Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia, Dahlonega is a small city that packs a punch when it comes to things to see and do. From excellent wine farms and vineyards with award-winning wines, beautiful natural landscapes with roaring waterfalls, babbling brooks, and rugged mountains to a rich history dating back to the discovery of gold in the area in 1828, this quaint town has something for everyone. Whether you prefer strolling through art galleries and exploring museums, panning for gold knee-deep in the river, or tasting some of the region’s best wines, Dahlonega won’t disappoint.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Scenic Drives

Scenic Drives
© Courtesy of Jane -

Dahlonega offers two beautiful scenic drives in the North Georgia Mountains that take in the magnificent landscapes throughout the year. The Lumpkin-Union Loop is a 63-mile drive that winds through the Appalachian Mountains and features several highlights such as Cane Creek Falls, Lake Trahlyta, Helton Creek Falls, Dockery Lake, and the Yahoola Valley. Other spectacular sights along the way include Dicks Creek Falls, Lake Winfield Scott, DeSoto Falls, Turners Corner, and the Suches Valley, with points of interest such as Trahlyta's Grave at Stone Pile Gap, Vogel State Park, and the Woody Gap. The Brasstown Bald Loop is a 106-mile drive that features deep valleys, winding mountain roads, excellent lookout points, and spectacular views. Highlights on this journey include Raven Cliff Falls, Dicks Creek Falls, Dockery Lake, Turners Corner, Unicoi Gap, the Byron Herbert Reece Farm & Heritage Center, and the Brasstown Bald, which is the highest point in Georgia.

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2.Lake Zwerner Trail, Dahlonega, Georgia

Lake Zwerner Trail, Dahlonega, Georgia
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The Lake Zwerner Trail is a 3.5-mile hiking and biking trail that runs around the perimeter of the Dahlonega Reservoir and is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, joggers, and cyclists. The well-established trail begins in one of two parking lots and starts along the shoreline of the lake before crossing a scenic creek about halfway and continuing its way around the lake. The route is an excellent simulation of the renowned Appalachian Trail for those training to hike the longer trail and offers a beautiful array of fauna and flora along the way. The path is suitable for all ages and levels of hiker and biker.

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3.Cane Creek Falls

Cane Creek Falls
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Located along Cane Creek in Fall Creek Falls State Park near Spencer, Cane Creek Falls is an 85-foot plunge waterfall created at the point where the Fall and Rockhouse Creeks meet and is the largest waterfall by volume in the park. The sheer force of the water has carved an impressive gorge through the woodland that is responsible for all the other falls and offers a breathtaking sight, which can be viewed from two outlook points above the waterfalls. The best views of the waterfall are from above Cane Creek Cascades, which is accessed by a swinging bridge and a walking trail that leads to Fall Creek Falls. Rockhouse Falls can also be seen from this viewpoint, which is right next to Cane Creek Falls. A short walk or bike ride from the park’s nature center will allow visitors to see all the waterfalls in the park.

Cane Creek Falls State Park, Dahlonega, GA 30533

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4.Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo
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The Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is an animal sanctuary and petting zoo that is home to a wide variety of animals and birds, ranging from white Siberian tigers, African lions, and grizzly bears to zebra, elk, and emus. In addition to providing and a safe and natural habitat in which the animals can reside, the wildlife reserve also offers private animal encounters where visitors can interact with certain species such as alligators, pythons, tortoises, bearded dragons, and cockatoos. Don’t miss the opportunity to have “breakfast with the big cats,” which is one of the zoo’s unique and unforgettable encounters. The Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo offers customized group tours and field trips for all ages and hosts special occasions such as birthdays. Next read: Romantic Weekend Getaways from Atlanta

469 Old Dahlonega Hwy, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 678-859-6820

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5.Crisson Mine, Dahlonega, Georgia

Crisson Mine, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Crisson Mine

Crisson Mine is an open pit gold mine in Lumpkin County that allows visitors to explore the world of mining and learn more about how gold was found and mined in the area during the Georgia gold rush. Established in 1847, the mine was worked commercially until the early 1980s and is the oldest gold mining establishment in North Georgia that is open for the public to explore. The now tourist attraction features a 130-year-old rock crusher called a stamp mill, which is still used to crush quartz rock containing gold, and several antique gold mining machines such as rod mills and jaw crushers, which are also occasionally used. Visitors can pan for their gold with tractor scoops and trommels or search for gemstones in the large gemstone buckets. Friendly staff are on hand to answer questions and help with panning for gold or searching for gems.

