5 Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Georgia

Cherry blossoms in Conyers, Georgia

Cherry blossoms in Conyers, Georgia

If you’re ready for an early spring, you’ll want to get your calendar in order for the middle of March because that’s when Georgia’s cherry blossoms are historically in their prime. Here’s where to find them.

Georgia Governors Mansion (Atlanta) – In March 2012, Gov. and Mrs. Deal hosted an official cherry tree planting ceremony on the grounds of the Georgia Governors Mansion in conjunction with the Consulate General of Japan. Visitors are welcome at the mansion each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Cherry Blossom Festival (Conyers) – It may not be the biggest cherry blossom-centric event in the state, but it is still filled with plenty of pink fun for everyone! Guests are invited to enjoy a multicultural experience at the festival, which features 300 art and craft booths, children’s activities and food courts. This year’s festival runs April 2-3 at the Georgia International Horse Park.

Gibbs Gardens (Ball Ground) – Sure, it’s off the beaten path, but a visit to Gibbs Gardens is worth the journey any time of the year, especially during their spring events. In mid-March their cherry blossoms are expected to be in full color. Admission to the gardens is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for children. Children five years old and younger receive complementary admission.

International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon

Celebrate spring among more than 300,000 blooming Yoshino cherry trees during the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon.

International Cherry Blossom Festival (Macon) – For two weeks each spring, Macon fills with the spirit of their annual festival. You won’t be able to turn a corner without seeing something pink. From a parade to the blossoming trees, there’s something for everyone. This year’s festival runs March 17-April 4. Admission to most events and the parade is free.

Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens (Macon) – After being completely devastated by storms in 2008, the grounds have come back to life. Among its thriving species are 10 varieties of weeping and upright cherry trees in their Cherry Grove. Admission to the gardens is free.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Four Best Places to See Roses in Georgia

Did you know that the Cherokee Rose is the official Georgia State Flower? Here is where you can see the flower and other roses throughout the state of Georgia.

Roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden, Facebook

Roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden, Facebook

Atlanta Botanical Garden (Atlanta) – Nestled into the heart of Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden boasts 30 acres of gardens including the Rose Garden. Peak blooming times are in May and June while some re-blooming occurs in the autumn.

Callaway Gardens (Pine Mountain) – Head to the Middle Georgia mountains in the springtime to see the flowers at Callaway Gardens at their peak color. In addition to roses, you won’t want to miss the Gardens’ acclaimed azaleas and the Day Butterfly Center.

Thomasville Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of The Village Journal

Thomasville Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of The Village Journal

Rose Show & Festival (Thomasville) – Celebrating its 95th year in 2016, the Rose Show & Festival features thousands of roses, two parades, live music, a street dance, arts and crafts, festival food and more. The 2016 festival will be held April 21-23. While you’re there, be sure to check out the 5-acre Thomasville Rose Garden.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum (Atlanta) – Along with being the home to a museum featuring President Jimmy Carter’s life, the destination features 37 acres of land where guests can see a formal garden, meadow, cherry orchard, waterfalls and rose garden that contains the coral-colored Rosalynn Carter Rose, named after the 43rd President’s wife.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Spring Events Your Family Can’t Miss

Atlanta Botanical Garden Blooms

Tulips at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Most of the state has seen a touch of snow; are you ready for warm weather yet? If you are anxious for the sunshine and fun that comes with spring, then grab a pen and mark your calendar. Here are five events in four beloved Atlanta Metro locations that the family can look forward to.

I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle

The High Museum of Atlanta’s newest exhibit will open in April 2016.  I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle is set to span nearly 50 years of the artist’s career and feature more than 80 of his signature collage works from 15 of his most popular books.

Just like the current Mo Willems exhibit, this exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Alliance Theatre’s world premiere play with music Pancakes, Pancakes! (June 1 through July 3, 2016), based on Eric Carle’s book of the same name.

The Jump

Every year Stone Mountain Park adds a new aspect of adventure to the park. Families will love the new attraction, The Jump, coming spring 2016. This thrilling, family-friendly, multi-level free fall drop experience offers three different tower levels to jump onto free fall air bags — just like a stunt professional!

New Dolphin Tales Show

If you’ve been to the Georgia Aquarium this year you might have noticed that the Dolphin Tale show you’ve been watching since April 2011 is no longer showing. Currently, there is a new a new, temporary dolphin training experience in the AT&T Dolphin Tales theatre called Splash 101. It has taken the place of the first Dolphin Tales show as the Aquarium prepares to debut a completely new dolphin experience in March of this year.

Atlanta Blooms! & Chihuly Returns

I love spring each year at the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a number of reasons, but the tulips are at the top of that list. 2016 is going to be an amazing show, as the landscape changes almost daily as more than 300,000 bulbs spring to life during Atlanta Blooms!, including more than 38,000 new ones planted last fall.

