If you love Junior Rangering at National Parks as well as state parks then add Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield and Etowah Mounds State Park in Georgia to your list of places to see in the heart of Atlanta.
I took the kids to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield where Sherman was briefly defeated before he burned Atlanta. This battlefield and museum is near Atlanta and worth the drive. You can climb the mountain via a paved road or take the shuttle to the top. Either way make it to the summit to see a panorama view of the Atlanta area.
The visitor’s center has a great film and a small museum that you shouldn’t miss. If you have kids make sure they pick up the Junior Ranger booklet. It’s free just ask a ranger.
It will take you about an hour of your visit to complete but you can do it as you ride the shuttle, walk through the museum or hike in the park.
Tip: If you ride the shuttle or walk the mountain, make sure you use the bathroom before you go. I didn’t see any bathroom facilities at the top.
Go here to get hours, directions and admission. This year is the park’s 150th anniversary so check the schedule for special events before you go.
ETOWAH INDIAN MOUNDS —
Once you’re done at Kennesaw it’s a short drive to the Etowah Indian Mounds State Park.
Georgia State Parks have a cool Junior Ranger program you can do collectively by visiting as many of the parks as you can. However you can earn a badge just by visiting one.
The Etowah mounds rise out of the horizon in a field near a farm. Check out the museum before hiking to the mounds and down by the creek the Indians used centuries ago.
Watch your kids at the top of the mound. There are no protective rails or fencing.
Go here to get hours, directions and admission. Also check the calendar for special events or programs. We attended a weapons demonstration during our visit.
My kids earned Junior Ranger badges. We then visited GA State Park Etowah Indian Mounds where they completed two separate state Junior ranger badges.
Bonus tip: Etowah is close to the Tellus Science Museum and a cool train museum, an ASTC passport participating facility.