While most people traveled to the beach for the week of the Fourth, my family decided on a location a little closer to home and took a short three-hour trip to Albany, Georgia. Although the weather was temperamental, the temperature was nice and the rain was sporadic enough that we were able to enjoy the outdoors. The people were all friendly and helpful making our visit a truly enjoyable one.
We arrived at the first attraction, The Parks at Chehaw, just after the rain. It was wet and muggy and noticeably empty. For the most part, the Wild Animal Park was empty except for us and some animals. The Park was enough to keep us entertained for an hour or hour and a half. I’m not sure if it was holiday week or the rain or the season that kept people away. The Park seemed to be well kept and the animals treated well. My husband said the alligator habitat was the best he had ever seen. I was a little concerned about the “Use Your Snake Eyes” signs throughout the park.
Thronateeska Heritage Center contains an interactive science center and museum and The Wetherbee Planetarium. We had a good time learning about science using the interactive tools and games. We enjoyed the movie in the planetarium learning about the earth, moon and sun. The staff was friendly and helpful. After a quick tour of the rail yard, we traveled the River Walk to the
Flint Riverquarium which housed native animals and fish from Georgia. The interactive exhibits were fun and entertaining. The most fascinating was getting to see the staff feed the rattlesnake. Glad he didn’t get out…. The most interesting exhibit was the albino alligator. They also had a bird habitat where we got to see quail and ducks and other native birds that were brought to the Riverquarium because they were injured and once healed could no longer be released into the wild.
Radium Springs is the largest natural spring in the state and is best known as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia”. The deep blue waters of Radium Springs empties into the Flint River. There is also an extensive underwater cavern system. The water contains trace sources of radium and the temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) year round. An interesting tidbit: A casino was built overlooking the springs in the springs in the 1920s and Radium Springs was a popular spa and resort. The casino was severely damaged when the river flooded in 1994, and again in 1998, and was demolished in 2003.
Downtown Albany’s Turtle Grove Park and River Front Park and Fountain were unique and fun. Morgan played at the park and then enjoyed cooling off and playing in the fountain.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Downtown Albany and close to most attractions. Every time we entered the lobby, the staff greeted us with a smile and a greeting. They helped us with directions and information about Albany. The breakfast was delicious and cooked to order. The $15.00 per night extra was definitely worth the cost for the Bed and Breakfast plan (the regular price was $10.95 per person). The rooms were comfortable and clean. We had a terrific view of the Ray Charles Memorial. The only wish I have is that Starbucks stayed open for coffee drinks after 4:00 p.m.
Pearly’s Famous Country Cooking–if you enjoy Southern cooking including delicious fried green tomatoes, you’ll love Pearly’s. The staff, even though we arrived just prior to closing, was friendly and patient as we took our time savoring the delicious country cooking. If we had been aware they were trying to close early for the holiday, we would have eaten a little faster.
Villa Gurgano’s. A fantastic Italian restaurant. Apparently, this is a “worth the wait” meal but fortunately we arrived in time to get the last open table before the wait started. The food was delicious, and yes probably worth the wait.
Cool Scoops. Located across the street from the Flint Riverquarium, they promised ice cream, hot dogs and so much more, but the so much more was definitely not on their menu on the 4th. We ate thick juicy hot dogs. I’m sure it would have been delicious if I liked hot dogs. Not entirely sure why they were out of so much more, but they had either had a party the previous day or they were closing soon or maybe it was both. Unsure. The service left a lot to be desired.
SHERWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH
On Sunday, we packed up and spent the morning at Sherwood Baptist Church where we took a tour of the church and met Ken Bevel and Alex Kendrick. We enjoyed praise and worship with the friendly people of Sherwood. I am sure that they are so used to people visiting as they are passing through, but they were still so friendly and treated us like family. It was definitely a comfortable, friendly place to worship. They are beginning a huge building project–proof that they are growing. Several people were baptized that morning which fascinated Morgan. She said that was her favorite part.