23 fun events for Atlanta families in August

Enjoy the last days of summer with ice cream eating contests, calf-roping, sprinkler runs, world music, and Olympic fever
Atlanta family events August
Take a licking at Miss Mary's Ice Cream Crankin' in Roswell

Photograph courtesy of Miss Mary's Ice Cream Crankin'

Through 8/14
Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence 
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday through Saturday); 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $17 for students; $16 for kids 3 to 16; free for kids 2 and under)
What: You’re likely familiar with fireflies (aka lightning bugs), but nature is home to a whole host of other glowing creatures. Learn more about light-producing organisms by walking through their habitats in this exhibition.

Through 8/14
Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture
Where: High Museum of Art
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($19.50 adults; $12 ages 6 to 17; free for kids 5 and under)
What: Sneakerheads get fine art validation at the High’s new exhibition examining the shoes’ social and cultural currency. Expect to see kicks from top fashion designers, the deep archives of shoemakers like Adidas, Nike, and Converse, and private collectors like Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

Through 11/27
Where: Sifly Piazza at Woodruff Arts Center
When: All day
Cost: Free
What: Kids can climb and slide inside these four Instagram-ready structures by sculptor Jaime Haydon, each shaped like a familiar object like a pig or a bell, and painted with bright polka dots, stripes, or zig-zags.

Through 1/8/17
I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle
Where: High Museum of Art
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday); 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($19.50 for adults; $12 for kids ages 6 to 17; free for kids 5 and under)
What: Even if your kid is too young to read, he or she would likely still recognize the distinctive hand-colored collages of children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle, best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. See 80 original artworks from 15 of Carle’s most popular books in this career retrospective.

Old MacDonald’s Farm
Where: Center for Puppetry Arts
When: 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (Tuesday through Friday); 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday); 11 a.m. (Saturday only)
Cost: $20.50 ($10.25 for members); free for kids under 2
What: Kids can sing, dance, and help the farmhands at the Center for Puppetry Arts’ new interactive production, which tells the classic nursery story using rod puppets. For ages two and up.

Jesmyn Ward
Where: Carter Library
When: 7 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: For teenagers who are looking to join the conversation around race in America, National Book Award winner Ward reads from a new collection of essays and poems, The Fire This Time, featuring contributing writers such as Jericho Brown, Claudia Rankine, and Emory University’s Kevin Young.

Old Soldiers Day Parade
Where: Downtown Alpharetta
When: 9:15 a.m. (parade begins at 10:30 a.m.)
Cost: Free
What: Since 1952, Alpharetta has hosted this event honoring U.S. veterans. Show up for parade floats, high school marching bands, kids activities, and free Varsity hot dogs.

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
Where: Georgia International Horse Park
When: 7:30 p.m. (Saturday); 3:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $23 for adults in advance ($30 at the door); $18 for kids in advance ($23 at the door)
What: Now in its 32nd year, the nation’s only touring black rodeo giddyaps into town, with calf roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and more.

Water Day
Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center
When: Noon
Cost: $10 for adults; $7 for kids ages 13 to 18; $6 for kids ages 3 to 12; free for kids ages 2 and under
What: School may be back in session, but try telling the weather gods that it’s not summer anymore. Bring bathing suits and flip flops for heat-beating activities like water games and sprinkler runs.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
Where: Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
When: 7:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. Sundays)
Cost: $15
What: 37 plays. 154 sonnets. Two hours. This fast-paced comedic performance rips through the Bard’s entire catalogue. Expect adult language, but nothing that most Romeo-obsessed high-schooolers can’t handle.

Cool Dads Rock Soapbox Derby
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (derby race begins at 12:30 p.m.)
Cost: Free
What: Watch as kids ages 4 and up race in homemade soapbox cars, then check out additional cars on display. Plus: food trucks, music, and kid-friendly activities. The derby sponsor, Cool Dads Rock, is dedicated to helping dads and their kids build strong relationships.

