Family Fun Around Effingham
Story by Cindy Reid
We are fortunate to live in an area full of enjoyable things to do as a family. From beaches to cities, we have it all.
One thing we have in abundance are local museums and other learning experiences. These can be the very best family outings and most incorporate hands-on exhibits specifically for children. Learning is a lot more than viewing dusty items on a shelf these days!
In this article we tried to list some of lesser known museums and historical sites, with a few perennial favorites, all no more than one hour away from Effingham County. Address, phone number and admission information are included but please call ahead as hours, rates and events are subject to change.
Choose one, load the family in the car and check out something new. You might be surprised at what you learn!
Historic Effingham Society Old Jail Museum and Living History Site
The Old Jail Museum is full of interesting items, such as Native American artifacts and military hardware from the American Revolution.
The Living History Site includes ten buildings that depict a real farm: The 1790s Morgan barn, Dasher Smokehouse, a blacksmith shop, syrup boiling shed, cane grinding shed, equipment shed with carpenter’s shop, several family houses, the Blanford Depot, the Bethel One-room School, the Whiskey Still shed, and the Rincon Post Office. Self-guided Tours.
Call for hours and admission rates.
www.n-georgia.com/effingham-old-jail-museum.html |912-754-2170 | 1002 Pine St., Springfield
The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
This museum is dedicated to preserving the history and stories of the Eighth Air Force, the “greatest air armada of all time.”
Hear the unforgettable stories of bravery, experience a bomber mission and briefing, and see the ongoing restoration of the World War II B-17 Flying Fortress "City of Savannah" inside the Museum's Combat Gallery.
Adults: $12, Seniors & Retired Military: $11, Active Duty Military & Children ages 6-12: $8, Children 5 and under & WWII Veterans are free.
www.mightyeighth.org | 912-748-8888 | 175 Bourne Ave., Pooler
Children’s Museum of Pooler
The Children’s Museum of Pooler provides hands-on learning opportunities and discoveries for children through engaging exhibits and programming. There are many permanent exhibits and activities as well as new ones periodically. The museum is currently featuring the traveling exhibit “Discover America’s Wolves,” which encourages interactivity through games, quizzes, and discussion points.
Adults and children over 1: $9.50, Children under 12 months old are free, Military Personnel and Educators receive a 10% discount off admission.
childrensmuseumofpooler.com | 912-307-9503 | 200 Tanger Outlets Blvd Suite 589, Pooler
Georgia Southern University Botanical Garden
Centered on an early 20th century farmstead, the Botanical Garden offers visitors a unique view of the cultural and natural heritage of the southeastern coastal plain, an area rich in unique and endangered plants. The eleven acre site, located in the middle of the city of Statesboro, includes walking woodland trails, the Bland
Cottage Visitor Center and Gift Shop, Heritage Garden, Rose Arbor, Children's Vegetable Garden, Camellia Garden, Native Plant Landscape Garden, Native Azalea Collection and Bog Garden.
GEORGIASOUTHERN.EDU | 912-871-1114 | 1505 Bland Avenue, Statesboro
Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education
Watch the eagles take flight, touch Monty the Python, or explore the different habitats of raptors, reptiles and mammals at the Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball Jr. Raptor Center.
With more than five acres featuring diverse habitats and species, an amphitheater, and an indoor classroom, the Center features a wetland preserve that includes a beaver lodge, a cypress pond, and a waterfowl pond.
Resident species of birds of prey include eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, kestrels, and vultures. Reptiles and amphibians are also on display.
On Saturdays, see flighted raptor demonstrations (weather permitting), or stroll along self-guided nature walks, and visit the Children's Discovery Trail.
Adults: $4, Children (ages 3-11): $2, Military (with ID): $2, Senior Citizens: $2
GEORGIASOUTHERN.EDU | 912-478-0831 | 1461 Forest Dr, Statesboro
Savannah Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center
More of an outdoor walking site, the Historic Savannah - Ogeechee Barge Canal is a prime example of a historic southern canal. There is a museum and nature center featuring information and exhibits on Canal history, archeology, birding, and local attractions as well as over two miles of hiking trails from the SO Canal Museum and Nature Center to the Ogeechee River.
