We arrived in the new Atlanta international terminal around 8:30am, and got through customs very quickly.  We rechecked our checked backpacks and went to meet Katie’s parents who had drove down from Cumming to spend the day with us.

Katie’s parents were hungry, so we ate breakfast at a Waffle House south of Atlanta.  We looked through some pictures from our trip while waiting for our food to arrive.  Unfortunately, Katie’s dad removed the memory card from the computer without safely removing, so the pictures that JT had rotated became corrupted.

Once we finished breakfast, we headed to Callaway Gardens for the day.

Once inside the Gardens, our first stop was the 12:30pm Birds of Prey show.  In this show, we saw and learned about four different birds of prey that were unable to survive in the wild due to either physical limitations (one bird had been shot in the wing) or mental limitations (grew up with humans, and hence did not learn to behave like a bird).  Specifically, we saw a great horned owl named Cedar, a red tailed hawk, and a Harris’ hawk named Rohmann soar around us.  Then a trainer carried a barred owl named Olive around for us to learn about and see. Callaway Gardens currently has 16 birds of prey under their care, so you never know which birds will appear at any given show.  However, some birds – like Rohmann – clearly enjoy soaring around during the shows.

After the Birds of Prey show, we drove over to the Butterfly House.  The butterflies in the house were particularly active, especially considering that it was afternoon.  We saw plenty of beautiful butterflies of all sizes.  However, Katie thought it was comical and depressing to see all the visitors carrying their cameras around and just snapping pictures of the butterflies instead of actually enjoying the experience.  It was also frustrating to see so many parents allowing – and some even encouraging – their kids to pickup and touch the butterflies.

There was a free organ concert scheduled between 2pm and 4pm at the chapel.  We got married at this chapel about 4.5 years ago, so we always enjoy visiting!  We sat in the chapel for a while listening, and then went outside to the overlook to listen.  While at the overlook JT spotted a great blue heron sitting in a tree.  Eventually this bird was disturbed by something and soared across the lake to a new perch.  JT accurately pointed out that the organist today was not as good as some of the other organists we have heard at Callaway Gardens as her style was very ‘robotic’.

Finally, we visited the Horticultural Center where we saw plenty of plants from all around the world.  It was cool driving around the Gardens since we could see the unlit Fantasy in Lights Christmas lights set up for the nightly displays.  All of the attractions were also decorated for Christmas – Katie enjoyed smelling the pine smell from the wreathes and Christmas trees.

We left the gardens around 4:30pm, and stopped in Newnan to get some Zaxby’s since there are no Zaxby’s in Austin.  Glenda got a chicken ceasar salad, while the rest of us had chicken finger plates.

We arrived at the airport around 6:20pm.  We got through security (with banana pudding that Katie’s parents gave us from the Foster House) very quickly and got to our gate as the previous flight was deboarding.  We took off a bit after 7pm.

Upon arriving in Austin, we found that one of our bags was still in Atlanta and the other had been sent to Augusta. This mishap caused us to miss the 9pm airport flyer to downtown, so we ended up taking the 9:30pm flyer.  Our bags were not delivered to our apartment until over 26 hours later, and they both reeked of cigarette smoke.  Thanks Delta!

Flying south of Atlanta to land on our flight from Lima

JT, Katie, and Glenda before the Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey show

Cedar, the great horned owl

 Cedar, the great horned owl

 Cedar, the great horned owl, flying between the crowd

Olive, the barred owl

 A red tailed hawk

Rohmann, the Harris’ hawk

Rohmann, the Harris’ hawk

 Rohmann, the Harris’ hawk

A butterfly at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house

A butterfly at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house 

A butterfly at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house 

A butterfly apparently laying eggs at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house 

A butterfly at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house 

JT and Katie in front of the Christmas tree at the Callaway Gardens butterfly house

A great blue heron outside the Callaway Gardens chapel

 The chapel at Callaway Gardens, where we got married in 2009

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