2736 Morrison Moore Pkwy E, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-6363

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6.Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mine, Dahlonega, Georgia

Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mine, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Courtesy of TTstudio -

Located in Lumpkin County just east of Dahlonega, the Dahlonega Consolidated Mine, also known as the Consolidated Mine, was a working gold mine during the Georgia gold rush in the late 1800s. The mine produced gold for about 30 years until the mine's lower levels became flooded with water and were abandoned for several decades. Today, the shaft is a popular tourist attraction, where visitors can learn about the gold mining industry, how gold is found and mined from the ground or panned from rivers, and where it goes after that. The mine still contains gold, and a part of the upper level of the mine remains open for tourists, who can try their hand at panning for gold, along with exploring portions of the Glory Hole, which was renowned for once being the wealthiest acre of land in the world. Tours of the mine are available and are guided by friendly and knowledgeable guides who share the history of gold mining in the Dahlonega area and what was once the largest gold mining operation east of the Mississippi River.

185 Consolidated Gold Mine Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-8473

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7.Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, Dahlonega, Georgia

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site

The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site is a museum that is dedicated to showcasing the mining history of Lumpkin County and honoring America's first gold rush. Located in the heart of Dahlonega overlooking Public Square, the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site is housed in the historic Old Lumpkin County Courthouse, which dates back to 1836 and is the oldest surviving county courthouse in the state. Set in the center of the town square, the museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts and objects from the gold rush of 1836, including gold coins and nuggets, antique gold panning equipment and machinery, and more as well as a gift shop. Visitors can enjoy a short film about the history of gold mining and the role it played in Lumpkin County.

1 Public Square N, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-2257

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8.Dahlonega Walking Tours, Dahlonega, Georgia

Dahlonega Walking Tours, Dahlonega, Georgia
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Dahlonega Walking Tours offer a variety of walking tours that range from exploring the history of the town to discovering its many wineries and pubs to learning more about its haunted past. Tours include Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tours, which visit five different locations in Dahlonega’s square with samplings of wine and haunted tales, and the Historic Ghost Tour, which includes stops at the historic courthouse, the square’s most haunted restaurant, the Crimson Moon, and landmark residences around the square. Other tours include a Boos and Brews Pub Crawl, a Dahlonega History Tour, and a Paranormal Investigation Tour, all of which are led by friendly expert guides who share their passion and knowledge for the city, its history and haunted past, and its fantastic food and wine with visitors along the way.

19 E Main St, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-482-8795

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9.Dahlonega Wine Walk, Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega Wine Walk, Dahlonega, GA
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Experience Dahlonega with your taste buds on a relaxing and informative Dahlonega Wine Walk. Hailed as the “Wine Tasting Room Capital of Georgia,” Dahlonega has a plethora of wineries, vineyards, tasting rooms, and wine shops that produce and sell award-winning and lesser-known wines. The Dahlonega Wine Walk is an excellent way to discover some of these liquid gems and involves purchasing a wine glass at the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Visitors Center and visiting a variety of participating tasting rooms and wine shops in town to sample and taste their tipple. Wineries and shops included in the fun are the Crane Creek Dahlonega Tasting Room, Canvas & Cork, Georgia Winery of Dahlonega Tasting Room, Taste Wine & Gourmet Foods, Naturally Georgia, and the Dahlonega Tasting Room.

Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau | 13 South Park Street | Dahlonega, GA 30533 Phone: 706-864-3711 or 800-231-5543

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10.Georgia's Dragon - The Suches Loop

Georgia's Dragon - The Suches Loop
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Georgia's Dragon - The Suches Loop is a magnificent scenic drive in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains that winds its way around the base of Georgia's Blood Mountain. Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, this lovely area features several mountain passes en route, including Hester Gap, Neel’s Gap, and Stonepile Gap, and the breathtaking vistas can be taken in from observation points along the way and from the nearby Brasstown Bald. The beauty of the area is transformed throughout the year in different seasons and is particularly awe-inspiring during the fall, when the foliage from the Chattahoochee National Forest turns into a picturesque tapestry of green, gold, and red. There are several roadside amenities on the route, including a fantastic bike restaurant and motorcycle hostel that serves all-American cuisine, a casual coffee shop, and spectacular Vogel State Park.

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11.Historic Smith House Inn, Dahlonega, Georgia

Historic Smith House Inn, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Historic Smith House Inn

Established in 1899, the historic Smith House Inn is a homely, welcoming bed and breakfast-style inn that is set around a recovered gold mine shaft and carriage house and offers comfortable accommodations, homemade cuisine, private dinners and other events, and an array of spa services. Located a short walk from the University of North Georgia campus and the Dahlonega Gold Museum, the inn features guest rooms in the main house and an adjacent carriage house with private bathrooms and modern amenities and boasts a family-friendly Southern-style restaurant and a country store selling homemade jams and local arts and crafts. Guided tours and viewing of the recovered gold mine shaft can be arranged.

84 South Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-725-8148

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12.North Georgia Astronomical Observatory, Dahlonega, Georgia

North Georgia Astronomical Observatory, Dahlonega, Georgia
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The North Georgia Astronomical Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Dahlonega that is owned and operated by the University of North Georgia. The Observatory is home to a NASA All-Sky Fireball Network Camera, which is designed to detect, track and study bright meteors, also known as fireballs. The North Georgia Astronomical Observatory is open to students of the university on any clear night Monday through Friday while classes are in session to come and observe the sky as part of their studies, and is open to the general public and students on Friday nights for astronomical viewing. The North Georgia Astronomical Observatory also runs free OPEN Program planetarium shows throughout the week.

3000 Dawsonville Hwy, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-8642

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13.Picnic Café and Dessertery, Dahlonega, Georgia

Picnic Café and Dessertery, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Picnic Café and Dessertery

The Picnic Café and Dessertery is a charming, old-fashioned bakery and café set on Public Square in the heart of Dahlonega and serves a variety of freshly baked homemade cakes, pastries, bread, and sweets in a laidback, relaxed atmosphere. Boasting a friendly, small-town vibe, the neighborhood café has been warming the hearts and bellies of locals and visitors for more than 18 years and offers a menu of delicious and mouthwatering treats such as warm scones with jam and cream, freshly baked muffins, gourmet sandwiches, fresh salads and soups, a variety of hot and cold drinks, and specialty teas. The Picnic Café and Dessertery is open for breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week.

30 Public Square N, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-1095

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14.Price Memorial Hall, Dahlonega, Georgia

Price Memorial Hall, Dahlonega, Georgia
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The Price Memorial Hall is an iconic building with a gold-covered steeple located on the campus of the University of North Georgia. Also known as the Price Memorial Building, the Price Memorial Hall, built to represent the University of North Georgia and showcase the history of gold mining in the area, is an iconic symbol of the city. The building rests on the foundation of what was once the U.S. Branch Mint, built in 1837 and later seized by the Confederate Army in 1861. Named in honor of the founder of the North Georgia College, William Pierce Price, the Price Memorial Hall features a modern visitors center that provides information and exhibits on the history of the hall and the significant role it has played as part of Dahlonega’s heritage.

