Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.
DeKalb County holds some of Georgia’s best attractions.
What’s more, its location — just 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta — is a plus.
“DeKalb offers an affordable alternative for group tours any time of the year,” said Mike Vescio, sales manager for Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We invite your group to stay overnight in DeKalb, away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.”
Dinos and waffles
Fernbank Museum of Natural History presents the prehistoric world and world cultures. Outside, there’s a family of bronze Hadrosaurs, a dinosaur species that once lived in prehistoric Georgia. Inside, the “Giants of the Mesozoic” exhibit features the 123-foot-long Argentinosaurus and the 47-foot-long Giganotosaurus. WildWoods is an outdoor experience on an elevated boardwalk through the trees. WildWoods connects to Fernbank Forest. The forest’s 65 acres make it the largest old growth Piedmont forest in a major U.S. city.
Listen to the echoes of ancient empires at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. The Carlos Museum is located just around the corner from the Fernbank Museum.
Docent June Major said the collection at the Carlos Museum started as a cabinet of curiosities. A real museum was formed in 1919. Over the years, the museum has expanded. As a result, it now holds the Southeast’s most distinguished collection of art and artifacts from ancient Egypt (think mummies), Nubia, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Don’t forget to check out the Waffle House Museum, the site of the first Waffle House restaurant. The building has been restored so that visitors feel like they are stepping into 1955, the year the restaurant opened. The museum is available for tours by appointment only on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.
Tour and treats
Find out more about the Centers for Disease Control on a free tour of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum. Guided tours for groups are available by reservation. The museum not only shares the value of prevention-based public health, it also relates the CDC’s heritage and accomplishments.
Pick up some tasty treats from all over the world at DeKalb Farmers Market. Since it launched in 1977, the market has expanded from a produce stand into a 140,000-square-foot building. In addition to produce and food, there’s a restaurant and coffee shop.
Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s most-visited attraction, offers indoor and outdoor entertainment for tour groups all year long. Board the Summit Skyride to the mountaintop to see Atlanta and its environs. Hop aboard Scenic Railroad and take a 5-mile train ride around the mountain. Take a self- guided stroll through the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum, which presents artifacts and stories that span 12,000 years. Visit Historic Square & Farmyard or catch a 4D film in Georgia’s first 4D theater. In the evening, watch the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision®, the world’s longest running laser light show.
“With a variety of family-friendly activities to enjoy, groups can tailor their visit and explore natural and historic landscapes or discover popular attractions throughout the park for any occasion,” said Angela Walton, the park’s public relations manager.
Atlanta Hot Glass can handle demonstrations and instruct small groups in glass blowing.
“It’s an exciting time for art glass because it is relatively new,” said Danielle Colón, an instructor. “It’s about learning to listen to the glass. A glass artist is always thinking one step ahead.”
At Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, book a class to build a miniature clay face jug. The result? Take home a piece of Georgia folk art. The Tudor Revival-style building was built as a home. Now, however, it is used for classes, performances and exhibits.
Nuts and bolts in DeKalb County
Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau represents DeKalb County, which includes the cities of Tucker, Chamblee and Doraville.
Vescio said the area’s 70 hotels offer welcome signage and baggage handling. Moreover, the properties have special driver’s rates, one comp room per 20 rented, safe interior corridors and on-site security.
Discover DeKalb provides itinerary/packaging services, competitive hotel bids, free on-site hotel parking and tour itineraries.
“Make your next stop with us,” Vescio said.
For information on DeKalb County call the Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau at 770-492-5012 or go to discoverdekalb.com.