The small city of Valdosta is the county seat of Lowndes County in southern Georgia. This charming Southern city of 54,000 people is small but still a worthwhile destination for travelers and tourists.

Valdosta is also known as the “Azalea City” for the blooming bushes that grow all around town. Experience Southern hospitality and small-town charm while viewing unique attractions, all located in or around Valdosta, GA.

1. Things to Do in Valdosta, Georgia: Freedom Park

Things to Do in Valdosta, Georgia: Freedom Park
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Freedom Park is the place to be for outdoor recreation in Valdosta. This 250-acre park contains eight baseball diamonds with concessions and restrooms, 10 acres of soccer fields, a playground, and an 18-hole disc golf course. A small paved walking trail and a longer shaded hiking trail also wind through the park.

Guests can bring their four-legged friends to the complex’s large dog park, with sections for both large and small-breed canines. Freedom Park hosts baseball, softball, and disc golf tournaments throughout the season and holds a regional Olympic tournament each spring. Park facilities are available for rental for large events.

3795 Guest Rd. Valdosta, GA 31605

2. Grand Bay Wetland Education Center

Grand Bay Wetland Education Center
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The Grand Bay Wetland Education Center is part of the 8,700-acre Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area. The goal of the center is to teach children about the local wetland habitat. Students and children can learn about the wetlands, and the plants and animals who live there as well as their relationships to each other.

The center offers hands-on educational experiences and contains a 54-foot tower where visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.

4661 Knight Academy Rd, Valdosta, GA, Phone: 229-546-4094

3. Ola Barber - Pittman House

Ola Barber - Pittman House
© Ola Barber - Pittman House

The historic Pittman House dates back to 1915, when it was built as a family residence for the prominent entrepreneur and inventor, E.R. Barber. The house is an excellent example of early 20th century domestic Neo Classicism and contains design elements which were way ahead of the times. The exterior is characterized by a simple but striking columned entrance, linteled windows and the fanlight over the front door. When Mr. Barber passed away the house was left to his daughter, Ola Barber, who bequeathed it to the “people of Valdosta”. Today the building is home to the Valdosta Chamber of Commerce. Visitors may download a detailed walking tour to use when visiting.

416 N. Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 247 8100

4. Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum, Valdosta, Georgia

Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum, Valdosta, Georgia
© Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum

The Lowndes County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the rich history of Valdosta and the surrounding area. Their museum covers roughly 10,000 square feet and includes a vast archive full of photographs and documents from the early days of the city and a large research library full of books, government documents, and genealogy records.

There are also exhibits dedicated to Valdosta’s military history, and a large collection of textiles that showcases uniforms and clothing from various historical periods. Places to Visit in Georgia

305 West Central Ave Valdosta, GA 31601, Phone: 229-247-4780

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5. South Georgia Pecan Company, Valdosta, Georgia

South Georgia Pecan Company, Valdosta, Georgia
© South Georgia Pecan Company

For over 100 years, the South Georgia Pecan Company has been processing and selling the finest pecans harvested in the area. The company owns four plants that clean, shell, and package the nuts for consumers to purchase.

Visitors to Valdosta can stop at the gift shop and purchase pecans, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and snack mixes. The store sells relishes, BBQ sauces, chutneys, jams, jellies, hot sauces, and gift baskets as well. The company can also arrange for bulk and wholesale orders.

401 East Hill Ave Valdosta, GA 31601, Phone: 229-244-0686

6. The Crescent, Valdosta, Georgia

The Crescent, Valdosta, Georgia
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Named for its crescent-shaped front porch, “The Crescent” is a 23-room Southern mansion built by Senator William S. West in 1898. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The home is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and is an ideal venue for weddings, parties, receptions, and club meetings. Several area garden clubs also meet here. Special events such as flower shows and antique sales are held at the gardens throughout the year. Next read: Romantic Weekend Getaways from Atlanta and Best Things to Do in Georgia

904 North Patterson Street Valdosta, GA 31604, Phone: 229-244-6747

7. Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta, GA

Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta, GA
© Turner Center for the Arts

The arts are alive in Valdosta! Turner Center for the Arts contains six galleries and over 17,000 square feet of space. The galleries house works both regional and international, old and new. Permanent exhibits include a large collection of East African art and a small collection of European porcelains.

