Christmas break is upon us, so you know what that means: last-minute holiday shopping, travel preparations, and children full of energy, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. Searching for things to do with your kids on weekends and school holidays can put your patience to the test. Never fear! We’ve put together a fun (and frugal!) list of Alpharetta activities that will help you keep everyone entertained without breaking the bank.
A shopping trip to North Point Mall is inevitably in your future this holiday season to find gifts on your holiday list. Encourage your kids to hang in there during the shopping extravaganza with a promised ride on the mall’s whimsical Carousel. You can’t miss the Carousel as it sits in front of a floor-to-ceiling window in the food court. It has old-world charm with hand-painted fiberglass horses, frogs, rabbits and tigers that were modeled after a vintage Victorian carousel on Coney Island. Children ages 2-12 (2 and under are free) can enjoy a ride. Tokens are $2 each (cash only) from the token machine located beside the Carousel. The Carousel typically gets started a little before lunch and runs just before the mall closes – check here for specific dates and times. Also, of note: a family restroom and nursing lounge are right next door. It puts the “Merry” Go-Round in your holidays for sure!
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love sent to me….11 life-sized Nutcrackers (it’s a new version of the song, ok?). New for the 2018 holiday season, downtown Alpharetta is showing its holiday spirit with Nutcrackers! Handmade from Steubenville, OH, these larger-than-life powerful protectors have a ton of personality for your kids to enjoy. They will have fun finding all the statues including the mad scientist, king, police officer, firefighter, chef, Revolutionary War soldier, nurse, doctor, 2 princes and an Uncle Drosselmeyer. Our new friends will be on display throughout the month of December so be sure to come say hi and grab a photo with them. Free street parking is available near the Village Green or also in the Park Plaza parking deck.
Many classic children’s stories are filled with tales of lost or buried treasure. To give your kids an inexpensive way of experiencing this kind of adventure, consider geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor activity, in which players use a GPS device to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. Think of it as a technology-driven scavenger hunt played virtually with other treasure seekers. Now is the perfect time to explore geocaching in Alpharetta. Visit www.geocaching.com and search Alpharetta zip codes 30004, 30005, 30009, 30022, 30023 to find a complete list of all the caches around town. Plug the coordinates into your personal GPS device and start hunting. Alpharetta coordinates are: N 34&<76; 04.242 W 084&<76; 17.788 or check out the Awesome Alpharetta Cache.
Load up the bikes and helmets and head over to the Big Creek Greenway. Luckily, even in colder months, Alpharetta is blessed with a handful of days of sunshine that let us get outdoors and burn off some energy. This 8-mile pathway meanders along the deciduous woods of Big Creek. It’s perfect for the whole family as you don’t have to compete with vehicle traffic. The 12-foot-wide paved path is great for biking, walking, roller blading and inline skating. The trail also offers opportunities to experience flora and fauna, tricking streams and plenty of wildlife (keep your eye out for deer). There are multiple access points to the Big Creek Greenway, but we like the entry point off North Point Parkway since it features a picnic table and nice restrooms at the trail head.
Ok, so the kids have been angels thus far…that calls for a sweet treat! Fuzziwigs Candy Factory isn’t your everyday candy store. And once inside, the temptations are even greater – over 400 varieties of candy, hard-to-find specialty toys and plush animals. You and your kids will enjoy trying sweets from the past like Mary Janes, Cow Tales, Charleston Chews, Pop Rocks and Pez. They also have hot new candy items such as Bean Boozled, Harry Potter candy, Jelly Belly jelly beans and Pucker Powder. This stop is sure to be a hit with your kiddos – and you, too!
Looking for more family-friendly adventures? Click here for a full listing for fun things to do in Alpharetta.