The tea is sweeter, the folks are nicer and time seems to slow down in South Georgia. You’d never know, from the vague highway signs, that 40 miles from I-75 lies Albany, Georgia: a city where families can connect to nature, learn about the civil rights era and dine on fresh seafood. I discovered a whole slew of family-friendly Albany destinations that will make you wonder why you never exited the highway before. These are the best things to do in Albany GA that you can’t miss.
Running alongside the downtown area, the Flint River seems to connect the downtown businesses to the outer skirts of the city. Visitors can explore on foot, driving or even floating on a kayak. A few days in Albany, Georgia is a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of traffic and big city life.
Things To Do In Albany GA: 10 Best Family-Friendly Destinations
Ray Charles Plaza
Located downtown, Albany pays homage to the legendary blues singer Ray Charles at the Ray Charles Plaza. He was born in Albany and left a legacy that you can experience at this one-of-a-kind sculpture. It airs his music and slowly rotates on top of a fountain. If you pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll notice park benches and walkways are designed to look like piano keys. All it takes is Georgia on my Mind to start playing to feel some Southern vibes.
RiverFront Park & The Greenways Trail System
Near Ray Charles Plaza, the Greenways Trail System runs along the Flint River. It offers a three mile river walk that is walker and bicycle friendly. Tourists can rent a bicycle at the Albany Welcome Center. Kids can play on the Turtle Grove Play Park (located behind the Welcome Center in the Historic Bridge House) or channel some creativity with chalk art.
The trail system is also a portion of their Snickers Marathon and Half Marathon that takes place annually in March.
Chehaw Wild Animal Park
If you’re looking for fun with cute animals, Chehaw is a great family-friendly Albany destination. With over 700 acres of land, the park offers camping sites, trails and the zoo. They continuously work on preservation, conservation and education.
It’s the home of bald eagles, rhinos, cheetahs, alligators and flamingos – to name a few. Families can walk through the animal park on their own, take a guided tour with an animal expert or attend a weekly feeding event.
Kids can partake in day camps, sleep away camp or attend animal presentations that where kids are grouped together by age level.
Kayak Along the Flint River
Pack your sunscreen and cooler, because a family favorite is kayaking down the Flint River. Day long kayak rentals are available through Kayak Attack. A shuttle meets you at your final destination, then transports you to the start of your trip.
Kayaking is a great way to see the river, connect with nature and have an outdoor adventure. I loved seeing the vegetation growing around the area and kayaking with friends. They have beginner-level routes that are one to seven hours long and your rental includes the kayak, life-jacket, paddle and shuttle time.
Albany Civil Rights Institute
This is one of the most moving things to do in Albany GA that you can’t miss. For middle school to high school aged kids, the Albany Civil Rights Institute brings history to life. As each generation gets further away from the Civil Rights era, we forget the struggles during that time. Learn about the harrowing events that took place in Albany, including speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that led to freedom as we know it today.
The institute houses artifacts in the museum alongside digital, audio and visual technology to bring the stories to life. Don’t miss the Freedom Singers perform every 2nd Saturday from 1-3pm. Their riveting performance ties the institute’s message together in song.
Stay At the Merry Acres Inn
Southern charm meets retro at the historic Merry Acres Inn. This boutique style hotel captures the laid back feeling of the city with modern conveniences for family’s to enjoy. Suites have been refurbished with granite, updated furniture and mattresses with space to keep your family comfortable. The hotel’s pool is the perfect location for kids to burn off some energy.
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a cocktail on the porch from the Manor House Pub at Merry Acres, then catch the complimentary shuttle to some of the city’s best dining options. Feel like staying in? Let them deliver directly to your room! This Albany Georgia travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Merry Acres Inn.
Explore the beauty of marine life at the Flint RiverQuarium. Visitors can experience the unique ecosystems of the Flint River watershed through a variety of interactive exhibits. The center offers tours, group learning events and classroom activities.
Kids will especially enjoy the touch tank and the Discovery Caverns, which is the hands-on exhibit that allows kids to control the weather, change the way a river flows and explore an underground cave to uncover mysterious subterranean creatures.
Pretoria Fields Brewery
Alright, so this one is mostly for Mom & Dad. Pretoria Fields Collective is the newest addition to downtown Albany and it’s a central hub for craft beer, brewery tours and lawn games. While kids can’t enjoy the special brews, they are welcome to play in the green space and hang out.
They grow organic barley, wheat and hops on their Albany farm, which means there’s a little taste of Georgia in every pint. Pretoria Fields offers seasonal specialities alongside a wide range of local favorites.
Albany GA Museum of Art
Of all the things to do in Albany GA, this is one of my favorites! With free admission everyday, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Albany Museum of Art. The nationally accredited museum houses an impressive collection of 19th and 20th Century American and European Art. The museum strives to cultivate curiosity and passion for art.
The museum offers a wide variety of programs for kids that range from hands-on classes to day camps. On Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons, Toddler Takeover allows little ones to create a new themed activity each week.
Eat a Slice at Harvest Moon
After a full day of exploring, grab a bite to eat at Harvest Moon. The local restaurant and bar offers pizzas, calzones, salads, sandwiches and wraps. They also offer over 50 craft and imported beers on tap (including Pretoria Fields).
It’s a casual restaurant where kids are welcome and the food is delicious. I tried a menu favorite, the Full Moon pie which features tomato sauce, pepperoni, beef, bacon, onion, peppers, mushrooms, black olives and mozzarella cheese. It was so good!
Thronateeska Heritage Center – Science Museum and Planetarium
Bring science to life at the Thronateeska Heritage Center. In short, Thronateeska was the name of the area around present day Albany. The center showcases culture, traditions and customs of the area through interactive kid-friendly exhibits. Young minds can cultivate curiosity through engaging exhibits on hydrology, archeology, paleontology, astronomy and meteorology.
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