Atlanta with kids: visiting the CNN Center

The CNN Center is an impressive family attraction in Atlanta, and because it’s located conveniently adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park attractions, it’s definitely worth a visit.

CNN Center

If you have young kids, it will be enough to walk into this vast building, take in all the international flags and large globe, and stop by the fun stores, such as a Cartoon Network store and Atlanta Braves store. You can grab a bite to eat at any number of food court offerings, and find spacious and clean bathrooms. If you have school-aged kids, you’ll want to take the time for a Inside CNN Studio Tour.

Inside CNN Studio Tour

The tour takes about 50 minutes, and takes visitors up the world’s longest freestanding escalator (eight floors) to the CNN news rooms, ‘Situation Room’, and other TV studios. Our tour guide spoke a bit fast, but was overall a good source of information. We learned about the various equipment used in typical CNN news rooms, from tele-prompters to green screens, then saw some broadcasts in action. Perhaps the most interesting part of the tour was at the beginning, when we were shown–as it played out live–how the various feeds are fed into the on-air broadcast. We were there while Storm Nemo battered the Boston area, and saw a weather reporter nearly hit by a truck pulling out from a gas station! All was well that ended well, but it made me wonder whether CNN tours continue was very dire news hits.

Preschoolers and toddlers will not find the tour interesting, but kids approximately 8 and up will really enjoy it, and learn a lot as well, such as what the anchors do during commercials (chat with each other and wait) and what happens when you wear green against a green screen (you disappear like Harry Potter in his invisibility cloak).

Note: there is no food or drink on the tour, nor any bathrooms. Plan accordingly! You will also go through security, and your bags will be searched. You’ll notice a heavy security presence everywhere in CNN Center. Sadly, I’m sure it’s warranted.

Date last visited:

February 9, 2013

Distance from the interstate:

Several minutes off of I-75/85.

Tour Admission:

$15 for adults, $14 for teens (13-17), and $12 for kids 4-12. This attraction is included in Atlanta CityPASS and you’ll get the best value this way or through Go Select packages (see below).

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Hours:

9 am- 5 pm Monday through Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm. Tours are best on Mondays through Fridays, when the newsrooms are most active.

Dining:

There’s a decent cafeteria on site, though be advised that it’s as costly as all museum and aquarium cafes. The line moves fast, however, and there’s plenty of seating.

Directions:

The CNN Center is located at Marietta and Centennial Park Drive. A parking garage is located nearby at 178 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. Park there in the morning and stay in the park area all day, visiting other Centennial Olympic Park attractions.

Learn what else there is to do in the Centennial Olympic Park area of Atlanta!

As I disclose whenever applicable, we experienced the CNN Insider Tour as guests, for the purpose of review. While appreciated, this hospitality did not come with expectation of a positive review.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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