Thrill to the Holiday Train Show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of the garden
Thrill to the Holiday Train Show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of the garden

Fun Things to Do Over the Holiday Break in Atlanta with Kids

For most eager children in Atlanta, holiday vacation began at the close of the school day on December 20. This year the calendar gives Atlanta students a full two weeks to celebrate the holiday season.

If that sounds daunting, no need to worry. We here at Mommy Poppins Atlanta have the skinny on all that’s going on with kids in the city over Christmas break. So whether your child fancies skating, theater, technology, adventure, or more we’ve got you covered.

Read on for our picks for the best things to do with kids in Atlanta during holiday week.  And be sure to check our events calendar for other local things to do as they develop.

Check out our roundup of must-do seasonal events for added inspiration. And don't forget our lineup of the best holiday lights in the Atlanta area. Lastly, don't miss out: Sign up for our FREE newsletter and stay up to date on the best things to do in the Atlanta area with kids.

Don’t miss the illuminations at the Atlanta Chinese Lantern Festival. 

Best Places for One Last Look at Holiday Lights in Atlanta

Few places light up the season like Atlanta. If you haven’t seen it yet, Garden Nights, Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is not to be missed. Visitors can explore 30 acres of illuminated gardens in one of the largest synchronized light and sound shows in the country. The show continues through January 11, but does sell out. See its website for availability. The Atlanta Chinese Lantern Festival, part of the International Winter Wonderland, includes cultural lights as well as dancers, theater performers, acrobats, and more. Families will also enjoy Lights of LIFE at Life University Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens, and Celebrations in Lights at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.

RELATED: Best Places to View Holiday Lights in the Atlanta Area 

Lace up your skates and take a spin on the ice at Skate the Station. 

Best Places for Ice Skating in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

Dedicated skaters or even novices will want to hit the ice during vacation week. Skate the Station in Atlantic Station is the Southeast’s largest outdoor rink and is open Christmas and New Year’s Day. Skate rental is available beginning with toddler size 8. Season passes that pay for themselves with four visits are available. See the website for holiday weekend public session schedules. The Roof at Ponce City Market offers a Skate the Sky event through January 5. Skate rental is available, but the rink is restricted to adults only on Fridays and Saturdays after 5pm. Check the website for promotions and session schedules. The Rink at Sugar Hill in Snellville, also outdoors, is open through February with skate rentals, skate aids, and helmets available.

Best Places for Adventure-Seeking Kids in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

If you’re looking for something exciting on the first days of school break, head over to SunTrust Park for Visa Big Air, a winter sports competition featuring some of the nation’s finest extreme athletes. Zoo Atlanta is sponsoring a vacation-week Safari Camp, where kids 5 to 11 are introduced to wildlife, conservation, and more. The per-day cost is $70 with extended care available for an additional fee. Toys R Us Adventure offers kids a chance to meet traditional characters, enjoy a toy-filled playland, and more.

RELATED: The Best Christmas and Holiday Events in the Atlanta Area 

Snowman building is only the start of the fun at Stone Mountain’s Snow Christmas. 

Best Winter Festivals in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

Seasonal celebrations continue in Atlanta through the end of school break. Centennial Olympic Park’s International Winter Wonderland continues through January 5, featuring live entertainment, cultural food, interactive activities, and, of course, the Atlanta Chinese Lantern Festival. Stone Mountain’s Snow Christmas continues through January 5 and includes music, lights, live performances, and visits from familiar holiday friends. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Winter Wonderland extends to January 12 and showcases Christmas traditions from around the world, Hanukkah celebrations, origami and indigenous art. Santa’s Fantastical at the former Babies R Us on Mount Vernon Highway combines live performances, costumed characters, games, and animation in a celebration of seasonal nostalgia.

RELATED: Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Silly Holiday Fun

The classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer comes alive at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

Best Places for Theater and STEM with Kids in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

If your child is into dramatic arts, why not check out the Center for Puppetry Arts, where the holiday classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is being performed through Dec. 29. Thrill-seekers will delight to Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA, being performed through New Year’s Eve at Atlantic Station. Kids can get creative at the High Museum’s Winter Art Break at the High Museum, indulge their Lego fascination at Legoland Atlanta’s Holiday Bricktacular, or enjoy an Hour of Code at Design Atlanta. And it’s never a bad day to visit the Children’s Museum of Atlanta or the Georgia Aquarium.

Best Places for Train-Loving Kids in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s popular Botanical Express ride-on train travels around the garden’s Great Lawn, weather permitting, on weekends through January 12. Macy’s Pink Pig train runs daily through January 5 along the Macy’s Lenox Square rooftop parking lot. Meanwhile, the Southeastern Railway Museum’s Festival of Trees offers museum visitors a chance to glimpse some of the region’s most lavishly decorated trees. Then, of course, there is the Holiday Train Show at Atlanta Botanical Garden through Jan. 11, sure to delight any model locomotive enthusiast.

Other Things to Do with Kids in Atlanta Over the Holiday Break

Atlanta has a host of attractions to delight little ones during the school break. What kid wouldn’t love the World of Coca Cola, its host of exhibits, and a chance to meet the Coke Polar Bears? Winter Waterland and its scuba diving Santa awaits at the Georgia Aquarium through New Year’s Eve. Head to Six Flags Over Georgia for its theme-park celebration Holiday in the Park at Six Flags through Jan. 5.

Whatever you do, enjoy the week off: You’ve earned it. And Happy New Year from your friends at Mommy Poppins Atlanta.

Photos courtesy of the venues

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