Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Million and One Reasons Why I Love Target

It's no secret that I love Target. In fact, since I had children, I shop there pretty much to the exclusion of everywhere else except the grocery store. It is one of the great sorrows of my life that my Target is not a SuperTarget. But hey - it recently got a Starbucks, so I'm not complaining.

Today I found another reason to love Target. They were the presenting sponsor of Woodruff Art's Center's Free Family Day. We decided to brave the crowds and drag the kiddies to this event in Midtown after church today. What a fun time! Plus bonus points for scoring a free parking spot right in front of the High Museum!

My oldest son's favorite activity was the instrument petting zoo, where he got to check out wind, brass, and string instruments. He was mildly disappointed that percussion instruments were noticeably absent, but that was remedied with a quick trip to the African drumming room.

There were tons of crafts - kids were able to make swords and scabbards, their own mini-museums, instruments, hand puppets, and bucket hats (my son went back three times to keep adding to his before the masterpiece was finally deemed "finished"). There were sidewalk murals and chalk drawings in front of the High. There were performers galore, courtesy of Young Audiences. Admission to the High Museum was free, although the only thing my kids were interested in there was running up and down the spiral ramps, which pleased the staff of the High to no end, as you can imagine. There was an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performance (which we missed because my kids were hyped up by then and we figured we should spare the ASO the pleasure of their company in the audience). And a ton of other stuff that we never even got to. We were there for three and a half hours and we probably did a third of the available activities.

We finally left only because my middle son was literally falling asleep on one of the Target bullseye doormats in the common area. I think it was a bit much for the poor little guy. But all in all, a beautiful way to spend the day and we hope they do it again next year!

PS - Did the Target free day at the Children's Museum as well earlier this summer - not as many "extra" activities but a great way to see the museum for free - just be sure to get there early or expect a line.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Parks Galore

Fall in Atlanta is my absolute favorite time of year. Maybe it's because I grew up in Houston, which has exactly one season - summer - but there's nothing I love more than to be outdoors in the crisp air with the changing leaves.

Even though it's still a little early and warm for fall, Atlanta's optimal playground season has already started. With the stifling summer heat behind us, our family is enjoying a triumphant return to our favorite area playgrounds!

We always like to learn about new ones, so I've posted some of our favorites in the hopes that you'll share some of yours.

  • Piedmont Park - The new Mayor's Park playground is awesome! With lots of fun equipment and soft rubber (read: no wood chips) surfacing, it's worth hours of entertainment. Plus, ride your bike or push the stroller around the park when you're done. Bonus: the newly re-designed playground now has a conveniently located and clean restroom right next to it - yay!
  • Centennial Olympic Park - read my post on this from a few weeks ago. So much fun that we actually went several times even in the summer heat because you can cool off in the fountains afterwards.
  • Brook Run Park in Dunwoody -multiple playgrounds for big and little kids and lots of space for dogs (or little boys, in our case) to run. Also features a Children's Adventure Garden.
  • East Cobb Park - multiple age-appropriate play structures, bike/walk trail around the park, clean restrooms, a babbling stream for wading, plus plenty of open space for picnicking and kicking a ball - what more could you ask for?
  • Chastain Park - play on the equipment or walk the trail around the park. If the ball fields nearby are empty, your little ones can poke around there and kick/throw a ball around.
We've also got our favorites here in Smyrna, where we live, but we like to take advantage of the weekends to explore new parks in other parts of town. Share your favorites that are drive-worthy!