Atlanta’s Piedmont Park Summer Camp Experience

It’s finally summer! Kids are out of school, the weather is great and there is lots to do. What better way for a child to spend it than in Atlanta’s beautiful Piedmont Park? Summer of STEAM offers a hands-on, fun environmental learning experience for everyone. From science experiments to afternoon fitness sessions, the Piedmont Park Conservancy gives an unforgettable camp experience instilling the importance of green space in future generations.

Mornings start with a group-wide activity and making sure everyone is ready for a day full of learning. This day of fun includes experiments, arts and crafts and other activities. Some of the campers’ favorite experiments from past camp sessions include building and launching a rocket and an exploding paint project. These experiments offer a great hands-on, visual learning experience that the kids love!

Arts and crafts time allows the campers and staff to interact even more. Sometimes the crafts are difficult and require camp staff to get down and help each kid understand the project and go through with them step-by-step.

Many campers state that their favorite part of the camp are all the new friends that they make throughout the sessions. There are many kids that do all the camps every year, and one told us she attends them annually as a family tradition. She also told us she still has friends from past years’ sessions! There are so many opportunities to make new friends during the camp, especially during the afternoon fitness sessions.

The afternoon fitness sessions are directed by NSCA certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Saidah Jones. These sessions typically begin with open playtime, where they can hold group jump-rope competitions or play four square. Then, it is time to go to the Active Oval! The best spot for fitness, campers can run around the half-mile track to get energy out then go and play various sports together. Our sand volleyball courts are always a favorite for all, as there is something for everyone. They can play a game of volleyball, or they can dig around in the sand and build sandcastles with each other.

From funny moments like bug mishaps to learning new things like bird flight patterns, Summer of STEAM offers fun for all. The campers are exposed to environmental education in real-life scenarios and are able to get active and play outside with each other, making so many new friends! Piedmont Park’s environmental education programs are so much more than just learning, it’s an opportunity for Atlanta’s youngest residents to connect, learn and become future stewards of our community.

Have young learners at home that love Piedmont Park? Check out some of our learning activity downloads.

Ultimate Summer Bucket List: Top Things to Do in Piedmont Park

Summer in Piedmont Park is filled with picnics, bicycles, rollerblades, puppies and babies, all sights you would expect in a classic summer experience.  Make the most of your summer by using our Ultimate Bucket List for Piedmont Park. Here are our top five recommendations for the season.

  1. Visit the Piedmont Park Dog Parks

Whether you’re a fur family or just passing through, the off-leash dog parks are sure to bring you a smile. Stop by and take a few minutes to watch wagging tails, free running pups and more.

2. Hit Your Stride on the Track in the Active Oval

Whether you’re an early morning runner or afternoon jogger, the half-mile track in the Active Oval is great for reaching your running goals. The oval also features outdoor fitness equipment and a large staircase for toning and strength-training.

Aerial View Active Oval

3. Make a Splash in the Pool

Cool off this summer at our resort-style pool. Grab your towel and have fun swimming laps, relaxing poolside and enjoying a lakefront view. The pool is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

4. Pitch in to Volunteer at the Park

Help your local community and make a difference by volunteering with the Piedmont Park Conservancy. Volunteers are needed for landscaping, beautification, helping with the Green Market and more!

5. Shop the Green Market

Start your Saturday mornings with coffee and pastries in beautiful Piedmont Park. Located at the 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue gate, Green Market offers access to local farmers, fresh produce, prepared foods, home goods and more!

Piedmont Park Green Market Vendor List

If you are looking for even more things to do in Piedmont Park, consider taking a tour or visit our calendar to find special events.

Green Market, More Than a Shopping Experience

Nothing beats waking up on a Saturday morning and starting a quest for warm coffee and hot breakfast. Many Atlantans in the Piedmont Park area start their Saturday mornings by heading over to Green Market, the Park’s local farmers market. Motivated by caffeine and an empty stomach, visitors stumble upon more than just a quick bite to eat; they enter a gathering place of neighbors, local and small businesses, and community partners.

Imagine walking through the market, meeting local vendors, learning about not only their goods but their stories. Green Market provides Midtown Atlanta a place where the community can come together and support one another. There is something about buying your bread, produce or coffee from local farmers. You feel better inside and feel inspired to create amazing meals. Yes, you could just drive to the closest grocery store, but there is something about buying straight from the vendor that makes it more fresh and delicious.

Green Market isn’t only just delicious food, it is also home to beauty and home products, plants, you name it. 

With a community atmosphere, Green Market is great for families and friends to gather to enjoy fresh air to discover the hidden gems Georgia has to offer. After you shop around the market, take a walk around the 200 + acres of park land and find a place to set up a picnic.


