The first National Historic Landmark in Savannah, this iconic gem is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Built in 1821, the English Regency-style townhouse has been elegantly restored and is furnished with many original pieces from the Gordon family. Whether you're a lifelong Scout or clueless as to the difference between a Daisy and a Brownie, you'll be captivated by the home's lavish antiques, Gordon Low's original artwork and GSUSA memorabilia, such as a Thanks Badge presented to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson in 1917. The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace welcomes more than 65,000 visitors a year, including Girl Scouts from around the country.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, home of the eponymous Girl Scouts founder, is a must for any girl who's donned that signature green uniform.
Amy's expert tip: Girl Scouts sell their famous cookies outside the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace each year during cookie season.
Among the most picturesque places in Savannah, this peaceful 588-acre park borders Skidaway Narrows, part of Georgia's Intracoastal Waterway. Its soaring palms and live oaks are dripping with Spanish moss and veil an abundance of wildlife, creating a secluded natural wonderland that seems straight out of a Southern storybook. The private campgrounds are spacious and well equipped, while the nature trails, interpretive center and daily ranger programs provide myriad ways to explore this enchanting paradise. Skidaway Island State Park is home to several indigenous wildlife species, including deer, fiddler crabs, raccoon, egrets and more and is a favorite spot for birders, who enjoy looking for the area's elusive painted bunting.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Skidaway Island State Park's scenic trails are easy to hike and feature a variety of wildlife. Other highlights include playgrounds and an interpretative center.
Amy's expert tip: Be on the lookout for fiddler crabs as you cross the boardwalk on the Sandpiper Trail.
Nestled on a gorgeous tract of land at the very end of Skidaway Island, the University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium is a small yet fascinating place for visitors to learn about indigenous marine life. The aquarium--the first saltwater aquarium in the state--features 16 exhibit tanks showcasing a variety of Georgia's marine life, including horseshoe crabs, stingrays, striped mullet, jellyfish, pompano, longnose gar, lionfish and seahorses. The aquarium also features a freshwater tank with two American alligators and a touch tank that gives visitors a chance to interact with snails, crabs and other invertebrates. After checking out the marine life on display, guests can head outside and explore the beautiful grounds, which boast walking trails and a boardwalk over the salt marsh.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The intimate and enjoyable University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium features 16 exhibit tanks that showcase a variety of Georgia's marine life.
Amy's expert tip: The aquarium doesn't accept credit cards, so be sure to bring cash or a check.
If you're looking to pick up some Savannah souvenirs during your visit, River Street is the place to shop. But Savannah T-shirts and magnets aren't the only reason to hit up the historic street that overlooks the Savannah River. There's something for collectors (True Grits, a shop that specializes in Civil War artifacts), peanut lovers (The Peanut Shop of Savannah, a store that sells more than 50 varieties of hand-roasted peanuts) and book lovers (Books on Bay, a bookstore that features thousands of books from the 1700s to the late 1900s). There are also lovely galleries, an open-air marketplace, a good selection of restaurants and bars, and not one, but two candy stores. So many great shopping options, plus numerous special events held throughout the year in which vendors sell their arts and crafts, make River Street a one-stop shopping destination that you don't want to miss.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: River Street's ferry is an inexpensive way for kids to take a boat ride. Afterwards, take them for treats at River Street Sweets.
Amy's expert tip: Want to stock up on some great accessories without breaking the bank? Pop on into Fabulous Finds Under $20 and Fine Things under $20, where everything is--you guessed it--under $20.
This 19th-century fort, which was occupied by the Confederate Army during the Civil War, is a must-see for history buffs. Only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Savannah, Fort Pulaski was designed by Napoleon's engineer, and though it fell during the Civil War, it still remains intact, with moats, drawbridges, enormous ramparts and mysterious tunnels. After learning about the Fort's fascinating history, visitors can access one of the historic site's many walking trails, which feature magnificent views of the marsh and Savannah River. Be sure to keep your eyes out for one of the Fort's 11 protected species, including bald eagles, manatees, loggerhead sea turtles and peregrine falcons.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Kids can learn Civil War history at Fort Pulaski National Monument, an intact 19th-century fort featuring moats, drawbridges, ramparts and mysterious tunnels.
