Free Kid Friendly Fun ATL: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

Hi Mom Tribe! Back in July the boys and I took our second trip to Atlanta for a basketball tournament, and of course whenever we travel for sports I have to make the most of our trip and incorporate sightseeing and tourism. Travel sports is very demanding, but what I love most is the opportunity for the kids to travel to new cities. It was during our first trip to Atlanta that I realized how much of a family place Atlanta is. There’s so much to do for families with kids of all ages. What I love most about Atlanta is the opportunity to visit traditional family sites and historical sites. There’s places like World of Coca-Cola, Six Flags Over Georgia, Atlanta Zoo, and the Georgia Aquarium, as well as historical sites or as my kids say, “boring learning things to-do”. This time, for our second visit, I decided to take advantage of the rich history Atlanta has to offer and visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.

The boys and I in front of Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home on Auburn Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

The boys and I in front of Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home on Auburn Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

I chose the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park because it's free for  families, and my sons are of adolescent age to understand issues like civil rights, racism, and segregation. This was also the perfect opportunity for my black sons to walk the steps of one of America’s most influential leaders, Martin Luther King Jr., and an opportunity to reinforce classroom learning. 

Despite the grunts, groans and general reluctance, we hopped in the car and visited the historical site. Below is a review of our visit, tips for visiting with kids, and reasons why visiting this historical site should be at the top of your Atlanta travel guide.

A Summary Review - Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park

What’s To Visit? 

The historical park consists of several mini-sites and buildings in Atlanta, Georgia, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home, the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Visitor Center, and Freedom Hall. There is also the King Center, Fountain Plaza and the Eternal Flame, and the Old Firehouse. 

What Are the Cost for My Family? 

Good news families, there is NO cost to enter and visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park! We were able to walk around and see MLK’s childhood home, walk his neighborhood street, visit Freedom Hall, The King Center, and the Reflecting Pool and Eternal Flame all for free. With advance planning you can even register for a free tour of MLK’s childhood home at the Visitor's Center. 

What Families Need To Know Before Visiting

  • Children Ages: 8+

  • There is ample street parking, both metered and free

  • There’s plenty of park benches and areas to eat. So pack snacks and lunch

  • The park closes at 5pm, so arrive early, take your time, and make a full day out of your visit

How To Enhance the Kid’s Learning Experience 

  • Make the Visitor Center your first stop so you can register for free tickets to tour Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home. I did not know this before hand and tickets were gone when I went to register. 

  • While the park is family friendly accommodating children of all ages, I find it best for kids ages 8 and up. My reasoning is the underlying lessons and issues like racism, discrimination, assassination, and the Civil Rights Movement are intense issues for kids to consume. Smaller children may not grasp these concepts, while older children will need to be walked and coached through. 

  • Prepare to have pre-visit discussions BEFORE your visit so that your actual visit can reinforce conversations already had. I had very open dialog with my sons on topics like what is the Civil Rights Movement, what they know about MLK, and what it means to be a young black boy in America. 

Planning a trip to Atlanta, Georgia? Visit Explore Georgia or Discover Atlanta for all your family travel guide needs.