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 and falcons into the air to fly—and many come back down to land on the arms of the trainers. Since 1952, the staffers of Callaway Gardens’ educational nature preserve have immersed visitors in their passion for wildlife management and conservation across more than 6,500 acres of demonstration gardens, arboretums, and outdoor sports attractions.
At the 5-acre Sibley 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 10-zipline treetop course replete with ladders, logs, and swings or practice their lumberjack calls on a 10-mile discovery bicycle trail through the trees. Staffers regularly lead guided hikes through the woods, 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.