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21 Fun & Best Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia

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Augusta, Georgia, is a small city in the eastern part of the state. The town is rife with Southern charm – moss-covered trees line the street, and Southern accents fill the air. Sweet tea is the drink of choice, and there are plenty of reasons to spend a day exploring.

You may have never heard of Augusta if you are not into golf. The prestigious golf event, the Masters Tournament, has been hosted here since 1934.

The greatest golfers, like Tiger Woods and Sam Snead, have played at the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters. The tournament is one of the more popular Augusta attractions, drawing in about 40,000 attendees daily.

If golf isn’t your thing, plenty of other Augusta tourist attractions exist. Augusta, Georgia, has many historic places listed on the National Register. Several churches welcome visitors to see their history – some dating back to the 19th century.

Check out Springfield Baptist Church, home to one of the oldest African-American congregations in the United States—Marvel at the architecture of historic government buildings like the original courthouse. The building is now called the Old Government House in the present day and serves as an event venue. 

You can still see remnants and inspirations of pre-Civil War architecture. The Georgian Greek Revival style with white Grecian columns in the front of the house was popular in the 1800s. Think of the Tara plantation home from Gone with the Wind.

The city also prides itself on educating visitors and youngsters about the outdoors. Check out the McDuffie Environmental Education Center or Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Visit Augusta, Georgia, to experience the classic South and dive into its rich history and culture.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – President Woodrow Wilson’s Boyhood Home
  • Best venue – James Brown Arena
  • Best historic location – Magnolia Cemetery
  • Free activity – Exploring the Savannah River
  • Activity for kids – Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
  • Best museum – The Augusta Museum of History
  • Place to eat – Frog Hollow Tavern
  • Activity for adults – Exploring Broad Street
  • Place to stayThe Partridge Inn Augusta

Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia

1. Augusta National Golf Club

Augusta National Golf Club Scenery
image by Ryan Schreiber is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Address: 2604 Washington Rd, Augusta, GA 30904

The Masters Golf Tournament is a world-famous golf competition held at the Augusta National Golf Club each April. Each hole is named for a tree or plant like Flowering Peach (Hole No. 3) and White Dogwood (Hole No. 11) as a nod to its plant nursery days. 

As one of the top things to do in Augusta, getting a ticket to the Masters Tournament can be difficult and follows a lottery system. If you are lucky to snag a ticket, then be sure to know the dos and don’ts of attending one of the most prestigious golf tournaments. 

Don’t bring your cell phone on the premises; cameras are only allowed during practice days. Do remain silent during tournament golf shots. Don’t try to bother a golfer on the course.

Do seek a player’s autograph only near the Washington Road side of the clubhouse. Don’t forget sunscreen, binoculars, and comfortable shoes. Buy their famous pimento cheese sandwich!

Unfortunately, the Augusta National Golf Club is a private club only for members, so getting a course tour is not an option. If you know someone who is a member, you may be able to attend as a guest.

The Club includes famous members like Bill Gates, Pete Coors, and Peyton Manning. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore became the first female members admitted in 2012.

If you’re in town for the Masters Tournament, I recommend staying at The Partridge Inn Augusta nearby for fantastic city views. Many Augusta residents rent out their homes during the tournament as well.

This cozy, single family house can sleep a large group. If you have time, stop at nearby TakoSushi to fill up on their long list of makimono rolls!

See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations

2. Forest Hills Golf Club

Forest Hills Golf Club Golf Course Scenery
GRUcrule, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1500 Comfort Rd, Augusta, GA 30909

Architect Donald Ross designed the Forest Hills golf course in the 1920s. He also designed Pinehurst in North Carolina (among many others) and transformed putting greens by changing them from sand to Bermuda grass.

The golf course has since been renovated but remains a prominent place to play golf in the area. Augusta University’s Men and Women’s golf teams also play here.

Unlike the Augusta National Golf Course, the Forest Hills Golf Club is open to the public. Playing golf is one of the quintessential Augusta things to do while visiting.

Tee times are reserved seven days in advance for non-members. If you are less than four players, then you may be added to a group, or a player may be added to your tee time.

The club also includes an eating spot called The Grille and a pro shop. If you are new to the sport, the Forest Hills Golf Club offers lessons for $50 a session.

3. Augusta Municipal Golf Course

Augusta Municipal Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia
Augusta Municipal Golf Course / Facebook

Address: 2023 Highland Ave, Augusta, GA 30904

Right next to Forest Hills is another golf course to check out called the Augusta Municipal Golf Course. The course started with nine holes and was previously named the Bon Air Golf Club.

