Callaway Gardens: Georgia’s Original Green Resort

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Next, the John A. Sibley Horticultural Center is a one-of-a-kind, 5-acre garden/greenhouse that encompasses a tropical conservatory, sub-Mediterranean conservatory, a sculpture garden, a fern grotto, main conservatory and outdoor garden. Finally, there’s Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden, 7.5 acres of demonstration gardens that was one of the last major projects initiated by Cason J. Callaway before his death. Although referred to as the Vegetable Garden, much more than just vegetables grow here—there are areas for fruits, herbs, and flowers, an All America Trials garden, a composting area and more.

There’s also a variety of buildings and exhibits starting with the 35,000-sq.-ft. Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, named for Virginia Hand Callaway. The design of this unique, $12 million facility actually includes several facilities in one. There’s a staffed information desk and interactive kiosk to provide guests with an overview of all there is to see and do in the Callaway Gardens’ vast expanse. Inside is an orientation theater, an education wing, lecture hall, museum/exhibit hall, the Discovery Gift Shop, and Discovery Cafe.

Behind the Discovery Center in a lakeside amphitheater is a delightful attraction—the Callaway’s Birds of Prey show where magnificent birds of prey—hawks, owls and eagles—swoop over the heads of the audience demonstrating their strength, speed and natural instincts.

Additionally, the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center has 1,000 tropical butterflies, representing more than 50 different species fluttering freely through the air. The award-winning film, “On Wings of Wonder,” plays continuously on two wide-screen monitors in the center’s multi-purpose room, explaining the life cycle of butterflies.

dining haven The dining options are as eclectic as the rest of the resort with 10 onsite restaurants serving up just about whatever visitors could want. A don’t miss is the Country Kitchen offering “down-home” Southern cooking enjoyed by the locals as well and with good reason. The Piedmont Dining Room in The Lodge and Spa features an inviting setting for meals all day. For breakfast, the chef prepares omelets to order with a buffet of breakfast items, lunch features an a la carte menu selection and for dinner, there are signature dishes featuring hand-selected beef, seafood and produce. The Plant Room at the Mountain Creek Inn serves up reasonably priced breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and on Friday night, there’s a seafood buffet. The Gardens restaurant overlooks Mountain Creek Lake and the Lake View Golf Course, and each evening, guests enjoy an incredible lineup of entrees, all with Georgia-themed items.

Other dining venues include Champions, which is located in the golf club house, offering a menu of sandwiches, salads and a bar and the Discovery Cafe, an indoor/outdoor cafe offering light fare and sitting adjacent to the Discovery Center with a wide deck overlooking Mountain Creek Lake. There are also two seasonal restaurants—the Robin Lake Beach Pavillion with a selection of sandwiches, snacks and beverages, with picnic tables under the pavilion, and Rockin’ Robin’s Malt Shop & Pizzeria, adjacent to The Southern Pine Cottages, with an old-fashioned juke box, arcade games and a menu that includes pizza, malted milkshakes, hand-dipped ice cream and hot sub sandwich selections.

come and play
The resort offers a variety of packages year-round that reflect all they offer to the varied market segments—group and meeting venues, golf, tennis, family, wedding and spa. There are also educational classes including photography, gardening, and fly fishing. There’s also a score of events and festivals scheduled all year long, from the spring flower festival to the traditionally popular Christmas lighting time.