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Kids & Teens Recreation
2017 summer bucket list for metro Atlanta families 

2017 summer bucket list for metro Atlanta families 

Photo Credit: Steve Schaefer
Rebecca Benator hits the breaks as she nears the end of the 1,000-foot water slide at the Slide the City block party in Atlanta on Saturday, June 25, 2016. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

2017 summer bucket list for metro Atlanta families 

"I'm bored!"

Have you heard it yet?

If not now, it will likely happen before summer ends.

But you’re in luck. We've compiled a list of summer things to to do around Atlanta that will banish those words forever−or at least until fall.

Here's an all-inclusive 2017 summer bucket list for metro Atlanta families:

Inside the Perimeter

The Dancing Granny. Now Until July 16. Adults $15, Children 6-17 $8, kids under 5 are free. Presented by the Alliance Theater at various locations. AllianceTheatre.org.

Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. June 10–18. 4484 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, 30319.
The Galloway School June 24–July 2. 215 W. Wieuca Road, NW, Atlanta, 30342.
Spelman College July 8–16. 420 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, 30310.

This world premiere show for youth and families is based on Ashley Bryan’s popular children’s book. A clever spider named Ananse tries to trick Granny into dancing away from her garden so he can take her vegetables, and soon becomes a dancer himself. The musical play is being presented in conjunction with the High Museum of Art exhibition of Bryan’s work. www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Ashley-Bryan

Summer Camp H2O. Mon.-Fri. now until July 28. Weekly pricing: $324.95-$360.95. Georgia Aquarium. 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta. georgiaaquarium.org.

A series of ocean-oriented camps for a wide range of ages, pre-K through 8th grade. Camps in four age groups, pre-K, (4 & 5 years), rising 1st - 2nd graders, rising 3rd - 4th graders, rising 5th - 6th graders and rising 7th - 8th graders. These age appropriate classes will combine fun and learning with a bit more learning for the older kids.

Steve Schaefer
Rebecca Benator hits the breaks as she nears the end of the 1,000-foot water slide at the Slide the City block party in Atlanta on Saturday, June 25, 2016. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

June 25, 2016

Photo Credit: Steve Schaefer
Rebecca Benator hits the breaks as she nears the end of the 1,000-foot water slide at the Slide the City block party in Atlanta on Saturday, June 25, 2016. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Slide the City July 15. $25 for three slides, $58 for unlimited slides. Centennial Olympic Park. Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW & Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta. slidethecity.com.

This family-friendly slip-and-slide party is one day only. You can choose between three turns at the slide or the all-you-can-slide option. An urban block party will also be happening, with live music, food, drinks and other entertainment.

Coca Cola Summer Film Festival. July 16-September 3. $5-$20. Fox Theatre. 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta 30308. foxtheatre.org.  

The Coca Cola Summer Film Festival at the Fox Theater will present a great assortment of family-friendly features this summer. The lineup includes sing-a-long versions of Walt Disney’s animated gem “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as “Mary Poppins”, a timeless classic. All eight Harry Potter films will be shown as triple- and double-headers. Kids can also enjoy the popular Saturday morning cartoon series. Get there early for a magical pre-show experience, a sing-along with the world renowned Mighty Mo organ.

»RELATED: 2017 guide to free outdoor movies in Atlanta

DeKalb County


Visit the “Hoos” at the Dunwoody Nature Center

Great Backyard Campout. $20-25 per campsite. June 24. Dunwoody Nature Center. 5343 Roberts Dr, Atlanta 30338. dunwoodynature.org.

Here’s a chance to practice camping without going too far from home. You will learn how to pitch your tent and build a campfire. Traditional camping activities will also happen, like marshmallow roasting, nighttime hiking and singing corny camp songs. If you miss this event they’ll be doing it again the first Saturday in November. Dunwoody is home to one of many nature centers around the city. Find more nature centers here.

Brook Run Park. Dunwoody's 102-acre park includes an organic community garden, a dog park, a skate park, a 2-mile trail loop and a large playground that kids (and parents) will love – especially because of the shade awnings. The newest addition to this park is Treetop Quest. Swing through the trees on courses that include zip lines and treetop obstacles designed to challenge all levels of climbers. The park recently upgraded its course for children ages 4 to 6, now called the Chick Pea course.

