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Atlanta is a little more than two hours away from Greenville.

Families looking for a brief day trip to fill the time during winter break should consider making the drive to downtown Atlanta for an afternoon at the Center for Puppetry Arts, followed by dinner at one of Atlanta’s coolest restaurants for kids.

Center for Puppetry Arts

Hidden like a gem in downtown Atlanta is the Center for Puppetry Arts, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to the art form of puppetry and one of the few puppet museums in the world. It’s a place where children and adults both can be educated and entertained about the art form of puppetry. Have no doubt — puppetry is an art, as visitors will see when they step inside the newly opened Worlds of Puppetry Museum.

Featuring The Jim Henson Collection, guests can explore an interactive exhibit following Henson’s creations, which includes familiar characters from “The Muppets,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Dark Crystal” and more. Kids can produce their own puppet show, read and see how Henson and his staff created certain characters, and get a glimpse inside his office.

The museum also features The Global Collection, which celebrates puppets from cultures around the world, including Vietnam, France, Africa and the Americas. Artifacts are on display along with familiar puppets, such as Gumby, to illustrate how puppets are used for social and artistic expression.

If you go before Dec. 27, you can even catch a special performance of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” based on the classic television special. Performed live from puppets made at the center, it’s an engaging performance that children ages 4 and older will enjoy to celebrate the season. Performances are held Tuesdays – Sundays, but sell out quickly, so make sure you purchase advance tickets before you go. The next show will be “Pinocchio,” which runs Dec. 29 – Jan. 10. Shows run about an hour.

Cost of an all-inclusive ticket is $20.50, but includes entry to the museum, a performance of the show, and a create-a-puppet workshop, during which kids get to make their own puppets to take home with them. Visitors can also take special tours of the museum and spend an afternoon taking everything in.

The center is closed Mondays and major holidays.

For details, visit www.puppet.org or call 404-873-3391.

Grab a bite before you leave

If you’re looking to make memories during your trip to Atlanta, consider taking the kids to The Varsity either for lunch or dinner.

Known as the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity is less than 10 minutes from the Center for Puppetry Arts and is an experience like no other. Sitting on 2 acres, The Varsity is a throwback to older days when drive-in restaurants were all the rage. The menu features chili cheese dogs, onion rings, Frosted Oranges, burgers, and a little bit of everything else. Its hot dogs, ground beef for chili, hamburger patties, bread and produce are always fresh — never frozen — and provide a tasty meal. There are also 16 flavors of ice cream — all homemade — ready for dessert. Be sure to ask for a cook’s hat for the kids when you order.

If themed restaurants are more your style, Hard Rock Café is only about 10 minutes away from the puppetry center, close to the Mall at Peachtree, in case you’re interested in walking off your meal before you leave.

You Can Go

The Center for Puppetry Arts

  • 1404 Spring St. N.W. (at 18th)

  • Atlanta, GA 30309-2820
  • 404-873-3391
  • www.puppet.org

The Varsity Downtown

Hard Rock Café

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