South Georgia Zoos Offer a Walk on the Wild Side

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What’s not to love about a day at the zoo? These four zoos in South Georgia offer great day trips with educational components for the kids- great if you are a local, or on vacation in the area.

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah will provide your family with memorable experiences
that will last well beyond your trip. Striving to spark a lifelong love of nature and its inhabitants,
the Center lets your children experience any of the forty hands-on activities available to them, such
as marsh ecology boat tours, star programs, and guided tours—all with the goal of deepening their
understanding of the surrounding flora and fauna. Locals can even enroll their children in summer
day camp, which feature stories, crafts, up-close-and-personal observations, and hands-on scientific
experiments to help children experience and understand nature’s phenomena. Contact: (912) 395-1212;

At Pine Mountain’s Wild Animal Safari—Georgia’s drive-through animal park—you and the family
can go on safari from the comfort of your own vehicle, in a rented Zebra Van, or on the bus service
offered by the zoo and led by a tour guide. With a park that’s five miles long and covers over 250
acres, there are animal encounters galore. Here you can visit 650 animals from 65 different species, and
give your family a worldwide travel experience without leaving the facility. For a more traditional zoo
experience, hop out of the vehicle and stroll along the walking path, where you’ll find the smaller and
more friendly animals and can hand feed sheep, alpaca, zedonk, and others. Contact: 706-663-8744;

Everyone who works at Statesboro’s Center for Wildlife Education (associated with Georgia Southern
University) is strongly committed to giving your family a good environmental education. But more
importantly, they do it in a way that’s fun for all ages. With daily wildlife programs highlighting
different species and topics, your family will never forget their day at The Center for Wildlife
Education. Check out a bald eagle’s nest, feel an owl’s feathers as it swoops by your head, or hold
Monty the Burmese Python and learn why this scaly vertebrate isn’t so scary after all. Lucky visitors
may even get to meet Georgia Southern’s mascot, Freedom, who inspired the wildlife center. Get up
close and personal with raptors, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals at the Wildlife Education Center
and the Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center. With more than five acres of diverse habitats and species, an
amphitheater, and an indoor classroom, this is one zoo your family will never forget. Contact: (912)

Touted as Atlanta’s oldest cultural attraction, the story of how Zoo Atlanta got its start is worth the trip.
Back in 1889, a circus was on its way to Marietta but something happened and they never quite made
it. The owners of the circus abandoned the animals, but a local businessman rallied his neighbors and
raised enough money to relocate the animals to Grant Park, a scenic area that was a popular picnic
spot. Thanks to donations from an eccentric collector, the zoo’s population quickly doubled to roughly
the size it is today. It now is home to a sea lion, hyenas, water buffalo, and more—including the zoo’s
first tiger, and is one of only 4 zoos in the USA that breeds Giant Pandas. With a history as rich and exciting as Zoo Atlanta’s, the educational programs for children have a tough time competing. But compete they do. Families can play Zoo’s Clues and navigate the zoo by helping an otter detective track down his latest hints and clues, and encourage outdoor family fun. Children can also go on scavenger hunts, crate crafts, or participate in one of the many hands-on activities offered by Zoo Atlanta. Contact: (404) 624-WILD


  1. I love visiting our zoo as well. Thanks for sharing your zoo with us

  2. Those pictures are really neat, especially the one of the owl.

  3. That sounds like so much fun!!! That owl looks so cool!

  4. Oooh, I’d love to see a Panda up close one day. Must add this on my bucket list of places to visit.

  5. following via g+ from the social hop! love this zoo post! The photo of the owl pic!

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