Atlanta with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

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Atlanta with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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On your next family visit to Atlanta with tweens, why not go off the beaten path a bit with an agenda that mixes classic attractions with lesser-known ones -- plus a variety of eating options from organic vegetarian to chicken and waffles -- all sure to leave the tweens excited about their adventure in the city.


Morning


Any active family with tweens knows how important it is to start your day with a nutritious, delicious breakfast. While there are many fine restaurants to choose from, the one most highly recommended due to its historic value and unbelievably memorable breakfast is the Highland Bakery (655 Highland Avenue #10, Atlanta GA 30312; 404-586-0772) in Old Fourth Ward. Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, the place is always packed, but it's definitely worth the wait.

Now that the family has eaten, it's time to hit the Georgia Aquarium (225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313; 404-581-4000). The Aquarium is popular with residents and travelers alike, so it is best to go there first thing in the morning when everyone is fresh and the crowd is less. If possible, visit Monday through Wednesday when the aquarium tends to be less crowded and you can buy tickets online. There are a number of different ticket plans, with a general admission starting at $26 for adults and $19.50 for children 3-12. Plan to head first to the Cold Water Quest and visit the beluga whales, as they are a crowd favorite and often the busiest exhibit.

From the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, it's an easy walk to the CNN Center, Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome, all of which have ongoing tours. Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome both host concerts and sporting events that are perfect, alternative activities for the day in Atlanta with tweens.

Afternoon


If everyone is hungry, it is time for lunch at the R. Thomas Deluxe Grill (1812 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30309; 404-881-0246). Your tweens may be a little curious, walking up to the building with plants, chimes and dream catchers blowing in the breeze -- not to mention the live exotic birds chirping from the mounds of potted tropical trees and flowers cared for by Mr. Thomas himself. The dining room is a funky, covered porch equipped with heaters and fans (depending on the season). With a 100-percent organic menu, they have an array of choices that includes vegetarian and gluten-free food. Oh, and they validate parking, so don't forget to ask for your certificate on the way out.

Now, it's time to head to a place that will remind you of the wide-eyed wonderment that is childhood: the Center for Puppetry Arts (1404 Spring Street NW, Atlanta GA 30309; 404-873-3089). There, you can buy tickets ($16/person) to any of their shows or tour the exhibits in the museum ($8/person). There is also a museum store that features "everything puppet you can imagine." If you're there during the holidays, you can catch the real-life version of Jon Ludwig's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," but whichever performance or tour you choose, you and your tweens will experience a tradition that is sure to leave an impression and a new appreciation for the art.

Evening


If you're nearing the end of your day and are ready to enjoy a nice dinner, try some Southern comfort food. Gladys Knight and Ron Winan's Chicken & Waffles (529 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta GA 30308; 404-874-9393) is a family affair that everyone can appreciate. The Midnight Train main dish - an homage to Gladys Knight's famous tune and a nod to the restaurant's late closing hours (4 a.m. on the weekend!) - serves up four jumbo-fried chicken wings with a house original waffle, while southern fixtures like catfish, grits, fried green tomatoes and barbecue create a complete Georgia experience -- and a perfect way to end your perfect day in Atlanta with tweens.

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