Spend time outdoors with your family this weekend

dminty@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 9, 2013 

Take a tree walk: Teach your kids about trees native to the Columbus area on this walk-at-your-own-pace activity. Trees Columbus offers free printable maps and audio tours for users to download at columbusga.org/TreeWalk. Materials are available for Lakebottom Park Trail and a Downtown Trail.

Fall Line Trace: Also commonly called Rails to Trails, families can run, walk and bike on this 12-foot wide asphalt trail that includes two rest areas, one near Hannan Magnet Academy on Warm Springs Road and one on Manchester Expressway across from Legacy Chevrolet. Learn more here.

Walk along the Riverwalk: Take a look at how the river in downtown Columbus has changed with the Whitewater project. City Mills Dam will likely be blown up next week, so take some photos now. Read more about the Riverwalk here and more about the latest stage in the Whitewater development plan here.

CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center: Learn about plant and animal life. Enclosures for alligators, tortoises, snakes, fish and other animals. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. 3535 South Lumpkin Road. Free to visit, some programs have a fee. 706-507-8550. Learn more at oxbow.columbusstate.edu. Oxbow offers 30-minute guided tree canopy walks. Pre-registration is required, call 706-507-8550 to book your tour. They are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. and cost $5 per person, with binocular rental included.

Pine Mountain Trail: Just a bit out of town, take a hike along one of the Pine Mountain Trail's scenic loops. Loops are 3.2 miles to 7.8 miles. Find trail maps, parking information and guidelines here.

Hills & Dales Estate: Tour the gardens and historic home from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Garden tours, which include iPod audio tours, cost $8 for adults and $4 for students age 7 through college. Home tours are $15 for adults and $7 for those age 7 through college. Kids 6 and younger are not permitted in the house but may tour the gardens with their families for free. Learn more at hillsanddales.org.

Callaway Gardens: Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for the recreational park and activity center in Pine Mountain. Exhibits include the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, John A. Sibley Horticulture Center and Birds of Prey shows. Regular admission is $18 for anyone 13 and older and $9 for children ages 6-12. callawaygardens.com. 706-663-2281.

Butts Mill Farm: Opens at 10 a.m. daily. Features paintball fields, go-karts, fishing, horseback riding, miniature golf, on-site catering, plenty of children’s activities. Two miles west of Pine Mountain on Butts Mill Road. $15.95 for everyone 10 and older, $13.95 for children ages 3-9, free for children 2 and younger; free for military with valid ID. 706-663-7400. Learn more at buttsmillfarm.com.

Wild Animal Safari at Pine Mountain: Drive your car through the up-close animal encounter or ride on the bus. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $19.95 for anyone 13 and older; $16.95 for seniors and children 3-12; free for children 2 and younger. 800-367-2751. animalsafari.com/Georgia.

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