Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia  

Callaway Gardens, located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, about an hour south of Atlanta is a great destination for nature lovers of all ages. Whether you enjoy nature from the comfort of your car, or want to get up close by walking or riding your bike, Callaway Gardens is the place to be. At the entrance gates you will be given a map of Callaway Gardens listing attractions, dining, recreation, walking trails and accommodations. This is an essential item for first time visitors. Read more now on tengah garden walk ec

There are miles of walking and bike paths that give you the opportunity to view an amazing variety of flowering plants. If you feel more comfortable in you car, even driving through Callaway Gardens is worth the trip. While some of the venues require a bit of walking, most, if not all, of Callaway Gardens is very wheelchair friendly. I saw people enjoying themselves in wheelchairs and power chairs. This is also a wonderful destination for groups.

We visited during late March but throughout the year Callaway Gardens offers a variety of flowers to appreciate. A few examples include: Azaleas and Dogwoods in April; Rhododendron in May; Blueberries in June; and Sunflowers in July. Rest assured that there will be acres and acres of flowers.

A good place to start your visit to Callaway Gardens is the Callaway Discovery Center where you can orient yourself to the wide variety of entertainment possibilities. Behind the Discovery Center there is a free tram that will take you to Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl and the Day Butterfly Center. The trams run at least every 30 minutes, and you might need more than that at either destination. We used the tram with no problem. There is also a tram offering a two and one-half hour guided tour.

The Day Butterfly Center is a completely climate controlled building growing numerous plants known to be favorites of butterflies. And of course with such a perfect environment the butterflies thrive. When walking through the center you will be surrounded by a wide variety of butterflies. Stand still for a minute one just might land on your shoulder. Now that is a neat experience. In addition to watching them it’s also a great place to photograph butterflies.

Also in the Butterfly Center are several bird cages housing an array of exotic birds. When we were there a handler took the birds out of their cages while telling her small audience about the different types of birds. You can get as close to them as they allow and maybe even have a short conversation. It’s not often you can talk to a bird and have it talk back.

As for the Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl, when the Azaleas are in bloom you will be encircled by their colors. Lush plants in white, pink, red and beautiful mixed colors are seemingly everywhere. The trail leads you down to Lower Creek Falls Lake and over a bridge then back to the entrance. It is easy to navigate and you won’t mind the walk.

Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden is another venue we enjoyed. Though it was early in the season you could tell the garden would soon be bursting with most any vegetable that can be grown in Georgia. At times during the peak growing season you can even buy vegetables at the Vegetable Garden Shop. Six employees work full-time keeping the garden in pristine condition.

We finally took time for lunch and found The Plant Room located at The Mountain Creek Inn. This restaurant specializes in buffet style food, though you may also order from a limited menu. The Plant Room is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My wife and I enjoyed a lunch buffet that included turnip greens, fried okra, and several types of meat, salad, sandwiches, soup and desert. Food options at Callaway Gardens include everything from burgers to more upscale dining. A few of your choices include the Piedmont Dining Room, Country Kitchen, and Discovery Cafe.

The Sibley Horticulture Center is another must on your list of things to see at Callaway Gardens. Among many other plants, we saw orchids, sedum, papaya, banana trees, and an amazing array of tropical plants. Rows of hydrangeas, white, pink, and blue and many other manicured displays are there for your enjoyment.

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