By Carla Caldwell

Christi Feeney’s lists are getting around.

Christi Feeney and daughter Catherine.

It’s hard to say how many people are using Feeney’s lists of ideas for kid-friendly outings, because the e-mailed lists are passed from mom to mom. But it’s safe to say that as parents look for interesting places around metro Atlanta to take their kids this summer, Feeney’s lists are circulating among moms in numerous north Atlanta neighborhoods.

Several Buckhead mothers spending a recent afternoon with their children at the Cross Creek Club pool said they each had received copies of Feeney’s lists from friends. The moms interviewed didn’t know one another. Each lives in a different Buckhead neighborhood, and their children attend different elementary schools.

Jane O’Malley, who lives in the Fernleaf neighborhood, doesn’t know Feeney, but she got a copy of Feeney’s activity lists from a friend who lives in East Cobb. O’Malley, whose children attend Warren T. Jackson Elementary, said she has passed the lists along to her friends.

The O’Malleys recently enjoyed an inexpensive activity — and escaped the heat — when they saw “Shrek 3” during the $1 Tuesday morning movie special they found on one of Feeney’s lists of kid-friendly events.

For her part, Feeney is happy to share her ideas. She’s a lawyer and a self-described Type A personality who recently started looking forward to becoming a stay-at-home mom. She wanted to spend time with daughter Catherine during her two-year sabbatical before “Cat” starts kindergarten, but the last thing she wanted to do is sit at home.

So she started compiling lists of fun and inexpensive — and sometimes free — activities mom and daughter can do together to fill their days with fun.

What started as lists of activities for one mom and her daughter has become reference lists for moms throughout metro Atlanta. Just as moms once stood over the backyard fence sharing tips, moms now are sharing Feeney’s lists via e-mail.

And while there are plenty of blogs, Web sites and publications sharing ideas for things to do with kids, Feeney’s lists are a little different, in that they were put together simply to fit one mom’s idea of what would be fun to do with her daughter.

Things to do on a summer day

Christi D. Feeney finds things to do with her kids by scouring websites, neighborhood e-mails and any other lists she can find. She assembles lists of weekly events and a longer list of ongoing activities.
Here’s a sampling of the kinds of activities that Feeney lists:
Imagine It! Children’s Museum in Atlanta. Free admission for children ages 8 and younger the second Tuesday of each month through Dec. 31, 2010, from 1-7 p.m. Note that timed tickets are issued beginning at 1 p.m. and reservations are not accepted. Tickets are issued only as capacity allows. (www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org).
Home Depot Kids’ Workshops. First Saturday of each month, 9-noon. Children learn tool safety and complete a do-it-yourself project. Fun one-on-one time between parents and kids. Kids receive a kid-sized orange apron and achievement pin. Free. (www.homedepot.com)
Lowe’s “Build and Grow Kids” Clinics. Selected Saturdays 10 a.m. Complete a project, receive a free apron, goggles and project-themed patch and certificate. Free. (www.lowesbuildandgrow.com).
Storytimes at Atlanta-Fulton County public libraries. Go to www.afplweb.com, click on Kids Pages and then click on “events.”
Centennial Park. Family Fun Day every fourth Saturday, April to September from noon to 4 p.m. Free.(www.centennialpark.com).

Aimee Works, who lives in Underwood Hills and whose child will attend E. Rivers Elementary in August, said she was e-mailed one of Feeney’s lists by a friend. Works said that while she’s not likely to visit places on the list that are far from home, she may give a few closer-in activities a shot this summer.

Feeney, who lives in the Morningside neighborhood with her husband, Joe, does not endorse or review the activities, groups or locations when adding them to her lists. She simply cobbles together activities found on Web sites, blogs, magazines, newspapers and other sources.

Feeney said she started her lists using tips from the family’s former nanny, who left to attend law school. “Our nanny was so good about finding fun activities,” Feeney said. “Catherine always seemed engaged and to be learning something. I wanted to continue that.”

She expanded from there. Feeney said that when she realized she had information others might use, she e-mailed it to parents in her daughter’s class, to friends from their play group and to other friends. She told them it was fine to share, but she never expected the audience to reach so many neighborhoods.

“I can’t say how many people have the lists at this point,” said Feeney. “But the feedback has been great; very, very positive. I think everyone is as worried as I am about having nothing to do this summer!”

To get a copy of Feeney’s list, send her an e-mail at christifeeney@yahoo.com.

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Here are some of our ideas for places to go and things to do with your children

By Joe Earle

Here, in no particular order, are five places in north metro Atlanta that the editors of Reporter Newspapers have found to be  places kids and their parents can enjoy a relatively inexpensive outing together.

1. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The National Park Service, the same folks who keep tabs on Yosemite and Yellowstone, provides a string of parks along the Chattahoochee. It’s a great place to hike. It feels like you’re in the wilderness when you’re actually surrounded by north metro Atlanta. The Island Ford Visitor Contact Station is located in Sandy Springs, just off Ga. 400.

Directions: Take exit 6 (Northridge Road) from Ga. 400. Take Dunwoody Place to Roberts Drive, turn right and drive .7 miles to the park entrance. Entrance fee is $3; an annual pass is $25.

2. DeKalb Peachtree Airport. Watch airplanes land and take off from bleachers erected alongside the runway. There’s a playground for the kids, if they get bored with the planes.

Directions: Take Clairmont Road to entrance to airport. Turn on Airport Road and drive nearly to the end of the road. There’s a parking lot there. Free.

3. The Federal Reserve Bank’s Monetary Museum. Learn the history of money, how the Fed conducts monetary police and see what a million bucks – really! –looks like in cash. The museum, located in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank in Midtown, is open to self-guided tours for groups of fewer than 10 people. (If your group contains 10 to 30 people, you can arrange a guided tour.)

Directions:  The Fed is at 1000 Peachtree Street N.E., Atlanta, Ga., 30309. Free. (Actually, sometimes they give you little bags of shredded cash to take home.)

4. The Chattahoochee Nature Center. A great place for a walk in the woods and to see wildlife close up. There are hiking trails, ponds and a boardwalk stroll along the river.

Directions: From Roswell Road, turn left on Azalea Drive (the first traffic light after crossing the Chattahoochee River from Sandy Springs). At the second traffic light, turn left onto Willeo Road. The center is about .5 miles down the road. Admission costs $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children aged 3-12.

5. The Atlanta History Center. Hidden away on 33 acres in the heart of Buckhead, the History Center offers more than simply museum displays, although it has those, too. It features houses that show how some Georgia farmers lived on simple 19th century farmhouses and how other Georgians lived in fine fancy town houses during the Roaring 20s. It also offers elegant gardens.

Directions:  The center is located at 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, N.W. Tickets, $16.50 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, $11 for children aged 4 to 12.

Do you have special that you like to take your children for a day out? E-mail us your suggestions at editor@reporternewspapers.net. We may post some of your best ideas at www.reporternewspapers.net.

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