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Free family fun at the High Museum of Art

September 19, 2017
Free Admission Day at High Museum of Art

I love Atlanta. You may have been able to tell, by my blog’s title. Some days, I love Atlanta more than others. The day Lucie and I went down to the “Second Sunday” at the High Museum was one of those days.

It was the day before hurricane Irma swept into town. Along with the rest of the city (maybe state, even), I was anxious. We needed to get out and have some fun, before it was time to hunker down for the storm.

I’d been dying to see the Andy Warhol print collection at the High, but wasn’t sure if I could justify the expense given my 6-year-old’s short attention span. Then I realized that once a month, every second Sunday, the museum offers free general admission along with free family activities. Lucie and I hopped on Marta to check it out.

What a fantastic experience! As soon as we crossed the bridge from Arts Center station (which is extremely convenient to Woodruff Arts Center), Jazz music greeted us. Woodruff’s lawn was set up with not only a band, but drink stations and food vendors (a future adult day date may be in order.)

The first thing Lucie wanted to do was take a spin on the “Merry Go Zoo,” a really cool installment just outside the High’s entrance. Art that you can touch! While many of the kids drew with sidewalk chalk or blew bubbles (all provided by the museum), we were drawn to an area where volunteers were handing out easels and oil pastels to the budding artists.

high museum of art outside installment

Their “assignment” was to draw the majestic oak tree on the lawn — and Lucie took it very seriously. It was so cool to watch this whole group of people, from all walks of life, gathering on the lawn and drawing interpreting this tree in different ways.

free family arts and crafts at woodruff arts center

When I finally dragged Lucie into the museum, the exhibits did not disappoint. It was crowded, but it took no time to get through the admissions line — the nice people at the High even gave us some free Warhol coasters! Warhol was incredible — particularly the way they juxtaposed his darker pieces (like “Electric Chair“) with more iconic work, like the Marilyns.

My favorite, though, was the folk and self-taught art exhibit. Lucie and I were both fascinated by Howard Finster. There was so much to take in, I think I’ll go another day kid-free.

howard finster sculpture high museum

I’d recommend the High’s Second Sundays to any family looking for an affordable adventure, with a little education. NOTE: while the Warhol exhibition has since ended, there’s no shortage of inspiring artwork and sights to check out at the High Museum.

For Couples Uniquely Atlanta

Our Family Feud Taping Experience

July 30, 2015
Family Feud Taping Experience

Where are my Family Feud fanatics? We certainly are. When we had cable, we watched it every single night. We were that couple yelling out answers to the TV, and face-palming every time someone said something stupid.

The show is actually filmed in Atlanta, so I decided to sign us up. I ended up surprising Ken with the tickets for Father’s Day this year (it still counts as a gift if it’s free, right?). We took the day off on Tuesday went to the taping.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photo evidence of this experience – forget about bringing your phone or camera inside the building! So I’ll do my best to sum up the Family Feud taping experience, for anyone who’s thought about doing it.

At first, you’ll wonder if you’re in the right place.
The Atlanta Civic Center (where the show is filmed) is in need of a facelift, to put it mildly. From the outside, you’d never think a major TV production was filmed here. Parking for Family Feud is around in back, in a somewhat sketchy-looking lot.

Then you’ll feel like you’re at the DMV.
We had regular “seat request” tickets, which aren’t guaranteed tickets – sort of like flying standby. So we arrived an hour before the time on the ticket to get a place in line. There were already about 30 others waiting. We stood for about half an hour, and then spent the next 2 hours being moved from one holding area to the next, waiting to see if we had a spot. I was surprised by how many people were there on a random Tuesday!

The first priority goes to the families of the families who are playing. Then, it’s “priority” ticket holders, those who were among the first to sign up online. Then, they let the regular folks through on a first-come, first-served basis.

Then you’ll be like…WHOA! SHINY!
We did make the cut (obviously), so we finally got to go into the studio. We were mesmerized by the set! It’s really big, bright and flashy, just like on TV. There was a new car on a pedestal toward the back. It’s also just fascinating to see the crew working.

They will get you really jazzed up.
There is a dude whose actual job title is “Hype Man.” He’s part comedian, part cheerleader, and comes out about half an hour before the show starts to basically get the audience amped up and lay down the rules. While high-energy music pumps in the background, he tells jokes, has audience members participate in games on stage, and other warm-ups.

You will clap till your hands hurt and yell until you lose your voice.
As the audience, it’s your job to clap and cheer at everything. They want you to look as excited as possible. When there’s a wrong answer, you’re supposed to go, “Awwww,” and sometimes you get to yell out “FAST MONEY!” (that one was my favorite). We both actually felt drained afterward from all the clapping and wooping. It was a workout.

You will become an even bigger Steve Harvey fan.
This guy had us in stitches. He’s even funnier live and unfiltered. In-between shots, he would come down and interact with the audience. We had the opportunity to write down a question on a card to ask him, and the crew would give them to him if they were looking to fill some time. He answered honestly and hilariously. He picked on people. He cussed. He really feeds off the energy from the live audience.

After the 2 games were over, he even came out and gave a motivational speech of sorts to the audience about following their dreams. Great guy, that Steve.

You will realize you’ve been there all day. But it will be worth it.
Our tickets and confirmation e-mail never gave any indication of how long the whole thing would take. I assumed maybe 2 or 3 hours. Nope! We first arrived at 8:30 a.m., and didn’t get out until around 2:30. But all-in-all, it was a good experience.

Here are some quick pointers, if you want to attend a taping.

  • No kids under 16 are allowed, so plan on getting someone to watch the kids.
  • Get there early. Your ticket doesn’t guarantee you a seat, so you need to get a good spot in line.
  • Leave your phone and camera in the car. Ain’t no way you’re getting in with it. You’ll be searched.
  • Bring a book or magazine. You won’t have your phone to entertain you!
  • Bring snacks. You’re going to be sitting there a while.
  • Bring a sweater or jacket. It’s COLD in the studio.
  • Go to the restroom before you go in the studio. Once you’re inside, you’re in your seat until the taping is over.

Now that we’re experienced studio audience members, I’m curious…are there any similar experiences you’ve done, that we should check out in Atlanta?