Adults: $2, Students & Seniors: $1, Children under 5 are free.
www.savannahogeecheecanal.org/| 912-748-8068 | 681 Fort Argyle Rd., Savannah
Pin Point Heritage Museum
An exploration of a community founded in 1896 by freedmen after the Civil War. Located in the former A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory, which has been transformed into an educational center for visitors to authentically learn about the Gullah/Geechee culture directly from residents who grew up in the small, close- knit community.
Guests can discover these unique lifeways, from daily life to religion, language, and food. Part of the Coastal Heritage Society.
Adults: $9, Children (age 2 - 12): $5
www.chsgeorgia.org/phm | 912-651-6840 | 9924 Pin Point Ave., Savannah
Congregation Mickve Israel
The third oldest Jewish congregation in America and the first synagogue built in Georgia, Congregation Mickve Israel has a rich and unique history.
Guided tours of the synagogue begin in the magnificent sanctuary and in the award-winning Lawrence & Nancy Gutstein Museum, you will find artifacts, documents, and other historical items going back to the founding of Savannah and Congregation Mickve Israel in 1733, featuring congratulatory letters from many presidents (including George Washington) and a 15th Century Torah (the first five books of the Bible), the oldest Torah in North America.
Adults: $10, Children under 12: $5.
Tour funds are used for the upkeep and maintenance of the historic sanctuary. Call for reservations.
mickveisrael.org/| 912-233-1547 | 20 East Gordon St, Savannah
Savannah African Art Museum
The Savannah African Art Museum holds an education collection of over one thousand objects from West and Central Africa.
The collection of African art highlights a range of educational reproductions, ceremonial and spiritual objects from the 19th and 20th centuries made from ceramics, metal, and wood. The Museum’s collection spans more than 28 countries that bisect the continent of Africa and represents more than 180 cultures. The museum offers educational workshops and family craft days, free to members of the community.
www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org/ | 912-721-7745 | 201 E 37th Street, Savannah
Richmond Hill History Museum
The building in which the museum is housed was built in 1940 by Richmond Hill’s most famous residents, automobile industrialist Henry Ford and his wife, Clara, for a kindergarten for local children.
Today it serves as a place to illustrate the history of the small town of Ways Station, Georgia, now known as Richmond Hill.
Out buildings include Carpenter, Barber Shop, used by Bailey Carpenter, the local barber, for more than 50 years.
Adults: $8, Children: $4, Members of the Society, and children five and under: free, Family Rate $15.
www.richmondhillhistoricalsociety.com/ | 912-756-3697 | 11460 Ford Avenue, Richmond Hill
Coastal Bryan Heritage Trail
This driving tour of the Coastal Bryan Heritage Trail will take you along public roads, to the front of private homes and through historical, though still active cemeteries and churches.
Maps are available at the Richmond Hill Museum, Fort McAllister, and the Richmond Hill Visitors Bureau.
For a narrated Self-guided driving tour, download a free Mobile Driving Tour App for smartphones and tablets on the website.
Historic Baptismal Trail
This is another outdoor walking tour site.
For almost 100 years this site was an active holy place where the ancestors of the local Geechee communities baptized new members into their faith. Oral and written church history from the surviving descendants of the First African Baptist Church indicate that as early as the 1840s this site was used as a place where baptism was performed by leaders of a congregation of enslaved people.
The site features a boardwalk, benches, and picnic tables as well as interpretive signage regarding the surrounding natural habitat and the historical significance of the site.
Self-guided tours, Free Admission.
912-884-2986 | 8805 E.B. Cooper Highway, Riceboro
Seabrook Village and Living History Museum
Seabrook Village is a unique, African-American cultural museum on the Georgia Coast depicting life & culture from 1865-1930.
The Seabrook Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education, and the authentic portrayal of the Reconstruction culture and environment of its rural African-American community in coastal Georgia.
Restored houses, personal artifacts, domestic gardens, and the rural landscape convey the legacy of a religious, self-sufficient, turn-of-the century community. Tours may be suspended due to Covid pandemic, call for updated info and admission rates.
912-884-7008 | 660 Trade Hill Rd, Midway
Fort Morris State Historic Site
Visitors can stand within the earthwork remains and view scenic Saint Catherine’s Sound. A museum and film describe the colonial port of Sunbury and the site’s history.
Adults: $4.50, Seniors: $4, Youth: $3, Children (under 6) are free.
912-884-5999 | 2559 Fort Morris Road, Midway
For more ideas visit www.exploregeorgia.org