Monday, November 25, 2013

A Little Aquarium Fun In Gatlinburg, TN

*We were provided the tickets for this visit Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN. If you are ever in the area, definitely check it out.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reindog Parade @ATLBotanical Garden

Dogs in costume – what could be more adorable? Find out in person at the sixth annual Reindog Parade on Saturday, December 7! The only day of the year that four-legged pals are allowed to set paw in the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the event, which begins at 11 a.m., invites pups clad in their finest holiday attire parade across a stage before a panel of judges to compete for prizes – or just to show off for fun.
Categories include Best Puppy, Best Adult, Best Botanical, Best Dog-Owner Dress-alike, Best Dog Pack, and ultimately, Best in Show. TV and radio personality Holly Firfer will emcee the competition.

While you are there, check out the Doggie Expo! This year's Expo offers canine-related products, services and information, warm refreshments will be available under the Pup Tent, and participants may have photos of their dogs made with botanical Saint Nick.

All dogs participating in the parade must pre-register online between November 1 and December 3. The cost, in addition to regular Garden admission, is $15 per dog, or $18 at the door (maximum two dogs per owner).

Reindog Parade joins the Garden’s array of holiday offerings this year, including the third annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights November 16 - January 4 featuring botanical-inspired displays created with more than 1 million lights.

The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. The Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE in Midtown, between 14th Street and Monroe Drive. The Garden is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (till 10 p.m. Thursdays). Admission is $18.95 adults, $12.95 children 3-12, free to children under 3 and Garden members. For more information visit or phone 404.876.5859. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Make Magical Holiday Memories at the Fox Theatre

Photo credit: David Kosmos

This December 6-29th, the Fox Theatre will host magical holiday tours prior to performances of Belk Presents Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. The festive holiday tours will feature an exclusive meet and greet with cast members from Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, including master illusionist (and America’s Got Talent finalist) Drew Thomas, hot cocoa, complimentary family photos with a life-sized nutcracker and, of course, a tour of the fabulous Fox Theatre.

“This is always a very special time for the Fox Theatre since our doors first opened on December 25th, 1929,” says Molly Fortune, Director of Restoration and Operations for the Fox Theatre. “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker creates the perfect setting for us to share that special memory with our patrons and get in the holiday spirit.”

The actual tour will be 30 minutes long, and will include the famous Mighty Mo’, the largest working MollĂ«r theatre organ in the world, the starry-skied auditorium and the many holiday decorations throughout the fabulous Fox Theatre. Following the tours, guests will receive a special merchandise voucher for Fox Theatre commemorative items and decadent chocolate wafers provided by The Melting Pot in Midtown.

The Holiday Tours will take place Dec. 6-29 prior to Nutcracker performances. Tickets are open to the general public and do not require a ticket purchase to Nutcracker. Tours will start two hours prior to each performance. Please visit the for a complete list of show and tour times. Tour tickets are $35 per adult and $25 per child 10 yrs. and under. To purchase tickets now, visit, the Fox Theatre ticket office or call 855-285-8499. Note: Your purchase of a Holiday Tour is for the tour only, and does not include a ticket to Nutcracker. Tickets for Nutcracker should be purchased separately through any of the above ticketing channels.

To inquire about booking a private tour or a group of 20 or more, please contact the theatre at (404) 881-2000. For more information on the tours, visit

Friday, November 15, 2013

Top 6 Places to See Christmas Lights Around Atlanta in 2013

Stone Mountain: A Stone Mountain Christmas

This is by and large my family's favorite Winter festivity in Atlanta. We try to go at least once every year and it never fails to amaze! Great for children of all ages, Stone Mountain Christmas adds something new every year to keep things fresh and exciting. As if the lights and sing along train ride
weren't enough, there are lots of live shows and fun, including a parade with the "big man" himself, and other holiday fun to be had!

Atlanta Botanical Garden: Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Atlanta's "Green" light show features almost exclusively LED lights, continuing the Garden’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The 30 acre Gardens come alive with beautiful hues of the
season mixed with the gorgeous foliage of the year round gardens is definitely a must see holiday sight. If you are a pet lover, don't miss out on this year's ReinDog Parade in the Gardens too!

