Georgia - Cultural Destinations
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is the Foxfire Museum, which focuses on life in Georgia’s Appalachia. Visitors to Foxfire receive a rare glimpse of what life was like for the mountaineers who settled this area over 150 years ago. The Museum is centered around a collection of over 20 historic log cabins and replicas of traditional log construction designs, with some of the authentic structures dating back to the early 1800s. Buildings include a chapel, blacksmith shop, mule barn, wagon shed, single-room home, gristmill, smokehouse and more.
More than 14,000 Union Army soldiers clashed with 10,000 Confederates at Picket’s Mill Battlefield Historic site, which today is one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields in the nation. The Chickmauga-Chattanooga National Military Park commemorates Civil War battles where more than 35,000 people lost their lives. You can hike the trails that feature historical markers and monuments to learn about this significant battle site.
The pathways to presidential history can be traced through South Georgia. In 1924, the therapeutic waters of Warm Springs drew President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Georgia searching for polio treatments. After several visits to the area, FDR purchased the only home he ever owned, the Little White House. Today, you can tour the Little White House where our 23rd president spent many of his later days and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum. Much of the 2004 HBO movie Warm Springs was filmed in and around the town.
Hop aboard the SAM Shortline Excursion Train for a trip to President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home in Plains. You can experience the small town charm that inspired the 39th president’s dreams. Visit the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and Preservation District, stop by the Official State School of Georgia, the Plains High School, tour President Carter’s childhood home and stop by the site of his former campaign offices.
Georgia’s museums tell the stories of the state’s people and who they are. Atlanta’s Fernbank offers two worlds of science at the Fernbank Science Center and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Visitors can take an educational exploration into science that covers everything from sand and stars to the prehistoric past, complete with replicas of 100-ton dinosaurs.
To take your interest in natural history to a different level, step outside and visit one of Georgia’s best kept secrets—its ecosystems. One ideal location to observe such a system is the Cumberland Island Museum, which is located near St. Mary’s, the closest mainland to the state’s southernmost barrier island. You’ll discover parts of the island that are rich in wildlife—amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Travel to the northern end of the island and roam the designated “Wilderness Area,” a must-see for anyone who enjoys nature.
Georgia’s past can also provide you a unique history lesson from a presidential perspective. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum at the Little White House in Warm Springs and the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum in Atlanta offer fascinating looks inside both men and their presidencies, and offer a glimpse into their lives and legacies with extensive photographs, memorabilia and special exhibits.
To give history a literary spin, stop by the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Atlanta. Not only will you see exclusive exhibits and the apartment where Mitchell wrote "Gone With the Wind," you’ll also gain a unique insight into the background of the author and the famous movie that shares her book’s title.
Explore the wonders of science, space and beyond within the Coca-Cola Space Science Center in Columbus. Visitors can witness spectacular, astronomical events at the state-of-the-art Mead Observatory, or travel into the depths of space at one of the many Omnisphere Theater shows.
When it comes to theatres for the performing arts, Georgia sets the stage. Colquitt’s Cotton Hall, home of Swamp Gravy—the "Official Folk Life Play of Georgia"—is a 60-year-old, renovated cotton warehouse that offers a journey back in time to the roots of South Georgia tradition. Another glimpse of the past is available at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, which has been serving patrons since 1929. This magnificent Arabian-themed theatre features magical décor and is host to some of the top touring companies today. The Rylander Theatre in Americus opened its doors in 1921 and has been renovated back to its original, ornate beauty and now is home to many stage and screen performance. The Morton Theatre in Athens, one of the first African American vaudeville theaters in the U.S. opened in 1910 and has been fully restored to stage concerts, plays and more.