The biggest city in Georgia and also the capital of the state, Atlanta is home to almost half a million people and attracts many more visitors from around the world each and every day. One of the most economically important cities in the entire United States, Atlanta has played a key part in American history, especially during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Nicknamed 'The City in a Forest', Atlanta is surrounded by beautiful scenery and features more greenery and wildlife than many other cities, making it a terrific destination for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. Kayaking is one example of a popular outdoor activity in Atlanta. The city doesn’t boast any ocean shorelines, but it has a lot of large rivers and lakes in the local area, with the famous Chattahoochee River flowing right along Atlanta’s western edge. Things to Do in Atlanta CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Best Kayaking Locations in Atlanta

Best Kayaking Locations in Atlanta
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Despite being a landlocked city, Atlanta has a lot of great waterways for kayaking. Several large rivers and lakes provide awesome kayaking experiences in Georgia’s capital, so if you’re looking to do some kayaking in Atlanta, be sure to check out one or more of the locations listed below.

- Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in the northwestern part of the city is one of Atlanta's most popular kayaking spots. This is the major waterway of Atlanta, running for around 430 miles in total. Some really pretty scenery and enjoyable paddling waters can be found at the National Recreation Area, with a variety of kayaking trails and adventures just waiting to be discovered.

- Chestatee River

A beautiful kayaking location and a big hit with beginners, the Chestatee is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. A few very small rapids are dotted along this river, but it mostly features very calm and flat waters for newbies to enjoy. A good trip along the Chestatee can last for around two hours and include all sorts of wildlife sightings from otter to turtles.

- Lake Blue Ridge

Situated just a short drive north of Atlanta in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Lake Blue Ridge covers 3,290 acres and is easily one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in all of Georgia. Formed way back in 1930 on the Toccoa River, this area is highly popular with kayakers and anglers. Kayak rentals and tours can be enjoyed in this area and the waters offer something for everyone, from total beginners to seasoned outdoor adventurers.

- Chattooga River

One of the longest free-flowing rivers in this part of the US, the Chattooga straddles the border between the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Widely regarded as the top spot for whitewater kayaking in all of Georgia, the Chattooga has multiple sections with increasingly challenging rapids.

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2.Kayak Tours and Rentals in Atlanta

Kayak Tours and Rentals in Atlanta
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Various kayaking tour and rental companies can be found in and around Atlanta. Read on to learn more about some of the top rated kayaking companies you can choose from.

1. Kayak Guy Atlanta, Phone: 678-920-3944

This mobile kayak rental and tour service offers some thrilling kayaking adventures all around Atlanta. Kayak Guy Atlanta provides both single and tandem kayaks at great rental rates and can bring them directly to you, as well as organizing good-natured kayak tours with likeminded people each weekend. Tours can last various times and take in various sights around the Atlanta area and can be customized to suit your needs.

2. Chattahoochee River Outpost - 301 Johnson Ferry Rd SE, Marietta, GA 30068 + 5450 Interstate N Pkwy, Sandy Springs, GA 30328, Phone: 404-596-7517

With two different locations on the Chattahoochee River, the Chattahoochee River Outpost provides kayak trips and rentals along the famous river, as well as paddleboards, rafts, inflatable kayaks, and more. Half-day and full-day kayak rentals can be enjoyed at these locations, with a whole range of tours designed for both beginners and experienced kayakers. All kinds of flora and fauna can be seen along the way and guests are guaranteed fun times and magical memories at this Atlanta kayaking location.

3. Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking - 56 N River Rd, Morganton, GA 30560, Phone: 706-258-2411

Lake Blue Ridge is a little drive out of Atlanta but is definitely worth the trip, and Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking is the company to choose in this area. Focusing on the lake itself and the Toccoa River, this kayaking company runs two different trips. One runs for six miles and lasts for 2-3 hours, while the other is a 12-mile trip that can take a full day to complete.

