Take an Experiential Tour of the Atlanta Metro Area
From farm to fizz to a flying museum, make memories in the Atlanta Metro area with these hands-on experiences
Touch, taste and create your ways to memories in the ATL with these hands-on experiences.
Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum
Henry County’s Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum (506 Speedway Blvd., Hampton, 30228) lets guests step into the pilot’s seat of the iconic Vietnam-era Huey helicopter. Take the free tour with a former military helicopter pilot and learn about the aircraft and how they were used in warfare. You don’t have to just look. Climb into a Huey or test out the gunner seat on a Cobra, or both! For a truly hair raising experience, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation also offers a ride program in both the Huey and Cobra. 770-897-0444; Armyav.org
Arts Clayton Gallery Studio STEAM
Explore your inner artiste at the Arts Clayton Gallery Studio in Clayton County (136 South Main Street, Jonesboro, 30236) with a STEAM class, which offers family workshops that complement art on exhibit in the Arts Clayton Gallery. Each session embodies a unique theme while engaging kids in activities that promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Get creative and make an art project to take home. 770-473-5430; www.ArtsClayton.org
Atlanta History Center
Share your own stories of Atlanta in two recording booths located within the Atlanta History Center’s (130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, 30305) “Gatheround: Stories of Atlanta” exhibition, which marries two concepts: “Everyone has a story to tell” and “History belongs to everyone.” Make a three-minute recording and share photographs—some recording sessions may find their way onto exhibit in “Gatheround,” which opened in July 2016 and remains on permanent view. Meet the Past museum theatre performers bring characters from the pages of Atlanta history to life. Audience members pull up chairs at different spaces in the gallery to witness monologues lasting less than 15 minutes, such as Georgia Governor John M. Slaton (1911-12 and 1913-15) discussing his decision to commute the death sentence of Leo Frank to life in prison. Afterwards, the informed performers answer guests’ questions. The History Center is also home to the ongoing Veterans History Project, which has recorded 650 oral histories from soldiers of many American conflicts. Partner institution, StoryCorps Atlanta, which gives people of all backgrounds, typically two at a time, the opportunity to record meaningful conversations and archives the recordings at the Library of Congress, makes its home on the History Center’s 33-acre campus. While there, explore the Smith Family Farm at Atlanta History Center where guests of all ages have the opportunity to interact with barnyard animals of the sort that the Smith Family did starting in the 1840s on their Atlanta farmstead, here with interpretation by Manager of Animal Collections Brett Bannor. 404-814-4000; AtlantaHistoryCenter.com
Forget the pre-packaged shredded stuff and find out where cheese really comes from at CalyRoad Creamery (225 Hilderbrand Dr, Sandy Springs, 30328) in Sandy Springs, where you can take a hands-on cheese making class, designed for both kids and adults. The classes include a discussion of the history of cheese, a quick tour of the micro-creamery and, of course, cheese making. Cost is $50 per person for a two-hour class. Bonus: Your fresh cheese comes home with you. Now that’s a souvenir! 678-773-0843; www.CalyRoadCreamery.com
Dixie Wing WWII Aircraft Museum
Peachtree City is home to one of the only remaining museums in the country where visitors can touch, feel and fly in a WWII aircraft at Dixie Wing WWII Aircraft Museum (1200 Echo Court, Peachtree City, 30269). YES…FLY! For a fee, retired veterans will take you up in the air for a short flight in one of the planes. If you’re not ready to leave the ground, you can still sit in one of the planes, listen to stories of war from the volunteer veterans and squeeze into one of the actual turrets used in the 1940’s. 678-364-1110; www.DixieWing.org
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
At Fernbank Museum of Natural History, (767 Clifton Road NE. Atlanta, 30307) the museum’s award-winning, experiential learning exhibit, Fernbank NatureQuest, is an immersive experience that turns kids into explorers, scientists and adventurers as they discover the many wonders of the natural world by shimmying up the insides of a mighty red oak tree, walking through a virtual waterfall, investigating rock work, the live animals behind it and more. 404-929-6300; http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/
Georgia Aquarium (225 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, 30313) offers the Journey with Gentle Giants program, the only opportunity in the world where you are guaranteed to swim or dive with whale sharks, manta rays and more. Suit up and SCUBA dive or snorkel in Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit, the largest aquatic habitat in the world, with thousands of amazing animals. For more information, visit: https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/explore/programs-activities/animal-interactions/journey-with-gentle-giants
Up-close animal encounters with Dolphins, Penguins or Sea Otters are thrilling multi-sensory opportunities for guests to experience the awe of ocean-dwelling creatures first hand. Georgia Aquarium offers several exciting experiences that educate, engage and create memorable connections between people and animals. For more information, visit: https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/explore/programs-activities/animal-encounters
Aquanaut Adventure is a unique experience that allows parents and children to learn about aquatic life during their expedition through a variety of immersive environments. The gallery offers seven different routes each with seven different adventures, providing multiple opportunities for guests to come back and complete all of the challenges. For more information, visit: http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/explore/galleries/aquanaut-adventure; 404-581-4000; www.GeorgiaAquarium.org
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Wander through the past at Historic Oakland Cemetery (248 Oakland Avenue SE, Atlanta, 30312), where history comes alive with the stories of the dead. Discover Atlanta’s past with a guided tour, relax in the sunny historic gardens or strike a pose with the cemetery’s Victorian markers and architecture.
The “Sights, Symbols and Stories of Oakland” guided walking tour is offered every weekend. Led by a knowledgeable docent, this 90-minute tour takes visitors through several unique character areas of Historic Oakland Cemetery, including the African American Grounds, Jewish burial sections and Original Six Acres. Discover the history, period gardens, and beautiful funerary art that makes Oakland unique.
Mark your calendars for “Love Stories of Oakland,” a program that celebrates life and love at the cemetery, on February 17-18. Meet a few of Oakland Cemetery’s lovers who obviously expected their love to last beyond their time here on earth. This tour explores some of the frequent cemetery symbols of love and devotion and reveals poignant epitaphs that speak to enduring love. Tickets go on sale January 20 and can be purchased at www.OaklandCemetery.com. For more information: 404-688-2107
Take-a-Peek Tuesdays and Sunday Socials at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve
During Johns Creek’s Autrey Mill Nature Preserve (9770 Autrey Mill Road Johns Creek, 30022) Take-a-Peek Tuesdays and Sunday Socials, which are held on most Tuesday afternoons, visitors are invited to take a peek back in time and experience the tastes, tasks and lives of early Georgia Settlers. Hear about preservation and research efforts while on tour with Heritage Staff and Docents. 678-366-3511; www.AutreyMill.org
World of Coca-Cola
Find refreshing entertainment at the World of Coca-Cola (121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, 30313). In the Pop Culture gallery, express your fascination with the sweet beverage of the South through an interactive experience called “My Coke Art.” My Coke Art features three touch screen kiosks which include a set of graphic elements that may be combined and altered in a variety of ways allowing you to design your own artwork based on the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. The finished artwork can then be shared via email, and is displayed on large monitors in the Gallery for others to enjoy. In the Taste It! beverage lounge, treat taste buds to a trip around the world! Taste more than 100 international and domestic beverages made by The Coca‑Cola Company. 1-800-676-COKE (2653); www.WorldofCoca-Cola.com
Choose your own adventure with any of these hands-on, Atlanta Metro experiences, and embark on moments that engage the senses while sparking memories.