Editor’s note: Memorial Day on May 25 brings the unofficial start of summer, the season for gassing up the car, loading in the family and hitting the road in search of new places and new discoveries. In our periodic Road Trip articles, we highlight interesting places to visit within a short drive of Reporter Newspapers communities.

When you think of visiting a museum in metro Atlanta, you may call to mind the big, well-known institutions that regularly house high-profile displays that draw big crowds: the High Museum of Art, say, or the Fernbank Science Museum, the Atlanta History Center, or the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site.

But the metro area has its share of smaller, less-well-known museums that feature more specialized collections and a chance to discover unique and surprising things.
Here are a half-dozen kid-friendly “little museums” within about an hour’s drive of Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven and Dunwoody.

1 Atlanta Monetary Museum, Midtown Atlanta

Money, money, money…money! This museum, in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s building, tells the story of money, from barter to cold, hard cash. Exhibits feature bars of gold, rare coins and a peek at the piles of cash the Fed processes.
Where: 1000 Peachtree Street, NE
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday
Cost: Free
For more: www.frbatlanta.org/about/tours/museum

2 Booth Museum of Western Art, Cartersville

Like cowboys? The Booth Museum’s galleries feature Western artists of the 20th and 21st centuries with permanent exhibitions presenting art portraying the American West, cowboys, ranching and other things western. It also offers a two-story sculpture Court.
Where: 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: Adults, $10; seniors (65 and over), $8; students, $7; children 12 and under, free
For more: http://boothmuseum.org/

3 Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University

Think old. Really, really old. This little museum on the Emory University campus offers a place to see Egyptian mummies, Greek and Roman carvings, and what the museum calls one of the world’s earliest bathtubs. The Carlos has collected approximately 17,000 ancient artifacts from Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, the Americas, Asia and Africa, and works on paper from the Renaissance to the present. The museum, housed in a Michael Graves-designed building, is considered one of the best places to see ancient works in the Southeastern U.S.
Where: 571 South Kilgo Circle, on the Emory University campus
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays and university holidays.
Cost: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, students and children.
For more: http://carlos.emory.edu or 404-727-4282

4 College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta

In addition to the Hall of Fame itself, this new 94,256-square-foot facility just down the street from Philips Arena offers a chance for high-tech exploration of the American college game. The presentation covers everything football, from quotes from great college coaches to displays on the evolution of shoulder pads and helmets to the history of tailgating. You can play video games and pretend to be a Game Day broadcaster. There’s even an area where you can kick a field goal or practice your blocking.
Where: 250 Marietta Street, NW
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: $19.99 for adults; $16.99 for kids aged 3 to 12; $17.99 for seniors, military and students.
For more: www.cfbhall.com

5 Delta Flight Museum, Atlanta

Come fly away. Delta Air Lines’ museum, located at Delta’s headquarters near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, displays airplanes that have helped make Atlanta’s hometown airline a behemoth of the skies. The 68,000-square-foot facility features a refurbished 1940s DC-3, a Waco 125 biplane, a 1931 Travel Air, a 1936 Stinson Reliant, and other planes and artifacts related to the company’s history.
Where: 1060 Delta Boulevard, Building B
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays, closed Wednesdays.
Cost: $12.50 adults; $10 seniors; $7 youth.
For more: www.deltamuseum.org

6 Imagine It! The Childrens Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta

This is not a museum decorated with “do not touch” signs and old, dead things. The Children’s Museum wants to spark imaginations and inspire learning through hands-on activities and “the power of play.” The museum gives kids a chance to try anything from operating a crane to painting on a wall to building sand sculptures. The museum says it has attracted nearly 2 million visitors since settling in its present home in 2003. The museum will close Aug. 1 for renovations and reopen in late 2015.
Where:  275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, NW, on the corner of Baker Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive.
Hours: Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed Wednesdays and on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Cost: $12.75 plus tax.
For more: 404-659-5437 or www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

One reply on “Explore museums close to home this summer”

  1. Hey Joe! Thanks for posting this. I’ve been to the Delta museum several times. This is a great place to bring kids! Lots of fun to see the old planes. The children’s museum is really great as well.

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