With approximately 30 exhibits displayed annually, there is always something new at the Turner Center. Visitors can stop by the center’s large gift shop before leaving. The shop sells unique jewelry, pottery, and art items as well as books, CDs, and more.

527 N. Patterson St Valdosta, GA 31601 Phone: 229-247-ARTS

8. Things to Do in Valdosta, GA: Wild Adventures

Things to Do in Valdosta, GA: Wild Adventures
© Wild Adventures

Adventure awaits at Wild Adventures! This theme park has rides, games, and attractions for adventurers of all ages. Their newest attraction is Ohana Bay, which features seven water slides and is part of their Splash Island water park. The park also has rides such as roller coasters, carousels, Ferris wheels, a zoo with exotic animals and birds, an arcade, mini golf, go kart racing, and more!

Dining, shopping, concerts, and live shows are also offered at the park. Wild Adventures is open from March until the end of December and is closed January and February. Splash Island is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

3766 Old Clyattville Rd Valdosta, GA 31601

9. Theatre Guild Valdosta

Theatre Guild Valdosta
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Celebrating their 34th Season of live entertainment, the Theatre Guild of Valdosta is once again rolling out a full calendar of marvelous shows to suit all ages. The guild was established in 1989 and bought their own theatre (a dilapidated old movie house) in 1992. Since then the guild has not looked back and continues to wow the crowds and to educate the next generation of actors, known as the Gingerbread Players. These young artists produce 2 productions each year – auditions are open to children from 6 years of age. Season 34 will include several well-loved productions including Shrek – the Musical, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Play that goes Wrong.

122 N. Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229-24STAGE

10. Georgia Beer Company

Georgia Beer Company
© Georgia Beer Company

Owned and operated by a pair of beer-loving friends who met at university, the Georgia Beer Company is the southern-most brewery in the state. While their beers may be brewed according to traditional methods, the owners of Georgia Beer Company intend their brews to be a tribute to Georgia and go out of their way to source as many of their ingredients as possible from local suppliers. While the beers available at the Tap Room are constantly changing, there are a few flagship brews which are always available. These include blonde ale, a fruited IPA, their Coffee Milk Stout and 2 fruited blonde ales. Several more choices are available seasonally.

109 S. Briggs Street, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 588 4664

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11. Valdosta Wake Compound

Valdosta Wake Compound
© Valdosta Wake Compound

The Valdosta Wake Compound provides a superb training ground for avid skaters and wake boarders. The compound is basically a cable park which covers several acres on and surrounding a large fishing lake where a variety of obstacles and rails have been set up. Participants are propelled across the lake by cables attached to towers and can spend hours perfecting their wakeboarding moves without the use of a boat. There is also a skate park where skateboarders can perfect their technique and learn new moves. The facility has an on-site shop where you can buy everything you need for your hobby.

2314 Old Clyattville Rd, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 375 3060

12. Raisin' Cane

Raisin' Cane
© Raisin' Cane

Raisin Cane is a family-owned and operated Market which brings the finest Georgian agricultural produce to the community. The market is open all year round and is very popular with local residents who come to stock up on local honey, Georgia-grown jams, jellies, preserves and nuts. One of their most popular lines are their take and bake meals, including more than 40 different home-made casseroles which you can just take home and heat up for a great farm-cooked meal. The interesting market is packed to the rafters with country-style décor items, crafts and more. U-Pick Satsuma picking is available in season.

3350 Newsome Road, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 259 2000

13. Austin's Cattle Company

Austin's Cattle Company
© Austin's Cattle Company

Locals will tell you that Austin’s Cattle Company is one of the best steakhouses in Valdosta, receiving consistently excellent reviews. The restaurant prides itself on serving only the finest (never frozen) hand-cut steaks, ribs and other succulent morsels. The interior of the restaurant is divided into 3 areas, one of which is set up like a sports bar and is perfect for parties while the other has a quieter ambiance perfect for a date night dinner. Although the emphasis is on meat, Austin’s also serves excellent fish, seafood, poultry, burgers, sandwiches and sides including vegetables and salads. There is a varied drinks menu and a special menu for little diners.

