20 Free Nature Centers & Preserves to Explore in Georgia

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20freenaturecentersGood day, friends! Here I am again with 20 more places to add to your Southern Summer Bucket List. I’ve made it a point to search out 100% free places to explore nature in Georgia. What I mean by free is no charge for admission or parking. A lot of these places will accept donations. So, if you particularly enjoy your visit, consider making a small donation to help with preserving our natural heritage!

This first section lists and describes natural areas that include visitors or learning centers with indoor exhibits, as well as the outdoor natural areas. The, “Nature Preserves & Parks,” section lists and describes natural areas that do not include an indoor visitors or learning center.

Nature Centers
If you’re looking for destinations that include an indoors exhibit for an after-hike cooldown, you’ll appreciate these Nature Centers. Listed in alphabetical order of city. Remember, all admission and parking is free. If you find a mistake, let me know. Visit the links to see more photos and information about each place.

Athens – Sandy Creek Nature Center
Sandy Creek provides 4 miles of trails through woods & wetlands with connections the North Oconee River Greenway & Cook’s Trail. In the visitor center, you’ll discover live animals, aquariums & natural history exhibits.
205 Old Commerce Rd.
Athens, GA 30607

Columbus – Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center
Oxbow Meadows offers nature trails, displays, exhibits and programs designed to educate about ecology and natural history of the region. While most of the center is free, there is a “Treetop Canopy Trail,” that requires an admission fee. It looks pretty cool, too.
3535 South Lumpkin Road
Columbus, GA 31903

Cumming – Sawnee Mountain Preserve
The visitors center is a great place to begin, with interactive exhibits about the natural & cultural history of the area. Play on a playground, hike trails & check out the “Indian Seat” rock formation. Check out photos of my friend’s visit, here.
4075 Spot Road, Cumming, GA 30040

Hampton – Newman Wetlands Center
A 32-acre site featuring wetlands trail and informative exhibits & learning videos in the visitor center.
2755 Freeman Road 
Hampton, Georgia 30228

Johns Creek – Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage Center
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve boasts over 2 miles of trails that explore forest, creek & wetland. There is also a heritage village & representations of American Indian dwellings. In the visitor center you’ll find several animal exhibits.
9770 Autrey Mill Road
Johns Creek, GA 30022

Kennesaw – Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Hike to the top of Kennesaw Mountain where you can take in a scenic view, or enjoy easier nature walking throughout the area. In the visitor center, you’ll find a souvenir shop and an interesting historical video.

Morrow – W.H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve
Hike 3 miles of trails through mixed forest, preserved in its native state. Explore the rolling hills, ridges, wetlands and natural springs. The interpretive center provides exhibits of native species.

Continue reading to view more Free Nature Preserves & Parks around Georgia.

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