Native American dancers share their heritage with students at Ocmulgee National Monument
Summer is coming — or already here, depending on who you ask.
June 21 might be the first official day of summer but if temperatures hit around 100 and the kids are out of school, hasn’t summer already come?
You’ll spend the next several months looking for things to do. You’ll want to splash in cool waters to combat the stifling Georgia heat. You’ll want to go and see things you haven’t seen. Maybe you’ll want to expand your mind — preferably somewhere air-conditioned. If you’ve got kids or young cousins or nephews and nieces, you’ll need something to hold their attention too.
We’ve got a few ideas on how to spend your summer days. Here are five trips in and around Macon that might be what you’re looking for. Some of them are inside the city limits and the others are less than an hour away.
All distances are calculated from downtown Macon. Drive time estimates may change throughout the day.
Address: 4761 Holley Road, Lizella
Distance: 13.8 miles, 27 minutes
Elliott Farms, a popular you-pick farm in Lizella, has sweet strawberries and delicious strawberry ice cream — a perfect summer stop for you and any young ones in tow.
Pick the sweet fruits early before it gets too hot. Bring a big floppy shade hat and some sunscreen. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, according to their Facebook page. Call ahead to make sure they are open.
Rigby’s Entertainment Complex/Water World
Address: 2001 Karl Drive, Warner Robins
Distance: 27.1 miles, 30 minutes
Water slides, laser tag, putt-putt, go-karts — the list goes on and on and on.
Rigby’s Entertainment Complex and Rigby’s Water World have pretty much anything you’d want out of a place. This summer will be the first full season for Rigby’s Water World.
The water park, located behind the sprawling complex, will be open seven days a week from May 25-Aug. 4 and then weekends from Aug. 10 - Sept. 1. More than 150,000 people are expected to visit the park, so get out there quick.
The most popular feature of the park is Paradise Island which includes 10 water slides, dump buckets and other water toys. Want something a little more relaxing? There’s also 1,600-foot lazy river.
High Falls State Park
Address: 76 High Falls Park Drive, Jackson
Distance: 36.4 miles, 35 minutes
High Falls State Park, located northwest of Macon, features waterfall views and some of the state’s best fishing for hybrid and white bass.
In the early 1800s, High Falls was an industrial town with several stores, a grist mill, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, a shoe factory and a hotel. But when a major railroad that bypassed the town was built, that all changed, wrote author Kenneth Krakow in his 1975 book Georgia Place-Names.
Now, the 1,050-acre park features six yurts and more than 100 tent, trailer and R.V. campsites. There’s a $5 dollar parking fee, and the park facilities are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the Georgia State Parks website.
Museum hopping in Macon
Address: The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, 2321 Vineville Ave, Macon and/or The Hay House, 934 Georgia Ave, Macon
There are plenty of museums in Macon where you can spend some time. Some of my favorites include The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House and the Hay House.
The Big House was home to the famed southern rock band, The Allman Brothers, during their early years from 1970 to 1973. Exhibits in the home include guitars, artwork and other band memorabilia.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The house’s gate closes 30 minutes before the museum closes, according to the Big House website. You can buy tickets online.
The Johnston-Felton-Hay House, often called simply the Hay House, was built from 1855 to 1859 in the Italian Renaissance Revival style — a contrast to the Greek Revival style of the period, according to the Hay House website.
The mansion is 18,000 square-feet and features 24 rooms. Tours of the home take place between 10 a.m. to 4.p.m Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tours begin at the top of each hour. The last tour leaves at 3 p.m, according to the house’s website.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
Address: 1207 Emery Hwy, Macon
A prehistoric Native American site that tells the story of 17,000 years of continuous human habitation, Ocmulgee is the ancestral home of the Muscogee (Creek) nation, according to the National Park Service website.
The site highlights early settlement by Native Americans, the arrival of Europeans, the Civil War and beyond.
Three of the site’s most popular sites are the Earth Lodge, the Trading Post and the Greater and Lesser Temple Mounds. The Earth Lodge’s original clay floor dates back about 1,000 years. The trading post site marked where the British swapped firearms, cloth and trinkets for Muscogee-made furs and deerskin.
The park was designated a national historic park earlier this year.
The park and visitor center is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. seven days a week with the exception of a few holidays.