Interpretive Programs at General Coffee State Park

General Coffee Logo

General Coffee State Park is named for General John Coffee, respected planter, military leader and congressman. Throughout the parks 1,511 acre’s various habitats are home to a multitude of threatened and endangered species. The park also offers our award winning Heritage Farm, where we work to educate about the agricultural history of the wiregrass region of South Georgia.

As a teacher or group leader, you have the opportunity to utilize every aspect of your state park. Whether it is on your own or alongside the park staff, during the day or throughout a weekend, we invite you to navigate the nature trails, paddle on the pond or behold the burrows of the gopher tortoise.

Please fill out and submit prior to the program:

If you do not see a program listed that is of interest to you or fits into your groups educational needs please contact the interpretive staff at the park. We are always happy to create custom programs to meet the needs of your group at no additional charge.


Group Programs

These programs may be conducted for groups ranging in size from 10–40 people. These programs are designed to fit the needs of family reunions and other groups staying at the park in our overnight facilities. Though largely recreational in nature, teachers may also find these activities useful for educational groups utilizing the parks group lodge for overnight stays.

Basic Archery

  • Fees: $15 per person
  • Time: 1 ½ hours per session
  • Limit of 12 participants per session

For ages 8* and above this is an introductory program to the basics of archery. Participants will receive basic archery instruction from one of our certified staff members and then participate in a practice session at the parks static archery range.

*Each participant must be able to safely hold and draw a bow without assistance.

Arts and Crafts: Kids

Kids Nature Crafts (ages 6–13)

  • Fee: $1–$5 per person
  • Time: 1 hour per session
  • Limit of 12 participants per session

Participants are guided by a park staff member through the creative process as they complete one or more nature based crafts. Fee for program will be determined by the number of projects per person that are requested per session.

Arts and Crafts: Adults (ages 14+)

Basket Making

  • Fee: $10 per participant
  • Time: 1–2 hours depending on basket design
  • Limit of 12 participants per session/class

Participants will be introduced to the art of basket making as they take part in an interactive basket making class under the direction of our park interpretive ranger and longtime basket maker. Each class will focus on a different material type. Possible choices include: pine needle, grape vine and split reed. Choices may be limited by the time of year and length of time between request date and program date. Each participant will leave the class with a completed basket.

Hand Spinning (Drop Spindle)

  • Fee: $15 per participant
  • Time: 1 ½ hours
  • Limit of 12 participants per session/class

Participants will be guided through the process of making a simple drop spindle that they will then use to learn the basics of hand spinning in an interactive class session. Each student will leave the class with a completed drop spindle, a small supply of wool and the basic knowledge and skills to continue hand spinning.

Needle Felting

  • Fee: $10 per participant
  • Time: 1 hour per session
  • Limit of 12 participants per session

Participants will learn the basics of needle felting during a hands on class. Each participants will leave the class with a completed needle felted seasonal decoration.

Canoeing

  • Fee: $15–$100 per person
  • Time: 1–8 hours
  • Limit of 12 participants per session

Canoe programs available range from a basic canoe techniques class to an all day trip on a local river. Please contact the park staff to discuss options for this program.

*River trips may not be available during times of either extremely low or extremely high river levels.

Heritage Farm Tours

  • Fee: $3 per participant
  • Time: 1 ½ hours
  • No limit on number of participants

A guided tour of the park’s award winning Heritage Farm. The tour includes history and explanation of buildings, introductions and interaction with the farm animals, and a brief history of the development of the wiregrass region of Georgia.

Nature Hikes (Day and Night)

  • Fee: $3 per participant
  • Time: 1–2 hours
  • Limit 30 participants per session

Guided nature hike on the trail of your choice. Hikes may be tailored to a specific topic such as tree identification, wildflowers, lichens, etc. or may be open topic.


School Field Trips & Educational Programs

These programs are designed to meet current Georgia standards and are available for groups ranging in size from 20–150 students. Groups larger than 150 students may be asked to split their field trip into multiple days depending on the program(s) requested. Groups smaller than 20 students will have to pay the minimum $60 group program fee instead of $3 per student.

Students can hike one or more of the parks 4.5 miles of multipurpose trials and/or explore the parks Heritage Farm, pond and outdoor classroom areas. Group trips may be conducted on a self-guided basis or you may learn more about Georgia’s plant and animal life and history by participating in one of our ranger-led school programs. We do ask that any groups wishing to visit the park on a self-guided basis fill out a program request form so that we can avoid conflicts with other ranger led programs occurring at the park during the time of your visit.

You may schedule a field trip to the park by calling the park office at 912-384-7082 or by filling out the program request form and emailing it to the interpretive staff at the park. Please remember that your program in not confirmed until you receive a confirmation from the park.

Be ready to provide the following information when you call:

  1. Teacher’s name and contact information
  2. Name and address of school
  3. Number and grade level of students
  4. Program preferences/requests
  5. Optional “rain dates” in case of severe weather 

Please be aware that the park will only cancel programs in cases of severe weather i.e. tornado, flooding, etc. If your group or school needs to cancel your trip to the park please call the park office no later than 4 p.m. the day prior to your scheduled trip. Teachers and chaperones are expected to participate and assist program staff as needed.

Unless otherwise noted in the program description, all of our programs are approximately 45 minutes in length. Programs may be combined to allow for up to 3 ranger conducted programs per visit if time allows. All of our educational programs are correlated to current standards for the grades listed. Please contact the park staff for current standard correlations.