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Best Kayaking in Atlanta

Attraction Spotlight: Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta seeks to inspire visitors to the zoo to value the Earth's wildlife and to help preserve the various animal species through conservation. The zoo, Atlanta's oldest cultural attraction, first started with animals from a traveling circus in 1889. Zoo Atlanta has now transformed into a world class zoo focused on conservation and education, a fun place to visit with the whole family. It features animal species from across the globe, and is one of only four institutions in the United States to showcase Giant Pandas.

The Ford African Rainforest is home to Zoo Atlanta's gorillas, and is still the residence of several of Willie B.'s offspring. Willie B. is the zoo's most well-known gorilla. The area also houses the giant tortoise during summer, and contains the Ford Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center and the Living Treehouse. The Living Treehouse features ring-tailed lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, and an African bird aviary. There are also habitat exhibits showcasing Angolan colobus monkeys, Wolf's guenons, Schmidt's guenons, and drills.

African Plains

Many different species of animals from the desert and grasslands of Africa call the African Plains exhibit area home. The exhibits in African Plains include animals such as African elephants, lions, meerkats, southern ground hornbills, kori bustard, black rhino, and warthogs. A multi-species area houses zebras, lesser kudu, ostrich, and giraffes. The exhibit area also features African forest animals like eastern bongos and yellow-backed duikers.

Giant Pandas

Zoo Atlanta is one of only four institutions in the United States to feature Giant Pandas. The zoo was first home to these interesting creatures in 1999 when it received two panda, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, on loan from China. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China is now home to three of the panda pair's cubs: Mei Lan, Xi Lan, and Po. Po's name was first announced in 2011 by Jack Black. He was named after Jack Black's character in Kung Fu Panda. Two giant panda cubs still call Zoo Atlanta home, Mei Lun and Mei Huan. The twin female cubs were born in 2013.

Asian Forest

The Asian Forest exhibit area at Zoo Atlanta features sun bears, red pandas, giant pandas, bush dogs, giant otters, small-clawed otters, Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, Reeve's muntjac, naked mole rats, Sumatran orangutans, Bornean orangutans, and Komodo dragons. The Orangutan Learning Tree Project, started in 2007, can also be found in the Asian Forest area. The project uses touch screen technology in the habitat to provide an opportunity for the orangutans to engage in computer games, puzzles, and problem solving exercises as visitors watch on monitor.

The Scaly Slimy Spectacular, formerly the World of Reptiles, allows guests to take a climate-controlled journey through a few of the world's most iconic places in the wild. Visitors can view over 70 different species of amphibians and reptiles from around the world within state-of-the-art habitats, including snakes, tortoises, turtles, lizards, salamanders, frogs, and toads. The exhibits feature 9,700 square feet of handcrafted rockwork. Scaly Slimy Spectacular replaced the World of Reptiles in 2013 when the old building was replaced due to age. Among other snake species, guests can find black mamba, reticulated python, and king cobra among the snake habitats. There are also several species of reptiles native to Georgia, such as the timber rattlesnake, Carolina pygmy rattlesnake, eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake, water moccasin, copperhead, gopher tortoise, and bog turtle.

KidZone/Outback Station Children's Zoo

The Outback Station Children's Zoo features a variety of Australian wildlife, such as the southern cassowary, red kangaroos, and Major Mitchell's cockatoos. The petting zoo within KIDZone offers children a chance to pet Saanen goats, Nigerian dwarf goats, Oberhasli goats, a kunekune pig, Gulf Coast sheep, and Southdown babydoll sheep. The KIDZone also showcases the giant tortoise in winter, tamarins, blue cranes, Bald Eagles, owls, exotic birds, and wetlands animals.

Warm Weather Fun

There are few activities at Zoo Atlanta that are available during the warmer months. The Splash Fountain provides interactive water fun and a nice break from the heat. Guests can get up-close to the zoo's giraffes at Twiga Terrace and have a chance to feed them part of their regular diet.