At Green Market, you’re not only supporting local businesses, you’re creating connections with the great community we live in. Learn more about Green Market at: piedmontpark.org/green-market

Three Ways to Turn Piedmont Park Into Your Gym

Piedmont Park is known for outdoor fun and recreation, but have you considered using the Park as a core part of your fitness routine? Fitness partner Saidah Jones of Love You Healthy Fitness shares her top recommendations for infusing Piedmont Park into your health goals.

1) Plan Regular Walks around Piedmont Park

Walking is one of the most important things that one can do for their bone density, heart health and sanity. Walking is a full-body exercise as it requires every body part to be able to step and pull your body forward, which is why walking outdoors is better than walking on treadmills. Incorporating daily and/or weekend walks is the number one way to prioritize your health. Not to mention, walking outdoors is one of the safest forms of exercise during the pandemic.

2) Take Advantage of the Piedmont Park Active Oval

The Active Oval is perfect for walkers and runners of all fitness levels. Tracking time and steps is easy because the track measures slightly over a half mile and it level. In addition there are two sets of stairs that offer an additional fitness boost for those of high fitness levels who want to increase their caloric output. Here is the Piedmont Park Conservancy Active Oval Workout Plan that I often complete with family, and friends of ALL fitness levels.

  1. Walk one lap around the track
  2. Complete 10 pushups on the elevated stone wall by the stairs
  3. Walk five flights of stairs
  4. Complete ten push-ups on the elevated stone wall
  5. Walk one lap around the track to complete the workout

3) Participate in a Group Fitness Class

In addition to using the Park’s pathways and Active Oval for daily movement, try a group fitness class to work on your strength and toning! Piedmont Park Conservancy partners with Love You Healthy Fitness to offer group experiences at Piedmont Park (temporarily offered via Zoom during the pandemic). Adding classes will ensure you are getting a well-rounded fitness routine.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it should be that health matters. Being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Know that you are capable, understand that you are equipped and realize that your body is ready to be the vision of health that it is meant to be. Take care and love yourself to health in 2021. Oh and don’t forget, hydrate and veg up!

Author: Saidah Jones

Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen or workout plan. 

Seven Ways to Use Piedmont Park in the Cold Winter

As winter rolls around, Piedmont Park transitions from vibrant fall colors to a deep blue and green palette that creates stunning and crisp backdrops for all visitors to enjoy. While most people think of parks with warm weather, Piedmont Park has a lot to offer in the colder months. Check out our recommended list of the top seven things to do in Piedmont Park this winter.

1) Take a Long Walk with a Warm Beverage from Sean’s Heart of the Park

Bundle up and stop by Sean’s Heart of the Park for a coffee, tea or hot chocolate! Then, take some time to explore Piedmont Park’s vast landscapes at your own pace, a perfect way to get your steps in. Explore areas of the Park that you may not have visited before:

You can also try our self guided walking tour! 

2) Look Both Up and Down for Wildlife

During winter, you can spot migratory birds both on the ground and up in the air. Walk around Lake Clara Meer and find the flocks of Waterfowls or bring out the binoculars and find birds perched up in the leafless trees. Make this a family affair with the kids and have a contest on who can count the most birds. If you snap a picture of a cool bird, post it and tag us @piedmontpark. Try our Backyard Birding activity download in English or Spanish!

Photo Credit: Kevin Gaston

3) Jog Around the Active Oval and Surrounding Paths

New year, new you! Whether you are practicing sprints, running for distance or a first time runner, Piedmont Park is a perfect destination for all types of runners. The Active Oval offers a 0.52 mile running track and there are miles of pathways throughout the rest of the Park. Make your run more enjoyable with beautiful views of Midtown Atlanta in the Park’s skyline.

4) Grab a Smile by Visiting the Off-Leash Dog Parks

Set your furry friend free at our off-leash dog parks and watch all their zoomies go away. With over three acres, there is plenty of space to run around! There is a small dog enclosure (<30 lbs) and a large dog enclosure (30 pounds +).  The dog parks also have features such as natural rock seating, trees for shade, agility equipment and water spickets.

5) Practice Photography with Winter Backdrops and Exposed Branches

The cool tones of winter brings unique opportunities for trying new photography. Winter is a great season for abundant lighting and stark tree backgrounds making every photo Insta-worthy. Check out our Photo Guide to Piedmont Park.

6) Meditate or Practice Mindfulness on Quiet Lawns  

Winters tend to be less busy. You can hear more of nature’s sounds. Outdoor meditation enhances your senses, presence and connection to the world. Find your inner yogi, find a spot in the Park and take in the peaceful vibes. Meditate in motion with Tai chi with a series of gentle exercises and stretches. Connect your mind and body by holding a pose with a low-impact yoga sequence. 

7) Learn to Roller Skate or Ride a Bike

Dust off your rollerblades or bike, and brush up on your skills on our spacious pathways. With the Park being much quieter in the winter, it is the perfect place to learn how to ride a bike or skate. Don’t forget to wear a helmet and maybe some knee pads.

