11/19/2010 | MICHAEL FULGHAM
Governor Sonny Perdue, along with local community leaders, cut the celebratory ribbon at the official dedication ceremony for the Go Fish Education Center on October 7, 2010. Developed as part of Governor Sonny Perdue’s Go Fish Georgia Initiative, the center is primary to promoting and increasing participation of fishing in Georgia.
“The Go Fish Education Center is the result of state, local and private leaders coming together with a shared vision of conservation for the state of Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The Center will bring tourists from across the nation to the area and will promote conservation and participation in fishing.”
The Go Fish Education Center is designed to help visitors take an educational journey through Georgia’s watersheds to learn about its diverse aquatic wildlife, natural habitats and how to be a good steward of our water. Beyond that, the center is a place that serves as a great resource of fishing information for any level of angler — where to go, what to use and when. Visitors to the center can:
- See live fish exhibits featuring trout, largemouth bass and more
- Explore Georgia’s underwater habitats, from mountain streams to blackwater swamps
- View aquatic wildlife, including live alligators
- Try out interactive fishing and boating simulators
- See the biggest bass in the world
- Get ‘Reel Tips’ to learn how and where to fish
- Watch a film in the high-definition theater
- See how fish are raised in a state-of-the-art hatchery
“Whether you are new to fishing, mentoring a young angler or are a seasoned professional angler — you will find items here to educate, to excite and enable you to get outdoors and Go Fish,” says Commissioner Chris Clark, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The center will offer educational programs to the public and to school systems. Programs include informal public programs, kids fishing events, on-site classroom programs, and teacher development sessions. Classroom and educational programs are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards.
Additionally, the center contains a state-of-the-art fish hatchery that will enable management programs that are not now possible because of a lack of production capacity. The research and fish production necessary to improve the quality of fishing in Georgia required additional production ponds and the construction of this new, state-of-the-art hatchery.
The Center began to become a reality when Governor Sonny Perdue proposed the initial $19 million for the Go Fish Georgia Initiative in the 2007-2008 state budget. The Go Fish Georgia Initiative is a $30 million initiative that leverages $19 million in state funds with private donations and financial support from local communities. This initiative includes development and improvements of mega-ramps and other access areas, improving quality of fishing and increasing participation in fishing through active promotion and marketing of Georgia’s exceptional fishing resources.
“Fishing is an important part of my childhood and an activity that I still enjoy today. The Go Fish Georgia Initiative encourages families to spend time outdoors together making memories that will last a lifetime,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “It also will allow us to improve our fishing resources and boat access, drawing more tourists and professional anglers into our state to fish, which will have a positive economic impact in many rural areas.”
Each year, Georgia gains hundreds of thousands of new citizens. Preserving the quality of the environment and recreational resources, especially those involving water, are important factors in maintaining a high quality of life and attracting visitors and new residents.
Construction of the center began in 2008 and was completed in September 2010. The Go Fish Education Center is part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (Fisheries Management Section).
The Go Fish Education Center is located next to the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. Perry is centrally located with easy access from Interstate 75 and has much to offer your educational tour group. Make plans to schedule your educational tour today by contacting the Perry Area Convention and Visitors at 478.988.8000 or via email at [email protected] or visit our website at www.perryga.com.
The Perry Area CVB offers free group tour itinerary planning for the Go Fish Education Center as well as other area attractions and will help you make the most of your visit. To get to the Go Fish Education Center, take Interstate 75 to exit 134 and travel east about one mile and the entrance will be on your left. Regular operating hours are Friday-Saturday (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.); Sundays (1 p.m. - 5 pm.). Educational group tours and classes may be scheduled by appointment only Tuesday through Thursday. Admission: Adults-$5, Seniors 65 and up $4, Children 3-12 $3 and children 2 and under are free.