Ways to beat the dog days …

Need to perk up or cool down as summer wanes? Perhaps you want to keep the kids occupied and still enjoy what’s left of the season now that camp’s over and the beach trip was fun and done. Here are some activities to inject a little wow in the bow-wow of summer dog days.

By Therra Gwyn

If the kids are bouncing off the walls before school starts you might as well let them bounce that energy away at Kennesaw’s indoor trampoline park. Skyzone offers active, physical fun for ages three and older. Expanded summer hours have it open every day. Freestyle play and structured play programs offered for toddlers to teens. $10 – $21 per child depending on jump time or activity purchased. Passes available for multiple visits. 678.426.4400 or skyzone.com


The day will go faster here. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games offers racing with SODI GTS karts that can zoom up to 35 mph on either an adult course track (must be 16 years or older with drivers license) or Junior Oval Track (eight years and older; younger kids can ride in two-seat karts with adults). Racing prices start at $20 for non-members ($17 for members) and go up to about $75. Also on site are sky trail courses, zip lines and simulators. 11000 Alpharetta Hwy., Roswell. Marietta location opening in July.
770. 992.5688


The new Atlanta streetcars aren’t the icons of movement you might see in a San Francisco or New Orleans but it’s worth the ride and fun for kids who have never been on one. The almost three mile East-West route connects riders via a dozen stops to the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, College Football Hall of Fame, Centennial Park, Oakland Cemetery, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical site and more.
Rides are free this year, no word on whether it’ll cost next year or not. Runs every 10 to 15 minutes from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday. Saturday hours are 8:30 until 1 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. through 11 p.m. Rules are simple: Food and alcohol not allowed. Coffee, water, sodas in closed containers are. Guide and service dogs are allowed as are leashed or contained companion dogs. Bikes are allowed in bottom section and owners must stay with them.


Where there’s smoke, there’s something at the Marietta Fire Museum to fight it. Antique helmets, hoses and firefighting apparatus from around the world is on display in one of Cobb County’s most unique museums. But for the young and young at heart it’s really all about the trucks isn’t it? The museum has a 1879 Silsby Steamer, 1921 American LaFrance and 1929 Seagrave pumpers, a 1949 Pirsch ladder truck and a 1952 Chevrolet panel rescue truck. Located at 112 Haynes St. (Fire Station #1) in Marietta. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends and evenings by appointments. Tours are conducted by active duty firefighters so call in advance and tell them you’re coming. 770.794.5491


There’s a mega-menu of activities year around at Cobb’s libraries and even in late summer there’s no slowing down on the sheer volume of activities available for all ages, from tiny tots to teenagers. “Kryptonite Kids – Lego Warriors” is a creative program emphasizing cooperation and builds imagination for children three years and older (not suitable for kids who are likely to try to “eat” the Legos.) Free. All Lego pieces are provided. June 17 and July 1: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.; Powder Springs Library, 4181 Atlanta St. Call Tara Klodnicki 770.439.6664


Family Movie Mondays are geared completely toward families with children of all ages. Bring favorite snacks, dress the kids in their pjs and have fun as a family.
July 13 – The Lorax
July 27 – Big Hero 6
Free. 7 p.m.
East Cobb Library, 4880 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770. 509.2730

The Sparkles skating rink at the Kennesaw entertainment facility. Staff/Jeff Stanton
The Sparkles skating rink at the Kennesaw entertainment facility. Staff/Jeff Stanton

Roller skating and rollerblading to great music remain as popular as ever from generation to generation. At Sparkles Fun Center in Kennesaw, they add Laser Tag to the mix as well. There’s also a game room for when the kids want to stop rolling. Sparkles gears their schedule around the Cobb County school year so they are open every day and evening this summer and feature Monday Madness and Saturday Night Fun Pack savings.
sparkleskennesaw.com; 1000 McCollum Parkway; 770.428.3941

Think ice skating is cooler? IceForum at Town Center (also in Kennesaw) has youth hockey, figure skating, skating classes and public skating (plus lessons).
3061 George Busbee Pkwy.; 770.218.1010; iceforum.com


Kids can elevate their fitness and confidence level at Stone Summit Kennesaw by learning to indoor rock climb in a maze of colorful climbing walls.
Lessons and teams available. Child climbing rates start at $13.
2801 George Busbee Pkwy. 770.545.6227; ssclimbing.com


