A zebra spots a vehicle traveling through the African Veldt at Chehaw. Chehaw’s wild animal habitat has been reaccredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums after an extensive examination by zoo experts. (File photo)
The park opened as Chehaw State Park in 1937. The word “Chehaw” comes a tribe of Creek Native Americans. In 1974, the city of Albany leased 100 unused acres from Georgia to create Chehaw Wild Animal Park, which was later donated to the city by the state. In the mid-1970s, the animals were moved to Chehaw from Tift Park Zoo in downtown Albany and Chehaw Wild Animal Park officially opened to the public in 1977. AZA accreditation was granted 20 years later. Chehaw expanded to include an education center, a playground and a nationally-sanctioned BMX bike track. Animals that can be seen at the habitat include African black rhino, American bald eagles, free-ranging lemurs, cheetah, bison, zebras and more.
Chehaw’s campgrounds have 44 RV sites with 30 and 50 amp hookups, 14 pull-through sites, a comfort station with laundry, dump station and a group shelter. There are 18 tent sites with electric hookups and water. Camper cabins are also available with air conditioning. Camp sites have a picnic table and fire ring with flip-top grill. Fishing — limit five — is free with park admission. The mile-long loop Wild Trail showcases the beauty of the park.
Frontier Festival: Jan. 10-12, 2014
Native American Festival: April 11-13, 2014; Annual festival is one of the highlights of the year at Chehaw. The Native American Festival educates visitors on the history of the Native American people through dance, music demonstrations and vendor booths showcasing and selling Native American crafts and jewelry from throughout the Americas.
Festival of Lights: Chehaw’s Festival of Lights is a popular feature at the park during the Christmas season. Admission is $12 per vehicle ($8 per vehicle for Chehaw members).
The essentials about Chehaw:
— Executive Director, Doug Porter
— Location, 105 Chehaw Park Road off of Philema Road.
— Park hours, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Sunday; zoo hours, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
— Admission: $2 adult, $1 child, seniors and military for park only passes; park and zoo passes range from $5.75 to $8.75, with children under 3 free.
— Memberships: $35, individual; $50, dual; $75, family; $125, Keeper’s Circle; $250, Curator’s Club; $500, Director’s Den.
— Contact (229) 430-5275
— Website: www.chehaw.org