Scotsman golfer David Ogilvie settled in the Augusta area and re-designed it into an 18-hole course in 1928. The course was eventually renamed the Augusta Municipal Golf Course.

While there have been some updates, the course remains relatively the same as Ogilvie designed it. The Augusta Municipal Golf Course is open to the public and welcomes visitors to reserve a tee time and play.

The rates are relatively affordable compared to other clubs. Facilities include a practice area, a clubhouse, and a pro shop. Stop at the nearby Arsenal Tap Room + Kitchen after a long day on the course. The restaurant has over 150 craft beers from around the globe.

Plus, you get to build your own grilled cheese. I know it’s one of the stops I’m making in town!

See Related: Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

4. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park Scenery

Address: 1858 Lock and Dam Rd, Augusta, GA 30906

There are many opportunities to explore the outdoor Augusta attractions thanks to the surrounding trails, waterways, and parks. Since it has swampy areas, bring bug spray during the summer!

The Phinizy Swamp is named after Italian Ferdinand Victor Francois Phinizy, who settled in the area in the late 1700s. The Phinizy Center for Water Sciences took over the land, cleaned it up, and now its 1,100 acres are available for all to enjoy!

The nature park hosts many fun events for kids and adults, such as guided hikes, volunteer days, and summer camps. Puddle Ducks is an educational program for toddlers that meets on the first Tuesday of every month.

Each month, a different nature theme is explored, encouraging kids to bond with nature from an early age. The Phinizy Swamp Nature Park has several trails waiting to be explored. The Beaver Dam Trail is accessible and family-friendly since it is only half a mile away.

Visitors often see interesting wildlife while walking the trail. The Rain Garden Deck is also a popular spot for wildlife, where the kids will love overlooking the pond to see the turtles and local birds.

The Phinizy Swamp Nature Park park is free and open daily. You can find free onsite parking at the main entrance.

5. Augusta Canal Discovery Center

Augusta Canal And Covered Bridge

Address: Blome Ln, Augusta, GA 30901 (Floor 1 – Enterprise Mill)

The Augusta Canal Discovery Center teaches visitors about the Industrial Revolution’s impact on the American South. The canal powered textile and manufacturing plants along the river in the 1800s and still operates as a power source today.

It is the only industrial canal still fully functioning as a hydropower source in America and is registered as a National Historic Landmark and a National Heritage Area.

The Augusta Canal Discovery Center includes exhibits, videos, and a gift shop to explore. There are different types of boat tours and prices, so check their site for the latest information. Step back in time to take a tour on a Petersburg-style boat to learn about the history and nature of the area.

The Augusta Canal Discovery Center also does weekend music cruises. Spring and fall are the busiest times, so I recommend booking a reservation. 

The wetlands of the Augusta Canal and Savannah River offer an opportunity to see all kinds of wildlife. Several species of fish, reptiles (including alligators, eek!), birds, and mammals call this area home.

Locals often kayak, canoe, and fish in the canal. There are hiking/running trails nearby as well. Traversing down the river is one of the fun summer things to do in Augusta, Georgia!

See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA

6. Pendleton King Park

M25 London Orbital Motorway in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Peter Fleming / Adobe Stock

Address: 1600 Troupe St, Augusta, GA 30904

Pendleton King Park is a bird sanctuary and park that includes a variety of things to do and see. The expansive park covers 64 acres and even includes an 18-hole disc golf course.

Pendleton King Park includes walking and cycling trails, gardens, playgrounds, an off-leash dog park, and more. Walk through the Sunken Blue Gardens to see the historic Red Gazebo, which has been around since the original Pendleton King house.

If you are visiting in June or July, then stop at the hydrangea garden, which blooms over 70 varieties of the popular flower. There are a few kid-friendly tourist attractions around the park.

Take the kids to see the Children’s Sculpture Garden, Children’s Playground, and the Children’s Musical Garden for some interactive playtime. Students from a local school designed and installed their sculptures and musical instruments in the park to enjoy. 

7. Enterprise Mill

Enterprise Mill Building, Augusta, Georgia
image by Sir Mildred Pierce is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Address: 1450 Greene St Suite 600, Augusta, GA 30901

Augusta saw the potential of the Industrial Revolution and built many factories around the Augusta Canal. Enterprise Mill was one of those factories, and it started as a flour mill in the mid-1800s.

The Graniteville Company bought the Enterprise Mill buildings in 1923 from the Coleman family to use for manufacturing purposes. The company’s red sign remains today as a landmark.