Sleep in a yurt. $119 per night, two night minimum. Stone Mountain Park. 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain 30083. stonemountainpark.com.

There's nothing as amazing as waking up to a view of the lake after a comfortable night's sleep in a yurt. Three yurts include true beds, air conditioning, bunks, electrical outlets and more. Stone Mountain not in your neighborhood? Try these places to sleep in a yurt all over Georgia

»RELATED: 8 alternatives to tent camping around Georgia 

Cobb County

50th Anniversary Show. June 3- August 6.  FREE with General Admission. Six Flags Over Georgia. 275 Riverside Pkwy Southwest, Austell. sixflags.com.

Believe it or not, Six Flags Over Georgia is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! A special new show will celebrate the park and the most popular hits of this era. The Crystal Pistol will be rocking with sounds from 1967 to the present, and you will see images of the park from back in the day.

Contributed by Georgia State Parks

The beach at Red Top Mountain in Acworth is part of the Georgia State Park system.

Photo Credit: Contributed by Georgia State Parks

Acworth Beach. Now through September 4. Head to Cauble Park, 4425 Beach St., Acworth for fun in the sun on the shores of Lake Acworth. Enjoy white sand and a roped area for swimming. There is also a playground, restroom area, picnic tables and more. There are no lifeguards on duty, so keep an eye on the kiddos. Swimming is free, and the park also offers boating and fishing. Parking is free weekdays and is $10 cash per car Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m if you aren’t a city resident. That $10 charge lasts until Labor Day weekend.

»RELATED:  Beaches near Atlanta: Head to these Cobb County beaches


Acworth Slide. Now through September 4. $16. Dallas Landing Park 5120 Allatoona Drive, Acworth. www.acworthslide.com.

Dallas Landing Park in Acworth is now home to a 36 foot high inflatable water slide that can be seen from clean across Lake Allatoona. At 175 feet long, it is advertised as the world’s longest inflatable water slide and is sure to entertain your family. Season passes are available for devoted sliders.

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Open year-round. Prices vary. 1255 Roswell Rd., Marietta.  

From racing to ropes courses, arcades to bowling, and motion theatre to laser tag, Andretti is full of fun and excitement. The great thing is, this facility is pay-as-you-go; only purchase tickets for what you want to play. Check the web site for a variety of enticing specials and promotions.

Gwinnett County

Mayfield Dairy. $4.50 adults, $3.50 kids, includes a scoop of ice cream. Love Mayfield milk and ice cream? Take the kids to tour the facility in Braselton. Tours begin every hour during open times (closed Wed. & Sun.) Be sure to take a selfie with the giant cow statue. There is also a dairy-themed gift shop and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. www.mayfielddairy.com.


Minor leagues cast an allure of their own

Gwinnett Braves Friends and Family Night. June 24. 

$15 each. Coolray Field. 2500 Buford Dr., Lawrenceville. www.GwinnettBraves.com.

Coolray Field is a great place to introduce your kids to baseball. The Friends and Family Package includes a field box ticket, G-Braves hat and a voucher for a burger.

Splash pad and fountain fun. Let kids splish and splash in the water while letting go of some built-up energy. Try Big Splash at Suwanee Town Center Park, Village Pavilion at Mall of Georgia, Lillian Webb Park or Town Green Fountain at Duluth Main Street.

North Fulton

Roswell Summer Puppet Series

Various dates through July 22. $5 for ages 2 and up, under 2 free. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. 950 Forrest St, Roswell. roswellgov.com.

The Roswell Summer Puppet Series is one of the best things about summer for those in the northern suburbs. Six different shows are designed just for kids so a little noise and chaos is OK and it's VERY affordable. 

Matilda's Music Under the Pines. Various dates. $20 adults, 16 and younger, free. Matilda's. 77 S Main St, Alpharetta. matildasmusicvenue.com.

If you are looking for the perfect place to enjoy live music in Alpharetta — whether for a fun date night idea for couples or a family night out — Matilda's Music Under the Pines is your answer. Bring your kids (16 and younger are FREE) your dog, the beverage of your choice and your picnic blanket.

