10 Must-Dos in Georgia’s Plantation Trace

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1. Walk on the Wild Side in Albany: Meerkats, cheetahs and bears! Oh my! Chehaw Park is home to exotic and indigenous animals such as meerkats, flamingos, red wolves, gopher tortoises, black rhinoceros and bald eagles. Explore the wildlife exhibits, bike the BMX track, have a picnic, play on the playground at the Children’s Play Park or visit the Native American Festival, the annual festival celebrating the area’s rich Native American history held in April.

2. Hunt for Treasure in Sasser: Stop by the flea market, or pop into one of the shops on Main Street to browse antiques and doodads. Alice and Jay’s, the Sasser Flea Market and more are stocked full of gems looking for a new home. After a day of antiquing, make a pit stop at Mark’s Melon Patch just outside of Sasser for fresh-from-the-farm melons, boiled peanuts, squash, tomatoes, sunflowers and other Georgia produce. If you happen to be passing through during the fall, the famous pumpkin patch will cover the roadsides with bright orange pumpkins. Mark’s is a must-stop for any locally grown produce fan.

032-Flint River Aquarium   -exhibits-Dougherty County Albany - 042620073. Explore South Georgia’s River Critters in Albany: At the Flint RiverQuarium, you and your family can learn about Georgia’s wildlife, ecosystems and river conservation. The 175,000-gallon, 22-foot-deep blue hole spring is home to 120 species such as snapping turtles, alligators and fish. Other exhibits at the RiverQuarium include the Discovery Caves that allow kids to control the weather, change the river flow and cave dive. Once you finish exploring the RiverQuarium, take a short walk to RiverFront Park to splash in the fountain, play at the Turtle Grove Play Park and take a picture of one of the larger-than-life painted turtles along the river bank.

4. Go on an Indoor Safari in Doerun: Mr. Tyson has traveled around the world and has returned to Doerun with the most exotic game, making the Tyson Steel Wildlife Museum the largest wildlife museum in the South. Here, you can stand within inches of a giraffe, an ostrich, a cheetah, a zebra and more at Tyson Steel Museum. Make sure to take your picture!

Corn Sheller at Georgia Agrirama-Tifton-Tiff5. Travel Back in Time in Tifton: Learn what life was like as a kid on a South Georgia farm during the 1800s at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at ABAC. Watch a blacksmith swing his anvil, and see the sparks fly. Turn the grindstone at the Grist Mill. Learn how women made soap and cooked without electricity. No trip to the Agrirama is complete without stopping at the drug store to shop for penny-candy and have ice cream from the antique soda fountain.

6. Shop Local in Thomasville: Downtown Thomasville captures the Southern charm and hospitality of a small South Georgia town. Shop for bridal gowns, antiques, clothes, shoes, toys and books, and eat a delicious lunch or dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Swamp Gravy - Cloquitt, Ga7. See Southern Life on the Stage in Colquitt: Catch a performance of the famous Swamp Gravy in Colquitt. Swamp Gravy is the official folk life play of Georgia, and each performance tells stories about Southern traditions, family and community. Based on a collection of oral history underscored with original music, Swamp Gravy gives a unique glimpse into the lives of South Georgians.

8. Get Back to Nature in Adel: Book a trip for your friends, family or colleagues at Live Oak Plantation in Adel. Live Oak offers first-class hunting, fishing, golfing and skeet shooting packages that are sure to please any outdoors enthusiast.

9. Release your Inner Daredevil in Valdosta: Throw your hands in the air as you zoom down roller coasters, get soaked at Splash Island on a hot summer day, explore the bird house and animals and enjoy live entertainment at Wild Adventures Theme Park just north of the Georgia-Florida line.

10. Bring Your Rod and Reel to Bainbridge: Cast your line into Bainbridge’s Lake Seminole, and it won’t be long until bass are tugging on your hook. Covering 37,000 acres and dotted with the stumps and grass beds where bass love to hide, Lake Seminole is an angler’s dream and the perfect spot to catch lunker largemouth and hybrid bass. So, put your boat in the water and settle in for a day of fishing in Bainbridge.

Collins_Goss_HeadshotA Georgia native and UGA alumnae, Collins Goss is the summer communications intern for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Currently, she is working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Arts Administration emphasizing in communications at The University of Alabama. Collins will graduate in December and hopes to return to the Peach State.

July 4th in the Peach State

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park

Independence Day activities around Georgia

Are you looking for a fun activity to celebrate the Fourth of July? Whether you are spending the holiday weekend in Metro Atlanta, on the Coast or elsewhere in Georgia, our communities have a smorgasbord of events planned for you and your family, neighbors and friends to celebrate Independence Day. From firework shows to ice cream socials to boat parades, the state of Georgia has plenty to offer this Fourth of July weekend.

If you are looking for a pre-Fourth activity, the city of Hartwell is hosting a Pre-Fourth Extravaganza Weekend June 28-29. The extravaganza includes Dancin’ on Depot, a craft festival and fireworks.

Are you feeling the need for speed this Fourth of July? 60,000 runners will line up on the starting line of the annual AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4. Join the fans on the sidelines to cheer on the runners as they race down Peachtree Road to Piedmont Park. A 5/10K run will also be held at Nash Farms in Hampton, Ga. at its July 4th Fireworks at Nash Farms event and in Martinez, Ga. at the 2013 Yankee Doodle Dash. July 4th Fireworks at Nash Farm will also include a car and motorcycle show and fireworks. If you want to spend your holiday in the fast lane, the Atlanta Motor Speedway has a special Thursday Thunder  planned for July 4. Bring the kids for a full day of face painting, rock climbing, autograph sessions and fireworks at the race track.

