Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield // Atlanta, GA
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This may well be the summer of Junior Ranger badges. My Big Little is in the sweet spot for completing the activity packets and all three Littles love earning the badges. Kennesaw Mountain is an easy 20 min drive from the center of Atlanta, has a Jr. Ranger program, has lovely shaded hikes and is a wonderful introduction to the Civil War. We took a day trip over 4th of July weekend to complete the Jr. Ranger badge and enjoy the wilderness.
Kennesaw Mountain is a popular recreation area so although they have plenty of parking, it is often crowded. We lucked out with a spot in the main parking lot.
I relied on my trusty flip belt to hold my phone, keys, cards and cash while we were on the trail. I love having my hands free and not needing to carry a bag with me on these short hikes. Plus once I put the carrier on I still have access to all my gear.
We ran into the visitors center to pick up our Jr. Ranger packets and then hit the trails while it was still cool. The ranger (and the Jr. Ranger packet) encouraged us to take the environmental trail. This easy trail runs through the woods without a bunch of elevation gain.
They even have a Wee Ranger program here, so the Little Little (2) got his own packet with easy activities. He completed most of his coloring while riding along in the carrier.
The trail has a number of benches. It was cool enough in the forest for us to stop at the benches and complete one of the activities and then move along.
If only we were able to do our activities with such focus and in a lovely place every day! We were glad to have sprayed ourselves with bug spray before heading into the woods.
The Environmental Trail has a variety of sign posts along the trail addressing plant and animal life. There were also battlement signs referring to different divisions and where they were during the battle on Kennesaw Mountain.
When we arrived back at the visitors center there were Civil War Musicians set up on the battlefield. They encouraged the Littles to join them in a march. The Big and Little Littles happily obliged and were rewarded with American flags to keep!
We packed a lunch and enjoyed it while listening to the music. Kennesaw Mountain seems to have a variety of programming going on throughout the summer.
Inside the visitors center there is a small, but comprehensive museum and a 30 min movie. The movie was a bit intense for our easily startled little ones – we sent Jeff in to check it out first. The Big Little’s Jr. Ranger packet relied heavily on some of the museum exhibits. Jeff took the two littles to run a bit while the Big Little learned about the division between Southern and Northern States, border states and some of the issues of the Civil War. This is not something we had previously discussed, so it was a great first introduction.
Once the packets were done our kids were quizzed on their knowledge by the ranger. She was just lovely and made sure to tailor the questions to each child. She even found a way to communicate with my Middle Little who decided he would only “speak pig” with her through oinks and grunts. (Rolls eyes.)
All three boys passed their interrogation and were awarded badges. Kennesaw Mountain actually goes above and beyond. Each boy received a bag with a few goodies in it, in addition to their badges.
If you are in Atlanta and looking for some outdoor adventures I highly recommend a visit to Kennesaw Mountain. Had the weather been a bit cooler we would have added in the hike to the top of the mountain making this a full day adventure.