Elachee Nature Science Center has transformed its annual Snake Day festival to also celebrate other native and exotic wildlife.
August 3, 2022 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Elachee Nature Science Center is continuing a transition of its popular Snake Day event to a Wildlife Festival. This annual fall favorite takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, September 10. Broadening the festival scope to include all wildlife and various conservation organizations, the 2022 Wildlife Festival at Elachee event builds upon the success of the 2021 Snake Day Wildlife Festival, an outdoor public gathering that brought the community back to the Nature Center after a pandemic year that kept them from visiting. The inclusion of diverse wildlife offers something for everyone, allowing even the reptile-averse to enjoy a day of learning and discovery!
“The value of this festival is that it’s a one-of-a-kind event,” explains Maranda McGaha, Elachee’s Director of School and Public Programs. “Where else can you hold a 50-pound python, get up close with a pygmy falcon and climb 25 feet up a tree in the same day? Elachee’s Wildlife Festival is a chance for families and individuals to learn about snakes and other wildlife by experiencing them firsthand, as well as meet the organizations that work to protect that wildlife and their habitats.”
The family-friendly 2022 Wildlife Festival at Elachee is presented by Northside Hospital along with host public programming sponsor New Urban Forestry and festival sponsors Jackson EMC, Lanier Federal Credit Union, Lanier Tent Rental and Encore Elite Events, Syfan Logistics and Whitehead Die Casting. General admission, at the gate, is $10 per person for ages 2 and up with discounted admission for Elachee members. Parking is free and shuttles will be available to/from designated parking areas.
“As in everything that we do here at Elachee, we hope that the experiences our visitors have while at the festival translate to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the wildlife and habitats that surround them,” McGaha says, “and that the carelessness or aversion some people might feel toward our native species converts to wonder and even respect.”
Festivalgoers will be able to touch and interact with a wide variety of snake and reptile species, including native species found in their backyards, as well as captive exotic species. Along with a selection of reptiles, guests will be able to get up close and personal with birds of prey, including falcons and owl species. There will be a petting zoo that includes miniature farm animals, in addition to a wildlife rehabilitation organization that cares for many different types of injured and non-releasable animals such as opossums and small mammals.
For those with no fear of heights, we will have tree climbing with New Urban Forestry. Elachee is also excited to welcome many regional conservation organizations to the 2022 Wildlife Festival to impart their information through activities, sharing giveaways and face-to-face interaction with ecology experts.
Elachee is pleased to recognize the following organizations and businesses for their participation in the 2022 Wildlife Festival.
Live Animal Interactions and Nature Adventures
- AWARE Wildlife Center – rehabilitated wildlife
- Chattahoochee Nature Center – touch table
- Elachee Live Animal Exhibit – bee hives, Great Horned Owl, curated animal habitats with reptiles and more!
- Georgia Mountain Falconry – birds of prey
- Georgia Reptile Society – snakes
- Jefferson Middle School – snakes with Jennifer McAuley and students
- Lozano Farms Mobile Petting Zoo
- New Urban Forestry – tree climbing
- Sandy Creek Nature Center – reptiles and activities
- Scalebrations – snakes
- Chris and Tom Smith – herpetology enthusiasts
- Smithgall Woods Regional Education Center – snakes, other wildlife
- University of Georgia Herpetological Society – snakes
- University of North Georgia Department of Biology – reptiles
Guest Ecology/Conservation Experts
- Chattahoochee Riverkeeper – water conservation
- Georgia Audubon – conservation organization
- Georgia Forestry Commission – conservation organization
- Georgia Forest Watch – conservation organization
- Monarchs Across Georgia – conservation organization
- Sierra Club – conservation organization
- Soque River Watershed Association – conservation organization
- UGA Hall County Extension – lifelong learning resource
Entertainment and Food
- Fair On Wheels – tacos, chicken and more!
- Hall County Library – library card sign-up and giveaways
- Free Range Minstrel – one man band
- Frozen Frenzee – shaved ice
- Hot Dog Ninja – gourmet hot dog lunches
- Nigel the Nighthawk – University of North Georgia mascot
Discover, Learn, Play
Promoting environmental understanding through education and conservation, Elachee Nature Science Center welcomes visitors year-round to delight in quality nature experiences. These range from K-12 children’s programs, Camp Elachee summer day camps, seasonal public nature encounters and events, adult learning programs and self-guided interpretive ecology and live animal exhibits.
A robust volunteer corps partners with Elachee in conservation initiatives. These efforts support and maintain the 12.24-mile hiking trail system in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, enjoyed by hikers from around north Georgia. This 1,440-acre woodland is one of Georgia’s largest protected and most ecologically diverse green spaces and ‘The Emerald Jewel of Hall County.’
The Nature Center campus is also home to Elachee Nature Academy, an accredited and licensed school managed by Elachee, offering Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st-2nd Grade programs.
Elachee relies on earned income, and support from donations, grants, corporate partnerships and sponsorships, and the annual Flights of Fancy event to fund operations and to offer quality nature programs and ecology events on campus and in the Nature Preserve.
Learn more at www.elachee.org or call 770-535-1976.