Callaway Gardens: Fantasy in Lights
Just South of Atlanta, in Pine Mountain, rest the beautiful and relaxing getaway of Callaway Gardens. Named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler, Fantasy in Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles. This holiday season Callaway Gardens marks its 22nd year of their Fantasy in Lights celebration. Taking 3,900 man-hours
to install, Fantasy in Lights is like stepping (or riding as the case may be) into a literal Winter Wonderland! Complete with two light shows on Robin Lake Beach and an indoor Christmas Village for all your holiday shopping needs to get you started and then a "Jolly Trolley" ride through the five miles lights, its sure to have something for everyone this Holiday season!

Lake Lanier: Magical Nights of Lights
Over the magnificent snowflake bridge, down through the 12 days of Christmas, past your classic favorites and all the way to the dancing Holiday House, Santa’s Workshop, Christmas Carnival and more! No, its not a scene from the movie Elf, its Magical Nights of Lights with Lake Lanier Islands! In 2012, they celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Magical Nights of Lights featuring miles of illuminated characters and millions of twinkling lights! This year they invite you to experience the magic of the event with your family and friends.

No matter how you feel about the Braves moving to Cobb county, this year's Christmas extravaganza at Turner Field is one not to be missed! Global Winter Wonderland, a spectacular lantern festival and multicultural theme park, will be making its Atlanta debut this holiday season, November 21, 2013
through January 5, 2014 at Turner Field. This holiday season, guests will be able to travel the world in one visit while viewing the larger-than-life lantern designs of landmarks from countries all over the globe.

Atlanta Motor Speedway: Gift of Lights
Lit up by more than a million LED lights, Atlanta Motor Speedway turns into one of the area's biggest drive-through Christmas light parks! And new for 2013, this year's route includes portions of the Speedway's racing surface! If you are a racing fan, this is definitely an experience not to be missed!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2013 Stone Mountain Christmas

Its back and this year's Stone Mountain Christmas is better than ever! The boys and I have been going to Stone Mountain for their Christmas season every year since K was a newborn and every year its the thing that the boys look forward to the most.

With more than 2 million lights, the Christmas Parade, a 4D version of every one's favorite "Polar Express", and the Sing Along Train, there is something for every one.

New for 2013, Stone Mountain Christmas welcomes two iconic North Pole favorites, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster. These cute and cuddly character favorites have become a Christmas tradition for millions of people around the world and are here to spread the Christmas spirit at Stone Mountain Park. Kids of all ages can meet these two heartwarming characters or catch them in the nightly Christmas parade!  Kodak photo services available  for purchase also so you can preserve the memories of the meeting! (There are no pictures of them with my children of course though because they both started screaming and trying to climb me when they saw the Bumble. C'est la vie)

Of course the Singalong Christmas Train got a little bit of a refresh and renew this year too. Be sure to come aboard for a lively five-mile excursion around the mountain featuring Newt and Holly via satellite from their Christmas Headquarters. Travel with Santa’s merry elves down memory lane to see how Santa spends his days here at Stone Mountain Park, and take in the heartwarming story of the very first Christmas in The Gift. This is always my boys' favorite part of any trip to Stone Mountain and I have to say it is one of the most festive parts of the Christmas season!

Of course I also have to mention the amazing live shows. There is a show for everyone this season between the kid favorite Toyrific! and the slightly more traditional Forever Christmas review, its easy to find a show to help get you in the holiday spirit! 

And don't forget! While you are already there, enjoy Stone Mountain Park’s fun attractions that will still be open during the daytime (and are already included in the price of your Christmas admission ticket) the Summit SkyrideDiscovering Stone Mountain Museum, and Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard.
*Right now, tickets are only $19.99 (plus tax) for Stone Mountain's Facebook fans! Hurry offer ends Nov. 24! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Global Winter Wonderland Lantern Festival at Turner Field

Global Winter Wonderland, a spectacular lantern festival and multicultural theme park, will be making its Atlanta debut this holiday season, November 21, 2013 through January 5, 2014 at Turner Field. This holiday season, guests will be able to travel the world in one visit while viewing the larger-than-life lantern designs of landmarks from countries all over the globe.