2101 West Hill Ave, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 242 2639

14. Epic Escape Rooms

Epic Escape Rooms
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Epic by name and epic by nature, Epic Escape Rooms in Valdosta have put together an absolutely epic variety of fun escape games. With no fewer than 6 exciting themed rooms to choose from, Epic Escape Rooms can accommodate a massive 40 players each hour. Your team needs to have between 2 and 10 players and everyone in the team needs to be 8 years or older. You can choose from the following themes, depending on the size of your group: Escape on the High Seas, Genie’s Lamp, Table for Two (this one is reserved for couples), Dying Love, The Lost Jungle and Mom’s Diner. The clock is ticking – you only have 60 minutes to escape.

2533 N. Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601, 229 561 4969

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Attraction Spotlight: Wild Adventures Theme Park

Valdosta, Georgia’s Wild Adventures Theme Park offers rides, a collection of exotic animals, entertaining attractions, shows and a water park.

Rides at the park span all levels of thrill. Kids rides include the classic carousel, train, frog hopper and tea cup ride. Safari Jeeps is an all ages safari themed Jeep ride around a track. Critter Crawl offers a playscape for the park’s youngest visitors. Family rides include the Ferris wheel a mini roller coaster ride, Ant Farm Express, and a log flume ride named Blackfoot Falls. The Sidewinder, the Yo-Yo and the mid-sized Viking Voyage roller coaster all provide mid-level thrills. The Safari Train takes guests of all ages past several of the animals in the safari park, such as the rhino, elephants, zebras and giraffe.

Thrill rides include swinging rides such as the Aviator, with interactive cars swinging wide from a 100-foot high tower. Boomerang is a roller coaster offering two inverted twists. Swamp Thing and Twisted Typhoon both offer roller coaster rides in dizzying, upside down hanging seats. Cheetah is the park’s 3,000-foot long classic wooden roller coaster. At 90 feet tall, it reaches speeds of over 50 miles per hour.

A wide range of exotic animals are dispersed throughout the park, mostly grouped around the Safari Train for viewing from the train ride. The park is home to large animals such as giraffe, elephants, lions, tigers, a black bear and water buffalo. Other animals at the park include the impala, lamas, the nilgai, which is the largest species of antelope, and the oryx, an African grazing antelope. Smaller mammals include the raccoon, prairie dog, sloth, wallaby and fennec fox. Highlights of the bird collection include an African grey parrot, a blue macaw, the African crowned crane, a cockatoo, red tailed hawk and toucan. A reptile exhibit includes pythons and boa constrictors, as well as invertebrates such as the emperor scorpion, giant praying mantis and hissing cockroach.

Additional attractions at the park include a mini-golf course, go-kart track and arcade. A butterfly garden is open in the spring and summer, during which time it is host to thousands of monarch butterflies. Dockside games offer a variety of classic carnival games for prizes. A Safari Petting Zoo is home to baby animals, rabbits, ducks and goats.

The Splash Island Water Park is included with a theme park entrance, and offers everything from thrilling water slides, to relaxing poolside cabanas. The park includes a children’s splash pad and play area, a lazy river tubing activity, and several waterslides.

History: Wild Adventures was founded by Kent and Dawn Buescher in 1996. Beginning as a small petting zoo, rides were added to the park two years later, and in 2003, the Splash Island water park, the largest expansion since the park’s opening, was added. After being purchased in 2004 by the now defunct Cypress Gardens in Florida, Wild Adventures filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006, all the while remaining open to the public. In 2007, the park was sold at auction to Herschend Family Entertainment for upwards of $30 million. The company, who owns the Harlem Globetrotters, also operates several theme parks, water parks, aquariums, entertaining dinner shows and hotels throughout the United States.

