3 Little Known Places to Visit Animals in Georgia

Photo courtesy of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island

Camels. Sea turtles. Alligators. Oh my. Getting up close with animals can teach us a lot about our world and ourselves. There are so many places to visit with both native and non-native animals in Georgia. Some, like Zoo Atlanta are well-known and have a wide variety of animals. Others, like the three listed below, aren’t always top-of-mind but are terrific places to get up close with wildlife.

Sue and a friendly camel at North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm, Cleveland, GA

North Georgia Zoo and Petting Farm, Cleveland: The petting zoo and working farm are fun places to walk around, but to get the most from your visit, take the guided wildlife walk, where you’ll get up close with kangaroos, lemurs, fennec fox and more exotic animals. And make sure to visit with the camels, too. The best part about this zoo is the passionate staff and the up-close nature of the encounters. On our trip, we howled with wolves, fed camels, stroked a snake and took home huge quills from a porcupine.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island: Next time you’re visiting the beaches of Jekyll Island, take an afternoon to visit with the sea turtles, too. The small museum does a good job of educating guests on the plight of the sea turtle and what you can do to help. My favorite part of this center is visiting with the sea turtles in the sea turtle hospital. Injured turtles come from all over, and the staff nurses them back to health before releasing them back into the wild. Adopt a turtle while you are there, and they’ll let you know when it’s being released into the ocean.

Photo courtesy of Chehaw Wild Animal Park, Albany, GA

Chehaw Wild Animal Park, Albany: The Wild Animal Park is just part of the Chehaw Park, which boasts a huge playground, as well as mountain biking and hiking trails, BMX track and disc golf. Naturalist Jim Fowler, from the 1970’s TV show “Wild Kingdom,” designed the Wild Animal Park. What struck me about this zoo wasn’t just the 238 specimens representing 87 different species, but the beautiful grounds. The cypress swamp is fascinating, and I could have spent hours watching the alligators here.

For more places to see animals in Georgia, click through to the post on Five Free Things to Do in Henry County on Field Trips with Sue.

Sue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

Originally published at blog.exploregeorgia.org on October 26, 2015.