Callaway Gardens is a 6,500 acres (2,600 ha) resort complex located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, just outside Columbus, Georgia. The destination draws over 750,000 visitors annually.
Callaway Gardens was founded in 1952 by Cason J. and Virginia Hand Callaway to promote and protect native azalea species. His son, Bo Callaway, helped develop and run the garden. Today, Callaway Gardens features a wide variety of recreational attractions including a large enclosed butterfly habitat, the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. The native palm Sabal minor maintains one of its northernmost populations in the area.
One of the area’s most popular attractions, Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari, offers a unique experience. Visitors can see, touch, and feed hundreds of exotic animals – a true worldwide safari!
F.D. Roosevelt State Park is a 9,049 acre (35.91 km²) Georgia state park located near Pine Mountain and Warm Springs. The park is named for former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who sought a treatment for his paralytic illness in nearby Warm Springs at the Little White House. The western portion of the park, formerly named Pine Mountain State Park, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1997. F.D. Roosevelt State Park is Georgia’s largest state park.
Several structures in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression, including a stone swimming pool and Roosevelt’s favorite picnic spot at Dowdell’s Knob, overlooking the valley below. President Roosevelt would take polio patients suffering from depression along on picnics at Dowdell’s Knob.
Since 1975, volunteers of all ages have labored to build and maintain the Pine Mountain Trail, a 23-mile footpath. This main trail and connecting loops, that crosses and follows the beautiful Pine Mountain ridge in west central Georgia, is inside the Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park near Pine Mountain. The trail and trail association were founded by D. Neal Wickham of Columbus.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt built the Little White House in 1932 while governor of New York, prior to being inaugurated as president in 1933. He first came to Warm Springs in 1924 hoping to find a cure for the infantile paralysis (polio) that had struck him in 1921. Swimming in the 88-degree, buoyant spring waters brought him no miracle cure, but it did bring improvement. During FDR’s presidency and the Great Depression, he developed many New Deal Programs (such as the Rural Electrification Administration) based upon his experiences in this small town.