Tickets for Global Winter Wonderland are on sale now and available for purchase at or by calling 770.723.3862. Tickets are $24.99 for adults, $18.99 for seniors, and $16.99 for children. Season passes are also available at $43 for adults, $31 for seniors, and $28 for children. Prices are inclusive of all the rides and live entertainment. Children 4 and under are admitted free. Global Winter Wonderland will be open daily from 5pm-11pm.

Global Winter Wonderland features giant illuminated lanterns depicting creatures and scenes that include a Christmas holiday village, animals real and imagined, and people and scenes from around the
world. Highlights include recreations of some of the world’s greatest architectural achievements, including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Chichen Itza, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The eco-friendly lanterns, some of which tower more than 50 feet high and span nearly 100 feet wide, are illuminated with low voltage LEDs and fluorescent lights, and several structures are powered by solar panels. The family event of the holiday season also features numerous carnival rides and games, international cuisine, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and celebrations of holiday traditions and various cultures from around the world.

Global Winter Wonderland in Atlanta is presented by IGO Group and produced by the International Culture Exchange Group (ICEG). The event made its US debut in 2011 in Santa Clara, California, with over half a million guests in attendance in 2011 and 2012.

For more information on Global Winter Wonderland, please visit

Friday, November 8, 2013

Photos with Santa in Alpharetta: Free and Early!

Let's face it, Christmas is expensive as is. Add in all the little extras like pictures with Santa himself, and things gets out of control quick! This year, you can get your holiday Santa photos taken for free at the Alpharetta Welcome Center on November 16 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

All you have to do is stop in for an individual or family photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus and they will email the photo to you to share with friends and family! This is a free event and refreshments will be served. Best part: no reservations required.

“This will be the second year Santa and Mrs. Claus have come to our Welcome Center,” says Janet Rodgers, President and CEO of the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With such a great turnout last year, we are hoping to continue the success of the event as it is a great opportunity to remind everyone of the free services offered by the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

The Alpharetta Welcome Center is located at 178 South Main Street, Suite 200 and is the best source for information on Alpharetta and all that it offers in the way of shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation, for visitors and residents alike. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the Welcome Center call 678-297-2811.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights Kicks Off Its 22nd Year

This holiday season marks the 22nd anniversary of Georgia's Callaway Gardens Fantasy In Lights! Named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler, Fantasy in Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles. In all, creating 15 larger-than-life holiday scenes! Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens sets Pine Mountain, Ga., ablaze from November 22 through December 30, 2013. Purchasing tickets in advance, meaning prior to the day of visit, is strongly advised and provide discounted price. Advance ticket prices* starting at $17* for adults and $8.50* for children, with children 5 and younger always admitted for free. Tickets purchased on the same-day of visit are $28* for adults and $14* for children, and will be sold on a first-available basis.

Unlike All of the Rest

Visitors experience the light and sound extravaganza on the “Jolly Trolley” or by driving through the lighted scenes in their personal vehicle. The sparkling, animated displays include Snowflake Valley, a winter wonderland filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights; Magical Christmas Garden with a 24-foot wreath entrance; and Santa’s Workshop, showcasing animated versions of Santa’s elves busy making toys for the big night. Two “don’t miss” scenes are on Robin Lake Beach and are both narrated: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity. Each lasts approximately 10 minutes.

Ninety-nine percent of the frames used to create the scenes in Fantasy In Lights are custom designed and built just for Callaway Gardens, taking 3,900 man-hours to install. In keeping with Callaway Gardens’ mission of connecting man and nature, every kilowatt of power used to light up Fantasy In Lights is compensated with “green” power. Callaway Gardens was the first destination in the Southeast to offset 100 percent of its electricity use by purchasing wind power credits.

Families experience the Christmas Village, a 22,000-square-foot indoor, heated area featuring opportunities to visit Santa and other holiday characters. Inside the Village, guests have the opportunity to shop for specialty food items from the Callaway Gardens Country Store®, unique gifts, nostalgic toys from simpler times and an assortment of holiday ornaments. An array of Georgia crafters are on hand making and selling their wares.

Saturday visits with Mrs. Claus add Christmas cheer. Guests can join “Storytelling with Mrs. Claus,” where guests can listen to Christmas stories, decorate cupcakes and more. For advance reservations, call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292). Seating is limited.