Under new ownership, the park closed some rides, and opened others, and now offers 8 roller coasters, entertaining concerts and shows, the water park and exotic animal park.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Critter Kitchen offers animal feedings and presentations throughout the day as animals are brought in to interact with the guests while they enjoy their snacks. Giraffe feedings take place daily, and guest may participate in feeding the animals with the purchase of an animal close encounter. Other ongoing animal presentations include the Bear Keeper Talk and Squirrel Monkey Keeper Talk. Gators! is an ongoing show that presents the park’s alligators, while Tigers of India is an ongoing award-winning tiger show.

Daily events at the park include the Adventure Parade, which invites families to take place in the animal themed displays. The All Star Concert Series invites musicians and entertainers to the park. Wrestling, fireworks and car shows have been among the recent events.

Past and Future Exhibits: Megabugs! is a temporary exhibit running through 2018 that displays over 70 larger than life bug sculptures, allowing children to crawl under, climb on or in, as they learn about bugs, their sounds, and movements.

3766 Old Clyattville Road Valdosta, GA 31601, Phone: 229-219-7080

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More Ideas in GA: T.R.R. Cobb House

The Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb House is a historic home in Athens, Georgia managed by the Watson Brown Foundation. The home is both a museum and education center celebrating the life of T.R.R. Cobb in addition to the Civil War era history of the American South.

The Greek Revival style home, currently located just a short walk from its original site, has been refurbished to reflect the period 1852-1862 when Tom Cobb was at the height of his brief career. Built in 1834, the home’s original floor plan was a four over four Plantation Plan. The house was a wedding gift to Cobb, from his father in law, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Joseph Henry Lumpkin. In the late 1840’s, as his success as a lawyer grew, Cobb significantly expanded the home to include additional rooms, two signature wings, and a two-story front portico lined with Doric columns. Cobb lived in the home until his death in 1862. His wife, Marion, sold the home in 1873.

The home is organized into two exhibition spaces. The main floor plan is decorated with period furnishings and resembles what it would have looked like in the mid-1800’s when occupied by Tom Cobb and his wife. The upper floor is of contemporary design and offers exhibit space and display cases to hold rotating exhibits that illuminate the history of 19th century Georgia. Artifacts include historic weapons, documents and photographs, as well as copies of speeches made by T.R.R. Cobb and his contemporaries.

Highlights of the renovations include the formal parlor, traditionally the most lavishly decorated room in the house. Most of the furnishings here belonged to Cobb’s brother. Floorboards are original here and throughout the main first floor rooms. The dining room is set up as it would have been for a large party, with chairs against the walls. A sugar chest would have held valuable sugar and spices. Silver is engraved with Cobb, and the China, which was a gift to Cobb’s brother in the 1850’s was originally used in the governor’s mansion. A guestroom showcases the Confederate battle flag that graced Cobb’s coffin after his death. He died at the age of 39 in the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862.

A resource room on the second floor is available to researchers by appointment and contains non-circulating secondary sources related to the Civil War, Victorian-era architecture, decorative arts in the south, and southern culture.

History: Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, known as Tom, was born in 1823 and is considered one of the first citizens of Athens, Georgia, although he was not born there. One of Georgia’s most prominent lawyers, Cobb was an officer in the Confederate Army. He was a fierce advocate for state’s rights, a supporter of slavery, and a politician devoted to Southern Nationalism in the mid-1800’s.

The home, originally located in Athens, lay abandoned 70 miles away in Stone Mountain, Georgia for over 20 years. The current address is just two blocks from the home’s original site. In 1873, when Marion Cobb sold the home it was used as a boarding house, fraternity house, and rental property until 1962 when it was purchased by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. When the Archdiocese threatened demolition of the home in the 1980’s, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association intervened to save the home and moved it to Stone Mountain Park. Plans to refurbish the home at the location were met with budget constraints and the home sat abandoned for nearly 20 years. In 2004, the Watson-Brown Foundation moved the home back to Athens with the assistance of a generous grant from the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. The home opened in 2007 as a historic house museum, and in 2008 was awarded the Georgia Trust’s Preservation Award for its excellence in renovation.

