Guest Blog by Sarah Illg:
Summer is coming to an end, and most kids are back in school. My son starts back to school on Monday, and as a mom, I feel mixed emotions. I love spending time with my little one, but by the end of summer we have run out of family friendly entertainment for the kiddos.
School starts at 8:30 and by the time the kids get home, finish homework, eat dinner and get showered it feels like the day is already gone. For this reason, I am always looking for fun activities for the entire family on the weekends. To me, family oriented means budget friendly and alcohol-free (or at least not alcohol focused).
I have done some research ahead of time for the coming season and put together a list of family events we will venture to in the next couple months. If you are looking for low-cost entertainment in a safe environment, look no further. Here's to getting out and enjoying this amazing fall weather with the entire family:
- Chestatee Wild Life Preserve – This place starts off my list because it is an absolute family favorite of mine. Just a few minutes off 400 in Dahlonega, this wild life preserve is a hidden gem. The preserve is home to more than 125 exotic animals including tigers, lions, and zebras. The best part is the cost; admission is $10 for an adult and $5 for a child, AND they let you pack your lunch and have a picnic at their park. The staff is amazing and many times have given my son cups of feed for the animals for free.
- Food Truck Friday in Suwanee – There is nothing better than food truck cuisine after a long week of work. Food trucks take the effort out of preparing a Friday night meal. Food Truck Friday is located in Suwanee Town Center which is a must see for the kids if they have not been. The park has a large green space for children to run and play, and there is a fountain that runs when the weather is warm for the kids to run through. There are also lots of shops and places to grab dessert after partaking in the yummy food trucks.
“Taste of” Events – I am going to apologize in advance for many items on this list involving food, but hear me out first. Events like Taste of Forsyth, Taste of Atlanta or Taste of Suwanee allow you to try mini portions of local cuisine in the community. You are supporting local businesses while enjoying a beautiful Saturday out with the family. Here are some “Taste of Events” that I found coming up:
- Taste of Smyrna – September 16th from 11:00-8:00 PM in downtown Smyrna
- Taste of Suwanee – October 7th from 12:00-5:00 PM in Suwanee Town Center
- Taste of Acworth – October 15th from 10:00-6:00 PM the Historic District of Acworth
- Taste of Kennesaw – November 4th from 11:00-8:00 PM in downtown Kennesaw
Cumming Fair – Forsyth County takes their fair very seriously! This festival is planned almost a year in advance and lasts for ten days. This year, the Cumming Fair is October 5-15th. Check out their website to see which days have free admission or deals on tickets for the rides. The fair can get expensive, but if you plan ahead and check the events calendar listed on their website for the best deals, you can stick to a budget.
- Pooches in the Park in Downtown Braselton - We are a dog family. We have a 6-year-old chocolate lab named Charlie, and she loves to be in the middle of the action. We love to take her on hikes and outdoor events. Pooches in the Park will be held on September 9th from 2PM-10PM in the Park at Braselton Town Green in Downtown Braselton. They have a range of fun activities for the whole family including Fido. The best part? FREE Admission. You cannot beat that!
- Gold Rush Festival in Dahlonega – If you are a North Georgia native, you understand the significance of Gold Rush. On October 21-22nd Dahlonega will welcome over 200,000 visitors to the festival. Craft and food vendors line the streets, and there is great local music and events including a 5k Saturday morning. This event is also dog-friendly. If you have never been to Gold Rush, it is certainly worth the drive. Take the family and spend the weekend in my favorite mountain town.
Indoor Swimming Pool – As ready as I am to slip on a pair of boots and order a Pumpkin Spice Latte for fall, I know that come October or November my kiddo will be begging to swim at the pool again. Georgia has some impressive indoor aquatic centers that won't break the bank. Here are a few of my favorites with the best slides and indoor water activities for year round swimming for the entire family:
- South Cobb Aquatic Center in Austell
- Bethesda Park Aquatic Center in Lawrenceville
- Bogan Park Aquatic Center in Buford
- Hike Stone Mountain – This is an oldie, but a goody! The view from the top of Stone mountain never gets old. My boss, Richard Lawson climbs the mountain every Saturday morning. The only thing you pay for is the cost to park, and if you get a season parking pass, the cost per visit is even cheaper. Once the weather starts cooling down, I cannot wait to take a hike up the mountain.
- Star Light Drive in Movie Theater in Atlanta – This drive up movie theater is perfect for the family. Admission is $9 for adults and $1 for kids under nine. Rumor has it their website includes coupons for snacks and drinks too!
- Uncle Shucks Corn Maze – I may be a little biased for this one, as it is just minutes from my house. However, this has to be one of the BEST corn mazes in Georgia. Opening day this year is Saturday, September 9th and the maze stays open until November 19th. There are enough activities to keep even the busiest of children (like my son) entertained for the entire day. Besides the obvious corn maze, there is a petting farm, hayrides, s'mores, a pumpkin patch and lots more! Children 4 and under are FREE!
Finding a good spot for a date night is easy in Atlanta with plenty of events catered towards adults and drinking. I have to be intentional about finding alcohol-free or at least not alcohol focused activities for the family for the weekends. Having fun does not always mean having a drink.
Remember, Georgia law is strict when it comes to driving under the influence with children in the car. Each child under 14 in the vehicle is a separate child endangerment charge which is the equivalent of an additional DUI charge in Georgia.
I hope you enjoy this list of family friendly events coming up and stay safe this coming season! It is always best to avoid needing a Georgia DUI Lawyer.
Sarah Illg is a recent graduate of Mercer School of Law. She has been employed with the Law Office Law Office of Richard Lawson for the past three years. She is awaiting her bar results. For more information about Georgia DUI Penalties, check back often.