Middle Georgia a great base for day trips

lshirley@macon.comMay 4, 2014 

Macon’s location in the middle of the state opens plenty of options for short drives and entertainment choices all across Georgia with all the sights and sounds the state has to offer.

From history to amusement parks and water parks to zoos, the world’s largest aquarium and outdoors options, the destinations are as varied as they are plentiful. And they are all within a day’s drive of Macon.

Museums

Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum and Institute: 326 W. Whitney Ave., Albany. Housed in historic Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, the museum tells the story of the Albany Movement, in which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought alongside the Southern Christian Leadership Council, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the battle for civil rights. 229-432-1698. www.albanycivilrightsinstitute.org. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. $2-$6.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History: 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta. Permanent exhibits include the “Giants of the Mesozoic” dinosaur exhibit, “A Walk Through Time in Georgia,” “Reflections of Culture,” “Conveyed in Clay: Stories from St. Catherine’s Island,” “Sensing Nature,” “Curator’s Corner” and “World of Shells.” The museum also includes special exhibitions and an IMAX theater. 404-929-6300. www.fernbankmuseum.org. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Museum tickets: $15.50-$17.50; IMAX tickets: $11-$13; combination tickets, group rates and memberships available.

World of Coca-Cola: 121 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. Exhibits include memorabilia, artwork and the history behind the soda and the story of its secret formula. Visitors also will enjoy a 4-D movie experience and tasting of sodas from around the globe. 404-676-5151. www.worldofcoca-cola.com. Hours vary and are available online. $16 adults (ages 13-64); $14 seniors (65 and older); $12 children ages 3-12; children under 3 free with an adult; annual pass available. Parking is available in the World of Coca-Cola parking garage for a fee of $10 per vehicle per day.

Uncle Remus Museum: 214 S. Oak St., Eatonton. Housed in an 1860’s era log cabin, the Uncle Remus Museum is a must for any fan of Br’er Rabbit. A colorful statue welcomes visitors to the museum, which is dedicated to preserving the early life and heritage of Southern author and Eatonton native Joel Chandler Harris, creator of Uncle Remus. The museum features vignettes of hand-carved figures from the Uncle Remus critter tales as well as hand tools from the 1800-1900s, Civil War memorabilia, clothing and other period artifacts. Admission: $3-$5; discounts and group rates available. 10 a.m.-5p.m. Monday-Saturday and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. 706-485-6856. www.uncleremusmuseum.org.

Historic sites

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site: 711 Jarrell Plantation Road, Juliette. The site of a former cotton plantation includes plantation buildings with original handmade furniture from 1847, a museum with a film and a picnic area. Special events are held throughout the year. 478-986-5172. www.gastateparks.org/JarrellPlantation. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays. $1-$6.50; group rates available with advance notice.

Theme parks

The Rock Ranch: 5020 Barnesville Highway, The Rock. Families and school, church and business groups can visit the 1,250-acre cattle ranch for a day of “agritainment,” including train rides, zip lines (for an additional fee), jumping pillows, corn maze, cane pole fishing, paddle boats and more. 706-647-6374. www.therockranch.com. Hours vary by season. Cost varies by event; season passes available.

Six Flags Over Georgia: 275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell. Rides are available for all ages, from kiddie rides to roller coasters and everything in between. Concerts and shows also provide entertainment, and a variety of concessions are available. 770-739-3400. www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia. Hours vary throughout the season and are available online. $56.99 general admission; $39.99 children under 48 inches tall; free for children 2 and younger; season passes available; parking starts at $20.

Gardens

Lockerly Arboretum: 1534 Irwinton Road, Milledgeville. Lockerly Arboretum is a public garden devoted to educating visitors about the conservation of natural resources in Middle Georgia. Hiking and driving trails are available, and educational programs may be scheduled in advance. 478-452-2112. www.lockerly.org. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Water parks

Splash in the Boro: 1388 Ga. 24 E., Statesboro. The family water park offers a lazy river, slides, a spray pad and an assortment of pools. The park also features snack and sandwich shops. 912-89-3000. www.splashintheboro.com. Hours vary by season. $12 adults and children over 48 inches tall; $10 adults and children under 48 inches tall; free for children ages 2 and younger; season passes available.

Animals

Zoo Atlanta: 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. There are plenty of mammals, including giant pandas, birds, reptiles and amphibians on display. Plant life is also abundant. 404-624-9453. www.zooatlanta.org. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $21.99 adults age 12 and older; $17.99 seniors age 65 and older, military and college students; $16.99 children ages 3-11; free for children 2 and younger; parking is free.

Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary: 712 LG Griffin Road, Locust Grove. This nonprofit organization provides save haven for more than 1,000 exotic, wild and domestic animals in habitats similar to their natural environments. 770-957-0888. Animal habitats: noon-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (weather permitting); welcome center, picnic area and office: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Free, donations accepted.

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