Jurassic Park
Where: Fox Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $10
What: If your kiddos enjoyed last year’s installment starring Chris Pratt (or heck, even if they didn’t), introduce them to the superior 1993 original—on the big screen as part of the Fox Theatre’s Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. Also showing this month: Saturday morning cartoons (8/20), Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (8/20), and Disney’s The Little Mermaid Sing-A-Long (8/27).

Summer Under the Stars
Where: The Promenade in Piedmont Park
When: 6 p.m. (events begin at 8 p.m.)
Cost: $5
What: Turner Classic Movies brings back its popular outdoor summer movie series, with ticket sales benefitting the Piedmont Park Conservancy. The series kicks off with Casablanca on 8/18, and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws will also screen on 8/25.

The Prom
Where: Alliance Theatre
When: Various
Cost: $20 to $65
What: Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (who previously helmed Tuck Everlasting at the Alliance) directs this topical new play about a gay teen whose school decides to cancel the prom rather than allow her to attend with a female date. Recommended for teenagers 13 and up.

Kidz Bop
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 to $45
What: Delighting children (and even a few parents) since 2001, the “Kidz Bop Kids”—who now look like they’re just about ready to head off to college—perform relentlessly upbeat family-friendly covers of Top 40 hits. Expect to hear songs of the summer like “Stitches,” “Hideaway,” “Same Old Love” and more.

Shrek the Musical
Where: Jennie T. Anderson Theatre
When: Various
Cost: $33 to $58
What: Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents this Tony-award winning musical, featuring all your favorite fairy tale characters from the animated Dreamworks film.

Meet the Past Festival: Margaret Mitchell
Where: Margaret Mitchell House
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $16.50 for adults; $13 for students; $11 for kids
What: It’s been 80 years since Mitchell published Gone With the Wind, making her the most famous writer in Georgia. See what it was like during the years when Mitchell, a young journalist, was working on her novel, and enjoy lawn games, live music, GWTW trivia, and kid-friendly fun.

World Music Day: Sounds of the World
Where: Center for Civil and Human Rights
When: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: $25 for adults; $15 for kids
What: Explore different cultures through musical demonstrations, performances, and hands-on instrument encounters. Among the performers: an Indonesian percussion ensemble, an Afro-Klezmer orchestra, and Japanese Taiko drummers.

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: Celebrate the 15th anniversary of Giants of the Mesozoic—Fernbank’s permanent exhibition featuring some of the largest dinos in the world—with dinosaur- and birthday-themed crafts and games. Special guests include the Georgia Bubbleman, Fernbank’s mascot, Giggy A. Dinosaur, and Buddy the T-Rex from PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train.

The Games: Ancient Olympia to Atlanta to Rio
Where: The Millennium Gate Museum
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Cost: $12 ($10 for students)
What: Keep the Olympic excitement alive with this exhibition, which looks back at the first Games. See 2,500-year-old Greek artifacts and learn about the mythology behind the sporting event. Be sure to check out the huge 3D printed model of the statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’
Where: Roswell Square
When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $6 per person; $20 per family
What: Try more than 100 flavors of homemade ice cream while listening to live music. Kids can dig in at an ice cream eating contest, and then come down from the sugar high at the children’s activity area. All proceeds benefit the Drake House, which assists homeless mothers and children in north metro Atlanta.

Forever Family 5K4Kids
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
When: 8:30 a.m.
Cost: $30 race registration fee ($35 on the day of the race)
What: Forever Family advocates on behalf of the millions of U.S. children whose parents are incarcerated. This fundraising event includes a 5K, a 1-mile fun run, and a kids zone with a bouncy house, face painting, balloon animals, and more.

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival
Where: Grant Park
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday); 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free
What: Mark the end of summer in Atlanta’s oldest park. The weekend kicks off with a 5K, and will also include live bands, an artists market, food trucks, craft beer, and a huge kids’ zone. Ride your bike over, and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will valet it for free. Funds benefit the Grant Park Conservancy.