exterior of the Telfair museum, one of the things you can do in savannah when it rains

The Telfair Museum is a collection of three venues and is just one of the things you can do when it rains (or is too hot) in Savannah.  Photo: Dawn Damico

Whether you’re interested in art, history, or nature, this charming southern city has something to suit every taste. Explore Savannah’s history, art scene, and cultural legacy in its city museums. And when you want to venture outdoors, there are trails, nature centers, animal encounters, and nature museums that tell the rest of Savannah’s story through the natural world, allowing you to discover, in part, why General Oglethorpe chose this area for the first settlement in what was to become the colony of Georgia. 

Operating hours and admission fees can vary for each museum and nature center, some provide ticketing package options, and many are a part of the free Museums for All program which allows for free admission for families who receive SNAP EBT benefits. Before planning your visit, check their websites or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

Telfair Museums – comprised of three different sites, each with its own specialty and character:

  1. Telfair Academy Museum is located in a historic mansion; it features a diverse collection of American and European artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, showcasing various artistic styles and periods.
    Location: 121 Barnard St., Savannah, GA
  2. Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters exhibits the elegance of period architecture and design as well as the harsh realities of slavery and the lives of enslaved individuals who once worked and lived there. 
    Location: 124 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA
  3. Jepson Center for the Arts showcases an impressive modern and contemporary art collection, focusing on regional and international works. It offers visitors diverse exhibitions, educational programs, and community events, fostering a vibrant artistic atmosphere.
    Location: 207 W. York St., Savannah, GA

 SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah College of Art and Design’s contemporary art museum serves as a vibrant hub for artistic exploration and inspiration in the heart of Savannah. The museum features permanent and rotating exhibitions, including works by emerging and established artists. Housed in a beautifully renovated 1853 Greek Revival building, art, and history greet you as you approach the front door.
Location: 601 Turner Blvd., Savannah, GA

Georgia State Railroad Museum showcases the rich railroad heritage of Georgia. Housed in an extensive complex in Tricentennial Park, the museum features an impressive collection of vintage locomotives, railcars, and other railway artifacts. Visitors can explore restored trains, engage in interactive exhibits, and learn about the pivotal role of rail transportation in shaping the state’s history.
Location: 655 Louisville Rd., Savannah, GA

Pin Point Heritage Museum preserves and celebrates the history of the Gullah/Geechee people on the banks of the Moon River in Pin Point, Georgia. Housed in the old A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory, the museum offers a glimpse into the lives of African American residents who made a living through oyster harvesting, crabbing, and fishing. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, view historical photographs, and listen to personal stories about the vibrant traditions and contributions of the community.
Location: 9924 Pin Point Ave., Savannah, GA

Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is named after a prominent local civil rights leader and the 13th pastor of Savannah’s First African Baptist Church. You’ll find three floors that explore the struggles and achievements of the people of the Civil Rights Movement in their fight for equality. The museum is located in the former Wage Earners Savings Bank, the second-largest black bank in America at the time. Through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, the museum offers a powerful narrative of the local civil rights movement and its impact on the broader struggle for social justice.
Location: 460 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA

Webb Military Museum is a “must-see” spot for people interested in military heritage and the stories behind the private collection of artifacts. The collection of military artifacts spans from the American Civil War to the present day. The museum is dedicated to honoring and preserving the stories and sacrifices of military personnel.
Location: 411 E. York St., Savannah, GA

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum shares the history of ships and seafaring in Savannah and the surrounding region. Located in the beautiful William Scarbrough House, the museum showcases an impressive collection of ship models, nautical artifacts, and maritime paintings.
Location: 41 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is dedicated to preserving the life and legacy of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. The museum showcases the birthplace and early life of Juliette Gordon Low and features exhibits on her remarkable achievements and contributions to the Girl Scout movement. Visitors can explore the restored rooms of the house, view personal artifacts, and learn about the history of Girl Scouts.
Location: 10 East Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, GA

Davenport House Museum is located in an early 19th-century home known for its Federal-style architecture. This is where preservation efforts for the city of Savannah began. The museum provides visitors with a glimpse into the daily life of a middle-class Savannah family during the 1820s. The Davenport House Museum offers a memorable experience with its authentic period furnishings and decor.
Location: 323 E. Broughton St., Savannah, GA

