Georgia Aquarium Adds New Sea Lion Gallery, Dolphin Celebration Shows and More

whale shark at Georgia AquariumMy family and I were recently invited to visit the Georgia Aquarium to see its newest attractions including the Sea Lion Gallery and Dolphin Celebration.

The Georgia Aquarium never ceases to amaze and we had a wonderful adventure discovering all of the marine life through the different pavilions.

My daughters are older now – in seventh and third grades – and they enjoyed seeing all of the marine life like the beautiful Beluga Whales, adorable Penguins, the majestic Whale Shark and experiencing the interactive features like the touch pools.

The Dolphin Celebration is an amazing show and the dolphins are truly smart, talented and loving mammals. It was nice learning about the trainers and the dolphin’s relationships.

The Sea Lions are a wonderful addition and it was interesting learning all about them. The older and younger sea lions were cute and it will be neat to watch them grow up there.

There is plenty to do with the newest attractions including new touch pools, a fully renovated 4D Unbelievable Theater and an upgraded Aquanatouch pool at Georgia Aquariumut Adventure.

When we drove there, we were pleased that the Georgia Aquarium parking was $10.00. That’s not a bad fee for a day parked downtown. I was also glad to know that the new shows are included in your daily admission ticket price.

When you arrive, be sure to get a map and schedule of the day’s events – or even better – print it out ahead of time.

Here are a few tips that the Georgia Aquarium folks gave us:

Check out the Waddle Walk featuring African penguins. The best place to get a picture of this cute even is along the railing of the walkway!

Watch the Happy Feet in the 4D Funbelievable Theater on the second floor. Showtimes run throughout the day.

At lunch time, dining options include Cafe Aquaria, Oceans Food Market and the newest addition, Seaside Delights, located in the Atrium. Additional seating is available in the atrium and in the second floor rotunda to avoid cafe crowds.

IMG_0606Plan when you want to see the AT&T Dolphin Celebration and be sure to get there at least 30 minutes early for seating as it fills up quickly.

Check out the Sea Lions at SunTrust Pier 225. The young ones are still learning and will be growing in their abilities as they grow up at the Aquarium.

Explore the Georgia Aquarium Galleries. Visit the Ocean Voyager theater and see the whale shark feed – it was at 3:00 pm the day we went. Also check out the new shark and ray touch pool!

The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Entertainment Show is at the Atrium. The best view of this show is in front of Seaside Delights.

Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone. Check out new additions including the Buoyancy Challenge game, Cup Crunch display and Marsh Madness game! We really liked this area and it also had touch pools which were less crowded! It was very educational and hands-on.

20160410_132429We really are fortunate to have this wonderful Aquarium in Atlanta. I highly recommend it for a fun day trip into the city!

Thanks again to the folks at the Georgia Aquarium. We had a special day and learned a lot about marine life and Mother Earth!

Disclosure: The Georgia Aquarium provided my family and I tickets for admission. My review is my honest opinion of my experience.

Hollywood’s Here, Y’all: Movies and Casting Calls in Atlanta 2015

movies filming in atlantaMovies and tv shows filming in Georgia are on the rise since the state began offering tax incentives to production companies.

North Georgia has had its share of movies filmed here – Blended filmed in Buford and Lake Lanier areas, Hall Pass filmed in Forsyth County, Johns Creek and other locations, and the upcoming Tom Cruise movie is going to be filmed in Ball Ground, GA among other productions across the state.

For those families with an eye for acting, a fun summer bucket list item might be to answer a casting call and be an extra on the set of a movie or tv show!

There are plenty of companies in Atlanta looking for extras and it’s a fun way to see the behind the scenes filming of a show or movie.

Here is a list of resources to watch for Atlanta casting calls:

Casting Call: What’s Filming and Casting in Atlanta

The latest Atlanta Casting Calls for TV Shows and Movies

Movies made in Georgia – AJC on Location – the AJC and my favorite Jennifer Brett, chronicles the growth of the movie and television industry in Atlanta and Georgia.

Map: Hollywood makes its home in Georgia – a map of all of the major film/tv studios in Georgia.

Atlanta Buzz with Jennifer Brett

Casting Companies

The new Tom Cruise movie filming soon in Ball Ground, GA is looking for extras!

