There are many hidden spots around the Athens area that give any nature lover the perfect dose of fresh air. With National Wildlife Day coming up on Sept. 4, there are plenty of areas around the Classic City where people can possibly encounter local wildlife.
Bear Hollow Zoo
This zoo is a kind of a hidden treasure located near Five Points. Visitors can spot anything from bears and turkeys to bobcats and bald eagles. Entry is free most days, so locals can drop right in and visit all the furry and feathered friends they want to. Depending on the day and time, visitors may even get to experience an up-close and personal visit with an animal.
Unlike most zoos, Bear Hollow only takes in animals that are unreleasable back into the wild. These animals, for various reasons, can no longer take care of themselves or were donated to the zoo by owners who no longer had the resources to take care of them.
State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA
While this spot may not be as full of furry friends, the gardens will most likely have native Georgia birds and butterflies on a sunny day. Whether you decide you want to take a stroll through the colorful lower garden or walk through the camellias that riddle the Shade Garden, it’s a perfect way to enjoy a sunny day.
There’s still a possibility of being able to spot one or two hummingbirds on the hummingbird trail located at the garden. The trail closes on the first week of October, so there’s an entire month left to visit.
Sandy Creek Nature Center
With the center boasting 225 acres of woodlands and wetlands, there’s a significant possibility of a wildlife sighting or just enjoying the outdoors. The Education & Visitor’s Center lets guests view local reptiles, amphibians and aquariums filled with fish.
The nature center is also home to 12 different trails visitors can navigate, weather permitting.
The University of Georgia’s historic North Campus
As any student can attest, when sitting on any piece of grass on North Campus, there’s a good chance to spot some sort of wildlife. The squirrels around campus are exceptionally friendly and confident, hoping people are ready to share any kind of snack with them.
If you decide to take a stroll through North Campus, you can wander through the Founder’s Memorial Garden, which features a fountain and 300 species of plant life.
A sunny day on North Campus is full of birds singing and bold squirrels running just near your feet.