Cason and Virginia Callaway bought 40,000 acres of a barren wasteland containing soil ruined from too many years growing cotton and made plans to convert it into a residential community with many gardens, lakes, and activities. As they grew older and Cason has a heart attack, the land was subdivided amongst the family, but 14,000 acres were deeded to the Callaway Foundation. That is what I visited today.
There are roads so one can see most of the park by car or by going on their shuttle bus, but there are also many trails for bikes and walkers around the lakes and gardens. There's a horticultural center, a butterfly conservatory, restaurants, a church, a golf course, picnic areas, and a beach to enjoy! The various gardens are impressive - the vegetable and herb garden produces food for the restaurants at the Gardens, and the Plumeria azalea that is only found in this area of Georgia is protected.
The Callaways entertained FDR at least once - I saw a picture of it at the welcome center.
Later this month, Callaway Gardens is hosting a holiday lights show along one of the long roads and I got to see a preview, as some of them were lit and being tested. The park closes at dusk, so the lights were starting to show up. This is bigger than any park drive-through light show I have ever seen. There were the toy soldiers, various toys, christmas trees, forest animals, plants, fairies, and of course, butterflies and dragonflies. I can see that there will be ice skaters, wrapped gifts, and swimming swans in the near future. There are speakers in the trees, so there will be holiday music too!