Centennial Olympic Park
Downtown Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park is a great place to take kids in the summer and winter seasons. The park is beautifully landscaped and offers a great respite from the urban vibe of the city core.
Before the 1996 Olympic Games, the area that would be the park was a run-down area of town. With Atlanta and Georgia’s incredible focus, along with the donations of hundreds of thousands of bricks, the park took shape for the 1996 games. Now, the park serves as a hub for the downtown area and a fantastic location to spend a day in the winter and summer seasons.
Summertime in Atlanta can get hot. Grab the kid’s swimsuits and towels and head to Centennial Olympic Park to beat the heat in the Fountain of Rings, shaped like the iconic Olympic rings we’ve all come to recognize. The fountain shoots up water at various programmed intervals and the flat surface makes it the perfect cool-down splash zone.
Every day of the year at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 9 p.m., the fountain transforms from simple play zone to a programmed show. The Fountain of Rings show varies daily, so you are certain to get a new version each time you visit. In general, the show consists of 4-5 songs, from instrumental classics like the William Tell Overture, to Under the Sea or Fly Me to the Moon. The music and fountains blend seamlessly to create a visually stimulating (and cooling) fountain spectacular. In case your little ones are curious, the Fountain is controlled by 251 computerized water jets (125 stream and 126 aeration), 410 fog jets, 1004 lights bulbs and miles of underground water pipe.
In addition to offering a spectacular fountain and show, the park boasts numerous events including “4th Saturday Family Fun Days,” which offer a varying theme of family fun with free workshops, live shows, street performers, crafts, life-size chess games, contests, prizes and more! Check the website for details. A free relaxing concert series runs Wednesdays in the summer, and Tuesday and Thursdays at noon, you can also soak in some live music with the “Music @ Noon” series.
As the temperatures cool off this winter, Centennial Park is still a great go-to destination. The main attraction is also based on water: the frozen variety. Atlanta’s only outdoor ice skating arena, open mid-November through the end of January, makes its home inside the beautiful park. The skating rink charges a nominal fee and is open daily during the season.
The park is a magical place to visit for the holidays as beautiful light displays, live Christmas music, and holiday interactions take place.