It’s too easy to let “dreary” weather keep us from spending time outside. Beat the winter blues by making the most of this season. What other ideas do you have to enjoy Piedmont Park during the winter season?

Four Best Spots to See Fall Leaves in Piedmont Park

Each year, September 22 marks the first day of autumn which is the also the first day we start obsessing over fall foliage in Piedmont Park. A predominately green park slowly sprouts spots of yellow, orange dark purples and bold reds. By the end of October, we get antsy about catching peak leaf season which can happen at any time into early November. The Park becomes more gorgeous than you thought was possible, and fall photos can be seen in every direction.

Come visit, and be sure to stop by the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s top four recommended places to see fall foliage in Piedmont Park!

Piedmont Park in Fall

14th Street Gingko Trees

Near the Piedmont Driving Club, the adjacent area is called the Front Lawn. Near the gate, you can spot some large gingko trees that will peak a bright yellow. On a nice day, the sun will shine on the trees and create a lovely yellow glow on the ground.

Many tree enthusiasts and Park lovers look forward to this short-lived beauty. If you want to snag a photograph like the one below, you must pay close attention to the leaves changing! These gingko trees will only peak for a few days before the leaves all fall off.

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Park Drive Bridge Fall Leaves

Above the Dog Parks and by the Meadow, Park Drive bridge is another favorite location for peak leaf season.

Look near the water to spot bald cypress, Dawn redwoods and more. The trees will create a beautiful skirt around Lake Clara Meer that makes for fantastic photographs.

Nearby, you will also see a Pignut Hickory that turns a vibrant yellow as well as several other trees that vary in color along the path.

Red Dawn Trees Along Lake Clara Meer

Wide Open Views on Oak Hill

Oak Hill’s linear space offers visitors a wide view of beautiful oaks parallel to 10th Street. Stand on top of one of the hills and you can see gorgeous views and adjacent trees boasting vibrant colors along Piedmont Park and the Atlanta skyline.

Pignut Hickory on Oak Hill

Path Between Mayor’s Grove Playground and the Active Oval

Coming around the south end of Lake Clara Meer, you will find yourself on a pathway between a children’s playground and the athletic fields: Mayor’s Grove Playground and Active Oval. On a walk during peak leaf season, you can find a wide diversity of tree colors on both sides. Go up the stairs a bit to see the Active Oval city skyline with trees sprawling on all sides of the fields.

Sugar Maple Leaves

Red Maple Trees

Enjoy Piedmont Park’s Trees this Fall

Piedmont Park is home to thousands of trees, and each fall offers a new perspective for the Park’s visitors. Pull out your cameras, grab a blanket and come see Piedmont Park’s vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow and green.

Tag us on Instagram @piedmontpark with your latest fall photos. Also, check out Piedmont Park’s virtual tree tours.

Monarch Marathon: Fall Butterfly Migration in Piedmont Park

Perhaps the most iconic migratory insect is the Monarch Butterfly. These majestic butterflies are easily identified by their bright orange wings with delicate black line details and white dots around the border. What makes these butterflies so iconic is their migration, totaling nearly 3,000 miles for some butterflies.

Photo Credit: Grace Manning

Monarchs lay their eggs on Milkweed plants, soon to be food for the caterpillars. Those hungry caterpillars emerge and begin their journey to becoming a butterfly. Once they have completed their metamorphosis, they will either begin breeding, or depending on the timing, begin migrating. When the days get shorter and the weather a bit colder, adult Monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada south, to California and Mexico. It is there they will wait out the winter on the oyamel fir trees. When the days grow longer, the Monarchs fly back up north in search of their host plant, Milkweed, once again to breed. 

Photo Credit: Grace Manning

In Georgia we are lucky enough to be on the path. Come September these butterflies will head south, flying at about treetop height along their journey. One of the threats facing Monarchs today is the loss of their breeding plant, Milkweed. This plant plays a critical role in Monarch survival as the only place they will lay their eggs, and the only food for caterpillars. Looking to ensure a monarch sighting this fall? Plant milkweed in your yard, or in large planters on your patio.

