Today's side deal is your second chance to commune with nature and the animal kingdom. For $20, you'll get a 20-minute horseback-riding lesson and an hour-long horseback ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest at Sunburst Stables, a $48 value. Retreat from the city to the lush trees and mountains less than two hours north of Atlanta. Take a day trip with the family or surprise your sensitive stallion with a horseback adventure for Valentine's Day.
Built into the rippling foothills of Appalachia, Atlanta Motorsports Park hosts a world-class road course designed by famed Formula 1 architect, Hermann Tilke. Tilke honored the natural landscape with his 2-mile racetrack, weaving high-speed straights amongst steep elevation changes. He even included two signature turns, inspired by Belgium's Spa-Franchochamps and the 'Carousel' turn found on Germany's fearsome Nurburgring. Track members can test their private vehicles' mettle on the track at any time, pushing engines to their limits on professional-quality pavement.
In addition to its professional-grade road course, the venue is also home to a world-class karting track. Open to all visitors, the kart course runs almost a mile, and features a stunningly-steep 43' in elevation changes built to Commission Internationale de Karting's Level A standards. The owners invite visitors to bring their own karts, but guests can always rent vehicles from the fleet. Each rental comes with a complementary helmet and driving suit to protect the driver from whipping winds, harsh sunshine, or point deductions in race's fashion show portion.
As Halloween approaches, a formerly self-sustaining family farm that then became a premier agritourism destination transforms into Cagle's Haunted Barn, a frightening attraction that terrifies guests within their Haunted Barn. Each year brings a new haunted theme, with past stories including a cannibalistic family home and a cursed mental hospital, so even repeat guests will be newly frightened.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
Despite having just debuted in 2011, right when corn was invented, Athens Corn Maze entertains huge crowds Thursday–Sunday with its smorgasbord of autumn fun. The 5-acre corn maze includes six stations, and visitors who reach all six are entered into a weekly drawing to win a $25 gift card. Once explorers escape the labyrinth, they give their minds a chance to rest and enjoy nature’s splendor during a hayride that circles around the stalks and through the woods. Next, they abandon the tractor beds to refuel at the concession stand before riding atop a pony and petting the cows, calves, horses, goats and bunnies that reside at the farm. Before departing, kids can take a turn in the bounce house, or visitors try their hands at shelling corn, shucking it straight into a huge pit where kids and parents play.
Jerry and Liz Bates happily settled into the ?alpaca way of life? in 2008. They farm alpacas, and it gives them a sense of peace to be out in natural surroundings with their fuzzy family. Tours of their farm, Southern Estate Alpacas, begin with Alpaca 101 lessons, where you learn about the origins and uses of alpacas. Next, you can visit with the herd to feed them out of your hand, pet their soft wool, or get a Facebook photo with a baby dwarf goat. Alpaca petting zoos are a good option for families with small children, since they have no horns or hooves and only a bottom set of teeth, so they can?t bite. After you?ve met your new best friend, head to the farm store to get a scarf or sweater made from his exquisite wool.