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5 family-friendly parks in the Atlanta Metro area

by Barbra Murray

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Stone Mountain Park in DeKalb County, Georgia

For those who live in the Atlanta Metro area, there are a plethora of parks and nature reserves to escape to when one has the hankering. Many of these parks have activities for people of all ages, including biking, hiking, fishing and more.

Here are five Atlanta-area parks worth checking out, especially as summer gets underway:

•Lullwater Preserve – Located on the campus of Emory University, Lullwater Preserve is a quiet nature preserve with walking trails, a 210-foot suspension bridge and plenty of green space. Also located in the park is Candler Lake and the ruins of a power house that used to provide electricity to Lullwater House, a 19th century tudor mansion built for Walter Candler, son of John Pemberton (the founder of Coca-Cola). While Lullwater Preserve is intended for use by the students, faculty and staff of Emory University, local residents can enjoy the park as well.

•Chattahoochee Nature Center – Located between Roswell and Marietta, Chattahoochee Nature Center is a 127-acre park situated along the Chattahoochee River dedicated to educating citizens about the natural world and connecting them to nature. The park highlights the natural beauty of Georgia with native plants in gardens and wetlands. The center is also refuge to 50 species of injured, non-releasable wildlife. Besides showcasing animal and plant life, the center offers its visitors hiking trails, a river boardwalk and hands-on exhibits for children.

•Sweetwater Creek State Park – Only minutes away from downtown Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek State Park has a little bit of everything: rapids, hiking trails and the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill that was burnt down during the Civil War. Also located in the park is the 215-acre George Sparks Reservoir, a popular spot for fishing and picnicking.

•Davidson-Arabia Preserve – The Davidson-Arabia Preserve was once used for granite quarrying, but is now a 2,550-acre park. Today, visitors can enjoy miles of hiking and bike trails, wetlands, forests and two lakes. Visitors can also hike to the top of Arabia Mountain, a monadnock where rare plant and animal species thrive.

•Stone Mountain Park – Built around the world’s largest granite mountain, Stone Mountain Park is Georgia’s most-visited attraction. Set across 3,200 acres, visitors to the park can hike to the top of the mountain and enjoy laser shows in the summer months. Also located in the park are two golf courses, a lake for fishing and 15 miles of nature trails.

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