Extras Casting Atlanta Facebook Page

Tammy Smith Casting – Atlanta Facebook Page

Marinella Hume Casting Facebook Page

It will be fun to watch our state grow in the entertainment industry! Have you ever been an extra?

Here’s a fun Pinterest page of Movies Filmed In Georgia.


Image courtesy of Thanamat at


Grand Opening for the National Guard Armory in Cumming, GA on September 14, 2013

national guard armory cumming gaThe City of Cumming, Georgia Army National Guard and The 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade invited you to attend The Cumming Regional Readiness Center Grand Opening.

This community event for the National Guard Armory is scheduled for September 14th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

There will be a parachute experience, air soft firing range, rock climbing wall, night vision goggle experience, sending messages from communications vehicles, a pottery station, air brush face painting, bouncy house, food and lots more.

There will also be numerous room dedications as well as the Mayor speaking at the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

Come out in force to support our men and women in uniform! This event is free to attend and will be lots of fun for everyone! Located at: 100 Aquatic Circle, Cumming, GA 30040, off Pilgrim Mill Road.

Play at the Park Family Fun Festival in Cumming, GA on Sunday, September 22, 2013.

play at the parkPlay at the Park Family Fun Festival returns to Fowler Park in Forsyth County, GA on Sunday, September 22, 2013 from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

There will be lots of fun activities like inflatables, face painting, a petting zoo, community expo, shopping vendors, eats and treats and family entertainment.

Admission to the 11th annual Play at the Park Family Fun Festival is free!

Fowler Park is located at 4110 Carolene Way. To receive additional information, call 770.886.4088.

Atlanta Summer Camp Expo on Saturday, January 26 at North Point Mall

atlanta summer camp expoIt’s hard to believe it’s time to start planning for our kids’ summer camp activities! Check out the Summer Camp Expo at North Point Mall in Alpharetta, GA this weekend from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

It is a free event sponsored by Atlanta Parent magazine. Learn about new camps and find out about early bird rates.

Meet with camp directors and former campers, gather brochures and watch informational videos to help make your camp decisions.

North Point Mall will be filled with representatives of day and overnight camps who can tell parents and kids about the summer fun they have in store. Spaces at camps fill up fast, so this is a great chance to meet with camp experts from throughout the area and gather the information you need to make your choices. Whether your kid’s idea of a perfect summer is rock climbing, performing arts or horseback riding, you’ll find a great fit at our Expo. There will be scores of camps to choose from, so come prepared with all your questions. You will be able to meet with camp directors and former campers, as well as pick up brochures and watch informational videos.

Disney Live! Presents Mickey’s Music Festival at Philips Arena on December 16th, 2012.

disney live mickey's music festival atlantaWe are excited to venture downtown for Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival on December 16, 2012 at Philips Arena.

Since we go yearly to Disney Vacation Club, it is nice to see our old friends here in Atlanta while we wait for our next Disney adventure. Kids and adults will be sure to sing along and dance to the beats of wonderful Disney music that we have grown up with through the years.

Here’s more info on the show:

Mickey Mouse and friends rock the world with the stars from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story in their new touring show Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival. Disney hits are remixed to the hottest sounds of today featuring hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and much more! The irresistible lineup of performers, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy; Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie; and Woody, Buzz and Jessie; are among the more than 25 Disney stars featured in this jam session fit for the entire family! You can’t resist dancing, singing, playing your air-guitar and laughing with this band of characters! Come join them at Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival for a lively concert experience guaranteed to deliver enough rockin’ memories to last a lifetime.

Philips Arena (One Philips Dr., Atlanta, GA 30303)
Sunday, December 16 – 1:00pm, 4:00pm

Ticket Prices: $70.00 front row/ $55.00 VIP/ $40.00 / $25.00 / $15.00
To order tickets by phone: 800-745-3000

Use code: SAVVY and get $5.00 off ticket price! The offer excludes floor & VIP seats.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival, featuring an all star line-up of more than 25 Disney characters, begins with audiences watching a state-of-the-art video projection of the frenzy backstage which spills onto the stage as Mickey welcomes guests to his concert tour. Soon thereafter, they will be transported to a new world of hip hop beats, dizzying acrobatics, flying carpets and magical transformations with Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie.  Underwater is where the crowd will meet up with Ariel, Sebastian and their nautical pals to groove to the reggae rhythm.  And, family and friends will stomp to the beat as Woody, Buzz and Jessie teach them how to boogie rodeo-style. Anyone can be a member of the band as giant-sized balloons fall from the ceiling in one scene and then in the next, Disney characters are dancing in the aisles.



