Looking for an ideal resting place or stopping point when en route to/from Savannah and Charleston or even Florida?
Posted on 4/4/2023 by Rashelle Minix
Looking for an ideal resting place or stopping point when en route to/from Savannah and Charleston or even Florida? Make Albany, Georgia, an affordable vacation add-on this summer.
Go wild with these top things to do
Albany’s nearly 800-acre Chehaw Wild Animal Park includes a 100-acre zoo originally designed by Albany native and naturalist Jim Fowler of TV’s “Wild Kingdom.”
The park features natural habitat exhibits with native and exotic animals, including 219 specimens representing 84 species of wild animals. Don’t miss camels Humphrey and Audrey, the red wolves, cheetahs, Burmese python and black rhino exhibits. See a spring-fed black gum swamp, home to more than two dozen alligators ranging in size from six to 13 feet, as well as mussels, insects, fish, turtles and small mammals which work together to create a unique ecosystem.
Young children can head for one of the state’s largest play parks and visit the petting zoo.
Camping, hiking, RC car racing, disc golf and BMX bike racing are available. Several miles of equestrian trails wind throughout the park. A 12-mile single fast bike trail runs along the wooded terrain near the river. In the summer Chehaw offers options for campers age 5-12 to experience outdoor activities like archery, nature hikes, survival skills, coupled with adventures like spending the night in a real tee pee and going behind the scenes at the zoo.
There are creatures of the deep at Flint RiverQuarium. The 175,000-gallon Flint RiverQuarium has a unique blue hole tank with more than 120 mysterious creatures. You might see one of the RiverQuarium’s most famous residents, a rare albino alligator named Moonshine, who lives in the aquarium’s “Alligators: Dragons in Paradise” exhibit.
Albany’s southern location makes it an ideal destination for H2O adventures. Float the Flint River by kayak or canoe via the Georgia Power Dam, Riverfront Park Launch, Ray Charles Plaza Launch or the Marine Landing input areas. Call Kayak Attack Adventures at (229) 669-1259 for all of your rental needs, including kayaks, canoes and life jackets. Kayak Attack offers trips along the Kinchafoonee Creek, Flint River and Muckalee Creek. Trips range from one to seven hours.
Looking for land adventures…While you are on the Riverfront, stop by the historic Bridge House. Former slave turned famed engineer, Horace King, built the original wooden bridge that crossed the Flint River and the Bridge House that now serves as Albany’s Welcome Center. Here you can rent bikes to explore outdoor attractions and trails, enjoy shopping, dining and enjoy a cold brew (coffee or beer).
Ray Charles was born in Albany in 1930. Despite an illness that struck Charles blind at age seven, he would become one of the most influential singer-songwriters in American history. Today, the closest you can get to a Ray Charles concert is in his birthplace at The Ray Charles Plaza. The plaza sits on the banks of the Flint River in downtown Albany. Visitors can watch the rotating, life-size bronze sculpture of the groundbreaking musician seated at a baby Grand piano, all while listening to Charles’s most famous tunes—including the state’s official song, “Georgia On My Mind.”
There are so many things to do in the downtown area’s six-acre Riverfront Park. Spread out along the Flint River, enjoy a beautiful lawn for family picnics and gatherings, pavilion areas, Turtle Grove Play Park, the Horace King Overlook and a 2.4-mile Riverwalk Greenway Trail.
Across the street from the flowing waters of Georgia’s Flint River, savor a sip at Pretoria Fields Collective (120 Pine Avenue, www.PretoriaFields.com), where the four core beers, as well as seasonally released limited editions available only in the tasting room, offer sudsy sips for everyone. Flights of beers are available to those who have a tough time choosing. The outdoor courtyard is the perfect place to toss a game of corn hole or gather friends and family around the fire pit. Indoors, board and card games, as well as an exceptional view of the 30-barrel brew house, make for a relaxed ambiance. Well-behaved children and dogs on leashes are always welcome, too.
If brewed hops aren’t your thing, try some hot or cold brewed coffee beans next door at Cornerstone Coffee & Co. Enjoy books, games, or just relax and enjoy the vibe.
Bring home the perfect souvenir at The Albany Welcome Center. Grab one-of-a-kind duds at The Paisley Fig boutique. Choose a statement piece at The Show Room, Envy or Blush. Or score something for the house at Livi and Company; VisitAlbanyGA.com/explore/category/shop
Broaden cultural horizons at the Albany Museum of Art, a free attraction accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Its permanent collection includes an impressive collection of sub-Saharan African art, as well as American and European art. The AMA has rotating exhibitions featuring national and international artists, and robust art-centered programming for children and adults.
Take a walk-through history at the Albany Civil Rights Institute. In 1961, crowds gathered at Mount Zion Baptist Church to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with other civil rights leaders who inspired listeners to challenge the systematic oppression of African Americans. Old Mount Zion, built in 1906, is the most important artifact in the new Albany Civil Rights Institute’s collections. Come learn about the long Southwest Georgia Movement that stretches back to slavery and reaches right up to today. Come hear the power of music in the movement and see what happened to ordinary people in extraordinary times.
TIP: Don’t miss a stop at Mark’s Melon Patch. Just outside of Albany, the famous roadside farm market is well known for the freshest produce around. For the past 30 years, families from across the state and country have visited the Highway 82 roadside market for delicious fresh fruits, vegetables and a family fun atmosphere. MarksMelonPatch.com
During your visit, satisfy hunger cravings at The Catch, a trendy nouveau Southern cuisine seafood place; local treasure Austin’s BBQ and Oyster Bar; Pearly’s Famous Country Cooking; The Flint in Downtown Albany for upscale dining and, pub-style Harvest Moon, with evening musical entertainment served on the side. Albany offers more than two dozen hotels—many include complimentary breakfast.