As if that were not enough, Chihuly returns to the garden this spring! Chihuly in the Garden, set for April 30 – October 30, 2016, will include 21 installations, all set among the garden’s natural beauty. (That’s more than twice as many as his 2004 exhibit brought.) Additionally, Chihuly Nights will offer extended evening hours, giving visitors a different, yet spectacular experience for viewing the sculptures with dramatic lighting, set against the city’s beautiful skyline.

You can read details about these and other exciting family events on my Save the Date page, or ink your calendar from our Monthly Event Spotlights.

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Drive-By Truckers’ Athens Punch List for Feb’s 3-Night Stand

Drive-By Truckers. L to R: Jay Gonzalez, Matt Patton, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan

Drive-By Truckers. L to R: Jay Gonzalez, Matt Patton, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan. Photo by David McClister.

Patterson Hood adamantly declares that the Drive-By Truckers “are and always will be based in Athens. Two of our members still live there, plus most of our crew.” After a 21-year run, Hood and his family decamped from Athens for Portland this past summer. Reading between the lines, it may be a temporary respite. “I had some creative opportunities out there, plus I wanted to experience living in a bigger city and different region,” explains the lifelong Southerner.

Therefore, it’ll be a bit more of a homecoming than usual when the Truckers return for a three-night stand at the 40 Watt Club February 11-13 (at last check, a few tickets remained for the Thursday show). “We’ve been doing a multi-night 40 Watt play in Athens every year for 12 years or so. We call it The Athens Homecoming, and it also raises some money for Nuci’s Space,” a wonderful musicians’ resource nonprofit in town. “We always try to change up those shows a lot from night to night, digging deep into the catalog and I’m sure looking ahead to the new songs, too. Plus, we put a lot of extra attention into curating the opening acts,” which includes Athenians old and new on various nights (Monsoon, Five-Eight, Dave Marr, the Camp Amped Band).

The DBTs are currently putting the finishing touches on their 12th studio album, due out this fall. “We’re all beyond excited about it — I think it’s a good one,” he enthuses. “It just came together very magically.” October saw the release of “It’s Great To Be Alive!,” a three-disc document of these road warriors’ well-earned reputation as a barn-burning live band. Hood thinks it “turned out pretty stellar.”

Athens serves as the springboard for a brief March/April tour that will treat die-hard fans to more intimate settings. “We’re hitting some smaller rooms since we’ll be playing bigger rooms in the fall once the new album hits,” he says. “I love doing the multi-night stand thing. It’s always nice to have a couple of days in a town.”

Avid Bookshop, Athens

Photo courtesy Avid Bookshop, Athens

I asked Patterson which of his old Athens haunts he’s most excited about getting back to. “There’s an auction and meet/greet event at Nuci’s Space that’ll give me a chance to hang with old friends and family (note: this includes a Low Country Boil and is open to the public from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, February 13). I also want to visit Avid Bookshop and Wuxtry Records and to eat at The Grit, Tlaloc el Mexicano, Puerta del Sol and The National.”

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.

A Perfect Indoor Activity for Outdoor Explorers

Ansel Adams exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Ansel Adams exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Even the greatest outdoorsman occasionally takes shelter from the cold and rain, and the Booth Western Art Museum has the perfect indoor exhibit for nature art lovers. Ansel Adams: Before & After is a fantastic photography exhibit featuring art by the celebrated photographer, his predecessors, peers, and modern photographers inspired by Adams.

The Early Years portion of the exhibition features images representing the art of five photographers who came before Ansel Adams. These visionaries set the stage for photography as an art form and influenced Adams’ early career.

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA, 1944. Image courtesy of Lumière, Collection of Robert Yellowlees.

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA, 1944. Image courtesy of Lumière, Collection of Robert Yellowlees.

From there, the exhibit follows Adams’ innovative career alongside other photographers moving away from the fuzzy impressionistic style to focus on defined images detailing patterns and contours. This portion of the exhibit offers a close look at timeless images captured by Ansel Adams, including White House Ruin, Surf and Rock, and Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA.

Cara Weston, Garrapata at Sunset - Big Sur, 2008. Image courtesy of Lumière.

Cara Weston, Garrapata at Sunset – Big Sur, 2008. Image courtesy of Lumière.

The exhibition also showcases the images of modern photographers benefiting from Adams’ creative contributions to art. A mix of film and digital photography, the Next Generation includes striking images from third-generation photographer Cara Weston, veteran photography instructor Al Weber, and pioneering environmental photographer Philip Hyde, among others.

The exhibit comes to a close with a look at images representing the future of photography. Stunning visions captured and created using advanced digital techniques leave viewers with a sense of wonder and imagination.

Ansel Adams: Before & After is open at Booth Western Art Museum until March 23, 2016.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.