Webb Bridge Park. It's unlike most playgrounds, with unusual play structures, a musical keyboard, shady trees, a covered sand box and walking trails. The best part for summer is the Zone Spring, a man-made stream that flows through the play area, ideal for splashing in. It's fed from a deep well under the ground and flows to a lake for irrigation rather than being recirculated- regardless, the kids will have a ball at Webb Bridge. 4780 Webb Bridge Rd, Alpharetta.

In the Mountains

Swimming Holes. You can go to the neighborhood pool or hit the community splash pad, but nothing says summer like playing in Mother Nature's natural waterscapes. 

Here are 15 waterfalls, creeks and streams your kids will love to play in this summer.

»RELATED: Here are 5 easy hikes to Atlanta's hidden waterfalls

Adventure Parks. Head to Amicalola or Unicoi State Park for great family fun, with accommodations built right in. Packages include multiple adventures like survivalist camp, mountain biking, zip lining, kayak fishing, or GPS scavenger hunting. Not enough? What about s'mores and fire pit stories, guided hikes to the falls, archery and so much more! Adventure Lodges.

Brant Sanderlin
VIP guests were given a guided tour of the new zip line course at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville Thursday as part of the grand opening. The course is a canopy to canopy experience with 11 zip lines. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

A look at new zip line canopy tour at Amicalola Falls

Photo Credit: Brant Sanderlin
VIP guests were given a guided tour of the new zip line course at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville Thursday as part of the grand opening. The course is a canopy to canopy experience with 11 zip lines. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Snorkel the Conasauga River. The Conasauga is the most biodiverse river basin in the world – right here in Georgia. Bring your snorkels to view over 70 different species of fish, but visit in summer because this water is COLD! Fill up on gas, bring plenty of snacks and prepare for an exciting adventure. Find directions and general info about snorkeling the Conasauga here.


Summer Camp. From a family camping experience at Callaway Gardens to overnight camp in Blue Ridge and from LEGO camp in Atlanta to PGA camp in Macon, there are plenty of summer camp options across the state. Find the best summer camps for kids here.

»RELATED: AJC's Atlanta Summer Guide

Free Reading Programs. Barnes and Noble.. Chuck E. Cheese...there are multiple summer reading programs for kids all around the state. The best part? These summer reading programs are FREE.

Free Outdoor Movies. Old classics under the stars are an ideal way to spend a summer night. Large screens are popping up in parks over the city. Pack a picnic and head to your favorite spot.

Adventure Beyond Atlanta. From Len Foote Hike Inn in the mountains to shell hunting on Cumberland Island, Georgia is filled with special memory-making opportunities for the family. Follow this list of 52 adventures every kid MUST experience from Georgia's family travel spokesperson.

