Spring Break Travel Guide: So Much to Do, So Close to Home

What are you doing for Spring Break? We’ve got a few ideas for you that require minimal packing and not a lot of planning, so load em’ up! The ideas we have put together are places that are close to Birmingham, so if you can’t get away for the entire week you can take a quick day trip to the A-T-L or an overnight up to Chatty and still feel like you got a vacation…

First up Chattanooga, TN… Do you have any idea how kid friendly this city is?

The centerpiece to downtown Chattanooga is the Tennessee Aquarium. You can’t take a trip to Chattanooga with kids and not make this stop. One of the original big aquariums in the south, they feature both salt and fresh water exhibits, and if you like penguins (how could you not) they have Macaroni and Gentoo Penguins in the Penguins’ Rock exhibit in Ocean Journey.

Want to find Nemo? Clownfish are among the Tennessee Aquarium’s most loved animals thanks to Disney / Pixar’s hit animated film, Finding Nemo.

The Aquarium also offers Animal Encounters. Thousands of species delight Aquarium visitors. Now meet more of the world’s coolest critters up close. Special Animal Encounter programs are offered every hour of every day.

Also near the City Center downtown and only steps away from the Aquarium is the Creative Discovery Museum. It is recognized as one of the premier hands-on children’s museums in the region. If you’re headed to Chattanooga, gather the young and young-at-heart and make plans to visit this Museum. Whether it’s for a couple of hours or a whole day, time spent at the Museum is sure to be worthwhile learning for the whole family.

See Rock City with it’s hiking path along the “Enchanted Flagstone Trail” you take a winding trek through scenic grottos and glens. Or visit Ruby Falls, a thundering 145-foot underground waterfall, a natural wonder located on the scenic Lookout Mountain.

Also worth mentioning and seeing is the Walnut Street Bridge. A pedestrian bridge more than 100 years old. Walk the bridge, rest on the benches, see the sites and play on the playground that is on the other side. Great photo ops with the city as your backdrop, so don’t forget your camera!

Next up, Atlanta, GA. So much to do, so little time. If you only have time for a day trip or just an over-nighter, you will have trouble narrowing down what you want to fit in, in your limited time.

Embark on a refreshing journey with a trip through The World of Coca Cola the only place where you can experience the fascinating story of the world’s best-known beverage brand in a dynamic, multimedia attraction. Get a behind the scenes look at the bottling process, meet and have your picture made with the Coca Cola Polar Bear, check out the secret formula 4-D theater and take your taste buds on a trip around the world with a sampling of more than 60 beverages.

After a morning at the World of Coca Cola, you can head directly over to the Pemberton Cafe which is adjacent to the World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. Have a quick lunch and spend the remainder of your day checking out the sharks and fishes in the aquarium.

The Luckie Marietta District, the newest place to be in Atlanta. The district, which stretches from the Georgia Aquarium to the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, is a collection of hotels, attractions and restaurants. Walkable, safe, accessible and full of fun, it is bounded by Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Baker, Luckie, Marietta and Latimer streets. When you visit the Georgia Aquarium, explore the Luckie Marietta District for notable entertainment, meeting facilities, sports venues and dining options, all within easy walking distance

If the weather is nice and you are looking to be outdoors, you must visit Stone Mountain Park. Just 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta and home to the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, this natural wonderland offers 3,200 acres of excitement for every member of the family.

Enjoy a Sky Hike, a Summit Skyride or climb aboard the Scenic Railroad, a full size locomotive with open air cars that will take you on a 5 mile excursion around the mountain

You will also find full service dining and quick service concessions and shopping inside the park.

Other notable kid spots are the Center of Puppetry Arts, Zoo Atlanta (50% off if you’re a Birmingham Zoo member) Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Free admission with McWane membership) Spring training is going on so if you’re a baseball fan, check the Braves Schedule, you might be able to catch a game at Turner Field.

Now we’re going to head south to Mobile AL, about 4 1/2 hours from the Ham’

A must see for the family is the Gulf Coast Exploreum. A Science Center dedicated to increasing the quality of life for the people of the Gulf Coast.  Providing educational opportunities in a fun learning environment is what the Exploreum is all about. You can see more than 150 hands-on science adventures in four permanent galleries: Minds On Hall, Hands On Hall, the Wharf of Wonder and the all-new My BodyWorks, the most advanced health exhibit in the nation. Also on exhibit right now GIANT INSECTS!!! Best of all, McWane Members receive free admission.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a great interactive type of aquarium. You get great information about the sea life in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Mobile Bay as well. Kids will see live creatures swimming in their habitats. After seeing all the fish, shark and squirmy sea creatures, kids can take a walk out on the boardwalk and see local wildlife up close.

For the outdoor lovers, you can visit Bellingrath Gardens. Throughout the year, this 65 acre Garden Estate is in full bloom with camellias in the winter, azaleas in the spring, roses in the summer, and chrysanthemums in autumn. Kids will love the Oriental Garden where they can walk over a Koi pond on stepping stones to visit the Japanese arbor. There’s also a Butterfly Garden, a Fountain Garden and one of the largest Rose Gardens in the Southeast. After perusing the gardens take a cruise with your family up and down the Fowl River. You and your kids will be served a 3 course dinner and enjoy the beautiful wildlife that lives along the waterway.

So there you have it! Some Spring Break Travel picks that are sure to be a hit with your whole family, whether it’s for a day or a couple of nights.

Check back tomorrow for 2 very special giveaways we have to 2 of the places listed above! A great chance to get your Spring Break off on the right foot!

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