Whether your loved ones have a need for speed, a passion for the outdoors or an affection for one-of-a-kind tours, a trip to Henry County, Georgia is a gift they won’t want to return
Shake up traditional gift giving; ditch possessions that will inevitably fade or go out of style and instead give the only present that will last a lifetime: a treasured experience. Henry County, Georgia, offers an indelible getaway with a variety of enticing attractions. Feel a rush of adrenaline at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, climb high and achieve stunning views at Panola Mountain State Park or get in on the action with a behind the scenes TV show tour. Only 30 minutes south of Atlanta, and the perfect stopping point for those en route to Savannah or Orlando, a vacation to this unique part of the Peach State will be forever etched into the fondest of memories.
The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation honors the military’s “Sky Soldiers” by restoring and maintaining vintage aircrafts of the Vietnam War. The experience takes flight when climbing aboard a UH-1H Huey, where a veteran pilot takes guests high into the clouds aboard this impressive chopper. Thrill-seekers will enjoy a more intense ride by taking a seat inside the AH-1F Cobra attack helicopter. Rides are offered one Saturday a month and last 6-12 minutes. Gift certificates are available for rides. Reservations for specific ride dates are required.
Perhaps you are into flying machines, but prefer to stay on solid ground. If you are an Academy of Model Aeronautics member, fly your beloved aircraft at Red Hawk Nature preserve, home of the Henry County RC Club for Radio Controlled Airplanes. If you are not a member, you can still take in the view as dozens of these impressive model aircrafts take the gorgeous Georgia skies. The RC Club is located at 143 Henry Parkway, McDonough, GA 30253 and members typically fly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If your loved one has ever envisioned slipping on a fire suit and becoming a NASCAR racer, Atlanta Motor Speedway is in the business of making dreams come true. There are several driving schools to get racing enthusiasts burning rubber on the same track as racing greats Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. Whether you prefer an expert driver to take you around the 1.54-mile quad oval or want to take the wheel yourself at speeds in excess of 150 mph, there is a driving class that will have you pulling into Victory Lane as the champion gift-giver. For more information on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s driving schools, go to:
Suit up for thrilling fun at Shane’s Hotshots Paintball and Airsoft at Windy Hill. Windy Hill is one of the largest and most advanced outdoor fields in the Southeast, hosting thousands of players each year. Along with six paintball fields and a 25,000-square-foot Airsoft field, it also offers a 150,000-square-foot “Fort Deadwood,” an old-west scenario field. This city-like course has police cars, crashed airplanes and complex buildings that provide cover. Hotshots is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Monday thru Friday by appointment for VIP parties.
Outdoor enthusiasts can take aim at Panola Mountain State Park. Shoot arrows at one of two types of archery ranges: the traditional static range where archers shoot into “bow butt” targets or realistic targets where deer, turkey and other critters move on several lanes. Elevate the mountain experience with an adventure exploring the canopy above with tree climbing. Exercise buffs will enjoy this strenuous activity where they use a rope and a harness to ascend into a 200+ year old Southern Red Oak, where they can climb, swing and scramble. Climbers can choose how high they would like to go and even swing to and walk on branches 30+ feet off the ground. After a long day of outdoor fun, catch some ZZZ’s in the Trees. Soak in a tranquil night in the canopy as you lay in your “treeboat,” viewing stars through glistening branches. For more information on these programs, go to:
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary is a must-see for animal lovers. Take in the sights of 1,500 animals and over 100 different species roaming the peaceful grounds. The Walk on the Wildside tour allows guests to get up close and personal with lions, bears and livestock. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, let your animal enthusiast be the Keeper for the Day. With this tour, they will receive a behind the scenes, hands-on experience focused on what goes into the care of every animal at Noah’s Ark by working side-by-side with the Keeper all day long.
For more information and prices, visit:
3, 2, 1…Action!
TV junkies will get their fix with The Walkin’ Dead Hampton tours, complete with 14 stops. The early episodes of the famous AMC show’s season six were filmed largely in Hampton. An experienced guide takes fans on an hour-long story telling stroll, providing behind-the-scenes photo opps and insight. Learn how downtown Hampton was transformed into an apocalyptic set. Visitors can even take pictures at the famous dumpster scene. For a more expansive Walking Dead experience, check out Atlanta Movie Tours, which spans several cities, including Hampton. For more information on tours visit: https://www.facebook.com/walkindeadhampton/ or
Feed the Senses
For the chef, a cooking class at Olive in a Bottle is what’s on the menu. A retailer of Ultra Premium extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars from around the world, their unique and extensive selection of olive oils and vinegars are uniquely harvested to bring new flavors to your home. Once a month, the chefs at Olive in a Bottle teach guests how to use first-rate ingredients to enliven their menu repertoires and bring the luxury of fine cuisine back to the home kitchen. For more information check out:
Sip suds at JailHouse Brewing Company, where craft brews rule the pen. Brewed in the former city jail of Hampton, Georgia, the handcrafted beers from JailHouse Brewing Company mix small-batch inventiveness with refreshing taste. JailHouse’s usual suspects–Slammer Wheat, Misdemeanor Ale and Mugshot IPA–are available year-round with seasonal favorites on tap throughout the year. Book a tour of the Jailhouse Brewing Company, guided by owners Glenn and Melissa Golden, to get an up close look at their passion project while sipping on samples of their prized ales. Treat your giftee to a tasting tour, Thursday-Friday, 5:30-8 p.m. or Saturday, 2-6 p.m.
This year, instead of wrapping boxes, wrap up a gift that truly keeps on giving: a trip to Henry County, Georgia, where unique experiences turn into stories and memories to relive again and again.