May 2016 events across the state

May 2016 Events in Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites

Below is a sample of May events at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites. For more programs, visit and the parks’ web pages.  More information on accommodations and recreation can be found at or 1-800-864-7275.

Hidden Gem Series

Throughout 2016, Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites will host events that highlight secret spots few visitors notice, such as a moonshine truck that tumbled down a mountain. Visit for a list of statewide Hidden Gem programs. Some are listed below.

Coastal Georgia

Marsh Walk with Dr. Charlie Belin. Wednesday, May 4, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, May 18, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah, GA. Join one of the region’s marsh ecology experts as he leads a hike into the marsh surrounding Wormsloe, providing a fascinating look into plant and animal life. Register in advance. Come prepared to get muddy. $4.50-$10. 912-353-3023.

Birding Weekend at Reynolds Mansion. Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 6 – May 8; Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island – Darien, GA. Participants will travel by ferry to Sapelo Island along Georgia’s scenic coast, enjoy birding the beaches, marshes, fields and forests of this limited access barrier island with expert birders and, overnight at the historic Reynolds Mansion. $349 all inclusive. 912-485-2299.

Kayaking 101. Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Laura S. Walker State Park – Waycross, GA. We will learn basic strokes and techniques of kayaking. This is an all-day event with instruction in the morning, a lunch break, and then practice on the lake in the afternoon. Space is limited; registration required. $75 plus $5 parking. 912-287-4900.

Memorial Day Commemoration. Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fort McAllister State Park – Richmond Hill, GA. Help us pay tribute to our fellow patriots who served our country throughout the years with a commemoration and reenactment. We’ll have cannon and musket firings, Civil War-era demonstrations, and lots of family fun. 912-727-2339.

War of Jenkins’ Ear. Saturday, May 28, until Monday, May 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah, GA. Wormsloe will commemorate Georgia’s role in the 1739-1748 war between Britain and Spain. A brief presentation at the Visitor Center will be followed by a walking tour of the site. The program will also include military drills and black powder weapons demonstrations. $4.50 – $10. 912-353-3023.

Memorial Day at Fort Morris. Monday, May 30, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway, GA. This coastal fort will present hourly Revolutionary War soldier talks and musket and cannon demonstrations. Enjoy the beautiful vista from the earthen fort, over the Medway River and out through St. Catherine’s Sound, a view that has changed very little over hundreds of years. $3-$4.50. 912-884-5999.

 Metro Atlanta

Indoor Basic Archery. Saturdays and Sundays in May, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge, GA. Have you ever wanted to release your inner archer? Maybe you’re just looking for a place to hone your skills, no matter the weather. Our archery classes are a great place to brush-up on the basics or start from scratch with the guidance of a certified instructor. All equipment is provided. Ages 9 and older. Must call to register. $12 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Spring at the Homestead. Saturday, April 30 – Sunday, May 1; Red Top Mountain State Park – Acworth, GA. Bring the whole family to this living history event and discover what life was like for soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Living history demonstrations include cooking, blacksmithing, woodworking, toys and games, candle-dipping, and more. See soldiers camped nearby and witness black powder weapons demonstrations, including cannons. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.

Candlelight Hike to the Mill. Saturday, May 7, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs, GA. This mile-long guided night hike is moderately difficult and goes down to the Civil War-era textile mill ruins of New Manchester alongside the beautiful rapids of Sweetwater Creek. Candle lanterns are provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Meet and pay (exact change please, $5 cash only) at the Visitor’s Center. $5 parking. 770-732-5871.

Archaeology and Artifact ID Day. Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville, GA. Celebrate Archaeology Month by bringing in your artifacts to be identified by professionals. Discover what archaeologists do and how they learn from artifacts. There will be educational activities throughout the day. $2-$6. 770-387-3747.

National Kids to Parks Day “Blue Moon” Paddle. Saturday, May 21, 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge, GA. Join a Park Ranger on this guided night tour featuring a sky full of stars and constellations. National Kids to Parks Day is national movement engages children and families with parks, nature, and healthy outdoor recreation. What better way to spend the evening with family and friends on Lake Rutledge. Space is limited, pre-registration required. $15 includes equipment. $5 parking. 706-557-3001.

