Where did the summer go?
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THINGS TO DO BEFORE SUMMER ENDS
Not the usual hike
How about walking along more than 6 miles of trails through 34 acres of 4,500 old cars? Owner Richard Erickson bills Old Car City USA in Bartow County as a photographer’s paradise. Natalie Rosbottom of southeast Atlanta says her boys loved it, making it well worth the hour’s drive north of Atlanta.
Old Car City USA, 3098 U.S. 411 N.E., White, Ga. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Admission: $10 per person without a camera; $15 per person if anyone in the party has a camera. 770-382-6141, www.oldcarcityusa.com.
Not the same old back-to-school snacks
Boxes of granola bars from the warehouse club are one thing, but what about putting a few bags of octopus-flavored chips or Korean chili and lime drumstick crackers in your child’s lunchbox? A trip to H Mart in Duluth will yield a school year’s worth of exotic treats and the chance to try that Rosbottom family favorite, the “disappointed fish” ice cream sandwich.
H Mart, 2550 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. 678-543-4000, www.hmart.com/.
Ease the transition to “education”
How about a museum that gives you money for coming? The museum of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta explores the story of money from barter to bullion. Rosbottom’s boys enjoyed seeing millions and millions of U.S. dollars being handled by bank workers and the chance to take home their own bag of shredded greenbacks.
Atlanta Monetary Museum, 1000 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Free. Bags of shredded money available at the lobby kiosk. www.frbatlanta.org/about/tours/museum.cfm.
Spend a night or two under the stars
Georgia offers camping at 41 state parks, with several within an hour’s drive of metro Atlanta including Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Newnan, High Falls State Park in Jackson, Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla and Red Top Mountain in Cartersville. Last-minute availability for weekend campsites, cottages and more is posted on the Web every week at http://gastateparks.org/availability.
Some parks offer a First Time Camper program. You can rent equipment there, get guidance on the basics and help setting up your tent. http://gastateparks.org/FirstTimeCamper.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Parks. Reservations: 1-800-864-7275, http://gastateparks.org/.
A last-minute “beach” trip
Didn’t get enough of the beach this summer? Robin Lake Beach at Callaway Gardens may not have ocean waves, but it does have a floating playground, giant chess and checker sets and old-fashioned summer games like miniature golf and shuffleboard.
The Summer Beach Trip Package starts at $99 per night and is available through Aug. 29. Reservations required. Callaway Gardens, 17800 U.S. 27, Pine Mountain. 1-800-225-5292, www.callawaygardens.com.
Spend the day at a lake
Putnam County, about 70 miles from Atlanta, is home base for Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee. The Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce can help you get on a boat for a day or the weekend. Show the kids what life was like pre-Internet with a stop at the Old School History Museum with its restored early-1900s classroom.
Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce and Old School History Museum, 305 N. Madison Ave., Eatonton. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Docent tours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, 2-4 p.m. Sundays. 706-485-7701, www.eatonton.com.
Lots of water, closer to home
The Georgia Aquarium offers Imagination Nights through Aug. 17. 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. (The offer excludes Aug. 3, 6 and 14.) $19.95 plus tax per person. Children 2 and under, free. www.georgiaaquarium.org/.
Take a step back into the past
On Aug. 3, 4, 10 and 11, the Atlanta History Center’s Smith Family Farm will host guests from the past — docents in period clothes playing the part of the Smiths and their neighbors. Hands-on activities include craft demonstrations and a chance to pet the barnyard’s new flock of sheep.
Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta. $16.50 adults, $13 seniors 65+ and students (13-18), $11 youth (4-12). 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com.