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Take a Critter-cation to Georgia State Parks

News Release from Georgia State Parks
(Events Scheduled GA State Parks and Campgrounds to Teach about Wildlife)

If you are not spending your vacation with the wildlife at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites this spring and summer, you might be hanging with the wrong crowd.


Georgia’s forests are full of deer, foxes, owls and other land-dwelling animals, and the rivers, streams and lakes overflow with fascinating aquatic life. Many of Georgia’s 48 parks have nature centers where families, and friends can get up close and personal with some of the state’s most interesting creatures.

Wildlife events at the state parks include everything from guided, moonlit hikes and kayak trips to classroom-style animal adventures, where kids and adults alike can learn and interact with critters in a safe environment. To see and learn about everything from raptors, owls, snakes and alligators to creeping insects and small invertebrates, guests are encouraged to attend Georgia State Parks’ upcoming wildlife events, including:

April 11 & July 18— Gators and the Galaxy at Reed Bingham State Park: Come on a one-night pontoon ride to see gators and galaxies.

April 18— Project Pine Snake at Don Carter State Park: Join guest Bryan Hudson to learn all about one of Georgia's largest and most secretive snakes.

May 1-2— Sapelo Birding Adventure at Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island: Join other birders for this two-day retreat to look for gulls, terns, chachalacas and owls.

May 9— Frogging by Ear (and other night sounds) by Kayak at Fort Yargo State Park: Join Linda May on a nighttime kayaking tour around Lake Marbury to learn what species of frogs live in Georgia and how to identify frogs by ear.

June 6— Alligator Day at Florence Marina State Park: See live alligators at the Kirbo Interpretive Center. Alligator experts and trappers will be on hand, sharing their knowledge.

Aug. 15— Summer’s For the Birds at Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site: Learn about birds and birding while focusing on several of the area’s most common birds.

Sept. 19— Lovebug Festival at General Coffee State Park: Explore the wonderful world of insects with our edible bug programs, kids insect-related crafts, arts and craft section, dragon fly and butterfly hikes, insect demonstrations and much more.

The Atlanta Audubon Society will also be leading bird-watching walks at multiple state parks this spring and summer.

Most events are free or low-cost, plus a $5 parking fee. More Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites events can be found on GeorgiaStateParks.org/events and on the individual parks’ web pages.

Georgia State Parks’ rivers, streams and lakes are also packed with trout, bass, catfish, sunfish and many other types of fish. Florence Marina and George T. Bagby state parks in southwest Georgia border Walter F. George Lake, which has been called "the bass capital of the world." Even kids can get in on the action at fishing events just for them at parks like Reed Bingham and Vogel, and guests at coastal state parks have access to saltwater and marsh fishing.

A plethora of overnight-stay options are available at the parks. One- to three- bedroom cabins and cottages come with equipped kitchens, heating and air conditioning. Most also come with decks and screened porches, where visitors can enjoy the scenic views and roaming wildlife from comfortable rocking chairs. More information about the cabins at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites can be found on GeorgiaStateParks.org/cabins and on the individual parks’ web pages.

For those looking for a more unique experience, the yurts at Cloudland Canyon, Red Top Mountain, High Falls, Fort Yargo and Tugaloo state parks combine the best aspects of tents and cabins into one glamorous camping experience known as "glamping." The yurts come with beds, futons, screened windows and locking doors, as well as canvas walls that let in the day and nighttime sounds of the local wildlife. More surprising and delightful unique lodging options at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites can be found on GeorgiaStateParks.org/unique.

And, of course, the ultimate commune with nature and wildlife is available at the state parks’ more than 2,700 campsites. Modern campsites offer water and electricity hookups, while campers who do not mind hoofing it through the woods can enjoy the rustic seclusion of the parks’ backcounty sites. The most daring guests can roll out their sleeping bags on a platform/squirrels nest camping site and sleep under the stars with owls and other nighttime critters for company. Campsite rates average $23-28 per night, with a two-night minimum stay required over the weekends for most sites. For more information on how to get close to the local wildlife at these traditional campsites, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org/campsites.

Whether they are camping, staying in a cabin or yurt or just there for a day trip, Georgia State Parks offer guests the perfect locations to see the state’s wildlife in their natural settings. Visit www.gastateparks.org to start planning a trip for this spring and summer. Browse the tabs for locations, reservations and details on every Georgia State Park, including activities and events. To make reservations by phone, call 800-864-7275.

News release posted March 17, 2015.

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