Intro to Tree Climbing. Saturday, May 21, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge, GA. Join us “on rope” for an adventure exploring the canopy above. This is an introductory program to recreational tree climbing. Participants will use rope and harness to ascend into a 200+ year old Southern Red Oak, where they can climb, swing, and scramble. Climbs start at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call to register. Ages 8 and older. $15 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Moonlight Mountain Hike. Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge, GA. Join us for a ranger-led hike up Panola Mountain to enjoy the sunset over Atlanta. The moonlight will guide us down to a lakeside campfire where we’ll enjoy s’mores. Bring flashlights, bug spray, hiking boots and water. Ages 10 and up. Advance registration required. $10 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Middle & South Georgia

Watermelon Express Train Ride. Thursday, May 5, 9:30 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele, GA. Enjoy this ride from our Downtown Cordele Depot to Historic Plains, the small Georgia town made famous by President Jimmy Carter. Ticket required. 229-276-0755.

Presidential Flyer Train Ride. Friday, May 6, 10 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.; SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele, GA. Riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars, you will travel from Georgia Veterans State Park, across Lake Blackshear to Plains, Archery and back. Explore President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood farm, go shopping and sample peanut butter treats. Ticket required. 229-276-0755.

Archery for Beginners. Saturdays in May, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton, GA. Haven’t shot an arrow yet? Would you like to learn and sharpen your archery skills? Either way, you’ll be guided and taught by our experienced ranger. Pre-registration is encouraged. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-359-3458.

Paws on the Falls. Sunday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; High Falls State Park – Jackson, GA. Grab your leash and bring your dog out to walk with some new friends on the High Falls Trail. A special surprise goes to each dog that attends. $5 per a dog. $5 parking. 478-993-3053.

Full Moon Paddle. Saturday, May 21, 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, May 22, 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton, GA. Join a guided tour of Clark Hill Lake and enjoy a peaceful paddle under the bright moon. The program will go on if it is cloudy or light rain. Meet at bathhouse 1 to receive your life jackets. Reservations required. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-359-3458.

The Arrest of Alexander Hamilton Stephens. Saturday, May 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; A.H. Stephens State Park – Crawfordville, GA. On May 11, 1865, A.H. Stephens was arrested and charged with treason. Experience a live re-enactment of his arrest and his homecoming that took place on October 27, 1865. In addition to the re-enactment, we will have period performers and demonstrators. $1 – $5. 706-456-2602.

J.A.K.E.S Day. Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; General Coffee State Park – Nicholls, GA. This event is designed to help pass on the traditions of hunting, ethics and to teach safety and responsible hunting. Join your children for archery, bb shooting, hunting demonstrations and a turkey calling contest. All kids 17 and under will be eligible to participate (some events may be inappropriate for younger children). $5 parking. 912-384-7082.

Antique Steam Engine Demonstration. Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette, GA. Come “let off some steam” by blowing the whistle atop the Jarrell Plantation Mill Complex, a signal used to communicate between Jarrells manning different work positions throughout the mill. See our stationary steam engine in action and experience live steam that puts into motion this important provider of mechanical energy in America’s past. $4-6.50. 478-986-5172.

Full Moon Hike at Mistletoe. Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m.; Mistletoe State Park – Appling, GA. Join us for a moonlit hike where we’ll use our ears and senses of touch and smell to explore nighttime wonders. Bring a flashlight and walking shoes. Meet at the Campground Shelter. $5 parking. 706-541-0321.

Memorial Day Miniature Golf Tournament. Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Indian Springs State Park – Flovilla, GA. Compete against your friends and family as you celebrate the holiday. Wear something patriotic and you may find yourself on our park Facebook page. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-504-2277.

Family Farm Day. Saturday, May 28, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette, GA. The farm comes to life with volunteers demonstrating crafts and chores of the past. See the skills from long ago, such as sewing, blacksmithing, woodstove cooking, gardening, woodworking and many other farm activities. $4-$6.50. 478-986-5172.

Northern Georgia

Slackline 101. Wednesday, May 4, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, May 18, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls, GA. Join us to learn the basics of walking on a slackline (tightrope) at the site of Karl Wallenda’s 1970 crossing of the gorge. No experience necessary; just bring a pair of comfortable shoes and your balance. Ages 12 and older. Reservations required. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

Sunset Point: Cloudland Canyon’s Hidden Gem. Saturday, May 7, 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn, GA. Take a short walk with the naturalist to Sunset Point, Cloudland Canyon State Park’s best kept secret. Enjoy expansive views of Trenton, Lookout Valley, Sand Mountain and more while the sky turns colorful at sunset. Meet at the West Rim Access Parking Lot. $5 parking. 706-657-4050.

