Callaway rights financial ship, looks to explore new attractions for gardensFor almost 60 years Callaway Gardens near Pine Mountain has been one of the favorite resorts in West Central Georgia. Through the years it has been a major attraction connecting families with nature and the outdoors — much like the founding Callaway family wanted when they opened the gardens in the early 1950s.
During its peak in popularity, Callaway Gardens attracted one million visitors annually, but last year the total visitors totaled fewer than 400,000 while the resort’s debt had grown to $44 million. That called for rather dramatic action, meaning Callaway Gardens started selling part of its land.
After three property sales reducing the gardens from 13,000 acres to 6,000 acres, the resort is on sound economic footing, says Edward Callaway, chairman and CEO. He predicts visitors will be up 5-10 percent this year, and debt has been reduced to $7.5 million. No more land sales will take place, he said.
All that points to a brighter future for Callaway Gardens. The good news for visitors is that Callaway soon will begin thinking long-term about continuing to connect families with nature and the outdoors.
In its heyday Callaway Gardens was always adding a major attraction every few years -- like the Sibley Horticultural Center, the Day Butterfly Center, Virginia Callaway Discovery Center and many more attractions in order to complement the beach, which has changed very little through the years.
We should be glad this major attraction just south of our community has put its financial ship in order and is looking for more attractions to enhance visitors’ experiences in the future.