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Summer break: Where to go, what to do

By Greg Gelpi

From adventures in books to adventures throughout the state, summer is here and families are planning vacation activities.

One Morrow resident's vacation could be permanent. Antoinette Perrilliant is moving back to New Orleans.

"That's going to be my vacation," Perrilliant said. "I miss it a lot."

While on "vacation," though, she does plan to hit the wave pool and go swimming, she said.

While she is heading south, Riverdale resident Felton Ransby will head north.

Ransby, a retired teacher, will pack up the van and his 13 grandchildren and visit family in Detroit, Chicago and elsewhere in the Midwest.

Although Perrilliant and Ransby are heading out of state, tourism within the state is expected to draw millions of people.

Last year, 48 million people traveled to and through the state, according to the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism. That is 2.9 percent more than the previous year.

The economic impact of 48 million tourists was $25 billion, $14.5 billion from domestic travelers, according to the state. Georgia ranks No. 7, up one spot from last year, on the list of most visited states in the country.

Six Flags Over Georgia, one of the reasons visitors take to the roads bound for Georgia, has more than 100 acres of "fun stuff," park spokesman Jim Taylor said.

"We've got a message for people and that is life is very busy and they should take time to play," Taylor said. "Americans in general just aren't taking time to spend with their families to have fun."

New at the Austell amusement park this summer are five rides, including the park's 10th roller coaster, the 900-foot long steel roller coaster Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster.

Six Flags Over Georgia will also have special events for the summer, including Christian music festival Atlanta Fest from June 16 to June 19, the Salute to America Celebration from June 26 to July 4 and the Latin Fest in September.

Libraries throughout Henry and Clayton counties have released a full slate of summer activities as well for each branch library.

The Morrow Branch Public Library will have events, including Wow Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. every week. The event features children's videos and activities.

The Clayton County Library Headquarters will host activities almost everyday, including story time for children as young as newborns.

A variety of children's activities will be on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer at Hampton Public Library.

Children can dress in pajamas and enjoy the event at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at the Locust Grove Branch Public Library.

Both library systems are conducting summer-long reading programs for children, in addition to the activities.

For more information on Georgia tourism and sites to see within the state, visit the state's tourism Wed site www.georgiaonmymind.org. More library activities can be found at www.clayton.public.lib.ga.us and www.henry.public.lib.ga.us.