  • Fee: $3 per student (Minimum $60 per group)
  • Minimum group size: 20
  • Maximum group size: 150

Georgia Reptiles: Grades 1–8

Meet Ali the alligator and her friends in a program designed to introduce students to the basic groups of reptiles found in our state. Live animals will be used and may include snakes, alligator, turtles and tortoises.

Ponds, Puddles and Pollywogs: Grades 3–12 

This water study program includes collecting live specimens from the pond or river at the park. Students will use identification guides to identify the insects, mussels, worms, tadpoles or fish they collect. Students will learn proper collecting techniques and responsible stewardship of resources.

Gopher It!: Grades 6–12 (large group option Grades 3–12) 

General Coffee State Park is home to the protected Gopher Tortoise. Your group will learn about the adaptations of this amazing keystone species and explore the longleaf pine ecosystem where the tortoise lives. Students will take a short hay ride to reach the trailhead in the park’s Sandhill Management area. Teachers can receive a pre-visit power point program to introduce students to the Gopher Tortoise prior to the site visit upon request. Due to transportation limitations this program is limited to groups of 30 or less.

Large group option: A Gopher Tortoise amphitheater style lecture is also available for larger groups up to 150 students. The lecture will last ~45 minutes and includes the tortoise life cycle, habitat information, current research, etc. Lecture can be adapted to a wide range of grade levels.

Meet the Farm Animals: Grades Pre-K–4

Students are introduced to the different types of farm animals kept at the Heritage Farm through an active feeding session with the animals. Students will be allowed to touch and feed the farm animals which include pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens and ducks. Students will learn what makes each group of animals unique. Lessons for upper grade levels will include information about heritage breeds and the importance of diversity in our food system.

A Day on the Farm: Grades 1–5

Students will experience some of the everyday activities that took place on a farm in the late 1800s. Teachers can choose up to three of the following activities per visit: soap making (demo only), open hearth cooking, gardening (seasonal), heritage breed farm animals, quilting, woodworking tools, historical games and toys, or blacksmithing (demo only). All activities are interactive unless otherwise indicated. (1½ hours minimum required for this program)

Additional fees may apply if you want the students to complete a take home project. Due to the nature of this program and time limitations the only program it may be combined with is a nature hike around the farm pond.

Farm Tours: Grades 1–8

Students will be taken on a ranger-led tour of the Heritage Farm which includes an 1830s cabin, smokehouse, blacksmith shop, outhouse, tobacco barn, corn crib, a small museum/nature center and various garden areas. Descriptions of the uses of the buildings, exhibits and tools will be provided during the tour. 

Pond Hike: Grade 1–8

A ranger led hike around the parks 4 acre fishing pond. These hikes can be tailored to a specific topic such as tree identification, aquatic plants, aquatic animals, etc. or may be conducted as a discovery hike.

Can You Smell That? (Sensory Perception): Grade Pre-K–4

This program is all about sensory perception. Students will play a matching game in which they try to match plant samples with plants growing in the herb garden relying only on their senses of smell and touch. (Weather conditions may affect availability).

Nature Trail Hikes (subject-based or discovery hike): Grade Pre-K–12

Conducted on the parks nature trails these hikes can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each classroom. Please note that due to trail length the hikes will usually exceed an hour for each session. Each hike is limited to 30 students.

Longleaf Ecosystems: Grades 4–12

An introductory program to the longleaf pine ecosystem. Program is conducted as a guided hike thru a stand of longleaf pines and includes information on plant identification, the life cycle of the longleaf pine and the importance of fire to the longleaf ecosystem.


Summer Camps

General Coffee State Park offers a variety of summer camps for children ages 8–16. At this time all of the park’s camps are day camps with arrival at 9 a.m. and pick up at 2 p.m.. This is a great family vacation opportunity. Come and stay in one of the park cabins or in the park campground for the week and enroll your child in one of our day camps. Camp registration opens every year in January and will run until the Monday before the first day of camp or until the camp is full. Spaces are limited so please register (link to standard minor release form) early. Registration is not confirmed and spaces will not be held until camp fees are paid in full.

Junior Ranger Camp (June): Ages 8–12

Junior Rangers focus on learning about nature through a series of guided activities over the course of the camp. Some activities included will be nature games, short nature hikes, arts and crafts, canoeing/boating on the fishing pond, fishing, birdwatching, and much more. Each year the camp has a slightly different focus in order to keep the camp new and exciting for returning campers. This camp is our environmental education based camp and strives to introduce our campers to the world of nature studies and encourage good stewardship practices.

Outdoor Adventure Camp (June): Ages 8–16

Outdoor Adventure Camp focuses on the fundamentals of outdoor recreation. Campers will actively participate in a number of outdoor recreation activities. Some activities which may be included are archery, canoeing, fishing, hiking, orienteering, etc. This camp is designed to give students the opportunity to try new activities, improve existing skills, develop friendships and good sportsmanship and just get out and enjoy nature.

Heritage Farm Camp (July): Ages 9–14

As the parks signature summer camp this camp is by far our most popular. Campers learn what it was like to live on farms in the wiregrass region of Georgia during the mid to late 1800s. Every year our campers learn about farm life through actually doing what kids would have done on these farms. Activities include gardening, historical toys and games, hands on farm animal programs, fishing with a homemade cane pole, open hearth cooking and historical based arts and crafts. The camp is capped off every year with a lunch prepared by the kids from the produce and eggs that they collected from the farm over the course of the week.
Parents must provide the following for each camper every day of camp:

  • Lunch
  • Refillable water bottle/container
  • Hat or other sun protection
  • Insect repellant
  • Sun screen
  • Good walking shoes (no sandals or flip-flops please)

Please check the park’s main website for the dates of any upcoming camps.