As a Georgia native and second generation homeschooler, I have had the opportunity to see many of the great "tourist attractions" of the state. There is much to see and do in the land of southern hospitality. Get your walking shoes on and take a trip down memory lane with me as I share some of my favorite attractions that will keep Georgia on your mind.
Westville - Lumpkin, GA
This 1850's living history museum is fun for adults and kids alike. This museum was the dream of John Word West. He began the museum as the fair of 1850 in Jonesboro, GA in the early 1930's . He saw this as a way to preserve Georgia history and to share his love of Georgia handicrafts with the next generation. After his death, his collection was purchased and moved to Lumpkin, GA where Westville opened its doors in 1970. There are 27 buildings and over 5,000 artifacts present on the property. Operating hours are Thursday to Saturday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Special Events like Homeschool Day, the 4th of July, craft days, etc are sure to be a hit with the kids.
You will find more to do if you attend on a special event day. All of the demonstrators work on a volunteer basis and visits on regular days will consist mainly of a guided tour. If you are interested in live demonstrations, make sure you check the calendar of events before visiting. Their website is currently under construction but you can go here for a Virtual Tour.
Habitat for Humanity Global Village and Discovery Center- Americus, GA
about Habitat's work ,and have a picnic outside the Discovery Center. This is well worth the stop. Americus, GA is also one of the stopping points on the SAM Shortline Excursion Train. If you make a day of it and ride the train, you should have enough time to get off at Americus and see the Global Village. It is walking distance from the train depot. The village is open for tours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (March through November.) For the holiday schedule, please call 1-800-HABITAT, ext. 7937.
Georgia Aquarium - Atlanta, GA
With 10 million gallons of water and more than sixty exhibits, the Georgia Aquarium is the world's largest aquarium. It was given to the city of Atlanta as a gift by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot. It is the only aquarium of its kind that also doubles as a veterinarian teaching hospital. Be ready for an adventure as you get up close and personal with gigantic whale sharks, beluga whales, sting rays, dolphins and all sorts of fish. Sit and relax in the man- made coral reef room where the waves roll in. I like to sit there and imagine I am on a deserted island, then all of a sudden, reality sets in, and I am awakened from my dream world by a tug and a "Mommy, where can we go next ?" The most cost effective way to see the aquarium is by organizing a field trip. We were even able to see behind the scenes and observe the feeding of the whale sharks on our field trip. If you can't visit in person, the next best thing is visiting one of the webcams. Here is a link to The Ocean Voyager Tunnel (shown above) Web Cam. If you are going with just your family, you might find the Atlanta City Pass to be your best deal. It is a ticket good for 5 Atlanta area attractions including:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World Of Coca-Cola
- Inside CNN Tour
- High Museum of Art OR Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- Zoo Atlanta OR Atlanta History Center
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
This is a cool place if you want to learn about money and hear its story. You will learn how the government processes and stores money. Rare and old coins are on display. There is also a gold bar on display with a digital meter above it telling exactly what it is worth day by day as the market
fluctuates. The Atlanta Reserve Bank is in charge of cleaning and removing old money from circulation. Money is not made at this location. The monetary museum is geared more for older students and adults. The tours are free and you can also take a Virtual Tour if you like. Groups of ten or more must be scheduled by appointment only. Groups of less than ten may tour the monetary museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more info visit their website.
The Rock Ranch - The Rock, GA
My sweet little nephew in the corn maze
This place is an outdoor adventure! The Rock Ranch is a 1250 acre cattle ranch owned by S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A. They offer everything from fall and spring field trips revolving around pond ecology and pioneers to Conestoga wagon camp outs. Take advantage of fresh produce and farm raised beef in season. There are lots of things to do and kids of all ages will have a blast. Visit Tiny Town, where the kids can feel like they are part of a thriving town built to child size scale. Play dress up, slide down the fireman's pole in the firehouse or play in the theater. Take a ride on the zip line that extends from the tower down to the lake, fish, ride paddle boats, ride the train that is "just big enough" for adults. The Fall Family Fun Days are especially entertaining as you can watch a pumpkin-firing cannon and take a walk through the corn maze.
Relax at the pavilions or "sit a spell" and rock in the rocking chairs on the barn porch. Let the kids pet the animals at the petting zoo. There really is something for everyone. Bring comfortable shoes and sunscreen! The operating hours vary by season, so be sure to check out the website before planning your visit.
Center for Puppetry Arts- Atlanta, GA
How many kids get to see real marionettes in today's world of digital entertainment? Go back in time to revisit stories of yesteryear as you experience classics on the puppet stage. The puppetry arts are brought to life in a modern setting by this talented group of puppeteers. Shows are available for children and adults alike. Classics like Charlotte's Web, Brer Rabbit and Friends and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are some of the past repertoire. Enjoy a Jim Henson exhibit in the on-sight museum. They offer frequent Home Educator Days that combine a performance, a create-a-puppet workshop and museum admission. Check out the The FAQ page before your visit.
I hope that I have whetted your appetite for all the family fun Georgia has to offer. Come on down south and enjoy the historical, the whimsical, the down-home hospitality and the grandeur the Peach State has to offer.
Jennifer Allen can be found reading, blogging with her husband, homeschooling and sharing fun times with her family. She is a museum lover and tries to make every adventure an educational one. She is a second generation homeschooler and also is a registered nurse. You can read her conversations about life, homeschooling and saving money at Conversaving.com