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15.Yahoola Creek Park, Dahlonega, Georgia

Yahoola Creek Park, Dahlonega, Georgia
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Situated in a valley bisected by Yahoola Creek, Yahoola Creek Park is a beautiful family-friendly green space that features a community garden, a children’s playground, butterfly and frog habitats, picnic tables, and an array of sports courts and fields such as soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and tennis. The park also features several hiking trails for all levels of hiker as well as a kiosk next to the wildflower gardens that loans beautifully carved walking sticks. Yahoola Creek Park also boasts two pavilions, four outdoor classrooms, and a study pond for educational purposes. Popular with families, this spectacular outdoor space attracts visitors year round to enjoy the great outdoors.

1166 Captain McDonald Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533

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16.Chestatee River Adventures, Dahlonega, Georgia

Chestatee River Adventures, Dahlonega, Georgia
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Experience the Chestatee River on fun and exciting kayaking or tubing trips with Chestatee River Adventures. The adventure company offers guided tours down the river in kayaks or tubes, which range from sit-in single kayaks and tandem two-person kayaks to sit-on-top single kayaks and rubber tubes. Visitors can also use their equipment, and the company offers a shuttle service to and from the base camp, which is just 2 miles from the Dahlonega City limits. All apparatus is provided, including life jackets, and there is no age limit for guests who want to join one of the tours, which are led by expert and professionally trained guides.

2718 South Chestatee Street/Highway 60 North, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 770-540-9950

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17.Bratzeit, Dahlonega, Georgia

Bratzeit, Dahlonega, Georgia
© Bratzeit

Bratzeit is a family-owned and operated German and Swiss restaurant that serves traditional German/Swiss cuisine such as fondue, bratwurst, raclette, and schnitzel, along with weekly special and a variety of desserts. The authentic cuisine is accompanied by a wide range of German beer, such as Koenig Ludwig Hefeweizen, Warsteiner Pilsner, and Warsteiner Dunkel on tap. The restaurant exudes a warm and welcoming ambiance, with indoor and outdoor seating and a pet-friendly covered deck, and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Bratzeit is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, year round.

77A Memorial Drive, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-867-7741

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18.Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery
© Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery

Family-owned and operated, the Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is located in the North Georgia Mountains, just 60 miles from central Atlanta. The vineyards were planted in 2000, and the winery produced its first 1000 cases of wine using locally sourced grapes in the same year. In 2003 the winery produced their first wines using their own grapes. Since then Wolf Mountain has gone from strength to strength, winning numerous awards for their distinctive fine wines. The winery invites visitors to stop by for a tasting from Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 5pm. The Vineyard Café is open from 12-3pm and Sunday Brunch is served at 12.30 and 2.30pm.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery, 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega, GA 30533, 706 867 9862

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19.Dahlonega Magic Theatre

Dahlonega Magic Theatre
© Dahlonega Magic Theatre

At the Dahlonega Magic Theatre you and the whole family can settle in to enjoy a wonderful comedy magic show presented by your host, Jeffrey N. Knight. Jeffrey has been a family entertainer for more than 40 years - he is a talented narrator, magician, story-teller, musician and ventriloquist. Jeffrey is probably better known as the Great Jeffini, Atlanta’s favorite kid’s magician, and has more recently been presenting shows for children and youth through his Empower Kids program. Adults will love the show, but it is also perfectly suitable for children. You can read more about him and his show on the website and book your tickets online.

Dahlonega Magic Theatre, 81 Crown Mountain Place, Dahlonega, GA 30533, 770 375 6486

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20.The Historic Holly Theatre

The Historic Holly Theatre
© The Historic Holly Theatre

Back in 1915, the Fox Film Company began making silent movies in Dahlonega; this prompted the city to acquire their own theatre where the community could view these movies and a theatre was created on the lower floor of the Price Building. Much later, after negotiating a great deal of red tape, the Holly Theatre opened its doors in 1948. After many years of disuse and neglect, the Holly Theatre was renovated and is once again in use as an entertainment venue for movies and concerts. The theatre is not open all year round –if you would like to spend a nostalgic evening in the grand old theatre you can check their website to see what’s currently on.

