Ida Cason Callaway Memorial
Chapel at Callaway Gardens
is a 13,000 acre (53 km²) resort
complex located in Pine Mountain
, just outside of Columbus, Georgia
. The resort draws over 750,000 visitors
Callaway Gardens was founded in 1952 by Cason J. and Virginia Hand
Callaway to promote and protect native azalea
species. His son, Howard Callaway
helped develop and run the garden. Today, Callaway Gardens features
a wide variety of recreational attractions including a large
enclosed butterfly habitat
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center
, and the
John Sibley Horticultural Center
, known for its wide
variety of cultivars
and native plants.
The native palm Sabal minor
maintains one of its
northernmost populations in the area.
Callaway Gardens opened on May 21
as the Ida Cason Gardens, with a number of lakes,
a golf course, and scenic drives. The gardens were named for the
mother of founder Cason J. Callaway.
- Robin Lake Beach and the Overlook Azalea Garden opened the
- The gardens were renamed Ida Cason Callaway Gardens in
- The Masters Water-ski Tournament, now an annual event, held its
first competition in 1959.
- Founder Cason J. Callaway died on April 12, 1961 and was
succedeed as Chairman of the Board by his wife, co-founder Virginia
- The Cason J. Callaway Memorial Forest opened in 1972, and the
U.S. Department of the Interior named it a Natural Landmark.
- The John A. Sibley Horticultural Center opened in 1984.
- Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden was the location for years of TV
shows about growing your own vegetable garden, most notably the
southern edition of The Victory Garden.
- The annual Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens ran its first race
in 1985. The Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center opened on September 25, 1988.
"Fantasy in Lights", a spectacular Christmas light display, debuted
in 1992. The Azalea Bowl opened in 1999 as did the premiere of the
Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Pavilion by the lake at Overlook
The Discover Bike Trail, an 11 mile (18 km) trail that weaves
through the wooded gardens, provides guests access to all
attractions. Guests can rent bikes and helmets at the Virginia Hand
Callaway Discovery Center.
Robin Lake Beach
Robin Lake Beach in Callaway Gardens is the world's largest
man-made, white sand beach. It stretches a mile around 65 acre
Robin Lake. The beach serves as the hub of summer activity and the
center stage for the "Summer Adventure" program.
The lake features swimming, sunbathing, miniature golf, table
tennis, shuffleboard, volleyball, a fitness trail, paddle boats,
concession area, picnic tables, a store, and equipment
State University "Flying High" Circus takes up residence every summer.
of college students performs seven shows weekly under the big top
adjacent to the beach. They perform daily, except for Wednesdays,
June 1st through August 8th. During the day they act as camp
counselors for the Summer Adventure program.
Equipment rentals include sailboats, canoes, and motorized
Robin Lake Beach is open May 26 through August 13 and September 1-4
for Labor Day and the hot air balloon festival.
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center
Day Butterfly Center
The Day Butterfly Center was designed to recreate a rain forest
environment. Every element of the conservatory allows the
approximately 50 species of butterflies, numerous tropical plants,
tropical birds, and guests to interact with their
- Azalea Bowl
- Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel
- Overlook Gardens
- Seasonal Events
- Sibley Horticultural Center
- Discovery Bike Trail
- Rockin Robins (50s ice cream and pizza place)
- Walking Trails