Author: Dana Buskovitz, Piedmont Park Conservancy Education Coordinator

Want to learn more about migration? Read part one of our migration blog series about birds you can spot in the Park during the fall.

duck swimming in lake clara meer in piedmont park

Feathered Friends: Fall Bird Migration in Piedmont Park

While fall migration through Georgia may not be as spectacular as springtime migration, it is still a sight to behold. Starting as early as August, many birds make their way south in preparation for the winter season. During migration, these birds use “stopover habitats” as resting places on their long journey. Stopover habitats are places to eat, sleep, and recharge, like a hotel room on a long drive.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

So, when fall migration peaks in late September and October, who is checking into Georgia, and who is checking out? Feathered friends including a few sparrow species, multiple duck species, kinglets and cedar waxwings come to Georgia. These species have been nesting up north all spring and summer long. We also have some species checking out in search of warmer weather. Warblers, thrushes, orioles and more will begin their journey south.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

How can you spot these travelers, and maybe even help out? While most of these birds will do the bulk of their traveling at night, you can still spot them while they stop for food. In fact, with the losses in stopover habitat, you can ensure a sighting by turning your backyard into a migratory bird oasis! Plants such as elderberry, sumac, and dogwood provide berries. Hackberry and American beautyberry provide nutrient-rich fruits. Providing a feeding place or birds helps fuel them up for their long journey, or help them recharge after it.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

So grab your binoculars and field guide, and observe! Don’t forget that the best way to observe wildlife is to stop, look, and listen. 

Author: Dana Buskovitz, Piedmont Park Conservancy Education Coordinator

Want to learn more about animals, plants and all things science? Follow our education team on their Instagram @piedmontlearns.

Green Market Recipe: Apple Pecan Pastry Log & Spicy Cow Pea Apple Salad

Apple Pecan Pastry Log

A nice, light pastry. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Tools: paring knife, medium cooking pot, vegetable peeler, cutting board, pastry mat, rubber spatula, baking pan, pastry brush, and large spoon

Ingredients:

  • 5 large apples
  • 1.5 sticks of butter
  • 1.5 cups of chopped pecans
  • Filo dough
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (plus 2 tbs. for sprinkle)
  • 2 tbs. cinnamon (plus 1 tsp for sprinkle)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. orange peel
  • salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop pecans.
  3. Peel and chop apples.
  4. Put apple, ginger, 1 stick of butter, maple syrup, and sugar into cooking pot on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until mixture is soft.
  5. Add lemon juice, salt pepper, orange peel, cinnamon, and pecans.
  6. Mix well and let cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Roll out filo dough and spread softened mascarpone on dough. Spread apple mixture 2” thick on the filo dough.
  8.  Roll the dough into a log, pinch the ends and place onto a baking sheet.
  9. Melt the remaining ½ stick of butter and spread butter on the top with the pastry brush. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top. 
  10. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

Learn more about the Green Market, our vendors and more.

Spicy Cow Pea* Apple Salad

A simple salad great for dinner, lunch or a side with pork. 

*Any type of southern pea will work

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, cutting board, sauce pan, rubber spatula and spoon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples (tart variety)
  • 2 cups cow pea (or any southern pea)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 1 hot chili (thai or habanero pepper will do)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs shoyu (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp hot mustard powder
  • salt

Preparation:

  1. Shell and rinse peas. Cook on a rolling boil, in a medium sauce pan for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and add a dash of salt.
  2. Peel, core and dice apples.
  3. Dice peppers and onion into fine pieces.
  4. Peel and grate ginger.
  5. Mix apples, peas, onions, ginger, pepper and horseradish. Add shoyu, coconut milk, oil, vinegar, mustard , salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Will stay good in fridge for up to one week.

Want more apple recipes? Check out our recipes for baked stuffed apples, apple salsa, spicy apple sauce and apple pecan salad.

Green Market Recipes: Baked Stuffed Apples and Apple Salsa

Baked Stuffed Apples

Traditionally stuffed apples are sweet, but these are savory for a special Green Market flair! Serve with a green, hearty salad!  

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, medium sauté pan, cutting board, rubber spatula, casserole pan, and large spoon

Ingredients:

  • 5 large apples (crisp varieties)
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 habanero or paper lantern peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 jalapeño cheese sausages
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TSP pepper
  • Salt (to taste)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Core apples, cut out about one inch of the apple (enough to make a nice space for the filling) and chop the extra apple into fine bits.
  3. Dice onion into fine pieces, garlic and peppers.
  4. Chop sausage into small pieces
  5. Sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil on medium heat until partially cooked.
  6. Add the sausage, garlic, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  7. Take the cored apples, coat the outsides with olive oil and place them in a casserole dish.
  8. Stuff each apple with the sausage, onion and pepper mixture and top with cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes and let sit a few minutes before eating.

Learn more about the Green Market, our vendors and more.

Apple Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Who doesn’t love salsa? Try this fresh, fall version of a classic! This salsa is great for chips, tacos, or to top a nice bowel of white chili.

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, cutting board, large mixing bowl, rubber spatula, and spoon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples (JonaGold variety)
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2-5 habanero or paper lantern peppers
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Peel, core and dice apples.
  2. Dice onion, garlic, peppers and cilantro into fine pieces.
  3. Mix apples, onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro in a large bowl.
  4. Add vinegar, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

Want more apple recipes? Check out our recipes for spicy apple sauce, apple pecan salad, apple pecan pastry log and spicy cow pea apple salad.