The home and its programming is funded by the Watson Brown Foundation with supplemental income from site rentals for events and private programming. The Watson Brown Foundation was founded in 1970 and aims to preserve the history of the ‘spiritual founders’ of the South and educate the public through responsible scholarship. The foundation owns and manages three historic sites in Georgia.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Tours of the home may be self-guided. Groups can reserve 45-minute guided tours. Detailed Lesson Plans are available for educators interested in field trips. Topics cover Cobb’s role in the Georgia Secession Debates, as well as the role of wealthy women, and economic motives for secession.

175 Hill Street Athens, GA 30601, Phone: 706-369-3513

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More Ideas in GA: Helen Tubing and Water Park

Helen Tubing and Water Park is located in Helen, Georgia, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just south of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The park is comprised of the Helen Tubing Adventure, which takes place on the Chattahoochee River, and the Helen Water Park.

The Helen Tubing Adventure lets guests float the Chattahoochee River in inflatable inner tubes. The float down the river is the longest of the area floats, and takes approximately two and one half hours, depending on the river height at the time. Busses pick up guests at the park every 15 minutes to bring them to the inner tubing launch site, north of the water park. Tubing is open to all ages, and even dogs are welcome to accompany their owners and swim alongside, or ride in a tube of their own. Known as the “home of the hot pink tubes,” Helen Water Park participants are easily recognized as they float down the river back towards the water park.

At the Water Park, guests can float in the 1000-foot long Lazy River that winds around the park’s perimeter, offering a slow, gentle float in an artificial pool setting. For those looking for more activity, two giant body slides offer both enclosed tunnels and open slides. Two additional water slides may be ridden on an inner tube, a mat, or feet first as a body slide. Each of the four slides is over 50 feet in height, allowing participants to gain a healthy speed before landing in the pool below. A children’s play area includes a mushroom-shaped waterfall, and a play area on a splash pad with several interactive water features.

The park’s newest attraction is a 25-foot tall rock climbing wall. A snack bar at the water park offers pizzas, subs, burgers, snacks, ice cream and refreshments. While coolers are not allowed inside the park, there are allowed on the grassy areas outside the park, where there are plenty of picnic tables and shaded areas. Wrist bands allow guests to enter and exit the park as often as they’d like, and all passes include unlimited tubing and water park usage all day long.

A shop onsite sells souvenirs, water shoes, watertight boxes for cell phones and keys, sunscreen, towels and snacks. Life jackets are available, as well as inner tubes both with and without bottoms. Hook straps are available to connect tubes together for families and friends who want to float together.

History: Helen, Georgia is known as the “Alpine City of Georgia” and is located in White County’s Blue Ridge Mountains alongside the Chattahoochee River. The small town of Helen spans just over 2 miles, and has a population of around 500. Although tiny, the Bavarian-influenced mountain town is the third most visited town in the state of Georgia. Originally home of the Cherokee, Helen was settled by Europeans seeking gold and timber. In the 1950’s when the logging industry slowed down, the town resurrected itself by becoming a replica Bavarian Village, albeit in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. By 1969, zoning in the area required that every structure in Helen reflect Germany’s classic Bavarian style.

Today, Helen is best known for its Bavarian charm, the surrounding wineries, and Appalachian landscape. With tourism as the primary industry, Helen offers several attractions, events and activities, including Helen Tubing and Water Park.

Ongoing Programs and Education: The Helen Tubing and Water Park is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Summer events nearby in the city of Alpine Helen include the Annual Wine Fest, which will take place for the 27th time in May of 2019. The 46th annual Helen-Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place in June of 2019. The hot air balloon race is the longest in the United States. Spectators may participate in tethered rides before the competitors depart for the 225-mile race. Also in June is the Lavender in the Mountains Festival. The festival celebrates lavender products and crafts, as well as lavender based culinary treats.

What’s Nearby: Alpine Extreme Speed GoKarting is located at Helen Tubing and Water Park’s northern tube launching site, and offers family fun for those waiting to launch their inner tubes, or as a stand-alone activity. The indoor go kart track and laser tag venue is a separately run business, but is often combined with a day of tubing, as it’s located adjacent to the tubing drop off site.

222 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA 30545, Phone: 706-878-8404

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