Is there a better way to spend Independence Day than watching America’s favorite pastime? Cheer on the Atlanta Braves as they face the Miami Marlins, and enjoy the post-game firework show.

Do you want to spend your Fourth of July at an iconic Atlanta hotspot? Beat the heat, and join the Georgia Aquarium for its Red White & Brew celebration where you can watch the 4th of July at Centennial Park firework show from the Aquarium’s balcony. If a legendary fireworks show is what you seek this holiday weekend, the Legendary 4th of July fireworks show in Lennox Square is a must, or head to Stone Mountain Park for its Fantastic Fourth Celebration.

Are you looking to spend your day on the water? Join the boat parade on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, or head to the beach for the Jekyll Island July 4 Celebration. Callaway Gardens is hosting a July 4th Star Spangled Beach Party with live music and fireworks. For fireworks on the water, go to Fireworks on the Flint at Lake Blackshear in Cordele or to Savannah for the Fourth of July Festival on the River.

Are you looking to kick off your shoes and relax? Make a picnic to bring to the Annual Independence Concert & Picnic event at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison or stop by Athens for the Classic City American Music Festival. Rome will host the Community 4th of July Celebration in Riverside Park where visitors can listen to music performed by the Rome Symphony Orchestra and the Eighth Regiment Band. You can also join the folks in the McDonough Square for a 4th of July Ice Cream Social. Douglas will host its Freedom Fest in JC Adams Municipal Park, and Thomasville will host the Thomasville Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks in Remington Park.

Whether you are looking for fireworks or a day at the lake, Georgia communities have a July 4 event planned for you. Put on your red, white and blue, and celebrate the USA with us this Independence Day.

Collins_Goss_HeadshotA Georgia native and UGA alumnae, Collins Goss is the summer communications intern for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Currently, she is working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Arts Administration emphasizing in communications at The University of Alabama. Collins will graduate in December and hopes to return to the Peach State.

Off to the Theatre

Soak in some culture at Georgia’s regional theatres

The carefree days of summer are here. However, with it come the “I’m bored!” cries from your kids. Are you looking for a way to entertain your children and to spend time together as a family? Soak in some culture and have a blast at Georgia’s theatres this summer! Theatres around Georgia offer a wide variety of summer programs ranging from film screenings of cartoons, blockbuster hits and classic movies to productions of Shakespeare under the stars and Tony-winning musicals.

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The Fox Theatre

In Metro Atlanta, the Fox Theatre hosts its annual Coca-Cola Film Festival every Friday and Saturday during June and July. The Coca-Cola Film Festival is an opportunity for parents to see their favorite films on the big screen again and for kids to see them for the first time. The line-up includes a mix of old and new favorites such as Saturday Morning Cartoons, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 42, Finding Nemo and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to name a few. For live theatre, head to the Atlanta Lyric in Marietta to see the Tony Award-winning musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 7th-23rd).

Rose of Athens presents "The Tempest"

Rose of Athens presents “The Tempest”

In Lawrenceville, you can be a part of the action if you are feeling daring. Go on a ghost hunt! The Aurora Theatre offers weekend Ghost Tours in metro Atlanta’s oldest and spookiest city. It is sure to be a frighteningly good time. Headed outside of the metro area? Take the short trip to Athens, Georgia to spend a night with Shakespeare under the stars. Bring a picnic dinner and join Rose of Athens Theatre for The Tempest (June 12-16). The Tempest is this year’s Shakespeare on the Lawn production at Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. After stopping in Athens, continue your journey to the cool Northeast Georgia mountains. Sing along with The Sound of Music and bring your pirate eye patch for Treasure Island showing at the Cumming Playhouse in Cumming, Georgia during June and July.

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Savannah Theatre

If you want to beat the hot Georgia heat, make your way to the coast. Coastal Georgia offers more than beautiful beaches and Spanish moss-covered trees. The region also hosts several historic theatres such as the Historic Savannah Theatre and the Trustee Theater. Rock ‘n’ roll in the aisles at the Historic Savannah Theatre’s production of The Beat Goes On, a musical celebrating the hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and 80s. Catch a flick at the Trustee Theatre’s SCAD Cinema Circle during June and July. The SCAD Cinema Circle will show Jaws, E.T., and more!

Springer Opera House

Springer Opera House

If you live in or are visiting the southern portion of Georgia, visit the Springer Opera House in Columbus to see Honk, Jr. the Musical (July 12-21). The Springer will also host the Crowley Classic Film Series screening classic films such as The Princess Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Goonies, and more during June and July. Come early for trivia and prizes! Theatre Albany will produce the fast-paced musical Return to the Forbidden Planet (June 7-9 and 13-16) that borrows from Shakespeare and the 1950s movie Forbidden Planet. In Valdosta, the Peach State Summer Theatre, Georgia’s official musical theatre, will produce The Sound of Music, The Wonderettes and A Little Night Music in June and July

Silence the “I’m bored!” cries this summer with the best Georgia has to offer in live performance and film. Whether you are in the metro Atlanta area or outside the city, Georgia’s regional theatres offer countless opportunities to soak in some culture and to spend time with your family.

Collins_Goss_HeadshotA Georgia native and UGA alumnae, Collins Goss is the summer communications intern for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Currently, she is working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Arts Administration emphasizing in communications at The University of Alabama. Collins will graduate in December and hopes to return to the Peach State.