1. 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.
3. 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!
5. 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.
7. 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.
A 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.