After more than a decade of work, the new Georgia Welcome Center on I-95 south opened to the public last Friday, March 10. Speaking at the grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony were Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, Georgia DOT District 1 Representative Anne Purcell, State Transportation Chairman Robert Brown Jr., Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson and President of Visit Savannah Joseph Marinelli. Local businesses offered complimentary refreshments at the grand opening ceremony before the building opened to the public immediately after the ribbon cutting.
The new Welcome Center replaced the old building constructed more than 40 years ago. It is one of the most grand and cutting edge in the state, featuring dramatic cathedral ceilings, an abundance of natural light and a more user-friendly interactive design. Visit Savannah and Visit Tybee have both made significant investments in the new displays which are intended to inspire visitors traveling southbound on I-95 to visit both popular destinations. Some of the display features include life-size live oaks and palm trees draped with Spanish moss, large video screens offering a sampling of the area’s visitor experience and the opportunity to take a photo next to life-like Forrest Gump on a bench in front of Chippewa Square or driving a trolley.
To get the the new Georgia Welcome Center, take Interstate 95 north across the Talmadge Bridge into South Carolina and exit, then take the ramp back on to I-95 southbound. The Welcome Center is just across the South Carolina/Georgia state line.