By LeeAnn Rhoden
The Augusta Canal Discovery Center and Boat Tour has got to be one of the coolest things to do in Augusta. The Discovery Center is located in the old Enterprise Mill. You can’t miss it, it has the big Graniteville Company sign on top. The Enterprise Mill was the flour mill that closed in the 80s and saved from demolition with the redevelopment projects of the mid and late 90s. The building is now residential apartments, business offices, event center, Fat Man’s Mill Café and the Discovery Center.
The Discovery Center presents the history of the canal and how the canal played a major role in Augusta’s development and growth and importance to the economy of the southern states. There are lots of interactive and informative exhibits. It is $6 to visit, free with the boat tour and there is a 10-minute movie about the building of the canal. The hours of operation vary by season so be sure to check out the website for the hours. For the summer season (July and August) they are open Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
There are boat tours of the canal that are initiated at the Discovery Center. The boats are electric, so no oil or gas is leaked into the canal and they are quiet, so you can enjoy the views and conversation. The boats take you up the canal past the textile mills. Depending on the tour you take, the trip can take anywhere from an hour to three hours. In the spring and fall, they offer evening music and sunset cruises and you can bring your own refreshments to compliment the entertainment and views.
The tour guides are knowledgeable and can answer any question about the canal and mills and its history. We took the History and Nature Tour and our guide, Jenny, was superb at pointing out the flora and fauna of the area, engaging children and keeping the adults engaged with history and fun facts. The boat tours times and pricing vary with season and the choice of tour. Check their website for times and availability. The website is www.augustacanal.com.
The Augusta Canal is a great half-day activity that will educate and entertain kids from six to 60. It’s an activity that you’ll want to do over and over again exploring different tours and taking out-of-town guests to see.
Location: 1450 Greene St. Ste. 400, Augusta, GA 30901
Budget: Admission is $6 but free with boat tours. Parking is free. Boat tours are $14 for the 1-hour tours; $25 for the special music and sunset tours. There are discounts for children, seniors, and military.
What To See: See the Discovery Center and take a boat tour. See the canal, the mills, the tow path and trails.
If You Go: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. If you are taking a boat tour bring sun protection and wear a hat. Take a camera to capture the views.
This article appears in the August 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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