Atlanta – Zoo & Fernbank Reviews

[7 Sep 2008 | By | 5 Comment(s) | 2,801 views ]

Zoo Atlanta - D & Q
Weekend update and Atlanta Reviews:
Every so often I like to post reviews of things to do and places to go/eat. Particularly kid-friendly stuff, since we have the 3 yr old in tow most of the time. This weekend has provided a perfect opportunity since we seemed to play tourist in our own city for a change.


A Trip to the Zoo!

Yesterday found us at Zoo Atlanta, which is a very nice Zoo in Grant Park.
We had friends and 2 three-year-olds with us, so we really only made it halfway through. [We’ve been buying memberships lately, instead of just day passes to places we visit–which i really recommend. They are tax deductible and a pretty good bargain. Since we were already members at Fernbank, they offered $10 off a Zoo Membership. There are also reciprocal programs so if we visit any number of zoos in other cities, we get a 50% discount. It also helps a lot, when visiting with small children, that we didn’t mind that we only made it half way through the Zoo. We’ll just come back another day when they aren’t cranky.]
Zoo Atlanta - Lion CubsZoo Atlanta - Giraffe Love!Pros: Nice atmosphere, the animals look like they live in good environments. And you actually could see them pretty well. For kids (but small additional cost) a carousel, train, and a rock wall. Also looked like a very nice free playground. We saw several Zoo employees walking around with animals so we could get a closer look – the boys loved petting a gecko. Cons: Petting Zoo was not that impressive–Lots of goats, a few sheep, and a few pigs. Parking lot is tiny–So had to park on the street by the park. And as is common in Atlanta, there’s no really close train stops near Grant Park/Zoo. If you don’t have a car, there is a bus option which you can check out on the zoo website.
Lunch:
Grant Park is a really pretty park, and a good option–had we planned ahead–would have been a picnic in the park. But we weren’t that proactive. There are several good restaurants in the area, though. After considering Grant Central Pizza and Six Feet Under, both of which are good, we ended up atDakota Blue for lunch for the first time. Very good and very kid friendly (they have toys you can borrow and take back to the table). Not crowded, and were still serving brunch, with some regular lunch items as well. According to our friends, brunch is really good there, but we were more in a lunch mood so we ended up with quite tasty burgers & tots.

Dinosaurs!

This morning we walked over to Fernbank Museum of Natural History (at The Boy’s request to see dinosaurs, and my request to actually get some exercise) and just made it home by 3:00 after a yummylunch and ice-cream.
Fernbank is another place we have a membership, because it’s close by–and without the membership we probably wouldn’t visit it that much, because there is just not enough stuff to amuse a 3 year old there. But with a membership I don’t feel bad about just going over there for an hour on a rainy afternoon and letting him ogle the dinos or wander around the exhibits. For adults, they also have “Martinis and IMAX” in the evenings some nights, which is fun.
Pros: The dinosaurs and pterosaurs in the atrium. The Sensory area with lots of hands on stuff on the third floor. The rotating exhibit has really varied – we loved the first one after we joined, live frogs from around the world. The last couple have not been as interesting to me. The building is gorgeous.
Cons: The Hours! It closes at 5:00 which makes it not very good for taking the Boy except on the weekends. The ‘kids rooms’ (where kids can just run around and play hands on) don’t really impress me. It also doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of ‘content’ (particularly for kids) as say the Aquarium or the Zoo. And honestly seeing live stuff is more interesting than seeing non-live stuff.
Lunch:
Nothing is super close to the Museum, but slightly less than a mile south on Clifton you’ll find the Candler Park Shops/restaurants. Options there include:
-the Deli at the back of the Candler Park Supermarket – huge yummy hot or cold sandwiches – and a fabulous wine selection in the supermarket.
-The Flying Biscuit cafe – famous cafe with lines a mile long for brunch. Yummy modern southern-ish food – very vegetarian friendly – breakfast all day.
-Fellini’s Pizza – good pizza, by the slice or by the pie. Love their salads. If you have a young one, ask for it ‘kid cut’ to get their slice precut.
-La Fonda Latina – where we ended up today. Cuban/mexican food. I like the fish tacos, or the huge quesadillas, or the cuban sandwich. Good simple kid menu.
..Other slightly further food, but within a few miles: near Emory University (1.5 mi north), Little 5 Points (2 mi southwest), or Highland Ave (1.5 miles west).

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5 Comment(s) »

  • Sara [] :

    I liked the post. I go to a lot of different zoos, it is so much better to go with a child though. My son being 15 now, he is less interested when I blackmail him to go the zoo with me. Zoos should have a rent a child program. lol

    The same cons you listed for the petting zoo tends to be the same for many petting zoos. It is often full of goats. Goats tend to tolerate kids well, but I would like to pet more then goats. The lack of animals to pet in the children’s petting area is actually due to visitor safety and lawsuits. Americans are so lawsuit happy, zoos can’t risk a visitor getting hurt. Hopefully we will see more variety in petting zoos in the future.
    – Sara, World Zoo Today
    http://www.worldzootoday.com

  • Dot [] :

    thanks, Sara!
    Interesting to know about the petting zoos. Such a litigious society we have..

  • tallulah [] :

    I’ve been reading you for a while, but I don’t think it sank in that you’re in the Atlanta area. I grew up a bit north of there and remember the zoo as being so big as a kid. (and the Cyclorama! Which was always the OTHER part of the big field trip to the zoo.) I moved to Raleigh about ten years ago. The zoo here (well, hour away) is split up perfectly to take advantage of a yearly membership. There’s the Africa part, and North America. Trams run in between, but each side is a good afternoon sized chunk.

  • Good N Crazy [] :

    Okay, this makes me sad that we moved to a small town. No zoo, weird museums…but oh well. There IS a great library, a very nice community park, and TONS of outdoor stuff to do, hiking, biking, fishing…now if we just knew how to fish?

  • https://twitter.com/hostgator_1cent [] :

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