Other Activities

Zoo Atlanta offers many other activities for guests in addition to the numerous animal exhibits. Training Demonstrations and Keeper Talks offer guests a chance to learn more about some of the zoo's animals. Guests can check their zoo map on the day they're visiting to find out where they can watch an animal training demonstration or where they can meet a zookeeper for a Keeper Talk. Wildlife Shows let visitors meet animal ambassadors and free-flying birds from throughout the world.

There are also many activities designed for younger zoo guests, such as the petting zoo, playgrounds, and Zoo's Clues. The Petting Zoo offers children an opportunity to pet animals like sheep and goats. The KIDZone playground is packed with activities and kids love to explore the tunnel zone inspired by the naked mole rat. Zoo's Clues, designed for 8 to 12 year olds, asks kids to help Detective Clue Spotter the Otter solve a case. Visitors can check the "Plan Your Day" page on the zoo's website to learn more about what's happening the day of their visit.

There several add-on experiences that visitors can choose to do when visiting Zoo Atlanta for an additional fee. Guests can participate in Parakeet Feeding to have a chance to feed the parakeet flock in Boundless Budgies: A Parakeet Adventure. Visitors can also choose to take part in a Wildlife Encounter for an opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet and feed an Aldabra tortoise, African elephant, or giant panda. Guests can also enjoy the Zoo Train, Nabisco Endangered Species Carousel, Canopy Climber, and a rock wall.

The Zoo Train takes guests on a journey to experience a day in the life of the inhabitants of Critter Crossing. It is a handcrafted replica of an 1868 original locomotive, and is one of the most popular attractions at the zoo. Visitors can climb up through a canopy on the Canopy Climber and enjoy the slide down afterwards. The Nabisco Endangered Species Carousel, located in the Children's Zoo under a brightly colored pavilion, spins visitors on a whimsical ride upon any one of the 38 hand-carved wooden animals of a handful of the most endangered species in the world. The carousel features several hand-painted murals that depict mothers and babies of different endangered species in their natural habitats. Guests can also brave the Rock Wall and try to climb to new heights.

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Education Programs

Zoo Atlanta offers a wide array of educational programs and experiences for all ages. One such education experience is NightCrawler Overnights. This program offers guests a chance to the spend the night in the zoo, going on a nocturnal adventure that is filled with games, animal, and behind-the-scenes fun. Group NightCrawlers is designed for school groups, birthday parties, scouts, youth and adults organizations and families. Groups can choose the date of their overnight visit and the theme. Family and Deluxe NightCrawlers events are on preset dates every month and offer families themed overnight experiences.

Another educational program offered is Keeper for a Day, during which participants, teenagers or adults, assist animal care professionals with their daily responsibilities and get a firsthand look at what it's like to work in a zoo. Daily responsibilities include animal care, food preparation, and cleaning. The program is great for anyone considering a zookeeping career, or for anyone who has just always wanted to spend time with one of the zoo's animals. Keeper for a Day is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience that no participant would forget. There are five program options participants can choose from: Giant Panda, Show Birds and Animal Ambassadors, Elephants and Carnivores, Birds and Reptiles, and Hoofstock and Carnivores.

Safari Day Camps are also provided at Zoo Atlanta throughout the year, and are designed to give students to learn about the zoo's wildlife during school breaks. Students will learn about nature and animals in an amazing outdoor environment. A typical day at a Safari Day Camp includes exclusive tours, up-close animal encounters, animal shows and feedings, educational videos, arts and crafts, zoo keeper talks, educational videos, and interactive learning using biofacts and pictures.

There are a few educational programs even designed for some of the youngest Zoo Atlanta guests. Stroller Cubs, a program from children aged two and under and the adults that care for them, provides an early learning adventure. During the program, guests will visit animal exhibits and meet animal ambassadors during a special introduction to wildlife. For children ages three and four, Adventure Cubs offers a hands-on, fun experience. Visitors taking part in the program will play and explore at interactive learning stations, meet an animal ambassador, and go on a zoo tour. The experience allows toddlers to explore different concepts about animals tailored toward their age.

