On Feb. 9, cultural, historical and natural sites "from Statesboro to Darien, over 40 cultural institutions throughout coastal Georgia" will open their doors free of charge for Super Museum Sunday.
One of a few signature events making up the Georgia History Festival, Super Museum Sunday gives locals and tourists alike the opportunity to participate in the traditions, view the artifacts and partake of the natural world that have made this town and this state the one we know and love.
With only four hours of Super Museum Sunday available (the event runs from noon-4 p.m.), here a few places that should be quite remarkable.
Congregation Mickve Israel, the third oldest Jewish congregation in America, boasts one of the few synagogues to feature gothic architecture. Though you may have seen the gorgeous exterior on one of your many walks through Monterey Square, the sanctuary is also something to behold. There will be docents to offer tours of the building, and the onsite museum will fill you in on a Jewish community that isn't just important to the Coastal Empire, but to America.
Whatever you do, just don't call it a zoo. Oatland Island Wildlife Center is an animal preserve designed to give attendees "experiences to help them make stronger connections to the natural world." You needn't worry about lions or tigers or bears, but one will see plenty of wolves and cougars and boars - oh, my! And though the road isn't paved with yellow brick, a charming boardwalk featuring the names of donors will guide you from one animal sanctuary to the next in what will surely be a heartening and educational experience for the whole family. Plus, there's a petting z- er, enrichment area.
The first school built in Savannah solely to educate freed men, the Beach Institute now primarily serves as a cultural center focused on the impact African Americans have had on Savannah and beyond. The Institute features well-curated rotating Arts and Crafts exhibits and includes "a collection of wood carvings by Ulysses Davis, a renowned folk artist. More than a reminder of where we've been, the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center is a beacon for the way forward.
The Savannah Children's Museum is nestled safely into the ruins of the old Central of Georgia Railroad building, making this kids' play place unlike any other in the country. The SCM places its focus on play, believing that fun is the best path to engagement. Speaking of paths, one of the highlights of the museum is a giant maze for kids to mosey through, and many enrichment programs that add a little lesson to all the excitement. Though Savannah's Historic District is full of places that inspire wonderment, few give parents the opportunity to take a break from worrying about Junior breaking some kind of priceless artifact!
There are scads more sites to see - including the SCAD Museum of Art - so much, in fact, it's more than anyone could do in a single afternoon. So, pick your battles, or just your favorite colonial-era house, and see all that Savannah has to offer, completely free of charge.
Super Museum Sunday is coordinated by the Georgia Historical Society and is just one of many events to take advantage of during its annual Georgia History Festival. Find a map of locations here.