New in 2013!

Specialty Nights will add some additional excitement to this year’s festivities. Between November 15 through the 21, guests can choose from a variety of unique ways to experience the millions of lights. November 15 is University Night. Those connected to a University or College can purchase specially priced discounted tickets, and can represent their higher learning organization by wearing their school colors. November 16 will be Bicycle Night. We tested the concept last year with a Final Night Ride. It was so successful this year we are dedicating an entire night to bicycle riders. November 17 is the 20th anniversary of the March of Dimes Night Walk to benefit healthier babies. November 18 is Motorcycle Night, which will be the first chance in Fantasy In Lights history to ride a motorcycle through the lights. November 19 is Golf Cart Night. November 20 is reserved for the Callaway Gardens Connection, a social member organization, for their traditional private golf cart night. November 21 is open for Corporate Night so businesses can buy an hour slot to entertain their clients or team members, or purchase the entire night. And, then it will be time for the grand opening for the 22nd Fantasy In Lights season.

Relax and Enjoy More Than One Day

A variety of Fantasy In Lights overnight packages provide the opportunity to enjoy Callaway Gardens at a more relaxing pace. Packages start as low as $99** per night in the Mountain Creek Inn and include:

* Fantasy In Lights admission
* Accommodations in the newly renovated Mountain Creek Inn
* Special Jolly Trolley loading area dedicated for overnight guests
* Admission to the world-class Gardens and its many attractions including the Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, Callaway Discovery Center, live Birds of Prey Shows, seven miles of nature trails and our 10-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail.

The best value is the Fantasy In Lights Bed & Breakfast package which includes a hot, Southern buffet breakfast and a 2013 collectible commemorative Fantasy In Lights ornament starting in the Mountain Creek inn for $127** per night.

Callaway Gardens’ central location in the Southeastern United States and convenient location to Hartsfield International Airport make it a unique and accommodating location for family gatherings, corporate holiday outings and more. Fantasy In Lights packages in the more spacious Southern Pine Cottages (sleep up to eight) and Mountain Creek Villas (sleep up to 16) and a variety of luxury vacation homes are available as well.

This National Geographic recognition marks the latest for Fantasy In Lights, adding to a long list of honors received through its 20 years. Additional recent honors include Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) Access Atlanta’s “Best Place to See Holiday Lights;” The Weather Channel’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” and the American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America.” Fantasy In Lights also has been recognized numerous times by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) as a Top 20 event.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. To experience nature at its finest, call 1-800-CALLAWAY or visit

To experience the most spectacular holiday light and show in the South, visit or call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).

*Ticket prices are subject to change. Tax and service fee are additional.

**Based on availability. Some restrictions apply. Not applicable to groups.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Atlanta Botanical Garden is Shining "Green" This Winter!

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights not only offers an enchanting in-town experience but also is one of the largest light shows in the country, shimmering nearly 1 million energy-efficient bulbs.

The show, set for November 16 - January 4 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will feature almost exclusively LED lights, or special light-emitting diodes, continuing the Garden’s commitment to environmental sustainability. LED lights consume up to 80 percent less electricity than incandescent lights and have a life span more than double that of such traditional lights – five years or more. To further increase energy efficiency, new timing controls allow the Garden to minimize the number of hours the lights are on, providing a large-scale show with small-scale power consumption.

As part of an ongoing partnership, the Garden will use green energy from Georgia Power for the holiday exhibition. To ignite this winter wonderland, energy produced from renewable resources will be added to the power grid in an amount equal to what the show consumes. Georgia Power’s green energy sources include solar power and biomass, such as landfill gas burned to produce steam for power generation.

“We are thrilled to continue our green practices this holiday season with Garden Lights, Holiday Nights,” said Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s President and CEO. “Implementing an energy-efficient plan will maximize our opportunity to showcase – and serve – our environment among a host of lights and colors for a magnificent experience.”

Open nightly from 5 until 10 p.m., Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, showcases enormous botanical inspired light displays throughout the 30-acre Midtown attraction. For ticket information, visit Garden Admissions, or call 1-GLHN-TIX (1-855-454-6849).


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