More than 50 species of butterflies flit between the petals of an ever-changing array of exotic plants inside the greenhouse as sunlight streams in through the glass ceilings. Outside, experts launch owls, falcons, and eagles into the air to fly—and many come back down to land on the arms of the audience. Since 1952, the staffers of Callaway Gardens’ educational nature preserve have immersed visitors in their passion for wildlife management and conservation across more than 4,600 acres of demonstration gardens, arboretums, and outdoor sports attractions.
At the 5-acre Horticultural Center, visitors wander through three conservatories, a grotto, and an outdoor garden and stand at the base of a 22-foot indoor waterfall. They can also soar up to 30 feet above the forest floor on a five-zipline treetop course replete with ladders, logs, and netting or practice their lumberjack calls on a 10-mile discovery trail through the trees. Staffers regularly lead guided hikes through the woods, hold a range of butterfly shows and cultural workshops, and help facilitate seasonal events—including circus, music, and theater performances and a holiday light show. On overnight stays, they welcome guests into lodgings such as a rustic inn, 155 secluded pine cottages, and 57 stone and wood villas with balconies.
Explorations in Antiquity Center give modern visitors a taste of daily life in the ancient Middle Eastern world. The Center's founder, archeologist James Fleming, has filled each room with authentic artifacts from his excavations in Israel, as well as faithful replicas of objects found in ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Visitors can immerse themselves in realistic settings including a Roman theater, a 2,000-year-old village, and a goat-hair tent like the ones used by nomadic shepherds. They also learn about worship practices of people from 2,500 BCE to 500 CE by visiting houses of worship excavated in Israel or a catacomb modeled on those where early Christians once prayed.
Banana Beach Tan wants to darken the world?by making it shine with the brilliance of a beautiful bronze glow. The tanning center helps clients acquire natural-looking tans gradually through the use of beds or in an instant through the use of advanced spray-tan technology. During UV-tanning sessions, clients relax in beds by Matrix or Alpha. Inside the Mystic tanning or Versa Pro booth, patented jets evenly coat the skin with a solution designed to leave a natural-looking glow. And from within the comforts of the Pure Collagen booth, red light therapy restores cellular activity and skin elasticity.
The staff at LaGrange Art Museum are focused on collecting and preserving works of art, right down to the building itself. The museum is housed in a shining example of Victorian architecture from the 1890s, which first served as the Troup County Jail and later the LaGrange Daily News. Today, it houses the museum's special exhibits and permanent collection, which includes 440 works that primarily focus on Southern American art from the 20th century.
Whether wearing a horned Viking helmet?cheekily dubbed the official Wine-Making Hat?or working bareheaded, the team at Warm Springs Winery crafts an array of muscadine wines. The sweet red and off-dry varieties of muscadine are produced from grapes grown on the premises and purchased locally.
The Cat’s Meow festoons bare walls and empty tabletops with custom framework and a selection of nearly 8,000 pieces of handcrafted Polish pottery. Browse a variety of microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe tableware and bakeware, holiday ornaments, and accessories decorated in creamy white-and-blue patterns. Set safer and more stylish fires with a star votive candle stand ($8), encase memories in a stylish frame ($14), or stockpile loose change harvested from the local fountain in a piggy bank ($22).