Savannah African Art Museum showcases a diverse African art collection spanning various countries, cultures, and artistic traditions. The museum aims to educate and inspire visitors through its exhibitions, which feature traditional and contemporary artworks, including sculptures, textiles, masks, and paintings. It provides a platform for promoting cross-cultural understanding, appreciation, and dialogue.
Location: 201 E. 37th St., Savannah, GA

Savannah History Museum is in the restored 19th-century Central of Georgia Railway passenger shed. You will find exhibits highlighting Savannah’s role in the American Revolution and Civil War and its cultural heritage and achievements. For movie lovers, you can see the famous Forrest Gump bench here! Visitors can explore artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the city’s story to life.
Location: 303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA

Massie Heritage Center is a gateway to exploring Savannah’s diverse history, architecture, and people, focusing on the 19th century. The building was initially built as a school in 1856. Today, the heritage center continues to be an educational resource for the community and visitors. If you would like to see a scaled-down model of the city’s grid system, you’ll find it here. Immerse yourself through hands-on activities, multimedia presentations, and guided tours. The center aims to foster a deep appreciation for Savannah’s past while promoting a sense of community and lifelong learning.
Location: 207 East Gordon St., Savannah, GA

 Beach Institute African American Cultural Center was completed in 1867 as a school for newly freed African American children by the Freedmen’s Bureau and the American Missionary Association. Over time, it evolved into a cultural center that promotes and preserves African American history, art, and culture.
Location: 502 E. Harris St., Savannah, GA

American Prohibition Museum is a fun way to explore Savannah’s “spirits.” It offers a captivating experience that takes visitors back to the 1920s, exploring the social, cultural, and political impact of the prohibition of alcohol. The museum showcases a variety of exhibits, including interactive displays, historical artifacts, and engaging narratives, providing insights into the temperance movement, bootlegging, speakeasies, and the eventual repeal of Prohibition.
Location: 209 W. St. Julian St., Savannah, GA

Harper Fowlkes House boasts a picturesque garden, creating a serene and charming atmosphere. As a cherished landmark in Savannah, the Greek Revival style home with its stately columns and grand entrance showcases the city’s rich history and architectural heritage.
Location: 230 Barnard St., Savannah, GA

Savannah Children’s Museum is designed for children aged 2 to 12 and offers a hands-on educational experience. The museum features a variety of engaging exhibits, including a sensory garden, a water play area, an art studio, and an exploration maze. Kids can unleash their creativity, learn about science and nature, and engage in imaginative play.
Location: 655 Louisville Rd., Savannah, GA

Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center celebrates the accomplishments of African and Irish laborers who constructed the canal between 1826 and 1830, opening up a way for the crops and goods from inland plantations to reach the busy Savannah port. The museum and nature center are also part of Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail, and you can see plenty of nature and wildlife within the 184-acre Nature Center.
Location: 681 Fort Argyle Rd., Savannah, GA

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Discovery Center opens the underwater world of Gray’s Reef to Savannah visitors to inspire conservation and a deeper appreciation for the ocean’s wonders. A new addition for Savannah, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held in October 2022. Whether you sign up to be a volunteer or visit to learn more about Savannah’s coastal habitats, the interactive exhibits and virtual dives will undoubtedly add new memories to your Savannah vacation.
Location: 340 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA

UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium is a short drive from Savannah to Skidaway Island. In addition to the 16 exhibit tanks in the aquarium, you will find nature trails, an accessible salt marsh boardwalk, bird and wildlife-watching opportunities, a learning garden, and more. A great place to learn more about the natural side of Georgia.
Location: 30 Ocean Science Circle, Savannah, GA

 Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens is a museum of plants, a place to catch your breath, and home to a historic venue for events. It is located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Savannah. Garden and nature enthusiasts will enjoy over 50 acres of themed gardens that show off the region’s flora. History enthusiasts will enjoy the miniaturized replica of the 10-acre Trustees Garden that was part of the original design for “The Oglethorpe Plan.” The original plot of land was set aside for plantings and experimentation to find out what would and would not grow in the new colony.
Location: 2 Canebrake Rd., Savannah, GA

Did you know…we created a Savannah Guided Travel Journal to help you plan your next trip to Savannah? Be sure to check it out, it could be just what you need to make your next Savannah vacation the best!