Play on the River
The heck with San Antonio -- we've got a fancy place of our own where we can strut in our boots. Located along the Savannah River behind Reynolds Street downtown, the Riverwalk is a multi-tiered brick esplanade beautifully landscaped and filled with various walking paths, benches, historical monuments and plaques. And if you're here on the weekend, there's more than likely to be some special festival or event packing in a crowd and offering plenty of foods and beverages.
While we have all seen or experienced the pain of a water hazard, the unique Augusta Canal offers fun for the whole family. Located next to the Savannah River behind Reynolds St in downtown Augusta, The Riverwalk is a multi-tiered brick esplanade perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere after strenuous days. The walk offers art, history, and science museums as well as numerous parks and picnic areas, not to mention an open concert pavilion.
Located on Independence Drive near the intersection of Walton Way and 13th Street, (706) 724-4174, Meadow Garden was the home of George Walton, one of Georgia's signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Early in 1996 the 60-year-old "municipal attic" moved into a new 48,000-square-foot home at Sixth and Reynolds streets. The 23 permanent galleries are filled with Revolutionary and Civil War weapons and uniforms, Native American culture, natural history (including a major dinosaur exhibit), space exploration, communications, vintage photographs and a tribute to the city's and Georgia's founding father, Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe. Savannah River marine life inhabits a small aquarium. Train buffs shouldn't miss "Old No. 302," the Georgia Railroad's last steam engine. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission prices are adults, $4; seniors, $3, and children, $2. Children 6 and younger are admitted free of charge. Phone (706) 722-8454.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum is the only African-American Museum in the Central Savannah River Area. The museum, which opened in 1991, is a small house museum that was the former home of Miss Lucy Craft Laney. The museum is located in the Historic Laney-Walker District. Hours: 9:00 am - 1:00pm Monday through Friday and by appointments on weekends and holidays. 1116 Phillips Street. (706)724-3526.
One of Riverwalk's newest attractions, it is a world of fun and educational experiences for people of all ages. The 200 hands-on, interactive exhibits range from simple games for young children to more complicated lessons to tax the brain power of serious science students. You're invited to ride a bike on a high wire, walk on the moon, maneuver robots and play the newest multimedia games. Special shows are held in the 250-seat Paul Simon Theater, and there's a snack bar when all this fun works up your appetite. The two-story, 128,000-square-foot museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Adults, $8; children,$6. Located on Seventh Street at Riverwalk, (800) 325-5445.
Located on 1301 Greene Street, (706) 826-4700, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is a heartening and spectacular example of a cherished piece of architectural heritage, down on its luck, given a new lease on life. Consecrated in 1901, the redbrick, twin-spired Romanesque Catholic church summed up the highest skills of European artists. Jewel-like tones of German stained-glass windows play against the creamy white Italian marble columns, stations of the cross and the ornate high altar. In the early 1970s, with much of its congregation now in the suburbs, Sacred Heart's doors were closed and the church deconsecrated and left to the mercy of the elements and vandals.
Dedicated to the art of the South, the Morris Museum of Art is a don't-miss stroll right off Augusta's Riverwalk. Two centuries of Southern art are represented in this new museum designed like a private home. The permanent collection includes works by Augusta native Jasper Johns and mixed media artist Robert Rauschenberg. Special exhibits are held throughout the year. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $2. Riverfront Center, 1 Tenth Street at Riverwalk, (706) 724-7501.
As you meander along the pathway, just past the Butterfly and Aquatic gardens, you'll see him in one of the most unforgettable moments in golf: A 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus, club thrust high in the air, just after making birdie on No. 17 as he rallied back on the back nine for a final round of 65 and his sixth Green Jacket.
Eighth and Reynolds Streets, for information and historic exhibits on Augusta's once-lucrative trade in "white gold." It's open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Phone (706) 724-4067 or (800) 726-0243. Self-guided walking and driving tours as well as group tours are available at the welcome center.
Found on 1840 Broad Street, (706) 724-0436, it is Augusta's second-oldest structure. In 1797 Harris came to the area from South Carolina with plans to build a town to rival Augusta as a tobacco market. On a hill overlooking Augusta, the house is an outstanding example of post-Revolutionary architecture. The gambrel roof and vaulted hallway are reminiscent of New England. Tiered piazzas are supported by artistically beveled wooden posts. Rooms are furnished with period antiques. It's open Monday through Friday 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adults are $2; students, 50 cents.
Forgot your clubs but still want to get close with nature? Well, we've got a big offering in the Augusta Canal, where recreational activities such as canoeing, jogging and biking abound. Approximately 11.5 miles in length and built in 1845 for transportation, power and water supply, the canal today also is a flocking place for recreation-minded Georgians and South Carolinans. Canoe and bike rentals are available. Call (706) 823-0440 for more information.
We like to think it's one of the most awesome stadiums for a minor-league baseball team in the country. And its central color theme is Masters green, of course -- we've gotta stay with that Green Jacket tradition. The lake and stadium are named after Charles Olmstead, famous for his work engineering the Erie Canal. He also created Olmstead Lake, which was part of an 1870s project aimed at enlarging the Augusta Canal.
Visit what must be Augusta's most unique grave. Buried under the median in the middle of Greene Street -- one of Augusta's busier downtown arteries -- are the remains of two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Walton and Lyman Hall. The obelisk monument, dedicated on July 4, 1848, also honors a third signer, Button Gwinnett.
Yes, we honor the Confederate cause in a rebel sort of way with this towering, marble monument on the 700 block of Broad Street. Dedicated in 1878, the monument honors the anonymous enlisted men who fought for the Confederate cause during the Civil War. The statue at the top of the monument is that of Augusta native Private Berry Benson. Located around the base of the monument are four life-sized statues of Confederate generals: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, T.R.R. Cobb and W.H.T. Walker.
Here's a story that rivals any of Stephen King's. Located at the corner of Fifth and Broad streets is this 10-foot-tall concrete pillar -- all that remains for an old farmers market that once stood in the middle of Broad Street. Several stories surround the pillar, which is said to be "cursed" and anyone who tries to knock it down will die. Stories range from an irate preacher to a slave woman who placed the curse upon the pillar.