2016 spring bucket list for Atlanta families

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2016 spring bucket list for Atlanta families

Temperatures are rising. Restlessness has set in. Don't phone the doctor; it's just spring fever! We've got the perfect cure with these springtime events and activities for the entire family.

Mark the calendar

Atlanta Blooms! March – April 2016. Free with admission. Atlanta Botanical Garden. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta 30309. 404-876-5859. atlantabg.org.

Nothing says spring like beautiful tulip blooms. Take the kids to play at the Children's Garden and bring the camera for breathtaking snaps.

Deluxe Family NightCrawlers. Various dates including March 19, April 30 and May 21. $100-115 per person. Zoo Atlanta. 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta 30315. ZooAtlanta.com.

Spend the night at the zoo this spring! Designed for families with kiddos 6 years and older, you'll go behind the scenes to feed the animals, play games, visit Scaly Slimy Spectacular at night and get a private nocturnal tour of the zoo.

Easter Eggspress 2016. March 26. $0-39. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. 241 Depot St., Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513. 877-413-8724. BRSR.com.

Bring your Easter basket and travel to Farmer Brown's field to gather Easter eggs and meet the Easter Bunny.

I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle. April 2 – Jan. 8, 2017. Free with admission. High Museum of Art. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta 30309. high.org.

This exhibit will span nearly 50 years of Carle's career and feature more than 80 of his signature collage works from 15 of his most popular books. In partnership with the exhibit, kids will love Alliance Theatre's world premiere musical Pancakes,Pancakes!, based on Carle's book of the same name.

Atlanta Braves Season Opener. April 4. Prices vary. Turner Field. 755 Hank Aaron Drive SE, Atlanta 30315. BravesTicketing.com.

Bring the kids to the Braves' final season at Turner Field, against Washington Nationals. Opening Week features special ceremonies, magnetic schedule giveaways and the return of weekly favorites including Friday Night Fireworks and Kids Run the Bases.

The Mitty. April 22-24. Prices vary; kids under 12 are free. Road Atlanta. 5300 Winder Highway, Braselton, Ga. 30517. 770-967-6143. RoadAtlanta.com.

Hundreds of legendary race cars from around the world make their way to the Road Atlanta circuit. The Mitty is an ideal way to introduce kids to racing, with playgrounds at Road Atlanta, close access to the track, 12 turns with rolling hills and places to run, plus much more.

Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament. May 27-29. Prices vary; kids under 6 are free. Robin Lake Beach at Callaway Gardens. 17800 Highway 27, Pine Mountain, Ga. 31822. CallawayGardens.com.

Find a place on the beach to watch the water ski and wakeboard champions. Families will also enjoy a host of other activities including live music, a farmers' market, beach activities, a kids' zone, food and drink specials and more.

Fun all spring long

Batten down the hatches. Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta debuts a new attraction featuring a giant pirate ship, an aquatic building area and a treasure-trove of additional fun. Pirate Adventure Island allows kids to create their own Lego sandcastle or treasure map, construct a Lego pirate ship, sail through an aquatic obstacle course and battle fellow shipmates by setting off air cannons.

Camp with the family. Spring is the ideal time to camp with kids in Georgia. The weather is cool, the mosquitoes are under control, new flowers are showing their colors and wildlife comes alive. Make a date with one of the best campgrounds in North Georgia.

Enroll in spring break camps. Help kids manage their spring fever by sending them to a new spring break camp experience. Around the city you will find technology camps, arts camps and sports camps during the early weeks of April. Which spring break camp is right for your kiddo?

Explore a new playground. Chastain Park Playground is now open, and it is a playground unlike any other: Designed for kids by kids. The playground includes an outdoor piano, long bumpy slides, boulders and tree stumps for climbing, a climbing wall, musical instruments and a treehouse.

Head to the mountains. Hiking in North Georgia is a must-do family adventure, but did you know there is so much more? Dig your own potato out of the ground and cook french fries on an open fire or feed goats that live on a rooftop by using a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption. Plan your weekend around more than 120 North Georgia adventures.

Jump into fun. This spring Stone Mountain Park debuts a new attraction, The Jump. It's a thrilling, family-friendly, multilevel free fall drop experience. You'll have the option of three different tower levels to jump onto free fall air bags, just like a stunt professional. Part of the SkyHike experience, The Jump is open to those 44-inches or taller with and Adventure Pass ticket or Mountain Membership.

Meet new animal friends. Georgia Aquarium introduces a new program and exhibit this spring, highlighting two adorable sea lion pups rescued from the beaches of California. Opening March 31, Pier 225 will feature the sea lions, allowing you to watch and learn in an intimate setting. In addition to the pups, the aquarium celebrates 10 years in Atlanta with a completely new dolphin experience.

Pick strawberries. Spring is the ideal time to pick berries in Atlanta. Pick-your-own farms are plentiful; let's just hope you bring home more in your basket than in your tummy! Visit the Strawberry Festival at The Rock Ranch or head to one of these strawberry farms.

Pinch a penny. Spend time outside with the kids, without spending a dime. Bring a picnic to Oakland Cemetery, explore Sandy Springs Playable Art Park or hike to the treehouse and fairy garden at Sawnee Nature Preserve. Find more inspiration in the list of dozens of free family-friendly things to do in and around Atlanta.

Take a class. With spring comes the need to release the wiggles and set out exploring. Why not take a toddler class and meet new friends? Try Toddler Thursdays at the High Museum of Art, Stroller Cubs at Zoo Atlanta or any number of other baby and toddler adventures around the city.

Visit a festival. From the Atlanta Dogwood Festival to the Alpharetta Arts StreetFest, there are myriad spring festivals dotted around the city and suburbs this spring. Try Brookhaven's Cherry Blossom Festival for fun in the children's village or the Georgia Renaissance Festival, with jousting, daredevils and more. Need more ideas? Try this list of spring festivals with hints about their family-friendliness.

Lesli Peterson owns 365AtlantaFamily.com, a blog about traveling the South with kids and not for them. She is also a freelance travel/culinary writer and the Family Travel Spokesperson for Georgia Tourism.

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