The Historic Holly Theatre, 61 Enota Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533, 706 530 5162

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21.Red Oak Lavender Farm and Shop

Red Oak Lavender Farm and Shop
© Margo Basarab/

Red Oak Lavender Farm invites all visitors to stop by the farm to relax in the serene lavender fields, learn all about lavender, and stock up on some of their wonderful lavender products. The farm is located in the North Georgia foothills, where they cultivate more than 4000 lavender plants in 9 different varieties. As you stroll around the farm you will be surrounded by the calming scent of thousands of lavender plants. The farm distills their own lavender essential oils and the farm shop stocks more than 100 different lavender products. The very best time to visit to see the lavender in bloom is in early June; however, the shop is open from March to December each year and plenty of other flowers can be admired through summer and fall.

Red Oak Lavender Farm and Shop, 2882 Red Oak Flats Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30533, 706 974 8230

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22.Shenanigans Irish Pub

Shenanigans Irish Pub
© Shenanigans Irish Pub

Imagine finding yourself in a genuine Irish Pub in the heart of historic Dahlonega; this is exactly what will happen when you visit Shenanigans, located just off the Historic Dahlonega Square. Shenanigans prides itself on offering visitors excellent Irish fare made from scratch on the premises and the largest selection of beers and other drinks in town. The atmosphere is pure Dublin and the pub offers live music almost every night. You can dine in the cellar, on the patio or on the pet-friendly open air deck. The menu continues the Irish theme serving favorites like Guinness-battered Fish and Chips, hearty Irish Stew, their famous Guinness Burger and fresh Atlantic Salmon with Wild Mushrooms.

Shenanigans Irish Pub, 87 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533, 706 482 0114

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23 Best Things to Do in Dahlonega, Georgia

Attraction Spotlight: North Georgia Astronomical Observatory

Located in Dahlonega, Georgia on the campus of the University of North Georgia, the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory is a public astronomical observatory facility offering daily open observation time and observation special events. The University of North Georgia was originally established in 1873 as the North Georgia Agricultural College, which operated as a branch of the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture and Mechanics and served an inaugural class of 177 students during its first academic year.


Classes at the university were initially held within Dahlonega’s United States Mint building. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the university developed a strong military presence through the implementation of the ROTC program as part of 1916’s National Defense Act. In 1946, the university was instated as a four-year-degree institution, and in 1996, it was granted university status. In 2012, a merger was announced to combine the university with the nearby Gainesville State College, which became a branch facility of the newly-formed University of North Georgia.

Today, the University of North Georgia serves a a student body of more than 19,000 students and is the sixth-largest public higher learning institution in the state. Over 100 degree programs are offered as part of five colleges, including 13 master’s degrees and a doctoral degree program. As one of six senior military universities in the United States, the university has earned a designation as the Military College of Georgia. A variety of public visitor museums and facilities are housed within the university’s Dahlonega campus, including the Bob Owens Art Gallery, the George E. Coleman Planetarium, and the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory.

Attractions and Equipment

North Georgia Astronomical Observatory is owned and operated as part of the University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus, located four miles west of the city near Highways 9 and 52. As an astronomical observatory facility, the NGAO is also used by the North Georgia Astronomers nonprofit organization, which holds monthly meetings at the facility and presents a variety of public and member special events throughout the year. The observatory features four primary telescopes, including a Boller and Chevins 16-inch Cassegrain, an Orion 6-inch Dobsonian Manual Mount, a Meade 12-inch LX-850, and a custom 8-inch radio telescope.

The Observatory is open as a public observatory facility for student use on clear weeknights throughout the academic year at any time classes are in session. Introductory Astronomy courses within the university’s Department of Physics are held at the facility throughout the week. The facility is also open to the public weather permitting Mondays through Thursdays, with opening times updated weekly on the Observatory’s Facebook page. School and small group visits to the Observatory may be arranged by contacting the facility directly via email.

