There's plenty of year-round fun to be had in Middle Georgia.
Are you in town for a fun weekend or sporting event? Or maybe you’re a recently relocated resident eager to explore your new town. Either way, there’s always something going on in the Robins Region.
1. Have fun at fairs, festivals, rodeos and more.
One of the region’s major attractions is the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter (GNFA) in Perry. This massive destination spans almost 1,100 acres and hosts hundreds of events throughout the year. Some of the most popular annual events include the Georgia National Fair, Georgia National Rodeo and Georgia National Junior Livestock Show.
And don’t miss the Dogwood Festival in Perry with arts and crafts, live entertainment, food and a play park for children. Other regional festivals include the Hayneville JamFest, where Southern rock groups rule, and six weeks of Irish family fun at the St. Patrick’s event in Dublin, which plans to return in 2022.
2. Enjoy planes, trains and history.
Inside Warner Robins’ historic train depot, located on Depot Row, is the E.L. Greenway Welcome Center and the must-see Georgia Artisan Center, where gift shop creations from 20 to 25 different “Georgia Made, Georgia Grown” vendors are for sale.
Visitors also can stop in at the nearby Mildred’s Country Store, a snapshot of shopping a century ago, explore a bright red caboose, and see the World War II exhibit at the Elberta Depot Heritage Center, all for free.
Another free favorite is the Museum of Aviation. Located next door to Robins Air Force Base, it is the second-largest museum in the U.S. Air Force and offers exhibits of interest for all ages. It has also been added to Georgia’s WWII Heritage Trail.
The base also hosts the Thunder Over Georgia Air Show, a high-flying favorite that has thrilled crowds for years and draws 140,000 spectators.
3. Make a splash at Rigby’s.
More high-energy activities can be found at Rigby’s Entertainment Complex and Water World. It first rolled onto the scene with the building of a roller-skating rink, but has become a destination drawing from Atlanta to Florida.
From go-karts to water slides and billiards to bowling, fun seekers can play at the 50,000-square-foot activity center, stay the weekend on-site at The Best Western Plus Executive Residency Rigby’s Water World Hotel, and enjoy dinner at The Patio at Rigby’s and evening drinks at Gracie’s: A Rooftop Bar.
“Our initial concept was to be a place for Houston County to enjoy time with their family and friends,” says Gracie Preston Rigby, operations manager. “We have grown to be a destination for the entire Southeast that attracts not only families but corporate retreats, weddings, family reunions and vacationers year-round.”
4. Immerse yourself in the arts.
People might be surprised to know that artwork from Butler Brown, a regional painter, hung in the White House during President Jimmy Carter’s administration. Brown’s rural Georgia-themed works continue to be popular.
“There are ongoing showings of portrait artists, watercolors, jewelry makers, woodworkers and other fine arts and crafts in locations like the Painted Door Art Gallery and Fine Art Society of Middle Georgia, where pieces from local artists can be bought,” says Marsha Priest Buzzell, director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Robins Region is also strong in the performing arts, with such gems as the Little Theatre and Community Concert Association in Warner Robins and traditional country music at the Powersville Opry House.
“It’s all here — from clogging to ballet. All of our arts greatly enrich the cultural economy of central Georgia,” Buzzell says.
5. Stock your shelves with great shopping finds.
Charming, downtown Perry offers quaint clothing and home furnishing boutiques, antiques, eateries and so much more, plus welcoming benches to rest.
In addition to smaller shops in the area, the Houston County Galleria in Centerville is a premier shopping destination, featuring nearly 50 specialty stores and national retailers, eateries and first-run movies at the Galleria 15 Cinemas.
Wholesome food selections as fresh as a Georgia peach can be purchased at the International City’s Farmers Market, year-round, on Thursday afternoons at Maple Street and Watson Boulevard. Different cultures expressed through these inspired outlets help Warner Robins live up to its nickname, the International City, says Mayor Randy Toms.
“The camaraderie built around the creative and performing arts, our museums, rich history, entertainment venues and more in Warner Robins leads to a stronger community,” he says.