Amy's expert tip: Plan to visit on a Saturday to see one of three daily cannon firings at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.
Train-loving tots and railroad buffs alike adore the Georgia State Railroad Museum, considered the largest and most complete antebellum railroad repair facility still in existence. Guests can enjoy lunch in a restored dining car before heading across the street to the museum, where they will find beautifully restored antique locomotives and enchanting model trains, as well as a working roundhouse and old-fashioned repair shop. Visitors can tour the luxurious presidential cars, ride a 1913 steam locomotive or 1947 diesel locomotive and even operate a vintage handcar. Kids especially love the Baggage Car, an old railway car that's been transformed into a children's play space.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Junior railroad buffs will adore the antique locomotives at the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the largest antebellum railroad repair facility still in existence.
Amy's expert tip: Don't leave the Georgia State Railroad Museum without letting your kids play at the adjacent Savannah Children's Museum. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them together.
This 30-acre park at the southern edge of the Historic District has a little bit of something for everyone. The park's magnificent two-tiered, white cast-iron fountain, which was made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is a visual masterpiece and probably the most photographed attraction in all of Savannah. Two large expanses of grass, separated by a walkway, are perfect for throwing a disc, sunbathing or having a picnic. Two playgrounds, one for younger kids and one for older ones, give children an opportunity to burn off steam while adults can relax and keep an eye on them in the nearby shade. The park cafe serves breakfast and lunch items, along with an array of beverages including Starbucks coffee, beer and wine.
This striking 64,000-square-foot modern art museum features an impressive permanent collection and hosts major traveling exhibitions from around the world. The Kirk Varnedoe Collection, the Jepson Center's permanent collection, includes works by renowned artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg , Chuck Close and Richard Avedon. The museum also boasts a 3,500-square-foot interactive gallery for children and families called ArtZeum. The Jepson Center itself is a work of art. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the museum's sleek design includes hung-glass ceilings and cantilevered walls. The Jepson Center is part of the Telfair Museums, a series of three unique art venues in Downtown Savannah that also includes the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Jepson Center for the Art's two-story interactive ArtZeum is a great place for kids to learn about art and express their creativity.
Amy's expert tip: Stop by the Jepson Center's gift shop, which has a great selection of gifts for art lovers of all ages.
At Oatland Island Wildlife Center, the intimate wildlife experience of a zoo meets the untamed beauty of nature, creating an unforgettable outdoor adventure for all ages. Along a two-mile trail through tranquil marshes and maritime forests, families discover spacious enclosures housing such awe-inspiring creatures as bald eagles, majestic cougars, falcons, bobcats, red foxes, enormous bison and toothy gators. Little adventurers especially love the farm area and the "Wolf Wilderness" exhibit featuring unbelievably close-up views of gray wolves. Oatland Island's educational building features reptile exhibits, classrooms and a gift shop that sells everything from stuffed animal replicas of the center's animals to locally roasted coffee beans.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Oatand Island Wildlife Center is Savannah's version of a zoo, with walking trails leading to native Georgia species including wolves, bald eagles, bison and other animals.
Amy's expert tip: Try to coordinate your visit around one of Oatland Island's popular annual festivals, including the Fairy and Gnome Festival and Sheep to Shawl Festival.
This two-level, outdoor museum, which opened in June 2012, encourages kids to use their hands, make noise and interact with their surroundings. The Savannah Children's Museum features more than a dozen exhibits in the Imagination Station, including an underground archeology table, imagination playground, giant building blocks and life-size games such as tic-tac-toe. Other unique exhibits include a maze that features a giant Lego panel, an interactive garden and a misting station to keep kids cool on hot days. The museum is located in the ruins of the old Central of Georgia Railroad station, which adds an element of historic charm to the unique play space.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Savannah Children's Museum--an outdoor playspace that blends historic details with modern touches--keeps kids entertained for hours thanks to innovative hands-on exhibits.
Amy's expert tip: Take advantage of your location and plan a full, fun day for the kids. After exploring the Children's Museum, head to the nearby Georgia State Railroad Museum, then have lunch at Whistlestop Cafe, where you can dine in an authentic 1941 Pullman train car.