Visit the Animals of Oatland Island Wildlife Center
In the 18th century, Oatland Island was cleared to plant cotton as part of the McQueen family Plantation. Then, in 1927, the property was purchased by the International Order of Railroad Conductors and a large white columned and brick retirement home was constructed. Between 1941 and 1973, the building was used as a hospital for the U.S. Public Health Service and as a laboratory for the Centers for Disease Control.
Soon after the CDC moved the lab to their headquarters in Atlanta, a local public school teacher, Mr. Tony Cope, petitioned the government to allow the Savannah-Chatham County school system to use the property as an environmental education center. In August of 1974, Oatland Island Educational Center opened to the public.
Oatland Island Wildlife Center is now open as an educational facility that specializes in environmental discovery, 150 different wildlife animals and field trips to about 20,000 school students a year. Oatland includes around 100 acres of land and many exhibits of animals. All of the animals at Oatland are native to Georgia. In 2019, Oatland Island celebrated its 45th anniversary being opened to the public.