Augusta is well known as the site of the Masters golf tournament each spring, but this gracious city on the Georgia-South Carolina border has more to offer than holes-in-one. Georgia’s second-oldest and second-largest city has managed to grow into a cosmopolitan city without losing of its small town charm. The resulting mix of natural spaces and urban amenities makes Augusta an entertaining family destination.
Kids can explore River Island and learn kayaking basics with Cole Watkins Tours’ (colewatkinstours.com) Riverside to River Island paddle tour. More experienced kayakers might want to tackle the mild rapids on the Savannah rapids tour. If your kids aren’t ready to paddle their own boats, take them down the Savannah River on a riverboat with Patriot Riverboat Tours (patriottourboat.com). People think of the Okefenokee as Georgia’s swamp, but the 1,000-acre Phinizy Swamp Nature Park (naturalsciencesacademy.org) is Augusta’s swamp. Kids can get dirty at the park’s summer nature camps or bring their parents along for the monthly family discovery series. Check the online calendar for upcoming events. Take your bikes to explore the Towpath at the Augusta Canal Heritage Center (augustacanal.com). This beginner-friendly path follows the canal from its headgates to the water-pumping station.
Learn Something New
If your kids like old episodes of “The Bullwinkle Show,” they’ll love the Augusta Museum of History’s (augustamuseum.org) Hunt for History program. The downloadable scavenger hunts use the show’s time-traveling characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman to explore the museum’s exhibits. Nature-loving kids can learn more about plants and animals through programs at Reed Creek Nature Park (reedcreekpark.com). Lessons on insects and frogs, creek explorations and wilderness survival training are just some of the kid-friendly programs hosted by the nature park. Check the calendar of the East Central Georgia Regional Library (ecgrl.public.lib.ga.us) for upcoming events. You’ll find cool programs such as jazz for kids, online author chats and craft sessions in addition to the expected story times.
Visit a Park
Kids flock to the playground at the Augusta Riverwalk (augustaga.org). Bring a picnic lunch, and snuggle up in the swinging chairs that overlook the river for an impromptu outdoor story time if your child needs a play break. Pendleton King Park (augustaga.gov) is an ideal place to get your child interested in bird-watching. The 64-acre park attracts lots of winged visitors because of its geographical diversity, which includes forests, sand ridges and swamp. If bird-watching gets boring, kids can play on the playground or try their skills on the disc golf course. Beat the Georgia summer heat with a trip to the Splash Pad at Charles H. Evans Community Center (augustaga.gov). This water playground is open from the end of May through the end of August. For a different kind of park experience, take the kids to see the minor league Augusta Greenjacks baseball team play at Olmstead Stadium (augusta.greenjackets.milb.com).
Rainy days can give kids the wiggles. At an indoor playground like Monkey Joe’s (monkeyjoes.com), they can burn off energy on inflatable slides, jumps and climbing walls. For kids who would rather play games, Chuck E. Cheese’s (chuckecheese.com) has an arcade full of games, rides and activities. Players earn tickets they can redeem for prizes -- choosing their rewards is a highlight for many kids. Outdoor activities, including go-karts and laser tag, are fun for kids, too, but the huge indoor arcade at Adventure Crossing (adventure-crossing.com) is a boon on rainy or sweltering days.