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  • Doctor's offices and emergency rooms in Bartow County have been seeing a lot of people with symptoms of food-borne illness. They are complaining of upset stomach, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Almost all of the patients say they attended a catered event at Toyo Tire in Cartersville.  Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District environmental health specialist and epidemiologists are looking into the outbreak. The cause of the outbreak has not yet been confirmed.  Logan Boss with the Georgia Department of Public Heath says they are not sure how many people have gotten sick. 'This could be a multi-county event, a lot people work at Toyo Tire from this region,' says Boss. He says there may have been some hospitalizations from the outbreak.  He encourages those seeing symptoms of food-borne illness to see a doctor. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include: Upset stomach Stomach cramps Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Fever After consuming contaminated food or drink, it may take hours or days before symptoms start to develop. Most people have only mild illnesses, lasting a few hours to several days. However, some develop severe illness requiring hospitalization, and some illnesses result in long-term health problems or even death.
  • Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after masterminding the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday night after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.Manson died of natural causes at a California hospital while serving a life sentence, his name synonymous to this day with unspeakable violence and depravity.Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, reacted to the death by quoting the late Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who put Manson behind bars. Bugliosi said: 'Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.'Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,' Hanisee said.A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, the charismatic, guru-like Manson surrounded himself in the 1960s with runaways and other lost souls and then sent his disciples to butcher some of L.A.'s rich and famous in what prosecutors said was a bid to trigger a race war — an idea he got from a twisted reading of the Beatles song 'Helter Skelter.'The slayings horrified the world and, together with the deadly violence that erupted later in 1969 during a Rolling Stones concert at California's Altamont Speedway, exposed the dangerous, drugged-out underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the death of the era of peace and love.Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Manson maintained during his tumultuous trial in 1970 that he was innocent and that society itself was guilty.'These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up,' he said in a courtroom soliloquy.Linda Deutsch, the longtime courts reporter for The Associated Press who covered the Manson case, said he 'left a legacy of evil and hate and murder.'He was able to take young people who were impressionable and convince them he had the answer to everything and he turned them into killers,' she said. 'It was beyond anything we had ever seen before in this country.'California Corrections Department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said it has yet to be determined what happens to Manson's body. It was also unclear if Manson requested funeral services of any sort.Prison officials previously said Manson had no known next of kin, and state law says that if no relative or legal representative surfaces within 10 days, then it's up to the department to determine whether the body is cremated or buried.The Manson Family, as his followers were called, slaughtered five of its victims on Aug. 9, 1969, at Tate's home: the actress, who was 8½ months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Polish movie director Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the estate's caretaker. Tate's husband, 'Rosemary's Baby' director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, were stabbed to death in their home across town.The killers scrawled such phrases as 'Pigs' and a misspelled 'Healter Skelter' in blood at the crime scenes.Manson was arrested three months later. In the annals of American crime, he became the personification of evil, a short, shaggy-haired, bearded figure with a demonic stare and an 'X'' — later turned into a swastika — carved into his forehead.'Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,' author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book 'The White Album.'After a trial that lasted nearly a year, Manson and three followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Another defendant, Charles 'Tex' Watson, was convicted later. All were spared execution and given life sentences after the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.Atkins died behind bars in 2009. Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson remain in prison.Another Manson devotee, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975, but her gun jammed. She served 34 years in prison.Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934, to a teenager, possibly a prostitute, and was in reform school by the time he was 8. After serving a 10-year sentence for check forgery in the 1960s, Manson was said to have pleaded with authorities not to release him because he considered prison home.'My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system,' he would later say in a monologue on the witness stand. 'I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.'He was set free in San Francisco during the heyday of the hippie movement in the city's Haight-Ashbury section, and though he was in his mid-30s by then, he began collecting followers — mostly women — who likened him to Jesus Christ. Most were teenagers; many came from good homes but were at odds with their parents.The 'family' eventually established a commune-like base at the Spahn Ranch, a ramshackle former movie location outside Los Angeles, where Manson manipulated his followers with drugs, oversaw orgies and subjected them to bizarre lectures.He had musical ambitions and befriended rock stars, including Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. He also met Terry Melcher, a music producer who had lived in the same house that Polanski and Tate later rented.By the summer of 1969, Manson had failed to sell his songs, and the rejection was later seen as a trigger for the violence. He complained that Wilson took a Manson song called 'Cease to Exist,' revised it into 'Never Learn Not to Love' and recorded it with the Beach Boys without giving Manson credit.Manson was obsessed with Beatles music, particularly 'Piggies' and 'Helter Skelter,' a hard-rocking song that he interpreted as forecasting the end of the world. He told his followers that 'Helter Skelter is coming down' and predicted a race war would destroy the planet.'Everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not,' the Beatles' George Harrison, who wrote 'Piggies,' later said of the murders. 