Hard Labor Creek Observatory is located in the middle of Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge and is a valued resource for both professional and amateur astronomers. The public is also welcome to view the universe away from the light pollution of the metro area. Take children to see the Moon and look through research telescopes where you can actually glimpse the edge of our visible universe. Open one Saturday per month March through October. Summer open houses are June 27, July 25 and August 22 at 8:30 p.m.
404.413.6033 or 404.413. 6024


Don’t worry. There will be hundreds of others belting it out too at a sing-along showing of “Frozen” at the Fox Theatre on August 29 at 1 p.m. And you probably already know the words since your kids trill the tunes from the mega-popular film at home. And in the car. And in the supermarket. And during meals. And during bathtime. And in their sleep. (But don’t feel bad if you finally tuned it out. There will be lyrics projected on the screen.) Movie tours are available before screenings and take visitors into the projection booth, screening room, dressing rooms and onto the stage. Tours can be purchased with a movie ticket and are not sold separately. If you want to warm up to “Frozen” by sampling a sing-along showing then head downtown for “The Sound Of Music” 50th anniversary on August 2 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $8 – $20 and can be purchased at foxtheatre.org, in person at the Fox box office or at 855. 285.8499. Limited parking for $5 is also available in advance.


Not all police officers have two legs. Some have four! If your kids have ever asked you what a police dog does, here’s a chance to get it all explained by the people who know. A Cobb County K-9 officer will show children and adults the capabilities and explain the jobs of a K-9 unit. Also includes a brief demonstration of what the dog can do. All ages are welcome and no registration is required. Free. June 18; 11 a.m.; Kennesaw Library, 2250 Lewis Street.

If reading to a dog is more to your child’s liking, Wilbur the dog is ready to listen at West Cobb Regional Library’s “Caring Paws” program. Independent readers who would benefit from or enjoy reading to a dog can register for a 15-minute time slot with Wilbur. June 23: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Call 770.528.4649 to get your child on the list.


Still have some cash left after that family cruise? Take the kids to TankTown USA in Morganton (between Blue Ridge and Blairsville) and use an actual tank to crush a car while your kids watch. Or you can be the cool parent that hosts an outdoor adventure party for ages seven and older that include a group ride in a military truck and on top of an operating tank. This is one playground – a heavy equipment playground – that adults and kids can both enjoy.
Call 706.633.6072 or pick reservation times from their online menu at tanktownusa.com.


If parenthood alone can’t scare you anymore, then take the family on The Ghosts of Marietta tour. It’s a lantern-led walk through historical Southern streets and combines spooky storytelling, history and the supernatural. Or try the new Scary-etta Haunted Trolley Tour on the first Sunday each month at 8 p.m. Ghosts of Marietta Tours depart all year at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (with an expanded schedule in October) from the Historic Marietta Trolley Company headquarters at 131 Church St. Depending on the tour you choose, tickets are $17 – $27 for adults and $12 – $14 for children. 770.425.5755 or ghosts@mariettatrolley.com.

If an after-dark ghost tour is a tad too late or too much boo for your buck, try 18 holes of Monster Mini Golf instead where the course is frightfully fun for all ages. Located at 2505 Chastain Meadows Drive in Marietta and with expanded summer hours is open every day and evening from May 26 – August 2. Cost: under $10 per person. 770. 423. 2212.


The Wildhorse Trail is an easy (doable for most family members on foot, bikes or skates) 1.5 mile trail that begins at Wildhorse Creek Park in Powder Springs. It continues along Noses Creek and along the way you’ll see the largest red maple tree in the state of Georgia, known as “The State Champion Tree.” There’s a wetlands observation tower too. Wildhorse Trail begins at 3820 Macedonia Rd. and connects to the Silver Comet Trail at Carter Rd. Open dawn to dusk.


When was the last time you visited or climbed Stone Mountain? A $10 parking pass will get you in and you can hike a one-mile trail to the top where you can picnic and see the skyscrapers of the city from downtown to Buckhead. The 3,200-acre park and 300-plus acre lake is also the place to “Ride The Ducks.” Go from land to water to land without leaving your seat on the 1940s era Army DUKW vehicle. (It’s one way to cool off this summer.)The boat captains are almost as entertaining as the ride itself. Tickets: $14. Stonemountainpark.com

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