Summer echoes of childhood, beckoning you to indulge in all the things you never seem to have time for the rest of the year. Whether you have kids or not, you deserve to entertain your most carefree whims. This summer, let your mind wander during story time or play in the dirt while berry picking. Or how about learning to make paper puppets, running through water fountains, or climbing a tree or two? The choice is yours, so tag! You’re it.
CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK FOUNTAIN Playing in the fountain of this skyscraper-shaded park is a must for kids every summer. The Fountain of Rings show plays four times a day, every day, at 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 9 p.m. Andrew Young International Boulevard and Centennial Olympic Park Drive. 404-222-7275. www.centennialpark.com.
FERNBANK SCIENCE CENTER NATURE WALKS Practically a one-stop shop for science, you can get your nature fix with bird walks through the Fernbank Forest or check out the planetarium and exhibits. 156 Heaton Park Drive. 678-874-7102. www.fernbank.edu.
FREEDOM PARK TRAIL BIKING Set between Midtown and Inman Park, the rolling hills and wide trails of the PATH in Freedom Park is the perfect setting for a leisurely bike ride or a good game of tag. www.freedompark.org.
FULTON COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL CENTERS’ SUMMER ARTS CAMP No summer’s complete without a healthy dose of arts and crafts. At the four centers run by the FCAC, dozens of different classes are offered for ages 2 to adult. You can take your pick of painting, pottery, dance, music and many other arts during the weeklong camps scattered throughout metro Atlanta. 404-612-5780. www.fultonarts.org.
PLAYGROUNDS Piedmont Park’s Mayor’s Grove Playground is one of the best in the city with super-springy floors, a music-making corner and weight-activated stepping “stones.” Plus, you can’t beat the diversity of the kids and parents. Piedmont Avenue and 14th Street. 404-875-7275. www.piedmontpark.org/do/playgrounds.html.
PUPPET-MAKING WORKSHOPS Maybe you’ve always wondered how to make a paper Pinocchio or at least an awesome clown or fish puppet. This summer, the Center for Puppetry Arts offers Create-A-Puppet workshops for kids with that particular jones. The puppets correlate with the current show, and the workshops are included in show ticket prices. 1404 Spring St. 404-873-3089. www.puppet.org.
RIVER CANOEING The Chattahoochee Nature Center has activities galore, but a highlight for the summer will definitely be the canoe program. Family Fun Days out on the river will give kids as young as 5 the basics on paddling and safety. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055. chattnaturecenter.org.
STONE MOUNTAIN PARK PETTING ZOO Stone Mountain Park is a staple for summer fun in Atlanta, but the petting zoo is a lesser-known draw. Take your kids there to get some up-close-and-personal time with the animals. Follow it up with the laser show, and they’ll love you forever. U.S. Highway 78 East, Exit 8, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690. www.stonemountainpark.com.
STORYTELLING AT FULTON COUNTY LIBRARIES Running around in the heat requires a cool-down period, so afternoon storytelling in the library is a perfect intercession for those summer days. Fulton County libraries offer several different storytelling programs and reading times at the various locations throughout the summer. 404-730-1700. www.afplweb.com.
STRAWBERRY PICKING It may be a hike outside city limits, but it’s well worth it for the chance to pick your own juicy strawberries and enjoy them for several hot summer days to come. Twin Oaks Fun Farm, 1946 Johnstonville Road, Forsyth, 678-544-0756, www.twinoaksfunfarm.com; Adams Farm, 1486 Ga. 54 West, Fayetteville, 770-461-9395. www.adamsfarmfayettevillega.com.
TREE CLIMBING Any kid can climb a tree, but if you want to step up your A game and learn the real ropes, Tree Climbers International will teach you some serious skills. Beginner’s classes on tree climbing with harnesses and ropes are offered weekly throughout the summer. Blackburn Park, 3530 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. 404-377-3150.