3 Days in Dunwoody: Families

If you're looking for a family-friendly place to play and explore in the Atlanta area, Dunwoody is it. Located just north of Atlanta, Dunwoody is easy to access and easy to get around. Its combination of outdoor parks, family events, and abundant dining and shopping defines the family-friendly destination. Annual events like the Lemonade Days spring carnival and the Dunwoody Art Festival which takes place every Mother's Day weekend are a couple of the reasons families plan a trip to Dunwoody each year, but there's plenty to do no matter when you visit. If you're planning a long weekend or mid-week stay, here's a three-day guide to the top things to see and do with your kids.

Day 1: Nature's Calling

One of the best things about Dunwoody is that despite its urban location just outside of Atlanta, the city also has abundant green space and parks for exploring. And with mild temperatures year-round, it's almost always a good time to be outside. On the first day of your family-friendly Dunwoody trip, start your nature adventure at Brook Run Park. Located in southeast Dunwoody, Brook Run Park totals an impressive 102 acres, making it one of the largest parks in the region. A hike-and-bike loop trail takes you through on a scenic route through the park, and the park's community garden has an assortment of flowers native to Georgia. The park also has an expansive children's playground with soft rubber surfaces underneath the equipment. There's also a sand area, as well as a stream that runs through the area, so water clothes might be a good idea. Pack a picnic and rest under the shades of one of the park's tall trees after a morning of exploring. 

Amp up your afternoon at Brook Run Park's Treetop Quest, an obstacle course and adventure park that takes you through Dunwoody's tree canopy with ziplining as high as 55 feet in the air. For younger kids, Treetop Quest also offers fun activities like monkey-bridge excursions and suspension courses. During busy weekends, you should probably book reservations in advance, and all participants have to take ziplining and harness safety lessons. Like most attractions in Dunwoody, parking is easy at Brook Run Park. Spaces are available at the front, and additional parking can be found near the dog park and trail loop.

The other must-visit destination on a day of nature adventures with your kids is the Dunwoody Nature Center. The education center has a wilderness area for hiking, creek jumping and playtime at the park's hidden playgrounds. Take a stroll through the tree house, all before settling down for some rest and relaxation in the hammock garden. Each year, the center hosts some of Dunwoody's most popular family events, including Butterfly Experience, where families can go inside enormous tents full of free-roaming butterflies and pet animals at the Birds of Prey show and enjoy other activities. Regular events at the center also include kid-friendly yoga classes and backyard camp outs. 

After night falls, the center periodically hosts its own concert in the park where guests can bring their own picnic blankets, lawn chairs and picnic dinners while enjoying live sounds from local bands. From spring to fall, the center hosts Friday night hikes for children for after-hours encounters with wildlife, ending with treats of hot cocoa around a bonfire.

Day 2: Visiting Atlanta's Biggest Attractions

Dunwoody is largely known for Perimeter Mall, a massive shopping center in Perimeter Center with big-name stores you'd expect along with sit-down restaurants and a large food court. Refresh the kids' wardrobes by visiting Monica and Andy which offers adorable clothing for infants and toddlers. Boxlunch is another spot in the mall popular with kids for its toy collectibles like Hello Kitty plushies, Pokémon trading cards and Star War action figures. 

Perimeter Mall is just a couple minutes away from Dunwoody's own MARTA station. The train can take you and your kids downtown to visit many of Atlanta's most popular attractions. From the Dunwoody station, take MARTA's Red Line to either the Peachtree Center station or the Georgia Dome/Philips Arena stop for a quick walk to the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, which sit near each other by Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Parking at the MARTA station is free as long it's for less than 24 hours.

After a day in downtown Atlanta, head back to Dunwoody for some local dining. You can plan a visit to any one of Dunwoody's area restaurants, most of which cater to kids with children's menus and booster seats. But for the best way to sample some of Dunwoody's local eats, plan to attend Brook Run Park's Food Truck Thursday events from April through October. Some of the featured food truck vendors include The Bento Bus, King of Pops, Genki Noodles and Sushi, Ibiza Bites, On Tapa The World and One Love Jerk Grill. This event is held on Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to nightfall. Dogs are welcome in this park, and there's a designated area for them to play off-leash.

Day 3: Exploring Dunwoody's Arts

Spend your last day in Dunwoody enjoying the arts, first by paying a visit to Spruill Center for the Arts. Spruill's education center on Chamblee Dunwoody Road conducts about 700 courses throughout the year for adults, teens and children. The Spruill Gallery & Gift Shop is an altogether separate space. It's located in a historic home on Ashford Dunwoody Road, and it hosts rotating exhibits each year for local and regional artists. The on-site gift shop sells paintings, jewelry, furniture, trinkets, novelties and other gifts-many made my local artists. Adjacent to the Gallery, the rotating mural is the prime spot to snap a Dunwoody selfie. 

For the performing arts, check out what's playing at Stage Door Theater. Located on Chamblee Dunwoody Road, the theater has shows at 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m., and you can purchase tickets in advance.