As we head into the new school year, you might be thinking of where to take your class, your home-schooled students, or your children on educational field trips. Georgia, with all of its beauty, history, and cultural diversity makes for a fantastic educational destination so here are but a few suggestions on where to take your students this fall.
Grades PreK - 4
Georgia Children's Museum
A popular Atlanta attraction, the Georgia Children's Museum's mission is to continuously grow imagination, discovery, and learning through hands-on interactions and knowledgeable exploration. Exhibits feature everything from a paint wall and arts studios to tending gardens, making science experiments, and more.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Intensely, artistically, and poignantly beautiful, the Atlanta Botanical Garden can easily be a perfect attraction for students of any age. However, the gardens make themselves welcome to young children especially, harnessing their young minds to an everlasting love of horticulture. Stop by the Children's Garden and play in the Sunflower Fountain, look into Peter Rabbit's Garden and relive the beloved tale, walk through the Butterfly Maze, and more.
Who doesn't love a good zoo? Zoo Atlanta is a step above the rest, being one of the state's oldest institutions and one of only four zoos in the nation to house Giant Pandas. Designed around the comfort of the animals and the gorgeous Georgia landscape, Zoo Atlanta is subtly educational whilst remaining indelibly fun. See all of your favorite animals plus exotic beings like drill monkeys, bush dogs, gaboon vipers, and more.
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
Famed founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low's Birthplace is one of the top attractions in Savannah, Georgia. This wonderfully curated museum is housed in the Low home, a historic Italianate beauty built in 1818-1821. Collections include personal belongings once owned by Ms. Low, sculptures carved by her hands, Girl Scout memorabilia throughout the years, and much more.
The home of iconic American author Flannery O'Connor, Andalusia Farms is a picturesque countryside estate on more than 500 acres. Walk in tours are welcome to explore the site or let the knowledgeable staff show you around. Tour the main house where the author and her mother lived, the many outbuildings that helped the farm operate, and observe the wildlife like wild turkey and red-tailed hawks that live on the property.
Pebble Hill Plantation
An incredible example of Georgia charm and elegance, Pebble Hill Plantation is both a historical and architectural paradise. Come by and learn about the 1896 stately beauty, the opulence of the South's 'gilded age,' and the wealthy family that called this working plantation home. A visit includes tours of the main house, the pump house and outbuildings, and unique attractions like the onsite Noah's Ark, Log Cabin School, and more.
As your students near the age of college hunting, it doesn't hurt to take them to one of the largest and most beautiful college campuses in the entire country. Berry College was founded in 1902 by Martha Berry on a campus of over 27,000 acres. Tour the stately buildings, the grand architecture, learn about the college's excellent credentials and programs, and even tour the extensive recreational areas where you can bike, hike, and swim.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Visiting this Hindu temple is like stepping out of the United States and into India. A religious wonder, the Mandir in Atlanta is a gorgeous and peaceful reflection of the Hindu representation of faith, worship, and the divine presence on earth. Bring your class down to Atlanta's own temple to tour the grounds at your leisure, seeing the shrines, altars, decor, Indian architecture, fountains, and much more.
Rock City Gardens
Located only six miles outside of Chattanooga, Rock City Gardens is a natural and historical wonder featuring the iconic, beautiful Lover's Leap cliff and waterfall. Filled with botanical gardens, art additions, wildlife, and stone wonders, Rock City Gardens is more than just a park to explore but an experience with nature. Make sure you check out the Enchanted Trail through the Grand Corridor and take in the views off of the swinging bridge.
Like Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium is the perfect destination for groups of all ages. It's fun, inviting, educational, and better yet, entertaining. The Georgia Aquarium is also one of the nation's absolute best aquariums housing tens of thousands of creatures including four full sized whale sharks, the only aquarium in the country to do so. Also see intelligent beluga whales, an abundance of sea turtles and stingrays, seals, dolphins, and all of the colorful, exotic fish you can imagine.
Stone Mountain Park
You can't go wrong with visiting a park with your students and Stone Mountain Park is more than just your average naturalist destination. Featuring a gigantic quartz monzonite dome standing at 1,686 feet and etched with the largest bas-relief in the world, Stone Mountain is perhaps one of Georgia's most famous, most visited attractions. Besides touring the domed mountain, visitors can ride the Summit Skyride tram, visit the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum, catch a game of miniature golf, and much more.
Though it may sound like an odd place, this island off the coast of Georgia's Golden Isles is a site of cultural heritage, history, recreation, and more. Traditionally a resort island, Jekyll Island has hosted numerous celebrity families including the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and many others. The history of the island is kept alive in the Jekyll Island Museum where visitors can tour artifacts from the Gilded Era, learn about the Native Americans who once called this land home, and more. While on the island, stop in at the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to gain insight into local conservation practices.