Parents Palooza Parenting Expo in Atlanta, GA on November 10 and 11, 2012

Parents Palooza Atlanta 2012Back by popular (frazzled, cuisine-challenged, product junkie and also joyful parents) demand, Parents Palooza heads to Cobb Galleria Centre this November 10 and 11, 2012.

Created by a Forsyth County mom and dad, this family event offers two days filled with tips, products, services, resources and information that parents of babies to teens need and want for their families. There is also plenty of onsite fun for the whole family … kids are very welcome. The weekend wraps up with a Sunday afternoon concert from Laughing Pizza.

From parenting workshops and presentations to the parenting expo and family concert from Laughing Pizza, there is something for everyone at this conference. Kids are welcome and there is a fun kids zone and kids mini-conference during the event.

Buy tickets online here and get $1.00 off using the code FORSYTH. Kids 12 and under are free. *Conference Pass holders have VIP Access to the Expo on Saturday 10am-11am before the Conference begins. Also, a portion each ticket sold goes to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Parking is free!

Parents Palooza Parenting Conference and Expo

Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cobb Galleria Centre
2 Galleria Parkway
Halls B & C
Atlanta, GA 30339

Parents Palooza 2012 “Making Parenting a Little Easier and a Lot More Fun!”

Parents Palooza 2012* The Parenting Conference & Expo.  We Make Parenting a Little Easier and a Lot More Fun* For all Parents * Expecting and Experienced * Latest and Greatest Products * Services * Information * Resources * Shopping * Activities * Superior PlaySystem’s Picnic & Playground * Island Jump & Slide Inflatables * BabyLand * Toddler Town * Entertainment * Performers * Characters * Parenting Conference, over 30 Speakers and Topics & Workshops * Book Nook & Author Events Featuring over 20 Authors *  EXPO Game of LIFE where Attendees win prizes by interacting with Exhibitors and Sponsors * Giving Tree Charity Challenge * 2 Days * Benefiting Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta * Bloggers For Families Blog Team * All Those Wonderful Families *
Parents Palooza Atlanta 2012

Free Admission on Your Birthday to the Georgia Aquarium for Georgia Residents.

georgia aquariumI just learned of this wonderful birthday promotion from Atlanta Parent magazine. What a great way to celebrate a birthday!

Celebrate your birthday at the world’s largest aquarium!

Happy birthday, Georgia residents! Georgia Aquarium wants to help you celebrate your special day with a very special offer. Visit Georgia Aquarium on your birthday, and your Aquarium admission is FREE! Just come to any ticket window and show proof of your birthday with either a valid ID or copy of your birth certificate, and we will give you a FREE Total Ticket, which gives you access to all galleries and shows. Celebrate your birthday by having a whale of a good time at the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium!

Looking for the perfect birthday gift? Give someone a whale of a gift! Our Beluga & Friends Interactive Program is the perfect way to celebrate your birthday, creating memories that last a lifetime. Suit up and work alongside beluga whale trainers for an exclusive, close and hands-on interaction with these charismatic animals. Learn more about the program and give someone a birthday to remember!

Ticket must be redeemed and used on the day of your birthday. No exceptions and no refunds for previously purchased tickets. Offer valid to Georgia residents only. Birthday offer can not be combined with any other offer.

Need directions, hours of operation or tips? Get them here.

Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta is Set for October 1, 2011

Join us for the Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta on October 1. Money raised will help research food allergies and anaphylaxis of which there is currently no cure. There is also a blog about the walk. There will be lots of free fun family festivities after the walk in Dunwoody, GA as well. My four year old daughter has egg and peanut allergies. She has taught me about grace and compassion through our journey with food allergies. Through this walk and future walks, I hope that one day no child should ever have to worry about food being safe again.

