Arts and Culture
The Albany-Dougherty County area is alive with cultural events and entertainment. Albany enjoys the reputation of being the national quail hunting capital, but the area also features deer, dove and other game. Lakes and rivers in the area provide a variety of fishing opportunities.
In addition, the community offers a wide range of arts through the Albany Museum of Art, the Georgia Artists’ Guild, the Recorder Ensemble, the Thronateeska Heritage Foundation and the Albany Writers’ Guild. The two local colleges and the public library offer affiliated cultural opportunities as well.
Albany Area Arts Council
Carnegie Building, 215 North Jackson St.
Tour the historic Carnegie Library building that houses the Albany Area Arts Council. While there, pick up a free calendar of events for performing or visual arts, or purchase tickets to area arts events. Also view exhibitions of works by regional artists.
Albany Civil Rights Institute
326 Whitney Ave. (229)
The Albany Civil Rights Institute is a beautifully restored church that was a meeting place for civil rights marchers in the 1960s. The Old Mt. Zion Baptist Church was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s main speaking locations — the Albany Civil Rights Institute is proud of its multimillion-dollar expansion. The institute is both a museum and an educational space. On the second Saturday of each month, visitors are moved by the songs of the Freedom Singers led by Rutha Harris, an original singer, who still performs today.
For more information, visit the website, www.albanycivilrightsinstitute.org.
Albany Municipal Auditorium
200 North Jackson St.
Albany Municipal Auditorium is one of the community’s cultural treasures. Built in 1915 and restored to its original splendor in 1990, the Albany Municipal Auditorium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is host to regular performances by the Albany Chorale, the Albany Concert Association, the Albany Symphony Orchestra and special performances by the Albany Ballet and Theatre Albany. Various local and touring groups also perform frequently.
Ballet Theatre South
The Albany Ballet promotes the art of dance in the community through performances of classical ballet, modern ballet and jazz. The Albany Ballet presents several performances a year at the Albany Municipal Auditorium.
Highway 91, Philema Road
Chehaw provides nearly 800 acres of fun, including a 100-acre, AZA-accredited zoo, Chehaw Wild Animal Park. Noted naturalist and Albany native Jim Fowler of TV’s “Wild Kingdom,” originally laid out the park, which features natural habitat exhibits with native and exotic animals. In 2013 Chehaw Wild Animal Park added the African Veldt Ride where visitors will find no roads, only grassland, a smattering of trees, a watering hole and a bunch of exotic animals.
Young children may play in one of the state’s largest play parks, visit the petting zoo or ride the miniature train. Camping, hiking, BMX bike racing and more than 11 miles of mountain bike trails are available.
Flint RiverQuarium, Imagination Theaterand Cypress Pond Aviary
101 Pine Ave.
(877) GOFLINT, (229) 639-2650
The Flint RiverQuarium follows the river’s amazing 350-mile journey to the sea, and the 175,000-gallon Blue Hole is one of only a few open-air aquariums in the world. Get a unique look at Southwest Georgia’s mysterious underwater world with more than 100 kinds of fish, turtles, alligators, snapping turtles and other creatures that make the Flint River their home.
Next door is the Adventure Center, which houses the Imagination Theater, the area’s only large screen format theater. Visitors to the Flint RiverQuarium can see more than 30 species of birds in addition to other native wildlife on exhibit in the Cypress Pond Aviary.
Walk, bike or jog along the beautiful Flint River. The park also features a children’s play park, Turtle Grove and a replica of the historic Horace King Bridge.
The Historic Bridge House
Albany Welcome Center in theHistoric Bridge House
112 North Front St.
A perfect place for groups to begin their tours in Albany; overlooking the Flint River, the Bridge House offers an area overview of Southwest Georgia. See the film “From the Heart of Southwest Georgia.”
514 Pine Ave.
Theatre Albany offers five major productions during the regular season in its 314-seat main stage theater. Productions are also offered in the intimate studio theater. Theatre Albany also has a children’s theater, a reader’s theater, summer youth workshops and adult acting workshops.
Thronateeska Heritage Center
Thronateeska Heritage Center,Wetherbee Planetarium and Scienceand Discovery Center
100 West Roosevelt Ave.
The Wetherbee Planetarium, the first high-definition planetarium in the country (the other presides at Yale University), has a 40-foot dome and digital projection. Thronateeska Heritage Center includes historic buildings, a new Science Discovery Center with archeology, paleontology, geology and water science sections, and an interactive weather center.
Albany Museum of Art
311 Meadowlark Drive
The Albany Museum of Art went through a $1 million renovation. View one of the finest collections of sub-Saharan African art in the South, a permanent collection of 19th and 20th Century American and European art, and several changing exhibits. The Albany Museum of Art was recognized as the 2005 Museum of the Year by the Georgia Association of Museums. Children love the Amazing Space wing featuring a youth art gallery and a hands-on interactive gallery.
Ray Charles Plaza
(229) 317-4760 or 1-866-750-0840
On the banks of the Flint River, the Ray Charles Plaza commemorates the life and legacy of Ray Charles Robinson, who was born in Albany. A life-size sculpture of Charles, seated at a baby grand piano, rests on a rotating pedestal. Charles’ beloved melodies play at timed intervals as water flows over the base of the piano and spills into a reflecting pool.
The plaza features covered seating, a piano key-paved walkway with raised keys for sitting and brick pavers engraved with musical notes.
Join thousands of people in downtown Albany the first Saturday in March at the Albany Marathon and Half Marathon and the Mardi Gras festival. The Albany Marathon and Half Marathon starts and ends on the Flint River in downtown as it meanders through beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods. It is a flat course and is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
The last Friday of each month, artists and musicians showcase their talents at the Art Park, a unique venue that encourages street artists to express their artistic sides, all while attracting a crowd to downtown Albany. The event brings hundreds of people together in a unique open air venue to enjoy artists painting, blowing glass, making pottery, and more while listening to the music of local talent.
The first Saturday night of December features the region’s largest parade to usher in the holiday season. The parade draws in tens of thousands of people beginning on Pine Avenue. The downtown will be packed full of people, street vendors, bands, floats, and of course, Christmas lights. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until the parade participants stroll through the streets of Albany and Santa arrives as the finale of the parade.