'It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson.'According to testimony, Manson sent his devotees out on the night of Tate's murder with instructions to 'do something witchy.' The state's star witness, Linda Kasabian, who was granted immunity, testified that Manson tied up the LaBiancas, then ordered his followers to kill. But Manson insisted: 'I have killed no one, and I have ordered no one to be killed.'His trial was nearly scuttled when President Richard Nixon said Manson was 'guilty, directly or indirectly.' Manson grabbed a newspaper and held up the front-page headline for jurors to read: 'Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares.' Attorneys demanded a mistrial but were turned down.From then on, jurors, sequestered at a hotel for 10 months, traveled to and from the courtroom in buses with blacked-out windows so they could not read the headlines on newsstands.Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of a musician and a stuntman.Over the decades, Manson and his followers appeared sporadically at parole hearings, where their bids for freedom were repeatedly rejected. The women suggested they had been rehabilitated, but Manson himself stopped attending, saying prison had become his home.The killings inspired movies and TV shows, and Bugliosi, the prosecutor, wrote a best-selling book about the murders, 'Helter Skelter.' The macabre rock star Marilyn Manson borrowed part of his stage name from the killer.'The Manson case, to this day, remains one of the most chilling in crime history,' veteran crime reporter Theo Wilson wrote in her 1998 memoir, 'Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom — The Country's Most Controversial Trials.' ''Even people who were not yet born when the murders took place know the name Charles Manson, and shudder.'___AP writer Michelle A. Monroe contributed to this report. This story contains biographical information compiled by former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. Deutsch covered the Tate-La Bianca killings and the Manson trial for The Associated Press and has written about the Manson family for four decades.
  • The White House says President Donald Trump plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.Trump and Putin spoke informally several times last week when they attended a summit in Vietnam. They agreed on a number of principles for the future of war-torn Syria.Trump's conversation with the Russian president will follow Putin's Monday meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd). Putin hosted Assad at a Black Sea resort ahead of a summit later this week with Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.The Kremlin said Tuesday that Assad was called to Russia to get him to agree to potential peace initiatives drafted by Russia, Iran and Turkey as Russia prepares to scale back its military presence in Syria's six-year war.
  • A horrific story from Ohio has a happy ending. The saga started about a year and a half ago, when police arrested Trevor Casey after they say he choked his young son during a domestic dispute, WTOL reported. Police said that Casey was mad at the children’s mother so he picked up the youngest boy and choked him, then ran down the street with the boy in his arms, WTOL reported. >> Read more trending news The child, Kingston, and his brother, Kevin, were put into foster care in March 2016 after their father was arrested. Kevin had told his mother that Kingston was turning blue. That warning to his biological mother eventually lead to the arrest of their father. The Martin family was granted foster status for the boys. Then the Martins found out that the boys’ biological mother had given birth to a little girl and she had given up her parental rights. So they took care of Ka’Liah too, WTOL reported. Now Heather and Brian Martin are no longer fostering the three children and have become their legal parents. The Martin family has had a lot of changes this year. Brian and Heather are newlyweds, after getting married in February. They are also now officially new parents. “Today God has put another miracle - 3 miracles - on me and I’m just beyond blessed and really it’s emotional because we’re a family. We’re officially a family,” Brian told WTOL.
  • Inmates at an Oklahoma jail will soon be able to use new tablets. >> Watch the news report here Officials say the tablets will allow Muskogee County inmates to access a law library, play games, order commissary and take educational courses, like GED classes. Around 50 tablets will be spread throughout the jail, and each jail pod will have a handful of tablets that inmates can use. >> Inmates get tablets at Colorado prisons Inmates will put in individual codes to access the tablets, and they will then be able to use them for 15-minute increments. They will have the option to pay for additional time on them. Officials say the tablets will not be connected to the internet, so inmates won’t be able to use them to communicate outside the jail. Sheriff Rob Fraiser says the tablets come at no cost to the county, and the company providing them will make money by taking a percentage of what the inmates spend while using them. >> Read more trending news Fraiser says the tablets will be a great way to reward or punish inmates for good or bad behavior, and he believes they could help boost morale in the jail. The tablets will be installed in a couple of weeks.
  • A teen in Texas now has a family to call his own, and he found it in the most unexpected of places. Anthony Berry, 16, said he never wanted to be adopted. But he changed his mind when his teacher walked into his life, KBMT reported.  >> Read more trending news  Bennie Berry is a teacher at Pathways Learning Center. Anthony was in her class. Eventually he told her his secret: that he wanted her to be his mother. She thought that Anthony was joking, but then he explained his background.  “And then we struck a deal: Finish an assignment and then you can show me the website,” Berry told KBMT. And he did. Friday, Anthony’s dream came true, as he became the oldest child of the 18 kids who were adopted in Jefferson County, Texas. Anthony told KBMT, “If you have ever thought about adoption or didn’t want to be adopted, actually try it because you never know. Take into consideration that someone that doesn’t love you, there is always someone that will love you.”