Enjoy Atlanta attractions with the kids or with a cocktail

dminty@ledger-enquirer.comJune 26, 2013 

Parents often head to zoos, aquariums and museums for summer getaways that will entertain their kids while keeping their young minds sharp.

Thinking of those family-friendly destinations as fun places for date nights or to have a "ladies night out" might not immediately come to mind but some Atlanta attractions are attempting to get on the radar of the 21-and-older set.

Here are four Atlanta destinations that offer special evenings of entertainment, cocktails and fun for the grownups.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

This urban oasis is in the heart of the Midtown area of Atlanta, near Piedmont Park. The Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, a children's garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a Canopy Walk, and the Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen. A special kid-friendly exhibit "Imaginary Worlds" will be on display through October. It features 19 monumental living sculptures. They range up to 25-feet tall and 20-feet wide and include a gazing unicorn, a friendly ogre, a pair of gigantic cobras, a group of enchanting rabbits and a couple of flighty butterflies.

Cost is $18.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for kids younger than 3. Parking fees for the nearby parking garage are $2 for 31 to 60 minutes and $1 for each additional 30 minutes with a maximum daily rate of $15. The Gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday. Hours vary but most extend into the evening. Visit atlantabotanicalgarden.org for details.

Grown-up fun: Cocktails in the Garden is held every Thursday through September from 6-10 p.m. DJs, chef demonstrations and cultural performances are included in the event. Cost is $18.95 for adults. One free cocktail is included with the admission cost.

The Georgia Aquarium

Families can learn about sea life Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. through Aug. 17. On Sundays hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Exceptions are July 16 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Aug. 3 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) Aug. 6 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and Aug.14 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.).

Ticket prices may vary depending on the date but in general the cost is $34.95 for adults; $28.95 for children, ages 3-12; and $30.95 for seniors, ages 65 and older.

Get more information at georgiaaquarium.org.

Grown-up fun: Red, White and Brew is Thursday, July 4 from 6-10:30 p.m. Sample an unlimited amount of beer and enjoy classic 4th of July fare at the coolest location in the city to view the Centennial Olympic Park firework show. Live music, a photo booth and other fun surprises. Tickets cost $55 until July 2nd. This event is for ages 21 and up only. No refunds as this is a rain or shine event.

Zoo Atlanta

Elephants, lions, tigers, kangaroos, giant pandas, giraffes, gorillas and many more animals call Zoo Atlanta home. This summer you might be able to catch a glimpse of one of the zoo's newest dwellers, infant orangutan Pongo playing with his mother Blaze.

The zoo is open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, with ticket booths closing at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., ticket booths close at 5:30 p.m. Admission rates are $21.99 for adults; $16.99 for children, ages 3-11; free for children 2 and younger; $17.99 for military, seniors and college students. Parking is free.

Learn more at zooatlanta.org.

Adult fun: Wild on the Rocks starts at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of each month. Expect a special evening exhibit viewing, live music, themed keeper presentations and cocktails. Future dates are July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12. Cost is $20. Fashionable flats are recommended for footwear. There's walking involved.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

A family of giant bronze dinosaurs greets guests to the museum where prehistoric Patagonia is explored. Argentinosaurus, the largest known dinosaur to ever walk the Earth, along with the 47-foot long, 8-ton Giganotosaurus are highlights. A giant sloth, a cave, the sights and sounds of the Okefenokee Swamp, cultural jewelry and accessories, Georgia coastal shells and gardens are part of the museum's permanent exhibitions. An IMAX theater shows nature and history films daily.

The Museum and IMAX Theatre are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students and seniors (62+) with ID, $15.50 for children 3-12 and free kids younger than 2. For museum admission pluse one IMAX film, adults pay $23, students and seniors are $21 and children ages 3-12 are $19.

Discover more at www.fernbankmuseum.org

Adult fun: Martinis & IMAX is every Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Expect dancing to music from a DJ or band and a full bar featuring signature cocktails and a viewing of an IMAX movie. Purchase tickets online or by calling 404-929-6400. Some shows do sell out. Cost is $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Without a film ticket, the cost is $7 cover charge.

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