Tucked away in the middle of Buckhead is a sprawling 33-acre property known as the Atlanta History Center. Within its grounds you’ll find a museum, historic farmsteads and mansions that have been preserved since the 1800s, and the future home for the Cyclorama, all situated around a 25 foot deep quarry and connected via a series of woodland trails. The Buckhead branch of Peachtree creek runs along the southern side of the quarry and is rumored to be the location wherein an early settler to the area killed a buck and mounted its horns within a nearby tavern. The tavern came to be known as Buck’s Head, which later became the entire area’s name – Buckhead.
The quarry was mined for stone from around 1880 to 1920, after which it was mostly forgotten as the city grew nearby. Those years of neglect provided an excellent opportunity for the native species of plants and local animals to reclaim the space, and today it is one of the state’s most comprehensive collections of native plants from the 1800s. Known as the Quarry Garden, you can experience many different natural elements such as a meandering creek, marshland, stone outcroppings, lush ground cover, and even a series of small waterfalls, all under the cover of the impressively tall trees.
Quarry GardenBeautiful natural waterfalls feed into the creekThis long wooden bridge connects the museum to the road on the opposite side of the quarry
Get a better view from the overlook
Wildlife thrives in the quarry, like this Blue-tailed Skink spotted on the bridge over the marshVines overhang the exposed rock face along the creek
Swan Woods TrailThe Swan Woods Trail leads to the Wood Family Cabin Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys, 1917-1918, is an outdoor photography exhibition about World War I spread throughout the 33 acres of the Atlanta History Center Don’t forget to check out the signage throughout the property as it has information about the history of the space, native plants, and wildlife.
Swan House GardensThe Swan House is surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns and gardens
Cherry Sims Garden The charming gazebo offers a lovely spot to rest and take in the sights and sounds of the garden
Rhododendron Garden This garden is situated around a small valley near the McElreath Hall, and colorful rhododendron flowers bloom from late winter to early summer
Gardens for Peace The Garden for Peace at the Atlanta History Center was designated on April 17, 1988 and was the first of an international network of gardens designed to promote peace. The area is centered around an art piece titled “The Peace Tree” by Soviet artist Georgi “Gia” Jazparidze.
Visitors can walk through the winding trails that link together historic settlements and modern amenities, including fine dining at the Swan Coach House Restaurant or casual eats at Souper Jenny, and complete your trip by exploring the multiple smartly-curated exhibition spaces inside the museum. Admission to the museum and surrounding gardens, trails, and buildings is $9 for kids aged 4-12, $18 for students aged 13 and older, $21.50 for adult tickets, and $18 for seniors. Entry to the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown is also included when you purchase a ticket and is valid for 9 days after your visit to the History Center. Visit their website for more information including hours, current exhibitions, and to purchase tickets.See Homes for Sale Near Atlanta History Center
Atlanta History Museum, Cyclorama building (coming soon!), Smith Family Farm & Gardens, McElreath Hall, Rhododendron Garden, Swan House and Swan House Gardens, the Swan Woods Trail, Swan Coach House Restaurant, Wood Family Cabin, and the Cherry Sims Garden.
The Atlanta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305, and the Quarry Garden can be found directly behind the Museum.
The Atlanta History Center is centrally located on the edge of Buckhead Village, which is an area that is currently experiencing unprecedented growth and expansion. There are plenty of great amenities nearby such as restaurants, bars, and shops. Stop by the Buckhead Theatre to catch a live concert, peruse the retail options at The Shops at Buckhead, and take a stroll through the Charlie Loudermilk Park.
Hungry? Check out Your Pie for customizable pizza and gelato, or hop over to One and Two Buckhead Plaza where you can find old school eats in a literary-inspired space at King + Duke, hit up the Happy Hour at the Seasons 52, sample sushi and sophisticated Japanese fare at Umi, or go to Chops Lobster Bar for prime aged beef and fresh seafood. The St. Regis Atlanta is home to Astor Court where you can find tasty desserts and coffee, artful American dining at Atlas, as well as the St. Regis Bar for casual eats and cocktails.
Just across Peachtree check out The Shops at Buckhead, where you can get shakes and burgers at Shake Shack, new American cuisine with a Southern twist at The Southern Gentleman, get your fill of chocolate delights at Cacao, enjoy traditional French cuisine at Le Bilboquet, have a drink on the patio at The Regent Cocktail Club, sample steakhouse classics with a modern twist at American Cut Steakhouse, or order some stylish shareable Spanish plates at Gypsy Kitchen.
There is truly so much to do in this area, it’s easy to make a full day out of exploring the gardens, checking out the museum, and enjoying a meal with your friends and family.