In July of 2012, the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory installed an all-sky camera implemented as part of the NASA Meteoroid Environmental Office’s All-Sky Fireball Network Camera program. The camera serves as part of the program’s fireball detection, tracking, and study program and is integrated into the program’s overall network. Live view images from the camera may be viewed on the program’s website, along with archival footage of fireballs dating back three weeks prior to viewing date.

Observatory-Planetarium Public Education Night programming is presented on Friday nights in conjunction with the university’s George E. Coleman Planetarium, which offers a 46-seat theater and houses a 30-foot diameter dome and a Digistar 5 Full-Dome digital projector. 1,000 stars within the northern and southern hemisphere skies may be showcased on the planetarium’s dome, creating a realistic simulation of the night sky from anywhere in the world and across any past or future time period.

Special planetarium shows are offered as part of OPEN Program nights, including the 23-minute presentation “Edge of Darkness,” narrated by actress Hayley Atwell. Live presentations of current night skies are also showcased on the planetarium’s dome for OPEN events. Following planetarium presentations, OPEN telescope viewing is offered weather pemitting at the Observatory for students and community members. More information about OPEN events may be obtained by contacting the planetarium directly via phone or email.

In addition to OPEN nights, a variety of public programming is offered by the university and the North Georgia Astronomers organization, including lecture events with astronomical researchers and scientists. Bring-your-own-telescope events are also held periodically. In 2018, UNG held the inaugural Dahlonega Science Festival, a weekend-long science and astronomy event featuring special planetarium presentations, guest speaker lectures, and a variety of science-related demonstrations. The planetarium facility may also be reserved for school and group tours or rented for private special events.

3000 Dawsonville Hwy, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-8642

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Attraction Spotlight: Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo

Located in Dahlonega, Georgia, Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is the northern Georgia region’s only wildlife preserve and exotic animal rescue nonprofit organization, showcasing exotic and endangered animal species such as African lions, white Siberian tigers, and grizzly bears. Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo was the vision of Kentucky native C.W. Wathen, who acquired a number of domestic and exotic animals on his farm during his time as a family farmer, beginning with a herd of buffalo.


Other animals were later acquired from owners who could no longer afford feed or adequate care. Following Wathen’s move to the northern Georgia area, he was required to obtain state licensing to continue caring for his animals and register as a recognized rescue shelter facility. As a result, the Chestate Wildlife Preserve was established in 1992 as a nonprofit organization and Georgia DNR facility in Forsyth. The facility was later moved to a new location in nearby Dahlonega after visits from local children’s hospitals prompted Wathen to open the facility as a public visitor attraction.

Animals and Exhibits

Today, Chestatee Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is operated as a nonprofit organization and Georgia DNR facility, housed on a 30-acre tract of farmland in Dahlonega. As the facility’s owner and chief operator, Wathen oversees all operations and animal care, working with an all-volunteer staff to ensure animal safety and quality visitor experiences. All animals at the park have been rescued by Wathen or brought to the facility by state officials rescuing them from situations where they would have otherwise been euthanized. More than 125 animals are showcased at the facility, including a number of rare and endangered international wildlife species. The facility is open to the public Mondays through Saturdays, offering admission rates for adults, seniors, and children under 12.

Notable species on display include white Siberian tigers, African lions. Exhibit areas showcase both black and grizzly bears, including the park’s L.B. Little Bear, a bear cub rescued from a near-death experience. An elk showcased at the park was featured in one of the films of the Hunger Games film franchise. Other notable animal residents include Sophie the lioness, Simon Augustus the grizzly bear, Clarence the Barbary lion, Rio the gray wolf, and Tonka the golden Siberian tiger. An exhibit area showcases rare zedonk donkey-zebra breeding hybrids, which feature distinct zebra striping patterns with classic donkey features. Servals, lemurs, leopards, chimpanzees, and hedgehogs are also showcased, along with domestic farm birds such as chickens and guinea hens and tropical and exotic bird species such as emus and macaws.

