Daytrips Around Home

Places we've travelled to on day-trips around Atlanta

Daytrips Around Home

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 4, 2008

I live near Atlanta, where there are tons of attractions to visit. The city is also only hours away from other cities like Chattanooga, Macon, Andersonville, Augusta and more. Day trips make up a lot of the "vacations" I take.${QuickSuggestions} Get a CityPass when in Atlanta. It'll get you into places like The Atlanta History Center, The New World of Coke, The High Museum, Zoo Atlanta, etc. for less money.${BestWay} Load up the car and take your friends. It'll help with gas expenses. If possible, take MARTA around the Atlanta area.

Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 5, 2008

We ate at Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro at Atlantic Station with a large group. From the outside the restaurant appears slightly casual, but once inside it's a bit more upscale.

Our group was seated at two separate tables, which we were told we could not scoot together, despite the fact that there was another group that had tabled moved together. We were never given a reason as to why we couldn't move our tables.

The menu is quite expansive, with something for everyone, from pizza and burgers to pasta and seafood. All the options on the menu were "specialized" with special sauces and other accents. And not all of these additions were noted on the menu, as some of our group learned when receiving their choices.

The prices are a little high, with burgers staring at $10 and being one of the cheapest items on the menu. It wouldn't be so bad, except for the portion sizes being somewhat small. I ordered the Chicken Parmesan ($14.50) and received three silver dollar sized pieces of chicken on a mound of cold pasta. No one in our group of eight people were pleased with our dinner vs. the price.

But, we were in a Cheesecake Bistro, so we held out hope. Our hopes weren't met. The cheesecake slices start around $6 and go up to around $10. You can choose from just about any topping you want, from chocolate to fruit and candy, but at $6+ I expected a larger portion. These were single size portions, so you couldn't even split the slice with someone. I also didn't like the fact that the cheesecake was made with a pecan crust and their didn't seem to be another option. Overall, the cheesecake was only so-so and I'd really expected more considering that "cheesecake" is in the restaurants name.

In the end, our group wasn't thrilled with the experience. Give me Olive Garden any day over Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro.
Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro
265 18th Street NW
Atlanta, 30363
(404) 815-8800

Ocmulgee National Monument

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 4, 2008

For history buffs, this is a can't miss attraction that gives an inside look into the lives of the first Georgians. The Monument is free and is open from 9am - 5pm daily.

The main attractions, of course, are the "Indian Mounds" Large mounds of dirt that were used as dwellings or burial mounds. The site features multiple mounds, one of which is accessible for entry, made up like a mini-museum with an audio guide inside. Other mounds are available for climbing and there are postings throughout the park to educate visitors.

The monument is quite expansive and could turn out to be a workout. Check the map before starting and decide which of the two parking lots you'd like to use - the first one at the begining for those in for a workout, or the one in the middle of the mounds for the less adventurous (you won't miss out on anything, you just won't have a far to walk to your car).

Tennessee Aquarium

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 4, 2008

The Tennessee Aquarium is located conveniently in downtown Chattanooga in it's tourist district, right on the river. There's parking right next to the aquarium that fills up fast, but there are other large parking desk located very close by.

The Aqurium itself is made up of four buildings: one for ticks and admissions, two for the aquarium, and one for the IMAX theatre. At $20, the aquarium is well worth the money, though you may or may not want to pay the extra $8 for the IMAX. The main (older) aquarium has two exhibits, the sea-horses on the "basement" floor and the rest of the aquarium that takes a straight path from the top floor back to the bottom. This is filled with all types of fish, turtles, and sharks. This building is getting a little old.

My favorite part of the aquarium is the second (new) building. On the top floor there's a petting area for stingrays and Bonnethead sharks, as well as a butterfly "rainforest" where, if you stand still, butterflies will land on you. There are also cool jellyfish and pengin exhibits to see.

I highly recommend this aquarium, which can be visited on a day trip from Atlanta or many other southern cities.
Tennessee Aquarium
One Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37401
(800) 262-0695

Georgia's Stone Mountain State Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 4, 2008

Stone Mountain Park is a great destination for families. Although it costs money to get into the park, it's paid per car, so pack up the van/station wagon and save money. Otherwise the attraction can get pricey, as well as the food.

Once inside, if you're planning on see the attractions, I'd recommend that you buy an attraction pass, which is $25 and includes: [[[Summit Skyride, Scenic Railroad, 4D Theater, The Great Barn, NEW Sky Hike, Paddlewheel Riverboat, Pedal Boats, Camp Highland Outpost, Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf, Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard, Discovering Stone Mountain Museum at Memorial Hall, Antique Car & Treasure Museum]]] Otherwise, each attraction costs $9 on avg so you'll save money if you do even three attractions.

Of the attractions, the Summit Skyride is a must. It's a skylift that takes you all the way to the top of the mountain, instead of having to walk the trail. There are great views for miles around, including Atlanta (as long as it's not too smoggy). Also, the Antebellum Plantation and Paddlewheel Riverboat are great attractions.

At the end of the day during the spring/summer/fall, you have to take in the evening laser show on the lawn, which is projected onto the mountain. Take a few blankets and relax for an hour.

Keeping an eye on the calendar of events is also a must, as the park often hosts festivals and events such as: The Highland Games, Yellow Daisy Festival, Indian Fest, etc.
Stone Mountain Park
Highway 78 E
Stone Mountain, Georgia, 30086
(770) 498-5690

Zoo Atlanta

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 5, 2008

Zoo Atlanta has historic roots in the city, having started as a traveling circus and settling in Grant Park, where it remains today. After loosing it's accreditation in the 1980s, the Zoo worked hard to change and fix it's exhibits into what is now a fun and educational place for families to visit.

The tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for kids, and $14 for students, military and seniors - which some consider to be a bit pricey. The zoo is open from 9:30-5:30, so go late in the day or you'll miss out. I'd also advise going about the middle of the morning during the summer, because when it gets hot the animals aren't as active. Cool days are the best days to go, and rainy ones are ok, although some animals hide during showers. There are two parking lots, one in Grant Park with requires you to walk though the park (about a half mile) to get to the zoo, and another right in front of the zoo.

The Zoo's main attractions are the Gorillas and the Pandas. The Gorilla exhibit is the largest, with a large number of apes and multiple viewing areas for guests. There is an inclosed viewing area for visitors that the gorillas seem to like to sit in front of. The pandas are in a smaller exhibit, which is good since there are few (only three) of them. The baby panda isn't as "baby" as she used to be, but she's still cute. Other exhibits include elephants, zebras, kangaroos, bird enclosure, petting zoo, a reptile house and more.

There are usually a lot of zoo employees around to talk about each animal. Near most exhibits are clocks that will mark lecture or feeding times. Time your visit around some of these and learn & see more.

The route through the zoo is somewhat fluid. Make sure that you are constantly reviewing the map you're given with your ticket or else you might get turned around and skip some exhibits.

Placed throughout the zoo are also souvenir shops, snack stands and "photo spots." The food and souvenirs can be pricey, so be prepared. But a bottle of water and a hotdog really hit the spot, or you can eat in the cafeteria.
Zoo Atlanta
800 Cherokee Ave SE
Atlanta, Georgia, 30315
(404) 624-5600

Oakland Cemetery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on March 20, 2008

Oakland Cemetery is Atlanta's celebrated historic cemetery. Founded in 1850, the cemetery traces the history of the city and is a great example of Atlanta's culture. The cemetery is a National Historic Site that is watched over by the Historic Oakland Foundation. A public cemetery, the graves are owned by family members and not cared for like in a perpetual care cemetery. Burial records were not even kept by the cemetery until a survey was done in the 1930s by Franklin Garrett. Because of this, the identities of those buried in the cemetery are often unknown, lost to the weathering, loss of, or damage to tomb stones.

The cemetery is located just off I-85 on Memorial Drive, near Zoo Atlanta and is considered a tourist and historical attraction. There are no parking-lots. Much like any other cemetery, visitors must simply pull off the road if possibly, trying to leave enough room for other cars to pass. This can be very difficult in some parts of the cemetery, where all graves are elevated and gutters line the road. I'd recommend parking by the visitor's center or farther back into the cemetery, when the roads widen. As you explore, watch your step. Over the last hundred and 60 years the cemetery has been shaped by nature, with tree roots pushing up cobblestones and causing tripping hazards.

Visitors should first go to the Visitors Center, which is ran by the Historic Oakland Foundation. Here visitors will find friendly volunteers who can provide all the information any visitor might need. Special offers provided by the Historic Oakland Foundation include guided tours in the spring, summer and fall ($10 or less) and lectures ($15), as well as special seasonal events.

Even without going to the visitors center, anyone can stroll the cemetery and see the sights. Many famous burials, such as Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell, are noted by directional signs. And it won't be hard for visitors to find the large monuments, such as the confederate memorials, as well as the large number of confederate burials. Family vaults and unique statues are scattered throughout the cemetery, especially near the front. There are two jewish sections, one old and one new, separated from each other as new land was purchased to extend the cemetery. Visitors will also notice that a large section of the cemetery seems to be an open field. This is potters field, where many poor white citizens and most black citizens were buried. In most cases, the identities of the individuals are lost forever.

If you like history, Oakland Cemetery is a great place to discover a part of Atlanta's history. Though many think of cemeteries as spooky or creepy, I find this cemetery to be (like many others) peaceful and educational. It's a can't miss.
Oakland Cemetery
248 Oakland Ave
Atlanta, Georgia, 30312
+1 404 688 2107

Laser Show at Stone Mountain

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Valerie_C on June 4, 2008

For the summer of 2008, Stone Mountain has updated their night time family favorite, the Laser Show. This 45 minute event starts at full dark and is appropriate for all ages. After paying the $8 per car gate fee, this event is free.

As always, the laser show is held on the lawn in front of the mountain, with a wonderful view of the confederate carving. Attendees are welcome to bring blankets, camp chairs and picnic dinners for a relaxing evening on the lawn. If you don't have blankets or chairs, there are a fair amount of large rocks that can be used for seating. Show up early - the lawn gets full and (though there are no bad "seats") you'll want to choose your own spot. Concessions and glow toys are also sold in the hour leading up to the laser show.

Though the show itself has been updated this year, it is much as many may remember if they've seen it before: lasers are projected onto the face of the mountain and, along with music, tell a story that celebrates Atlanta, the South and current pop culture. There is a fireworks finale as well. In an effort to keep the show from becoming stale, Stone Mountain as shortened some of it's long time pieces and added new ones. There are songs from Star Wars and High School Musical, as well as a new digital projector that displays actual images on the mountain. (Hint: if you hate country music, be prepared to hate the music)

Overall, for those who have seen the show before, Stone Mountain has mixed it up to make it new and fun again. For those who've never seen the Laser Show, it will be a new and fun family experience.
Stone Mountain Park
Highway 78 E
Stone Mountain, Georgia, 30086
(770) 498-5690

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