If you’re Looking for RV Short Stops between Florida and “up north,” consider Albany, Ga., hometown of Ray Charles and the Flint RiverQuarium.
Ray Charles was born in Albany in 1930. Although his family moved to Florida when Charles was an infant, it is said he never forgot his hometown and Georgia. His classic “Georgia on My Mind” became the state’s song in 1979. Click here to hear the official music video of this iconic song.
The Ray Charles Plaza features a life-size bronze statue of the influential musician sitting at his baby grand piano on a rotating pedestal. While a selection of his popular melodies “play at timed intervals, water flows over the pedestal and spills into a reflecting pool at its base. Grab a piano key bench and enjoy the concert,” say the folks at VisitAlbanyGa.com.
Open daily, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., the plaza is located at 916 Front St. in downtown Albany. There is plenty of free parking at this family and pet-friendly memorial. Less than a mile north of the plaza is the Flint RiverQuarium on Front Street and Pine Avenue.
A great place to explore on hot southern days is the Flint RiverQuarium just a few minutes from the Ray Charles Plaza. See many native critters that live in the unique ecosystems of the southeastern United States.
The highlight of the Flint RiverQuarium is the amazing 175,000-gallon, 22-foot deep Blue Hole Spring, that showcases Southwest Georgia’s unique underwater world. Explore it from the surface to the depths through a panorama of discovery points. There are more than 120 species of fish, snakes, alligators, snapping turtles and other aquatic creatures.
The Flint River Gallery is an exhibit that explores the “Flint River from its urban headwaters in a culvert at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta to its confluence with its sister river, the Chattahoochee, at Lake Seminole and onto Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.” It features both freshwater and saltwater tanks to give visitors a first-hand look at life all along the river’s path.
In addition, the Imagination Theater shows a lineup of award-winning, science-based documentary movies on its three-story screen.
If you go
117 Pine Ave. Albany, GA 31701
Phone: (229) 639-2650
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Costs: Tickets to the Flint RiverQuarium and Imagination Theater can be purchased at the Ticket Desk in the lobby of the main facility.
Jimmy Carter’s Hometown
About an hour northwest of Albany is Plains, Ga., Pres. Jimmy Carter’s hometown; plus Americus, Koinonia Farm.