Visitors may explore the preserve and zoo at their leisure, which is spread out over expansive rolling farmland area. All visitors are encouraged to take their time with exhibit exploration, with no time limit placed on visitor admission beyond normal operating hours. As no formal ticket booth is offered at the facility, visitor admission is collected by park staff on golf carts and admission wristbands are given to identify zoo patrons. Volunteer docents and animal care staff circulate the park regularly and are on hand to answer any questions visitors may have about animals under the zoo’s care. Animal feedings are also showcased on a regular basis throughout the day and may be watched by visitors.

A variety of animal encounter experience tours are offered by the zoo, including a Private Small Animal Encounter, available April through October. Tours last approximately 45 minutes, showcasing animals such as American alligators, African spur-thigh tortoises, ball pythons, bearded dragons, cockatoos, corn snakes, and hedgehogs. A Breakfast With the Big Cats Tour is also available year-round, offering visitors opportunities to see the park’s Siberian tigers, grizzly bears, and other large animals up close. Tours are available for all ages, with advance reservations recommended to guarantee tour spot.

Ongoing Programs and Education

In addition to standard visitor admission and animal encounter tours, private group tours of the facility may scheduled for small groups and organizations, including field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school groups. Field trips may be scheduled Mondays through Fridays and require advance payment in full. Students are encouraged to bring smartphones and tables to the facility for QR code scanning for viewing of supplemental videos and additional animal information. All tour participants must deposit all trash into the facility’s designated trash cans, as plastic and other substances may be harmful or deadly to park animals. Private small animal encounters may be added onto tour packages for an additional fee. Young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the facility may reserve birthday party rental packages, which include zoo tours, up-close time with animals, and question-and-answer sessions with zookeepers.

469 Old Dahlonega Hwy, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 678-859-6820

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Attraction Spotlight: Consolidated Gold Mine

The Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega, Georgia, transports visitors back to the Georgia Gold Rush period, around 1896, when gold was discovered and the Glory Hole mine shaft brought prosperity to the miners digging here. The gold mine has been ranked #1 by Yelp and TripAdvisor as a top thing to do when visiting Dahlonega. The gold mine aims to give a realistic idea of what it would have felt like to pan for gold, mine for gems, and cut gems. The tour goes deep underground and is an informational adventure full of historical facts when accompanied by one of the knowledgeable tour guides. No matter the weather, the gold mine remains open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, and is a gem for all visitors, especially kids.

History of the Gold Rush

Back in 1828, a deer hunter by the name of Benjamin Parks came across gold when he discovered that the rock he had just found a few miles south from Dahlonega was in fact jam-packed with gold nuggets. Word got out, and within a year, nearly 15,000 miners had come to strike it lucky. It was a bountiful period for Dahlonega, with gold coming off the mountainside and practically scattered on the ground. It was easy pickings for the first miners to get there – scooping up the gold and walking away with a small fortune. Later arrivals will have needed a gold pan to collect the gold, as visitors to the mine do today.

Things to Do

There is plenty to do at the Consolidated Gold Mine; one most popular activities here being gold panning, which is available throughout the week. It’s a great opportunity to get a firsthand experience of something that is considered an age-old endeavor. There are mining guides on hand who will help guests in their quests, and if they get lucky, will help bottle the piece of gold as a souvenir. Gem mining is an enjoyable pastime at the gold mine and there are many colorful gems to discover! Visitors are encouraged to use water-powered jets to help find rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, moonstone, quartz, topaz, and garnets. Any discovered stones can be turned into beautiful jewelry.


The Underground Tour takes you on a 40-minute trip through a real gold mine with a knowledgeable member of staff who can answer pretty much any mining-related question. The mine stays at a continuous 60 degrees Fahrenheit throughout and is a walking tour. Group tours can be arranged for groups of more than 25.

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185 Consolidated Gold Mine Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533, Phone: 706-864-8473

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