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Doing the 'staycation' thing this summer - Curt Yeomans

Ah, the "staycation." It is the vacation you take without leaving home, or as we used to call it -- the extended weekend.

Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of "staycations," but I will concede they are, at least somewhat, popular, and rather inexpensive. Their pros are that you do not have to pay for a hotel room, and almost all of your meals are whatever you already have in your freezer.

The con, at least in my opinion, is that you don't get to explore a new place. Sure, you might stumble across some place you have never been to before, but "staycation," to me, is still a fancy way of saying, "I'm staying home this week to do some housework."

Since they are, at least somewhat, popular with people, however, I will spot you a list of places to go on your "staycation." The main thing to remember, especially if you have children, is that your house might as well be the antichrist, if you're going to do a vacation without leaving home. In other words, treat it like a hotel room, in that you should use it only as a place to sleep, and eat breakfast and dinner.

If you have children, and they are not in summer camps, then, they are probably at home all day. Doing a "staycation" without leaving the neighborhood will not feel like a vacation to them. Besides, you are on vacation. Get out and live a little. There is plenty to do in the metropolitan Atlanta area to keep you busy for seven days. And, just to show you I'm a good sport, I'm going to list some of them.

If you read the Clayton News Daily, or the Henry Daily Herald, you already know about many of the places in Clayton and Henry counties, so I am going to focus on the places outside this area. There are the usual suspects, like Six Flags, Six Flags White Water, and Stone Mountain, but I'm going to go the "Learn something while you are on vacation" route.

My list of recommended places includes (and keep in mind that space prevents me from listing everything):

* The Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola museum, which offer the "Hit up two attractions in one setting" aspect. They are located next to each other, across Baker Street, from Centennial Olympic Park, in downtown Atlanta. You learn about the sea, then about Coke, and you can walk across the street to the park, afterward. Admission to the Georgia Aquarium is $26 for adults, $19.50 for children ages 3 to 12, and $21.50 for senior citizens, over the age of 65. To get into the World of Coca-Cola, it will cost you $15 for adults, $13 for anyone over the age of 55, and $9 for children between the ages of 3 and 12.

* Fernbank Museum of Natural History, which is located at 767 Clifton Road, in Atlanta. There are dinosaur fossils, and an IMAX theater. Admission for the museum is $15 per adult, $14 per senior citizen over the age of 52, and $13 for children between the ages of 3 and 12.

* The Atlanta History Center, which is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road, in Atlanta. You get to learn about the history of Atlanta, and its surrounding area. Admission is $16.50 for adults, $13 for senior citizens over the age of 65, and $11 for children ages 4 to 12.

* The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, which is located at 2829 Cherokee Street, in Kennesaw. In addition to the Civil War and locomotive history, there is also a temporary exhibit, which lasts through Aug. 29, on the people who work at the White House. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for senior citizens over the age of 60, and $5.50 for children ages 4 to 12. As an added bonus, there is a Mountasia Family Funcenter, with miniature golf, go carts, bumper boats, and an arcade, located nearby, at 175 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy, in Marietta.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.