The Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks and Historic Sites manages more than 60 properties across Georgia, each providing a variety of programs and outdoor activities.
Nearby Red Top Mountain State Park, with 1,776 acres and 15 miles of trails, offers swimming, fishing and skiing opportunities, as well as organized activities for all ages. The gravel-topped 4-mile Iron Hill Trail is the site where many activities are held.
Most events are $7, unless otherwise indicated. Parking is $5. Red Top Mountain is located at 50 Lodge Road SE, Acworth, GA 30102. To register for a program, or for more information, call the park at 770-975-0055.
July 5, 12, 19, 26
Fantastic Forest: Beginner Broom Skills
10 a.m.-noon. Learn the history and basics of brooms, and play a broom skills game.
July 6, 13, 20, 27
Family Movie Nights
8:45-10 p.m. Bring a blanket, chairs and a snack, and meet on the green at picnic shelters 1, 2 and 3 to enjoy a movie, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Red Top Mountain State Park and Lake Allatoona. All movies rated G or PG. Movies start at dark (about 8:45 p.m.). No charge.
July 8, 15, 22
Fantastic Forest: Glorious Grimoires
10 a.m.-noon. Discuss what a Grimoire is, practice drawing and observation skills, design your own magical look.
1-3 p.m. Toddlers explore nature with a ranger using hands-on experiences, play, nature walks, and other interactives to facilitate learning and exploration. Bring a snack for snack time. Call to register. Inclement weather may cancel event. $10.
July 9, 16, 23
Fantastic Forest: Magical Menagerie
10 a.m.-noon. Learn about magical beings and local wildlife. Interact with live animals, learn the lore surrounding them, and discuss mythological creatures from culture and fiction.
July 10, 17, 24
Fantastic Forest: Enchanting Herbs
10 a.m.-noon. Hike the Iron Hill Trail to find extraordinary plants and learn their historical uses. Bring your Grimoire or notebook to record findings and make up your own potions.
Silent Signing Stroll
1-3 p.m. Learn and practice American Sign Language with a ranger. Meet at Iron Hill Trail for a leisurely 1.5 mile walk using ASL signs for things discovered. No charge.
July 11, 18, 25
Fantastic Forest: Making Magic Wands
10 a.m.-noon. Learn how to identify trees, their magical uses of the past, and make your own wand, which will be provided. To whittle your wand, bring a pocket knife.
Field Journal Journeys: Bugging Out!
10-11:30 a.m. Recommended for ages 10 to adult. Learn about some interesting invertebrates when searching for snails, bugs, insects and other critters. A plant smash with the plants they interact with also is planned. Call to register. Inclement weather may cancel event.
Pioneer Skills: Medicinal Plants/Apothecary
1-3 p.m. Learn how to identify local plants and how they have been used medicinally. Rangers will give instructions on how to make infusions, poultices, salves and more. Call to register. Inclement weather may cancel event.
1-3 p.m. This program is designed for those with alternate sensory needs. Explore nature with a ranger using hands-on experiences, games, nature walks and other interactive events to facilitate learning and exploration. Call to register. Inclement weather may cancel event. $10.
1-3 p.m. Meet at the Iron Hill Trail parking lot for a guided tour of part of the trail. Discover history of Red Top before it was a park, and search for hidden gems in iron mines. 1.7-mile loop, moderate terrain.
Teen Ranger: Archery
1-3 p.m. Learn and practice archery skills. Targets, bows and arrows will be provided. Rangers will assist in safety and skill building. Call to register. $10.
Distracted with Rangers
7:30-9:30 p.m. Bring your camera or smartphone to take photos for iNaturalist and a bioblitz project. Meet at the Iron Hill trailhead. No charge.
Fantastic Forest Festival
10 a.m.-noon. A family festival to celebrate the end of the Fantastic Forest Series will include trivia, broom skills tournament, wand design competition, cauldron slime making and more. Dress up and bring your wands (no gore). No charge.
In other activities, Junior Ranger day camps are available during July at Fort Mountain State Park and Picketts Mill Battlefield Historic Site.
Etowah Games Days are set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. July 6 at the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site in Cartersville. Learn sports and games played by the civilizations that lived in the Etowah River area hundreds of years ago.
This is just a sampling of the programs available at parks throughout Georgia. For more details, visit www.gastateparks.org.