Sandy Springs is home to 950 acres of parks and green spaces, a portion of the spectacular Chattahoochee River, innovative playgrounds, and a wide array of enriching family-friendly experiences. All this to say, there is no shortage of fun to be had when you are visiting the city with kids. This artsy enclave full of green space will keep your budding naturalist, emerging chef, aspiring engineer, or other happily busy. Here are nine kid-friendly activities you can and should check out this summer in Sandy Springs.
1. Playtime on the Chattahoochee
Meandering through Sandy Springs, the gorgeous Chattahoochee River offers a smorgasbord of recreational opportunities, from fly fishing and float trips to family hikes. Established by President Carter in 1978, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area protects a 48-mile segment of the waterway between Atlanta and Lake Lanier—22 of these miles flow through Sandy Springs. In 2012, this same 48-mile stretch of river was named the Chattahoochee River Water Trail making it the first national water trail in the country. In addition to watersports, the area also has three different trail networks to explore, including Powers Island, East Palisades, and Island Ford.
2. Lace Up Your Skates
No matter the season, it’s always a good time to hit the ice at the Center Ice Arena. The family-friendly arena offers public skating Tuesday through Sunday, and tots under the age of three get to skate for free. Of course, if you want to spend some time practicing axel jumps or perfecting your slapshot, the arena also offers ‘Learn to Skate’ classes for visitors of all ages, along with ice hockey clinics for youngsters and adults. Masks are required to be worn by all guests and the Center Ice Arena is checking temperatures upon entry.
3. Learn to Cook
Time in the kitchen can build confidence, inspire creativity, and teach lifelong skills–and at the Young Chefs Academy, it’s always fun too. The academy specializes in culinary programs for kids as young as three years-old, and offers classes, workshops, culinary camps, parties, field trips, and a MasterChef program for budding gourmets. Tying in elements of math, science, and history, the immersive courses provide an enriching culinary experience, that focuses on the nuts and bolts of cooking while highlighting kitchen safety and sparking creativity.
4. Explore Morgan Falls Overlook Park
Nestled along the Chattahoochee River, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a serenity-inducing outdoor escape. The 30-acre park features picnic pavilions, panoramic porch swings, a riverside hiking trail, shaded playground, and floating dock for paddlers and anglers. The park has access to Bull Sluice Lake, the still-water reservoir on the river that was created by the Morgan Falls Dam. The calm waters of the lake make it ideal for family-friendly adventures on the water. You can try your hand at hooking one of the Chattahoochee River’s legendary trout or take a morning paddling trip. From April through October, kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals are available from The High Country Outfitters Paddle Shack in the park.
5. Play Foot Golf at Steel Canyon Golf Club
A fun-filled way to spend some time outside, the inventive sport aptly dubbed foot golf combines elements of soccer and golf. The game is played on a golf course, but involves kicking a soccer ball instead of putting a golf ball. You can try the family-friendly sport at the Steel Canyon Golf Club, which offers 18 holes for foot golf on a scenic golf course beside the Chattahoochee River.
6. City Green
City Green is a 4-acre park in the middle of the pedestrian-friendly City Springs District in downtown Sandy Springs. It’s the perfect spot for a family picnic, a leisurely walk, or just a quick breath of fresh air. A broad, stroller-friendly pathway meanders through the green space, and shade bosque provides an escape from the sun, making for a nice place to stop for a snack or an al fresco lunch. During the summer City Green also features a kid-friendly splash pad, perfect for escaping the heat.
In the evenings, the green space is an open air venue for seasonal events. Throughout the spring and summer, the park plays host to the City Green Live, a free concert series showcasing everything from funk to bluegrass. On Saturday mornings, City Green welcomes the Sandy Springs Farmers Market. Guests can shop for locally made products and fresh produce in an open and well spaced setting.
7. Catch a Movie
For a memorable film-going experience, catch a movie at The Springs Cinema & Taphouse. The recently renovated venue showcases everything from Hollywood blockbusters to independent films. The theater has an array of cushy comforts for theater-goers, including luxury recliners and heated seats. Of course, no trip to the movies is complete without a buttery bucket of popcorn, but The Springs Cinema & Taphouse goes one step further by offering an entire menu, complete with pizzas, wraps, sliders, and craft beers and drinks. The Springs Cinema & Taphouse is currently showing a mix of current and classic movies and are offering drive-in movies on the weekends. Guests must now purchase tickets through their app for contactless service. The app factors in buffer seats between guests.
8. Picnic in the Park
Much more than a typical community park, the Abernathy Greenway Park is an immersive art experience. The park has six playable art sculptures which means, you guessed it, you can climb on them, play around them and get inspired by them. The imaginative structures include scalable sculptures, swings offering an unobstructed sky view, and stylized slides. The park also has other family friendly amenities including picnic pavilions and easily accessible restrooms.
9. Enjoy an Indoor Playground
The weather doesn’t always cooperate. On days when the heat is stifling or rain clouds unleash a torrent of water, indoor playgrounds provide the perfect escape—Sandy Springs has two. For youngsters stuck indoors, Catch Air features engaging play-centers outfitted with imaginative climbing structures, technology-inspired games, and glow-in the dark features. Ready.Set.Fun is loaded with innovative playrooms and hands-on classes. Toddlers will love bouncing around the Just Dance! Playroom or digging in the Imagination sandbox, while older kids can take advantage of art, cooking, or yoga classes. Both play centers are doing temperature checks and requiring that all guests wear masks.
Written by Malee Baker Oot for Matcha in partnership with Sandy Springs GA.