Check-in for the Atlanta walk is at 9 a.m.; the walk begins at 10 a.m. at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. It’s a two-mile walk, and baby strollers and wagons are welcome. A DJ, moonwalk, games, sponsor exhibits, and more will be onsite.

If you can’t participate, you can support a walker (me), give directly to the walk site, or volunteer on Walk Day. Individuals and teams are encouraged to register online. Please note: All walk participants, including children and infants in strollers/wagons, must be registered.

Also, welcome Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta. FA Kids of Atlanta was created to support families who manage food allergies, educate those who care for our children, and create a safer environment in the local area for food allergic individuals.

We are parents of food allergic children and advocates in our community, raising awareness on the importance of food allergy prevention and the seriousness in food allergy reactions.

Food Allergy is an immune system response. It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food — usually a protein — as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the “invading” food.

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person and can even be triggered by just a trace amount of an allergy-causing food. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

Rash or hives
Stomach pain
Itchy skin
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Swelling of the airways to the lungs
Anaphylaxis (a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction)

Over 12 million Americans have food allergies (that’s 1 in 25), and many experts insist that number is increasing. Just as an example: the incidence of a peanut allergy in children doubled in a five-year period (1997-2002).

Food allergies are most common in kids under three, where the occurrence is now one in 17 children. (My child falls into that category.) Food allergies are life-altering for everyone involved — not just the kids (I know this from experience!).

Only eight foods account for 90% of the food-allergic reactions in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. And for those who may be unaware, even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction; there are no cures for food allergies.

Giveaway Alert! Digital Copy of 100+ Free & Cheap Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids.

100+ Free and Cheap Things to do in Atlanta with Kids
By Sue Rodman, Field Trips with Sue

One of the best things you can do for your children is take them new places and let them experience the world around them. Here are some free and inexpensive things you can do with kids. The ideas are taken from a new book called 100+ Free and Cheap Things to do in Atlanta with Kids which includes the who, what, where and when, with costs up front for easy viewing. Web links guide readers to specific information on the attraction; addresses make it easy to plug into the GPS on the go.

The book is available at in e-book format for the iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Nook for $4.99 and $9.99 for the printed version. You’ll pay for it with your first outing! So pack a picnic lunch and head out for a frugal afternoon of fun. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find:

Visit a Museum or Attraction – Several Atlanta area attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and The Atlanta Braves offer opportunities to visit for free. For instance, all Georgia Public Libraries have a Family Pass to Zoo Atlanta that can be checked out with a library card.

See a Movie – Southern Outdoor Cinemas host free movies at parks, and shopping centers all summer long. For indoor movies, Regal Cinemas hosts the Regal Summer Movie Express. The theater shows G and PG rated films at 10 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and admission is only $1. Plus a portion of the proceeds benefits the Will Rogers Institute.

Get Back to Nature – For low cost and big fun, check out Georgia State Parks or any of the National Parks. There are also several nature preserves around Atlanta that offer free admission including Dauset Trail. Dauset Trail is a 1200 acre preserve with trails, creeks, wildlife and an extensive calendar of events throughout the year.

Play Sports – From watching professional sports teams to playing them on your own, the book gives you ideas on active fun including bowling. Several national bowling centers offer free bowling to students during the summer. Check out or sign up for Brunswick Zone’s Bonus Zone for emailed coupons. AMF also has a free bowling program.

Build a Craft – Learn what stores offer kids activities for a bit of indoor (and cooler) fun. For example,Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement offer monthly kid’s workshops where children make and take a wooden craft. Both programs also include a kid sized apron.

How To Enter Digital Book Giveaway:

To enter the giveaway, add a comment and tell us what your favorite free family event is in Atlanta! The giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, September 2. Winner will be selected by and notified via email. The book will be emailed in PDF or Kindle format per winner’s preference.

Disclosure:  While this giveaway is being promoted on Facebook, it is in no way associated with, sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook.  By entering this giveaway, you acknowledge this and release Facebook from any responsibility of such.  Furthermore, you acknowledge that any information provided for entry is being provided to Forsyth for Families and not to Facebook.

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