Bat Conservation in Georgia. Friday, May 13, 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn, GA. Presented by Wildlife Biologist Trina Morris of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, this program will highlight bat species of Georgia, fun facts about bats, why bats are important to us, and the cause of bat decline. A bat mist-netting demonstration will follow. Meet at the campfire outside the Interpretive Center. $5 parking. 706-657-4050.

Dirty Spokes Bike Race. Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m.; Fort Yargo State Park – Winder, GA. Tackle Fort Yargo’s bike trails during this Dirty Spokes-sponsored bike race. Register at $5 parking. 770-867-3489.

Hidden Gem: A Walk Through Mining Industry. Saturday, May 14, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park – Summerville, GA. The hills of northwest Georgia use to be rich with mining operations in the 1960s and 1970s. Join a ranger-led hike to the old Marble Mine and discover the history that lies in these hills. $5 parking. 706-857-0826.

Junior Fishing Rodeo. Saturday, May 14, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston, GA. Does your child enjoy the outdoors, fishing, spending time with their peers, and a chance to win great prizes? The rodeo will be at the back pond, for children ages 16 and younger. All participants must be registered by 9 a.m. to be eligible for prizes. $5 parking. 706-245-6270.

Full Moon Lake Paddle. Friday, May 20, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 21, 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls, GA. Enjoy a relaxing paddle around Tallulah Lake as the full moon reflects off the water. This ranger-led event is an exciting way to get out in the evenings and enjoy nature. Space is limited, so register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

Walking in Lady’s Slippers. Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.; Don Carter State Park – Gainesville, GA. The Pink Lady’s Slipper is an orchid native to north Georgia and can be found at Don Carter. Join us to learn about this unique plant, its role in the environment and some of its traditional uses. We will also go on a hike to try and spot Lady’s Slippers in bloom. $5 parking. 678-450-7726.

Georgia’s First Dig. Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Hardman Farm State Historic Site – Sautee Nacoochee, GA. Hear about the first professional archaeological dig in Georgia with Archaeologist Max White, PhD. The Nacoochee Mound was partially excavated in 1915. Questions about who built it and what was discovered will be addressed as well as the significance of the dig. Call to register. $5 and add a tour for $7. 706-878-1077.

Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals. Saturday, May 21, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen, GA. Children and their special “big person” can fish in a lake stocked with catfish, bass and bream. Fish caught can be kept. Bring your own bait and rods. This event is not at Smithgall Woods, but at Buck Shoals, a nearby unopened state park. Call for directions. Occurs every third Saturday through September. $5 parking. 706-878-3087.

Full-Moon Suspension Bridge Hike. Sunday, May 22, 9:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m.; Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls, GA. Enjoy a 1-mile hike that takes you down the stairs, across the suspension bridge and on the rim of the gorge under the full moon. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

Night Hike at Cloudland Canyon. Friday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn, GA. Enjoy a 2-mile hike on one of the best trails at the park. You will learn interesting facts about the geology and history of the canyon. By the end of the hike, we will be in the dark, enjoying the trail by moonlight and listening for night sounds. Ages 10 and older. Reservations required. $10 plus $5 parking. 706-913-7170.

Forgotten History: Hidden Gems of Richard B. Russell State Park. Saturday, May 28, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Richard B. Russell State Park – Elberton, GA. Our disc golf course and other areas are home to what remains of past homesteads that visitors easily overlook. This naturalist-led hike will replay in living history how the families lived in previous centuries. An interactive demonstration garden is also planned for a site. Meet at the disc golf course parking area. $5 parking. 706-213-2045.

Tugaloo’s Moonshine. Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; Tugaloo State Park – Lavonia, GA. Learn about the life of early settlers who once lived at what is now Tugaloo State Park. We will hike near unique remnants of old moonshine stills and see evidence of an old home place located on the park. $5 parking. 706-356-4362.

A Memorable Memorial Day. Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tugaloo State Park – Lavonia, GA. Begin with our 3rd annual doggie pageant, followed by wiffleball and a campfire with s’mores, story telling and songs. $5 parking. 706-356-4362.

Gorge Floor Hike. Saturday, May 28, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, May 29, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday, May 30, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls, GA. Explore this stunning gorge with a ranger-led hike. First travel down 535 steps to a river crossing, then climb boulders and logs to get to Sliding Rock. Wear your swimsuit if you want to cool off in the natural slide. Bring water, lunch and snacks. Register in advance. $10 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

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