15 awesome August events for families in Atlanta

Calf roping, dinosaur birthdays, 3-D printing, ice cream gluttony, and more!
Photograph courtesy of Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Cool Dads Rock Soapbox Derby Festival
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free to watch
What: Cheer on pint-sized racers in homemade cars at this event sponsored by Cool Dads Rock, a nonprofit aimed at encouraging strong relationships between fathers and their children. In addition to racing, there will be music, food, and kid-friendly activities.

Old Soldiers Day Parade
Where: Roswell Street in downtown Alpharetta
When: A band starts at 9:15 a.m.; the parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Free
What: The parade, which honors living U.S. veterans from every war and military branch, will feature floats, high school marching bands, children’s activities, and more. Afterwards, gather at the American Legion on Wills Road for free hot dogs and sodas.

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
Where: Georgia International Horse Park
When: 7:30 p.m. (Saturday); 3:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $17 in advance, or $20 at the door (for kids 2 to 12); $23 in advance or $30 at the door (for adults)
What: More than 50 riders will compete in events like calf roping and barrel racing at the nation’s only traveling black rodeo, created to honor the legacy of black pioneers in the West—including early 20th-century rodeo legend Bill Pickett.

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long
Where: Fox Theatre
When: 1 p.m.
Cost: $15
What: The hills are aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! Belt out your best Julie Andrews impression at this big-screen sing-a-long; come back on the 29th to croon along to Frozen.

Water Day
Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center
When: 12 p.m.
Cost: $12 ($8 for members)
What: Cool off the kids with sprinklers, water crafts, water games, a “bubbleologist” and more. Come dressed to get wet (think swimsuits and flip flops).

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
Where: New American Shakespeare Tavern
When: 7:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. on Sundays)
Cost: $15 to $35
What: Introduce your teen to a more irreverent side of Shakespeare. In this hyperspeed two-hour mash-up of the Bard’s 37 plays and 154 sonnets, Othello raps and the histories are reimagined as a football game.

The Tortoise, the Hare, and Other Aesop’s Fables
Where: Center for Puppetry Arts
When: 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (Thursdays and Fridays); 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays); 11 a.m. (Saturdays only)
Cost: $16.50 for adults and kids ages two and up; free for kids under two
What: The tortoise and the hare, the country mouse and the city mouse, and other familiar fable characters star in this interactive production for toddlers and preschoolers.

Peter Pan
Where: Lyric Theatre
When: 8 p.m. or 2 p.m. (depending on date)
Cost: $38 to $58
What: The Lyric Theatre’s 2015-16 season kicks off with this Neverland adventure, based on the classic J.M. Barrie tale. (Bound to be better than the kooky live TV version that your kid stayed up for earlier this year.)

North Georgia Live Steamers
Where: Georgia International Horse Park
When: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $2 per train ride
What: Little Thomas the Tank Engine fans can hop aboard at this event for miniature outdoor railroad enthusiasts.

Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival
Where: Harmony Park in Oakhurst
When: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 ($20 day of); free for kids 12 and under
What: Chow down on ‘cue (from Fox Brothers, Williamson Bros, and Sweet Auburn) while you groove to live music by national and local bands, including Beverly Watkins, Michelle Malone and Seven Handle Circus.

Dinosaur Birthday Bash
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $17 for students; $16 for kids 3 to 16; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Fourteen years ago, the permanent Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit opened inside Fernbank, making it the first museum on earth to assemble both of the world’s largest dinosaurs. Bring the kids (costumes encouraged) to celebrate with dino- and birthday-themed activities.

Meet the Past: Margaret Mitchell
Where: Margaret Mitchell House
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($13 for adults; $10 for students; $8.50 for kids)
What: Kids can “meet” the famed author of Gone With the Wind and learn about her life as a reporter, novelist, and philanthropist during WWII. Plus: lawn games, live music, Southern food, and a theatrical reading of Tomorrow Is Another Day, a fictional account of the day before the Atlanta movie premiere of GWTW.

3-D Printing the Future
Where: Museum of Design Atlanta
When: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays); 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Thursdays); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturdays)
Cost: $10 for adults; $5 for kids ages 6 to 17; free for kids 5 and under
What: Visit this exhibit, which explores how 3-D printing is changing the world; or sign up Junior for one of MODA’s interactive 3-D printing classes for kids (ages 8 to 15), and the $25 fee will cover admission for him and an accompanying adult.

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival
Where: Grant Park
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Kids Zone activities end after 4 p.m.)
Cost: Free
What: After kicking off on Saturday morning with a 5K, this free two-day festival hosts more than 30 local bands—including Whiskey Gentry, Five Eight, the Front Porch Session Players, and Bradford Cox—on two stages. Herd the small fry over to the Kids Zone, where they’ll find magicians, storytellers, dancers, puppeteers, and other child-friendly entertainment

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’
Where: Roswell Square
When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $6 per person or $20 per family
What: Enjoy live music while you taste more than 100 flavors of homemade ice-cream (you can even try to lick the competition in an ice-cream eating contest). Then let the little ones burn off their sugar high in the kids play area.