Lion Country Safari was area attraction in 1970s

Q: Wasn’t there an animal park in Atlanta, like a zoo, but where the animals walked around and visitors drove through in their cars? If so, can you provide some details of that park?

A: A T-Rex didn't roam free, like at Jurassic Park, but Atlanta's Lion Country Safari provided folks with up-close and personal views of animals minus zoo cages.

I remember my parents taking me there one summer, sometime in the 1970s.

The only problem: The car either didn’t have air conditioning — it wasn’t always standard — or it wasn’t working that day. So it was scorching and you were advised not to roll down your windows in certain areas of the park, lest you became a predator’s lunch.

Even though it was sweltering inside the car, I recall being enthralled by the animals lurking just feet away.

There were several Lion Country Safari locations across the country in those days, but only one — near West Palm Beach, Fla. — still exists.

The Atlanta locale was open from 1970-84 off Walt Stephens Road in Henry County.

The AJC, earlier this year, published an online photo essay of parks from the city’s past that included a section about Lion Country Safari.

It can be viewed here:

If you have any memories of Lion Country Safari, please email q& or call 404-222-2002 and leave a message.

Q: There are some ruins shown in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” that I know are somewhere around Atlanta. Can you tell me where those are and some history behind them?

A: You're referring to what's left of the New Manchester Manufacturing Co. at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs.

Scenes from that movie were shot at the ruins of the textile mill, which was built in 1849 and torched by Union soldiers as they advanced on Atlanta in July 1864.

The creek runs next to what’s left of what was once a five-story building.

You can take guided hikes to the ruins. For more details, go to or call 770-732-5871.

More about Ben Hill

A reader pointed out that Ben Hill, who was profiled in last week's column, lived in LaGrange, where his restored and maintained antebellum home — named Bellevue — is "one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the state," its website boasts.

The home, which is on Ben Hill Street, was completed in 1855 and is open for tours. Call 706-884-1832 for details.