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Monday, July 26, 2010

Bear Hollow Nature Trail in Athens

We live about 25 minutes from Athens, Georgia. Athens is home of the University of Georgia; it's a fun little college town. A few weeks back, I wanted to do one of our "mystery road trips" with the kids. We don't tell them where we are going, and it is always fun to hear their guesses along the way! It's always a blast when we do these trips, and this one was no different.

We headed out early, as Bear Hollow opens at 9 am. I wanted to be there early, before the heat set in in. We drove into Athens, and the kids were tossing out ideas as to where we were going - but they had never heard of this park, so they didn't guess correctly!

When we pulled in and parked, they were baffled. I just laughed, since I knew they would soon be having FUN! We were in the parking lot for Memorial Park, and followed the signs to the Bear Hollow Nature Trail. It's a small section of the park with Georgia native wildlife. We were able to see black bears, bobcats, alligators, red tail hawks, bald eagles, several types of owls, snakes, an opossum, and even a tortoise!

There were two adorable but very strong black bear cubs playing with their keeper! They were a couple months old, but almost able to knock her down already!

There were informative (& sometimes interactive) plaques at each display. This one let you compare your handprint with the pawprint of a black bear!

It was really fun. It's a completely free mini-zoo. There is also a swimming pool off the parking lot, and there are supposed to be places to picnic, but we didn't look for those. It was hot & humid though, and once we made the loop through the park, we were ready to go.

Then we drove through Athens, down Milledge Avenue to look at all of the sorority & fraternity houses, through some of UGA's campus, and then we headed to a favorite restaurant.... The Varsity!!

Now, this place isn't somewhere you want to eat often. Trust me! It's SO good, but the grease, plus the the fat & caloric counts are just plain awful for you! But when you want a meal that is so bad for you it's good, you HAVE to find one of the Varsity locations!! There are a few in the metro Atlanta area to choose from. The Athens one is our favorite.

When you go in, the person behind the counter will shout at you: "What'll ya have?" and I always get the same thing - chili cheese dogs, rings and (don't judge!) diet coke!! Randy likes the same, but with onions for his dog, and a frozen orange to drink. Katie gets a cheeseburger & fries, David likes a naked dog & fries, both with the frozen oranges. Such a treat to eat at the Varsity! They have cute little paper hats for the kiddos, and fried pies or ice cream for dessert. Seriously, what more could you want from a drive in restaurant?! (Oh, forgot to say that the Athens location isn't a drive in, but the downtown Atlanta one is!)

A note about the pictures. I had to let my husband know that most every picture of him is in this orange shirt. He LOVES it. Got it on a business trip to Memphis and he'd wear it daily if he could. But since he has a job that requires more professional attire, this has become what is known as his "Saturday shirt". I asked if he could try another shirt next time we take pics on a Saturday! Also, our daughter doesn't like being photographed. She comes by that naturally, as I'm the same way. But until she moves out, it's my God-given right as her mama to take as many pictures of her and her brother as I want, so I do. So please excuse her funky faces. She thinks I won't publish a funky-faced photo. She's SO wrong!

One last thing we did in Athens was to keep a lookout for the handpainted dawgs scattered throughout town. Here was one of our favorites:

We finished our trip to Athens with a stop at a local thrift store. We found the cutest shirt for Katie, books for both kids and ourselves. Athens has lots of shops downtown that we plan to explore next time we go, so watch for an update!

I can't seem to get clickable links to work, so if you are interested, cut and paste these links for more information!


  1. LOOK at that bear! OH MY GOSH! Looks like a fun nature trail to visit! If we're ever in Georgia I would definitely try to stop there - thanks so much for sharing, Aimee! :)

  2. What a cute little "zoo"! Sounds like I need to take a day trip soon!


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