Continuing clockwise around large Mountain Creek Lake, the impressive
Discovery Center is located along the main park road across from the
Azalea Bowl featured in the last entry.
multi-purpose facility contains a main lobby with an information
desk and interactive kiosks, a small theater that plays a continuous
video about the Gardens, a gift shop, an auditorium, an exhibit hall,
and an education wing:
Although visitors' pets are allowed in the gardens and on the trails
they aren't allowed inside the buildings at Callaway Gardens --
only official service dogs can go inside.
On our first visit
to Callaway Gardens Jim stayed outside the
Discovery Center with Casey and Holly while I went inside to look
around for a few minutes. He took this picture of them on one of the benches outside the
building. He had just told them, "There's Mama!" so
they were looking for me:
Then I watched the girls while Jim went inside. We both made pretty quick
trips through the building that day.
The next day, when I went to the Gardens alone, I spent a lot more time inside
the Discovery Center and "discovered" quite a bit more to see. When we
went back in April with out-of-state visitors I showed Jim some of the
things he didn't notice on his first trip.
Above and below: scenic
lake view from inside the Discovery Center
The corridor in the distance
leads to the education wing; detailed metal
wildflower sculptures are displayed along the wall on the left.
One of the rooms in the education
wing has Touch & Learn displays of mammals who live here.
Another long wing houses an
exhibit hall, which currently has nature artwork on display.
You can see more of the detailed
wildflower sculptures on this wing.
In addition to the beautiful interior of this building
and the lovely views of the lake and landscaping on the outside, what
intrigued me the most about the Discovery Center were the two dozen or
so amazingly detailed metal wildflower sculptures on display that were
created by an artist named Trailer McQuilkin, who lives in Mississippi.
Many of the plants are rare and/or endangered. This is a
Plumleaf azalea, which is more common:
My apologies for the glare and
reflections on the Plexiglas;
I should have used a different
setting on my camera.
I photographed this explanation of how Mr. McQuilkin
produces these realistic pieces, which are displayed in Plexiglas cases
on handsome wooden pedestals:
This display shows some of the tools and materials he
There is more to see and do outside the Discovery Center, too -- a
wildlife habitat garden, a cafe, and an amphitheater where the popular free-flight
birds of prey shows are conducted:
Interior of the Discovery Cafe
A colorful native azalea near the
From the Discovery Center you can either walk or drive about half a
mile to the Pioneer Log Cabin, Wildflower Trail, and Holly Trail, which
are featured on the next page.
I highlighted the route I drove in light orange on this map section:
Continued on the next page:
pioneer log cabin and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Casey-Girl, and Holly-Pup
© 2019 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil