A Modern Mama* with the Keys to the City: Atlanta Edition

What to do? What to do? 

What do you do when you're a work-from-home wife, an all around modern mama* and it's summertime and you have a teenage sister and a growing daughter to keep engaged?

That's the predicament I found myself in. 

(*Mama - double entendre; here meaning both savvy woman and proud stepmom)

Maybe that's an easy question to answer for some, but for me it was almost the blank stare equivalent my out-of-town friends give me when they ask where something is and I tell them, "I honestly don't know." (Yes, I've lived here in Atlanta for 5 years...and yes, I still don't know where everything (anything?) is.)

Don't get me wrong, I know the basics of entertaining my little family (the same way I know how to get home): Family time, arts and crafts, thoughtful conversations, grilling, picnics...

But how do I prove my level of "cool" to my teenage sister and show her around the city while simultaneously finding the best kid-friendly places for the littlest Findlay?

I made a plan (of course!): The week of July 4th, all four of us, (Danny, Azariah, Candace, and I) would make our way around the city of Atlanta and hit some of the major attractions.

Here's the thing about plans, they're often subject to monkey wrenches (un-calculated somethings with the tendency to disrupt plans).  

For example, I simply failed to take into consideration this thing called work that Danny has to go to sometimes. Even in the summer. Yikes! Also Azariah arrived only a few days before her dear "Great aunt Candy" had to leave.  

So my planned time of family bonding was foiled, at least to some degree. But in many ways it turned out to be just as great! 

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Usually you have to be a celebrity to get the key to a city. (For example, rapper, and Brooklyn native, Fabolous got a key to the city of Brooklyn). But here in Atlanta, you don't have to be a celebrity to get the keys to this city. You just have to know what they are!

Here are two major keys for making the most of exploring and entertaining in the city of Atlanta:

Key #1 - Start with the Convention and Visitors Bureau

Whether you are a resident like me, or you're just visiting, it's always a good idea to start with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to find suggestions. 

 Photo by: Cara Findlay, Findlay House

Photo by: Cara Findlay, Findlay House

I went to the website for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), and it was there that I discovered the Atlanta CityPass, literally the key to some of Atlanta's top attractions!

In addition to the CityPass offering, the ACVB website includes an events calendar, restaurant suggestions, ideas for fun things to do around the city, and more! And of course if you're planning something on a larger scale (think: conference or convention) they can help you with that as well.  You can always drop in to the office and pick up some of the latest publications about the city and state. 

Key #2 - Not just for tourists!

Atlanta is not just another big city name on the map that attracts tourists.

On occasion, I've had the joy of playing hostess to family members of all ages; I can truly say that Atlanta is a family-friendly city that is worth exploring. From the zoo and aquarium to the children's museum and local parks and festivals—there's plenty to do, especially in the summer! The city holds  an appeal for people of all ages: young children, teenagers, and adults alike! 

 Photo by: Daniel Findlay, Findlay House

Photo by: Daniel Findlay, Findlay House

The Atlanta CityPass is a great idea for Georgia residents planning a staycation in the city, and of course for visitors and tourists who will be in the area for some time and want to get into some of the city's major attractions. It's definitely the budget friendly option. 

 Photo by: Cara Findlay, Findlay House

Photo by: Cara Findlay, Findlay House

With the Atlanta CityPass you can save up to 40% of the admission cost to 5 major Atlanta attractions: Zoo Atlanta (or the Center for Civil + Human Rights), Fernbank Museum of Natural History (or College Football Hall of Fame), The Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, and the CNN Studio Tour. 

In our case, since Danny would have to work most of the time, and there were only a few days overlap with the girls, it made sense that I would be the one to use the CityPass so I could take the girls around individually. Danny would join in when he could.

Budget wise it made more sense to pay the difference in the admission cost for everyone else, since I would be the only one (of the four of us) going to all the attractions. 

 Got the keys to 5 Atlanta Attractions. Impressing my girls. Winning!

Got the keys to 5 Atlanta Attractions. Impressing my girls. Winning!

I wasn't the only one in my circle who decided an Atlanta CityPass was a good idea for Atlanta residents!

One of my good friends, Dafnie, had her teenage cousin come to town for a visit and Dafnie decided a CityPass was the best way to go. Dafnie is coming up on the one year anniversary of her move to Georgia so she's still new to the city. The CityPass was a great way for her to bond with her cousin and see more of Atlanta.

The Atlanta CityPass can be purchased online at the CityPass website and in-person at the ticketing counter of all participating attractions, for the same low price.  

If you're new to the city of Atlanta (visitor or resident), or a city veteran hosting out of town guests, or just in the mood to explore the sights and sounds of the city I recommend considering this affordable option, especially if you've never been to some of the attractions before.

And if you're ever out of ideas on what to do, or just want to be up on the city's latest goings-on be sure to use the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau as a resource.

Cheers to exploring!

- Cara

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Disclosure:  The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau sent me one (1) Atlanta CityPass in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way as per my guidelines for this blog.