Whether you are a football fan, an art lover or an avid gardener, there is a good chance that you’ll find something to keep you entertained in Athens, Georgia. I enjoy visiting the area with my family because of the variety of free and low cost activities available. There are a lot of superlative restaurants and shops scattered about too. Here’s a quick rundown on a few of the places that I would recommend visiting:
Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall Sports Museum and Dooley Sculpture Garden
Do you love the Dawgs? Why not visit the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall Sports Museum and Dooley Sculpture Garden? Admission is gratis. While there, you’ll be able to enjoy a bit of Georgia Bulldogs’ history as well as get in a little exercise for the day. It is located on Selig Circle and opens weekdays at 8 a.m. While you’re there, be sure to rub Coach Dooley’s feet. No, I don’t mean his real tootsies. I’m talking about the foot of his statue in the sculpture garden. It’s a Dawgs’ tradition that no true fan should pass up. I’d suggest allowing at least two hours’ time to explore the museum and the sculpture garden.
Georgia Museum of Art
The Georgia Museum of Art is located on the grounds of the University of Georgia. Hours of operation vary and a modest donation is requested in place of an admission fee. The facility offers a series of family centered programs throughout the year and the exhibits are top notch. Personally, I enjoy looking at the museum’s collection of 20th century paintings. I find them fascinating.
Georgia Museum of Natural History
The Georgia Museum of Natural History is also located on the grounds of the University of Georgia. Admission is gratis and it is usually open Monday through Saturday. However, you will need to call ahead and make reservations in order to access the facility. The museum has quite an array of exhibits. If you ask me, the depth and breadth of its sea shell and fish collections are stunning.
State Botanical Garden of Georgia
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is located on South Milledge Avenue and it typically opens daily. Based on my experience, it is a wonderful place to spend the day. There are a variety of gardens to meander through and sometimes you might get lucky and catch a free concert. In my opinion, there is nothing like an open air concert amongst the flowers. I am a big fan of both the shade garden and the flower garden. Both look and smell amazing. Admission is free and special programs are offered throughout the year.
Sandy Creek Nature Center
The Sandy Creek Nature Center is located on Old Commerce Road and admission is free. In my opinion, it is a tremendous value. The center features hiking trails, an aquarium, nature exhibits and remnants of a bygone era. One of my favorite trails is the Log House Loop Trail. It is a shady and easy trek that will take you past a log cabin from the 1800s. I’d suggest visiting on either the first or third Saturday of the month. The center staff tends to hold a free, guided nature walk on those days from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. If you do decide to visit, I’d suggest planning on spending at least three hours. That way you’ll have time to explore the majority of the center’s offerings. The nature center typically opens Tuesday through Saturday.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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