On the 24 lighted courts of John Drew Smith Tennis Center, Carl Hodge and his team of instructors guide adults and children in the fine art of clobbering tennis balls. Hodge carries a No. 1 doubles ranking in the Southern Section of the United States Tennis Association, and he uses his expertise to keep students prepared for challenging matches or mutant grapefruit invasions. The adult and child programs offered by Middle Georgia Tennis are presented in four progressive levels, beginning with essential serving and swing techniques and leading up to positioning and strategies to avoid hitting the ball runner.
For more than two decades, Olympia Family Fun Center has helped guests young and old get their groove on with a wooden roller-skating rink, snack bar, and O-zone?an on-site dance club for teenagers. The rink's fluorescent lights and energetic, upbeat tunes keep skaters in motion as they loop around the rink, passing slower skaters and high-fiving onlookers who have really great hair.
The Edge 14 theater projects new releases onto the silver screen in high style with luxurious facilities and delectable snacks. Cinephiles can choose from any of the shows playing on the eight screens—including 3-D flicks—taking care of any last minute Oscar catch-up or continuing an unbroken 14-year boycott of all nominated films due to the 70th Academy Awards' snubbing of Con Air's "How Do I Live" for Best Original Song. Dip your mandibles into a large popcorn, included with your tickets, and purchase a self-serve drink replete with free refills. Once tickets and snacks have been procured, film lovers repair to the opulent auditoriums, sinking into fully reclining seats for optimum viewing comfort or—for those who can only fall asleep when surrounded by bright lights and loud noises—a comfortable napping spot for hyper-realistic dream sequences.
Connecting urbanites with nature's splendor, Ocmulgee Expeditions supplies the equipment and expert guidance for a unique and educational adventure on the Ocmulgee River. After meeting at the Spring Street Boat Ramp, patrons are shuttled to the launching point at Amerson Water Works Park. Canoe cadets and their mentors then push off, free to roam the vast stretches of water and marvel at the lush scenery. Throughout the journey, wild hogs, deer, turtles, and myriad species of fish pose for photos and hushed British voice-overs. The river jaunt usually lasts between one to three hours and runs aground at the parking lot of its origin, furnishing car rides home with memories of Ocmulgee River's beautiful vistas and alluring wildlife.
“This was a crazy, insane house … basically a frat house, but to the 10th degree,” Conan O’Brien said of The Big House while interviewing Gregg Allman in May 2012. “Now, they’ve turned that house into a museum!” he marveled. The talk-show host and his legendary musical guest joked about how much work that must have taken. “To refurbish it, man, you just about have to jack that one up and roll a new one under it,” Gregg said, chuckling.
Although the three-story, Tudor-style building has certainly been cleaned and restored, it’s still the same place where many founding members of The Allman Brothers Band—with their family and friends—lived and played their iconic music. Drawn to Macon by a contract with Phil Waldren Records, Berry Oakley and his wife, Linda, first rented the Big House in 1970, less then a year after the band formed. Guitarist Duane Allman and his brother Gregg joined the couple, and soon a rotating cast of characters was coming in and out of the high-ceilinged rooms. Past the first floor’s parlor and through the french doors, a sunroom became the music room where the band would, in Berry’s words, “hit the note,” and the kitchen and backyard became fertile spaces for songwriting. But tragedy struck the band before long: in 1971, Duane died in a motorcycle accident, and in 1972, Berry died in another. The remaining family moved out soon after.
Today, the Big House showcases Duane’s 1975 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar—which he played with more than half the time—and other instruments, handwritten song sheets, gold records, show contracts, and other band memorabilia. The room where Duane lived is preserved the way it was when he lived there in the 1970s complete with a leather jacket hanging in the closet.