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800 Cherokee Avenue, SE, Atlanta, GA 30315, Phone: 404-624-WILD

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Attraction Spotlight: Children’s Museum of Atlanta

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is a place to spark imagination and discovery through the power of play in all children. The Programs and exhibits are designed for children up to age 8 in a facility located in Centennial Olympic Park.


Beginning as a virtual museum in 1988, The Children’s Museum of Atlanta provided innovative programming through virtual learning to schools and community centers. A permanent location was not found until 2003 in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Children’s Museum has since become a signature part of the cultural landscape of downtown Atlanta, providing educational experiences to more than 200,000 annual visitors and more than 2 million guests since its grand opening.

The mission of the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, CMA, is to use the power of play to spark imagination and discovery in children and inspire learning. CMA is the only educational venue of its kind in the region with educational exhibits and programs designed for children under the age of 8 that are interactive and encourage problem solving and artistic expression. State alignment with the CORE competencies are also presented throughout all exhibits.


There are temporary exhibits in addition to the four permanent learning zones at CMA. The temporary exhibits are showcased as an opportunity to focus on a specific educational concept and incorporate innovative programming that can further understanding of world events, financial literacy, multicultural events, or other concepts.

There are currently 6 permanent exhibits at CMA

Fundamentally Food- This exhibit explores all the different ways we get our food. Visitors can have fun on a farm and learn the difference between fruits and vegetables, play on a tractor, milk a cow, deliver fresh foods to a grocery store, shop until they drop in the aisles of a store, or sit down and order food from a diner. They can even pretend to be the server, or cook in the kitchen. There are many roles to play here as children learn just what goes into our food chain!

Gateway to the World- Children can explore 6 different continents, sift through the layers of the earth and even blast off to outer space in the newest and largest exhibit at CMA. Globe + is wheel chair accessible and also suitable for toddlers who need a more controlled environment to learn about the Earth. Children will also learn about weather patterns, feel an earthquake, feel just how cold a glacier is, and help to build the Great Wall of China.

Leaping into Learning- This exhibit is for children under 5 and explores the vastness of the natural world. Including a treehouse, waterfall that doesn’t get you wet, and bubble wall for toddlers, this area is perfect for little learners.

Let Your Creativity Flow- Art is the center of this exhibit that explores creativity and performance. The art studio, paint wall, sand tables, and a stage with costume options and props can all be found in this section of CMA. The sand tables use moon sand that is able to be sculpted with, there is also an augmented reality projector that can be played with!

Step Up to Science- The Science section of CMA is meant for children over age 2 and is a place for hands on demonstration and experimentation. Children will learn the wonders of light and the human body, robotics, and technology in this new permanent exhibit on the mezzanine.

Tools for Solutions- Children are encouraged to problems solve through hands on creativity in the Build-it Lab and use their imagination to create the cities and homes of their dreams. Visitors are given real tools and materials, blocks, and more. In Construction House, you can learn what goes into building a real home.

Educational Opportunities

Visiting CMA is an educational opportunity. In addition to the exhibits, CMA offers daily programming through seasonal programs featuring food and nutrition, music and dance, mini-musicals, science demonstrations, build-it lab workshops, art studio workshops, and story times, that are all included with museum admission. A full calendar of daily museum activities is available on the CMA website.

CMA offers two summer camps annually. The CMA Adventure Camp and the CMA Mad Science Camp. Adventure Camp is an exploration of the entire museum whereas Mad Science Camp focuses more on Robotics and chemical reactions.

Museum Store

The Museum Store is open every day except Wednesday. You do not need museum admission to enter the store which carries a wide variety of games, educational materials, gifts, books, apparel and souvenirs.

275 Ventennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30313, Phone: 404-659-5437

More Things to Do in Atlanta

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