and the Great Pyramids of Giza, which were originally made out of snow.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.
A motley collection of secure and sanitized play structures dominates each Catch Air location's indoor play arena to sate the lively imaginations of children as well as the safety concerns of their parents. Each of the four locations opens its doors seven days a week to unique lineups of attractions, including three-tiered castles covered in colorful nets and padding, with space shuttles attached to appease every child's love of anachronism. Tykes 12 and younger can wade through ball pits or take to an interactive, light-up dance floor to practice moves before they reach the age when practicing becomes embarrassing. The staff maintain a watchful eye at all times and clean every play structure daily before opening. Staffers also host parties to celebrate birthdays or the end of second-grade finals week.
It's rare to see dinosaurs in real life. It's even rarer to see them at the mall. But Gwinnet Place Mall patrons will see just that this summer, thanks to Fantasy Magic World, a pop-up amusement park composed of magical interactive exhibits. Beyond Dinosaur Land, whose dinos range from T-rexes to creatures no bigger than a turkey, there's plenty of other exhibits. An array of giant robots tower more than 25-feet tall and a mystical talking tree passes on wisdom, like which mall shop has polo shirts on sale. A team of Chinese acrobats put on regular shows at the amusement park, and the myriad carnival attractions range from inflatables to a ferris wheel, also known as a unicycle for brave people.
By day, The Bounce House Amusement Center's bouncers, slides, and obstacles courses are what you'd expect them to be: colorful inflatable surfaces where kids climb, clamor, and jump. At night, though, they function as cover for laser tag combatants, who sneak and shoot their way around the inflatable arena during 10- to 15-minute games. On Friday evenings and during full moons, patrons can enjoy the arcade, with The Bounce House switching on its nine 50-inch televisions for rounds of Xbox 360 and Wii games such as Lego Harry Potter and Call of Duty .
Along with open playtimes, the center hosts camps, as well as birthday parties built around its inflatable, laser tag, and video game attractions.
On Jekyll Island, waves lick the 10 miles of beaches as kayaks cut through the salty water, cyclists roll over 20 miles of paved trails, and riders on horseback clop through hushed maritime forests. All visitors to the barrier island can partake in myriad active, relaxing, or educational activities while immersed in its lush natural landscapes, where dunes give way to beaches filled with hermit crabs and shell collecting and where birders clutch binoculars to examine avian habitats and decode gulls' sign language. The island's public golf club, open since 1898, hosts two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course on manicured greens and rolling terrain. In the summer, the Summer Waves Water Park provides a cool escape from the heat with six slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. For indoor adventurers, exhibits at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center illuminate the lives of the shelled reptiles, and a museum preserves relics of the wealthy families who used the island as their gilded getaway and a place to bury their expired money. The Jekyll Island Authority oversees all conservation and development on the idyllic island, existing to continually improve the park and its amenities.
Everland Play is one of the few places where parents encourage kids to run off and join a pirate ship. Though the indoor playground's ship may just be an inflatable obstacle course, children are let loose to pretend to steer or walk the plank. The pirate theme is echoed in pictures of ships and swashbucklers decorating the multilevel play structure, chock full of colorful tunnel slides.
Designed by a pair of moms for children ages 12 and under, Everland Play’s inflatables and play units share real estate with several imagination stations. Make-believe aromas waft from pots and pans as kids cook up pretend meals at the cooking station, and the costume corner’s wardrobe transforms kids into crowned princesses and caped superheroes more effectively than fairy dust. As older kids play dress up, wee ones frolic in the separated toddler area’s ball pits.