As summer cranks up and the kids get bored, you might want to keep this list handy. There are a lot of free or inexpensive things to do across metro Atlanta. Get out of the house and give them and yourself something to look forward to. They might even learn something along the way.
The young Richard Petty would feel right at home at this Woodstock institution of red-clay dust and gas fumes. Stock car racing Saturdays through October. Alcoholic beverages allowed in tailgating section. Earplugs recommended.
7 p.m. Saturdays. Grandstand: adults $10, kids 9 to 17 $6, younger kids free. Tailgate area: adults $17, kids $11. Pit: adults $25, kids $11. 150 Dixie Drive, Woodstock. www.dixiespeedway.com.
Free summer movies for kids
Kids’ movies for a good cause. Bring canned food or donate school supplies and receive free popcorn. These movies are the kind parents don’t have to worry about — from the Smurfs to “Horton Hears a Who,” all are rated G or PG.
10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 4-Aug. 8. Free. Carmike Cinemas Movies 400, 415 Atlanta Road, Cumming. 678-947-4473, www.cumminglocal.com/free-2013-summer-movies-for-kids-at-carmike-cinemas.
Fox Theatre films
There is no better place to watch Indiana Jones or “Lawrence of Arabia,” with their exotic locales, than from a seat amid the Moorish décor and faux Mideastern night sky of the Fox. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” starts the season June 14. Movie classics and some recent releases, such as “Les Miserables,” continue through Aug. 18.
Various Fridays and Saturdays and various times. $10. Fox Theatre Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival, 660 Peachtree Street N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100, www.foxtheatre.org.
Kids Fishing Day
Reel in some fun. Bring the kids for food, prizes and fishing for beginners to advanced. Rod and bait provided on a first-come, first-served basis. No fishing license necessary. All ages.
9 a.m. June 1. Free. Jones Bridge Park, 4901 E. Jones Bridge Road, Norcross. 678-277-0920.
Clark Atlanta University Art Gallery
Get some culture and some quiet. The university’s important collections chronicle the role of black artists in the history of American art.
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. Free, but donations accepted. 223 James P. Brawley Drive, Atlanta. 404-880-6102, www.cau.edu/Academics_Art_Galleries.aspx.
Atlanta Farmers Market
At 150 acres, this is one of the largest in the Southeast. Shop at vendor stalls, eat at the restaurant, buy plants from a greenhouse. Various activities throughout the year, including kid stuff.
Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Visitors center 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Free. 404-675-1782. 16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park. http://agr.georgia.gov/atlanta-farmers-market.aspx.
Community farmers markets
Show the kids where their food really comes from. Find perfect summer tomatoes or sweet corn grown locally and buy baked goods, natural soaps, honey and other goodies. Find a farmers market that is near you at http://agr.georgia.gov/community-farmers-markets.aspx.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Unique play areas and educational and fun exhibits. Free entry June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13 from 1 -7 p.m. Special event June 8 to Sept. 8: Weebles Coast to Coast, featuring 70 interactive activities such as powering a riverboat down the Mississippi. Travel to the 50 states and explore geography, history and culture.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $12.75, under 1 free. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive N.W., Atlanta (corner of Baker Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive). www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org.
Sawnee Mountain Preserve
Outside Cumming, about 35 miles north of downtown, with 963 acres of hiking trails and hills. Feels like a bit of the mountains got dropped between Atlanta and the Blue Ridge. Interactive visitors center with displays, adventure activities, summer learning events.
Visitor center hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Trails open seven days, 8 a.m–dark. Free. 4075 Spot Road, Cumming. www.sawneemountain.org.
Guided canoe trip on the ’Hooch
Float serenely down the Chattahoochee River during a sunset or sunrise cruise. Learn about the herons, kingfishers, hawks, turtles and beavers that live in and along the waterway. You might even spot the Americanus Fisherman-icus standing in the water and waving a stick around.
Various times Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, June-August. $20-$40. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055, Ext. 224; www.chattnaturecenter.org.
Marietta Fire Museum
Items displayed at the museum date back to the 1800s and include fire service clothing, equipment and trucks.
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays–Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays by appointment. Free. 770-794-5491 for information and appointments. 112 Haynes St. (Fire Station No. 1), Marietta. www.mariettaga.gov/city/fire/museum.
One of Atlanta’s most unusual and least known museums. Exhibits explain the evolution of the phone and its impact on daily life and the world’s social and political development. Especially interesting for children growing up in an age of instant communication.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Free. By appointment; email Diane Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-223-3661. Midtown Center, 675 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. www.attpioneervolunteers.org/Georgia124/Museum/Museum.
