Robin Lake Beach and Aqua Island at Callaway Gardens

August 11, 2011 · 0 comments

in Best Road Trips, Road Trip Ideas

“At the beach, at the beach, at Robin Lake Beach, You’ll have fun, you’ll have fun, every day of the week.
You’ll love the thrilling rides, laugh till you split your sides, at ROBIN LAKE BEACH.”

I pirated these lyrics from an old commercial for now defunct, Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park on Lake Pontchartrain at New Orleans, LA. I visited that fun place often as a child. Pontchartrain Beach was an amusement park. Callaway Gardens a Garden that is filled with amusements, entertainments, resort amenities and an endless array of activities.
Families visiting Callaway Gardens during summer months usually spend a lot of time at Robin Lake Beach. This is the world’s largest inland man-made beach. Robin Lake provides great swimming in non-chlorinated, fresh spring-fed water. There are eleven other lakes inside Callaway Gardens, but this is the largest and has the widest variety of uses.

FSU Circus at Callaway Gardens

While you are swimming, others are water-skiing, wake-boarding and engaged in numerous onshore activities. One very popular attraction is the Florida State University Circus.
Florida State University (FSU) is located in the beautiful, historic city of Tallahassee, FL the Capitol of Florida. I spoke with Chad Mathews the Director of Circus. Mr. Mathews is an FSU staff member who was, as a student, one of the performers in the FSU circus. He said that 26 students stage the entire event. These 26 students were carefully selected from 100+ students involved in Circus training as an extra-curricular activity during the regular school year. Each of these students is scheduled to return to FSU in the fall. They are at Callaway Gardens as a 10 week program and put on a live Circus performance 5 times weekly. Two other universities have a Circus Program. But the FSU Circus is the only Circus which is totally presented and performed by the students. Circus is taught in a college-based environment which is sponsored by FSU, but students receive no college credit for their hard work. Students perform all the work and also perform all the acts. The dedication of the students is cleary seen in each of the 10 separate acts we saw performed in this amazing Three-Ring Circus Show. This Circus is not amateur-ish this is … WOW WHAT A GREAT SHOW. From the Ringmaster to jugglers, to feats of strength, skill and daring, to high-flying trapeze artists it is a stellar performance.

 

Meanwhile back in the water at Robin Lake, exciting things are happening. My granddaughter and I decided that Aqua Island would be easy enough for an old man, and exciting enough for a young girl. So we purchased an hour of fun and off we went.

Robin Lake Beach Aqua Island

To be honest, I went off more than she did. Aqua Island is a challenging water exercise for a child of any age. This air-filled, water born island floats in an area about 50 yards x 50 yards. It is not an exact square. It is anchored about 75 yard off-shore, so you are good and wet (I was winded, Millie was pumped up) when you reach it.
To get onto the Island you must pull yourself out of the water using safety-coated rope-holds. The entrance ramps slant down into the water. You then have to climb up a steeply slanted, wet plastic hill to board the Island. It took me a while to figure it out. This is a wet, obstacle course where old men creep around and younguns’ run as if it was a school playground back home.
The mix of people aboard the island  ranged from small children to adults of sensible age, plus me. It was fun, but I was sore the next day in places that I had forgotten I had places.
Now you moms and grandparents don’t get alarmed. This is a very safe place for children (of all ages) to play, as are all the venues at Callaway Gardens. They equip every person with a snug fitting life vest. There is always an adequate number of lifeguards. Some watch from the beach while assisting to put on life vests, while others are actually on board Aqua Island with watchful eyes turned to the participants.
Robin Lake Beach is a hub of activity which includes in addition to Aqua Island; Laser Tag, playgrounds, the FSU Circus Tent, Blaster Boats and the Beach Pavilion which is a food concession. You can also rent a chair and umbrella if you wish is to just lie around and soak up some rays, you’ll find that sunbathing is a favorite sport. We spent a big part of two days here.
Perhaps the best feature of all at Callaway Gardens is that you can stay as busy as you want to be, but you can also be as relaxed and lazy as your heart desires. This is a quiet, peaceful place where no one gets bored. I’m don’t know when we will be able to return, but if the Good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise … we will be here again soon.
Until next time … keep rolling up miles and dialing up smiles.
Bill Taylor

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