Area awaits Fourth's activities

ALBANY -- The Fourth of July is always a time of celebration for every community in the country. And Albany and Southwest Georgia do not expect the holiday to go out quietly.

Attractions in downtown Albany such as the Flint RiverQuarium and the Thronateeska Heritage Center will be open today to help with the celebration. The RiverQuarium will be open from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. for an admission price of $5.

The facility will be introducing a new exhibit called "Alien Attack: Target Everglades" in the Adventure Center. A 2 p.m. dive show and a screening of "Wild Ocean" in the Imagination Theater are also planned.

Thronateeska will be open today from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission to the Wetherbee Planetarium will be $3.50 per person.

"This is a good chance for people to enjoy what we have in Albany," said Thronateeska Executive Director Tommy Gregors in a news conference last week.

Joint passes for the RiverQuarium and Thronateeska will be available at a price of $8 during the day.

The fireworks in downtown Albany are set to start at 9:30 p.m. at the southeast corner of the Albany Civic Center parking lot. The show is expected to last roughly 45 minutes and will be visible from the Riverfront Park vicinity.

Parking will be available at the RiverQuarium, the downtown parking decks and at the Civic Center from the Washington Street entrance. Vendors will start serving food and beverages at 5 p.m.

Officials ask the public not to bring alcohol or personal fireworks to the event.

"With 25,000-30,000 people in attendance, (using one's own fireworks can be a hazard)," explained Kristin Caso, an Albany Recreation & Parks department spokeswoman.

Sherwood Baptist Church is hosting its annual Freedom Festival at Sherwood Christian Academy on Old Pretoria Road from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Activities will include military displays, inflatable games, horse rides, a fishing pond, rock climbing walls, a cake walk and a fireworks show. It is free and open to the public.

Outside of the Albany area, special events are also planned today in Cordele, Omaha and Valdosta.

In Cordele, a fireworks celebration is set to take place at the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park overlooking Lake Blackshear at 9:30 p.m. Additionally, the Kirbo Educational Center in Omaha will conclude its holiday celebration with activities such as boat rides, crafts and games costing up to $5 each.

Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta will be wrapping up its All-American Weekend with a fireworks show scheduled to take place after sunset.