If you have a preschooler, you know he is a ball of energy and in constant need of something new and exciting to do. Living near Atlanta, Georgia allows you to take advantage of the museums, shopping and activities a large city has to offer. However, if you live in North Georgia, you might not want to venture to Atlanta just to keep your youngster occupied and you sane. There is no need to make the trek to “Hotlanta” because North Georgia offers you and your preschooler a variety of activities to keep even the most picky youngster excited and entertained.
Camp Creek Greenway Trail
Do you and your preschooler enjoy exploring the outdoors? Pack a bag and head to Camp Creek Greenway Trail (no website; 76 Main Street, Lilburn). With 13 acres to explore, the paved trails allow your youngster to start safely hiking at an early age. Bike the trail if you prefer, as your preschooler’s little legs may get tired during a hike. Because pets are allowed, it’s OK to bring Fido along on your expedition through the park. Take extra safety precautions when hiking with your preschooler and remind him that he needs to stay near you at all times during the hike. Pack an emergency kit in case of an unplanned boo-boo and bring along extra food and drinks so you can take your time, stop and enjoy the beautiful Georgia scenery along the way.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Is your little one obsessed with trains? If so, hitch a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway (northgeorgia.com/attractions/blue-ridge-scenic-railway) and travel along the Toccoa River. Let your preschooler experience riding a real train and then disembark at the towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee for some small-town shopping. During the winter months, the train transforms into the Santa Express and takes you and your preschooler on a holiday-themed ride through Georgia, complete with your favorite Christmas carols. Because the trip back home takes about an hour, bring a favorite toy in case your little one gets tired of looking out the window.
Swan Drive-In Theatre
Just because you have a preschooler, doesn’t mean you can’t give him a taste of what the “good old days” were like. Jump in your convertible, or car if you aren’t so lucky to own one, and drive to the Swan Drive-In in Blue Ridge (swan-drive-in.com). It offers plenty of G- and PG-rated movies that are appropriate for your youngster. You don’t need to worry about your little one being exposed to the teenagers making out in the car next to yours because this family-friendly establishment has a zero-tolerance policy for any inappropriate behavior. To satisfy your child’s constant hunger, grab him a hot dog, popcorn or pop to replicate the same experience his grandparents had years ago.
Located near Hillcrest, Georgia, Hillcrest Orchards (hillcrestorchards.net) provides the perfect setting for a variety of preschool-friendly activities in September through October. Let your youngster pick her own apples and then head home to make some of your family’s famous apple pie. The orchard offers a petting zoo, which is a perfect way to give your little one a chance to touch goats and pigs up close. Don’t forget your camera since this fall-only activity is an event you want to document for years to come. You might even nab that perfect photo for your fall Thanksgiving card while also giving your child an opportunity to learn, and release some energy on the acres of farmland.