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4 Awesome Kids Activities At Sandy Creek Nature Center (Athens, GA)

Getting kids to unplug these days is next to impossible. I find that screen-free fun is still the best way to connect as a family. Discover educational opportunities, ways for kids to use their imagination and plenty of outdoor adventures at the Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia. It’s the perfect destination for families and there’s something for kids of all ages to enjoy. The best part? It’s free to enjoy! 

The best things for kids to do at Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia.

When we’re traveling, I always like to look for some fun that isn’t going to break that bank. As a family of five, admission to attractions can quickly add up. Spend several hours enjoying the Sandy Creek Nature Center and you won’t have to pull out your wallet once. That’s a win in my book.

Looking for more Athens, Georgia Travel information? Here are more great tips for bringing kids to this popular NorthEast Georgia college town:

Sandy Creek Nature Center Kids Activities

There’s an indoor area and visitor’s center, plus 225 acres of wetlands to enjoy at the nature center. It’s SPLOST-funded through Athens-Clarke County. They offer programs for both adults and kids, but you don’t have to be a county resident to participate in them. 

There’s a boardwalk trail that’s stroller-friendly and the indoor area is great for toddlers. Many of the Sandy Creek Nature Center kids activities include hands-on fun that sneaks in a bit of learning. Bring comfortable shoes for the trails, along with sunscreen and water if you’re visiting during the summer months.

Indoor aquariums in Athens, Georgia

Sandy Creek Nature Center Animals To Touch & Encounter

Inside the visitor’s center, kids will love the Exhibit Hall. They can engage all five senses and fully immerse themselves into learning about different environments: Coastal, Wetland, Urban, Agriculture, and Woodland. Kids can see frogs, turtles and fish in the four marine aquariums ( including a 1,500-gallon tank recreation of Gray’s Reef).

Kids will love using the microscopes to study specimens, and crawl into the beaver lodge to look through a “port hole” at underwater life. There’s also an Urban Exhibit which teaches about saving energy in their own backyards and an Agriculture Exhibit to teach kids about farming.

Don’t miss the opportunity for a close-up animal encounter. Animal specialists (oftentimes UGA students) are on hand to assist with kids meeting animals. Our kids loved learning about lizards and snakes, while having the opportunity to touch them. That’s just the Sandy Creek Nature Center animals inside – on the trails you’ll find even more that call the center their home.

Sandy Creek Nature Center animals

Animal encounters at the Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Run Around At The Playscape Area For Kids

Do your kids want to run around and blow off some steam? Let them enjoy the Nature Center’s playscape area. It’s the newest addition and completely kid-friendly. There’s slides, sculptures to climb, tunnels to crawl through and areas to test your balance. It’s designed for kids of all ages and a safe area for them to run around. Let your toddlers play in the Playscape before keeping them in the stroller for the trails.

Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia

The Playscape outdoor area of Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Hike The Trails As A Family

There are twelve trails that are officially on the trail map and labeled. You can put them together for longer hikes or enjoy the short distances if you have younger children.

The ADA Interpretive Trail is walker, wheelchair and stroller-friendly. You can use it to access the Oconee River and it’s designed for all ages.

If you want to see a bit of history, check out the Brick Factory Loop & Log Cabin Loop. These trails form several loops around the ruins of the Georgia Brick Company (circa 1900) and an early 1800’s log cabin moved on-site from Oglethorpe County in 1980.

Pro Tip: Want to make hiking even more fun for the kids? Keep them engaged by printing out these FREE Hiking Scavenger Hunts so they can look for sights to see.

Athens, Georgia Trails

Check out the learning opportunities on the Sandy Creek Nature Center trails!

Sandy Creek Nature Center Events For Kids

If your kids are looking for more in-depth educational experiences, they might want to try the Sandy Creek Nature Center programs. They’re free to attend, but some of them require advance registration with a limited number of spots. Throughout the year, special themed events pop up. Be on the lookout for days like Slimy Day and Snake Day! Create a free online account to register for the programs.

Sandy Creek Nature kids activities

There are so many great reasons to Visit Athens, GA with kids – but I feel like the Sandy Creek Nature Center can be easily looked over and missed. Don’t make that mistake and plan a few hours at the nature center with your kiddos. I always feel a few hours of my kids being unplugged, and reconnecting, is a great thing for all of us.

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