Parks, recreation centers, and public swimming pools are all great free or low cost places to spend some quality time with the kids. Pack lunches and snacks to save money.
Look for online specials for ways to cut costs and get discount admission coupons on everything from Stone Mountain Park to Six Flags Over Georgia.
Also, if you're looking for a break from the kitchen, but need something light on the wallet, take advantage of family nights for free or discounted meals for kids at your favorite family restaurants.
Here are some great low-cost family fun activities:
Parks & Recreation
DeKalb County Parks & Recreation offers many free and low-cost activities for children and youth. Contact a park or recreation center near you to find out about upcoming events by calling 404- 371-2631, or visit www.co.dekalb.ga.us/parks.
Take the family for a trip to the Martin L. King Jr. National Historic Site. This four-block area on Auburn Avenue serves as remembrance of where Dr. King was born, lived, worshipped and is now buried. There is a restored Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The Visitors Center has park rangers available to conduct programs and answer questions. Admission is free and donations are accepted.
Tour Underground Atlanta
Underground Atlanta is now offering a new Guided History Tour. Participants can take a stroll back in time and learn about the historic beginnings of "The Underground."
Tour times are Friday and Saturday 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets start at $4 for students; children 5 and under are free.
Take a trip to the Georgia Governor's Mansion. The mansion is a three-story, 30-room, Greek Revival home built in 1967. It stands on approximately 18 acres in northeast Atlanta. It was designed by Georgia architect Thomas Bradbury and officially opened on Jan. 1, 1968.
The Governor's Mansion is located at 391 West Paces Ferry Road N.W. Public tours are conducted throughout the year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Admission is free.
Hike the trails Meander from the Mall at Stonecrest or the city of Lithonia on seven miles of paved trails at Arabia Mountain Heritage Area. Families can walk, jog, roller skate or bike the picturesque trails installed by the PATH Foundation. Remember to keep to the right.
Panola Mountain State Park offers three miles of trails and live animal exhibits. The park is open daily 7 a.m. to dark. The nature center is open Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is $3. The park is located at 2600 Hwy. 155 S.W. in Stockbridge. For more information, call 770-389-7801.
Science and Industry Museum
Visit the Georgia State Museum of Science and Industry. The museum, primarily located on the 1st and 4th floors of the state Capitol building, includes extensive exhibits depicting the natural history of Georgia.
The exhibits feature the state's wildlife, rocks and minerals from every county in Georgia, as well as Indian artifacts from four prehistoric cultural periods, dating back over 2,500 years. On the first floor, the museum also includes many tattered and torn flags of Georgia regiments from the War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, and World War I, as well as four cases of model airplanes depicting the development of aviation to the latest space shuttle.
Admission is free and tours are conducted hourly Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Centennial Olympic Park's "splash-ground," the Fountain of Rings at the park's center where visitors are encouraged to play and get wet, is a great way to entertain kids of all ages. Check with the visitor center for scheduled "water concerts," when the splashing and flowing of the fountain is set to music. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and admission is free.
Storytelling at Callanwolde
Callanwolde Art Center's monthly storytelling nights are a way to bond with the kids and celebrate the power of storytelling as Atlanta-area storytellers entertain audiences with tales for all ages. The cost is $3 for adults and $1 for children. Tickets are sold at the door. For more information, call 404-872-5338.
Now through June 25 the Kid's Theatre at Onstage Atlanta presents "Paint," the world premiere of Atlanta playwright Robin Seidman's tale about young Chagall, whose Hasidic roots forbid him to pursue his art. "Paint" is a comedic tale with a singing fish puppet and dancing cow. Tickets are $7. The theatre is at 2597 North Decatur Road in Decatur. For more information call 404-897-1802.
Gross out museum
Prepare to be totally grossed out at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History's latest exhibit, Grossology, which uses giant book pages as a backdrop to animatronic characters and interactive elements that literally put visitors into the middle of a biology book. Participants can actually walk inside a giant nose that simulates mucus and sneezing.
The museum is at 767 Clifton Road in Atlanta and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets — $12 for adults, $11 for students and seniors, $10 for children 12 and under, and free for members — can be purchased by phone at 404-929-6400. For more information, visit www.fernbank.edu/museum or call 404-929-6300.
Kisha Green lives in Lithonia. E-mail her at email@example.com.