Ebenezer Baptist Church
The music is great, the preaching soul-stirring. Its most famous member, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., became co-pastor with his father, “Daddy” King, and served there and as a leader in the civil rights movement until he was assassinated in 1968.
Services at 8 and 11 a.m. Sundays. Free. 407 Auburn Ave., Atlanta. www.historicebenezer.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
See the sights and hear the sounds of the movement that changed America. Civil rights icon King grew up here. Visit the home he was born in, the pulpit he preached from, and the museum that pays homage to the thousands who participated in the movement.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Free. Tours of the King home begin at 10 a.m. and the last starts at 5:30 p.m. 450 Auburn Ave. N.E., Atlanta. www.nps.gov/malu/planyourvisit/ebenezer_baptist_church.htm.
Visitors can spread out blankets and bring a picnic while the riders and horses do their stuff at Chukkar Farm. Kids are welcome to pet the horses. The farm is sometimes closed for private events and the ticket price may vary if a fundraiser is taking place. Check the calendar on the website before visiting. Chukkar Farm also offers riding and beginning polo lessons and seasonal concerts.
2 p.m. Sundays. May through November. $20 per vehicle. Cashin’s Chukkar Farm Polo Club & Event Facility, 1140 Liberty Grove Road, Alpharetta. 770-664-1533, www.chukkarfarmpoloclub.com.
Juneteenth Under the Stars
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets, and celebrate with jazz, R&B, spoken word and other performances.
7 p.m. June 14. Glover Park, 50 Park Square, Marietta. 770-794-5601.
Juneteenth in Atlanta
A two-day celebration the weekend before June 18 provides guests an opportunity to explore the themes of freedom and family history, and participate in a variety of genealogy workshops, character performances and children’s activities as well as visit the traveling exhibition “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: How the Word Is Passed Down.”
11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15-16. Adults $16.50, seniors $13, children 4-12 $11. Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
Hot summer days on ice
IceForum ice skating with locations in Duluth and Kennesaw. Snack bar, pro shop, video games, skate rentals, seating for spectators.
10 a.m.- evening hours, depending on the day. Check website or call for availability. Adults $8, children 5 and under $3 in Duluth, children $4 in Kennesaw. Skate rental, $3. 3061 George Busbee Parkway, Kennesaw. 770-218-1010. 2300 Satellite Blvd., Duluth. 770-813-1010. http://iceforum.com.
See Atlanta’s formative neighborhoods, such as Sweet Auburn and Inman Park, or tread streets such as Peachtree and Ponce de Leon with guides who can tell you the stories behind the facades.
Various times, days and locations; see the calendar at the website. $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. 404-688-3353, http://atlantapreservationcenter.com/walking_tours.
Lawrenceville Ghost Tours
Whether it’s tales based on local legends handed down over the decades or recent paranormal investigations, professional storytellers will regale you with stories that will send a chill down your spine.
8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Adults $12, children $9. Tickets from the Aurora Theatre box office. Tours begin at 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, email@example.com, www.scarystroll.com.
Atlanta Ice Cream Festival
Come to Piedmont Park for ice cream and food. Stay to break a sweat with the fitness activities, receive information from the participating health and wellness agencies, or get free health screenings.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. July 27. 10th Street in Piedmont Park. www.atlantaicecreamfestival.com.
Atlanta Monetary Museum
See historical artifacts and collections of coins from ancient to modern times stamped in gold, silver and bronze. Explore the story of money from barter to today, and learn about the turbulent history of banking. Then watch the bank’s cash-processing operations as workers count, sort or shred millions of dollars.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Free. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. www.frbatlanta.org/about/tours/museum.cfm.
William H. Reynolds Nature Preserve
Take your kids and leashed dogs on a walk through the 146 acres of woods and streams. A wheelchair trail for looking at native plants also starts at the visitors center, which has exhibits on native animals.
8 a.m.-dusk Mondays-Fridays. Free. 5665 Reynolds Road, Morrow. 770-603-4188, www.reynoldsnaturepreserve.org.
Silver Comet Trail
The paved former train line bisects southern Cobb County and, if you want, you don’t have to stop until you get to Alabama. If you don’t have a bike, you can walk this shady trail, which is incredibly popular. Numerous places to jump on. Check the website for maps, directions.
Open dawn to dusk (strictly enforced). Free. www.silvercometga.com.