We love exploring fun things to do right in our own backyard, but occasionally we like to do fun things outside of Coweta County too. There are tons of great restaurants, parks and shops just outside of Coweta.
Cochran Mill Nature Center is technically in Fulton County, but it’s in Palmetto just outside the Coweta border. The nature center is home to many snakes, spiders, crocodiles and birds.
The center is housed in a small log cabin style building set beside an idyllic lake.
The nature center is a refuge to injured wildlife and abandoned pets.
Inside the main building, the walls are lined with cages filled mostly with reptiles. There were also a few giant cockroaches.
As we walked around looking at the snakes and crocodiles, we were very happy for the thick glass between us.
A few of the animals have been featured in TV shows and movies filmed in the area.
Outside the nature center building past a cute little garden, is an enclosure that contains birds of prey that have been injured to the point where they cannot be released into the wild.
We loved the great horned owl with its impressive wingspan and huge eyes, but our favorites were the black vultures. They entertained us with their curiosity and constant bickering.
A long boardwalk beside the lake leads to a charming picnic pavilion and two bog gardens.
The lake is filled with turtles that ended up at the nature center when families could no longer keep them as a pet. They seem to know that people mean food will soon follow, and many of them swam up to us expectantly.
The lake is a favorite with the summer camp kids who take canoes out and learn about the local wildlife.
In the bog gardens, we were delighted to see white pitcher plants donated by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The destruction of wetlands in Georgia is threatening the existence of this showy white carnivorous plant. In fact, until a small patch was discovered in 2001, the white pitcher plant was considered extinct in Georgia.
Across from the lake, there are easy hiking trails.
We only walked for half a mile before we came to granite slabs leading up to gorgeous falls and some ruins of the mill that once stood there.
We recommend these trails for anyone who enjoys local plants and animals.
There are a great variety of native plants along the trail, and we saw several wild animals, but fortunately for us no snakes.
The trails were cool even on the hot summer day, but we recommend wearing bug spray to ward off the huge mosquitoes that are attracted by the lake.
If you like to hike farther than a mile, the Cochran Mill Nature Center trail joins up with the longer Cochran Mill State Park trails.