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. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Things to Do in Valdosta, Georgia: Freedom Park
2.Grand Bay Wetland Education Center
3.Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum, Valdosta, Georgia
4.South Georgia Pecan Company, Valdosta, Georgia
5.The Crescent, Valdosta, Georgia
6.Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta, GA
7.Things to Do in Valdosta, GA: Wild Adventures
7 Best Things to Do in Valdosta, Georgia
- Things to Do in Valdosta, Georgia: Freedom Park, Photo: Courtesy of Pakhnyushchyy - Fotolia.com
- Grand Bay Wetland Education Center, Photo: Courtesy of birdiegal - Fotolia.com
- Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum, Valdosta, Georgia, Photo: Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum
- South Georgia Pecan Company, Valdosta, Georgia, Photo: South Georgia Pecan Company
- The Crescent, Valdosta, Georgia, Photo: The Crescent
- Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta, GA, Photo: Turner Center for the Arts
- Things to Do in Valdosta, GA: Wild Adventures, Photo: Wild Adventures
- Cover Photo: Turner Center for the Arts
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.
115 Escowee Dr, Helen, GA 30545, Phone: 706-878-8404
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