C and I just returned from a trip to the Atlanta area to visit my mom. I knew I didn’t want to spend two whole weeks just wandering around the little suburb my mom lives in. I did some research and found a few excursions I thought my two year old could handle and I want to share our experience with you all.
The three places I chose to visit were Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, and Stone Mountain Park. I chose the Zoo and Aquarium because C has been learning animals left and right and I wanted him to see them in person. And Stone Mountain was an easy choice with the train ride attraction to go with C’s fascination with trains.
Now, let me just say that summer is an extremely tricky time to go on outside excursions in Georgia. The weather is hot, hot, hot. And humid. You walk outside and start sweating. So I kept it in my plans to bring our stroller along and several cups and bottles of water to keep hydrated on the hot July day at the zoo and at Stone Mountain Park.
C has been on a great streak of learning new animals, especially the bigger, wilder animals. He recognizes their pictures in all the silly forms they appear in children’s books. I really wanted him to see the real animals and give him some actual recognition.
C did a great job of recognizing the animals he knew. Walking around most of the zoo was quite an effort in the heat and he stuck mostly to his stroller. The reptile house was air conditioned and he ran around in there for quite a while to cool off.
We did not stay for any of the animal shows as C isn’t the most reliable for sitting still to watch something. However, he enjoyed all the animals he saw. His favorite animals were the reptile house and the pandas because he could walk right up to the glass to see the cubs playing right in front of him.
My thoughts on Zoo Atlanta? It was fantastic. At two, C’s admission was free. Parking is also free. My only necessary expense was my own ticket. (Of course, I also got C a couple of souvenirs.) I had no problems finding any of the animals. The staff was incredibly friendly and outgoing with talking about the animal exhibits. I only have one complaint and that is the pathing for strollers. Sometimes you have to walk an extra distance around to get up a ramp to see an animal.
I didn’t know what to expect from this at all. I’m not big on aquariums and can only remember going to one. I wasn’t sure how big it would be and how entertaining it would be for my two year old.
The aquarium is much smaller than I was expecting. There’s a couple of big viewing rooms and a couple of corridors with several viewing areas. C had the most fun climbing up and down the large stairs in one of the viewing rooms. He was only fascinated by the fish for a couple of seconds before wanting to run off somewhere else.
Like the zoo, C’s admission was free. I paid for my ticket and one for my mom. Unlike the zoo, we had to pay for parking.
I felt the aquarium was a bust at this age. Unless your kid can sit still for some of the shows or has an obsession with fish, this one is a skip. It’s just not big enough and there isn’t enough variety for a two year old.
STONE MOUNTAIN PARK
I went to Stone Mountain twice as a kid although I don’t remember much about the trips.
The staff at Stone Mountain Park are extremely friendly. One busy worker even stopped long enough to answer a silly question from me about what to do with tickets for the park. The man giving the information on the train was extremely interesting. He even varied the facts a little from ride to ride, which I appreciated as we rode the train twice. Fun note: sit on the left side of the train to get the best view of the mountain and other surprises!
Like the other two attractions, C’s admissions was free. I only had to pay for my ticket and for parking. I had two major issues with visiting the park and that was the length of time I had to stand in line to get my ticket changed from the e-ticket to a wrist band to enter the park. The other major issue was that I could not find any toddler sized clothing. At each place we visited, I got him some form a clothing (hat, t-shirt) and a stuffed animal. I was a bit agitated that I couldn’t find toddler sized clothing. But oh well.
I also had one minor issue however I don’t feel it deters from my satisfaction with this visit. It is the seemingly random chance that something you want to do is closed. For me, it was the Funnel Cake shop. (The Toy Store was also closed, but that wasn’t a huge deal.)
Even though we never took the ride up to the top of the mountain, this excursion is worth the visit. Kids will love the train and the petting zoo is another nice draw while you look at the interesting antique homes.
If you’re planning to be in the Atlanta area and have a two year old with you, you definitely want to check out Zoo Atlanta and Stone Mountain Park. The attractions and ticket prices couldn’t be more family friendly.