With revitalizing the downtown area, the building was saved from demolition. Enterprise Mill reopened in 1998 as a mixed-use space to include apartments, offices, and an events space.

Stop in for a visit to see some of the factory artifacts displayed throughout the property. Free onsite parking and public restrooms are available. Tickets are not needed to explore the grounds.

See Related: Cheapest Shopping Destinations in the World

8. Savannah Rapids Visitor Center

Savannah Rapids Visitor Center Scenery
image by Frank_Rost/TripAdvisor

Address: 3300 Evans to Locks Rd, Martinez, GA 30907

Tucked away in a southern-style historic cottage, the Savannah Rapids Visitor Center (also known as the Columbia County Visitors Center) is the perfect place to learn about the local hiking trails, wildlife, and more! The center is in the old Lockkeeper’s Cottage and was built around 1890.

As the only visitor center in Columbia County, they provide brochures on state-wide attractions. The center is conveniently located at an access point for the Savannah River, where you can canoe and kayak, with rentals available near the cottage. There are public restrooms onsite as well.

Savannah Rapids Park is next to the visitor center. The park includes the Augusta Canal Historic Trail, where you can see Reed Creek Falls and travel parallel to the waterway. There is a lot of Augusta history to explore, as you’ll see structures from the 1800s still standing along the canal.

9. Magnolia Cemetery

Magnolia Cemetery Tomb Stones
image by charleslambert392/TripAdvisor

Addresses: 702 3rd St, Augusta, GA 30901

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy exploring a place’s history, including visiting the cemeteries to learn about the past locals. Magnolia Cemetery is a good place to start to see interesting tombstones spanning several generations. 

Magnolia Cemetery’s first official burial was recorded in 1818. However, the oldest gravestone marker onsite is from 1800.

Look for American Revolution soldier John Martin, who died on Valentine’s Day in 1843 at 105. He survived a tomahawk to the head, fighting in two wars, and still made it to 105!

Magnolia Cemetery expanded and included different points of interest for visitors to pay their respects. The cemetery includes five Jewish cemeteries, a Greek cemetery, a Confederate soldier area, a Masonic Lodge, and several churches on its 60 acres of land.

Many soldiers are buried here due to the various American wars in the area. If you want to explore further, the Cedar Grove Cemetery is right next to Magnolia and is where many slaves were laid to rest. As always, please be respectful in the cemeteries to honor those who have passed and their family that may still live in the area.

10. Savannah River

Savannah River Scenery

The Savannah River acts almost as a border between South Carolina and Georgia as the main river in Augusta. The Savannah River is the main drinking source for the city and Georgia’s coastal city, Savannah.

The Savannah River is popular for hosting the rowing event in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Ivy League schools like Yale and Harvard also practice rowing here during the winter season.

Plenty of recreational activities exist while the river is still used for transportation and trade. Visitors can rent a kayak or canoe, go fishing, or walk the Augusta Riverwalk or North Augusta Greenway.

There are several local restaurants within walking distance of the Augusta Riverwalk. During the warmer months, you can catch the Augusta Market, which is held from mid-March through mid-November.

Stop by the Jessye Norman Amphitheater for an event on the river. Musical artists like Jason Mraz and Nappy Roots have played here in the past!

To be close to the Savannah River, book a stay at the Augusta Marriott or Crowne Plaza. For a true riverfront property, gather some friends and stay at this secluded waterfront home.

Eat at Brinkley’s Chop House on the north side of the river. You can even play golf next to the river! Book a round at the River Golf Club to get great views while hitting a birdie during that next hole. 

See Related: Best Islands in the US to Visit

11. Downtown Historic District – Broad Street

Downtown Augusta Aerial View

Broad Street is the main road running through the heart of downtown Augusta. The street has a concentration of restaurants and shops and is only a couple of blocks from the Augusta Riverwalk. Broad Street is broken up into the dining district to the west and the arts and culture district to the east.

The bronze James Brown Monument is at the center as a nod to Augusta’s soul and funk music roots. James Brown called Augusta his home for about ten years during his childhood.

For a bed and breakfast feel in downtown Augusta, stay at the Queen Anne Inn or Olde Town Inn. Stop for a bite to eat at Manny’s Sports Off Broad to get your fill of Georgia sports. Check out Frog Hollow Tavern for an extensive wine list if you’re looking for something more upscale.

Stop in the Augusta and Co. store to pick up unique souvenirs for loved ones back home. Products are always rotating, and pop-ups are common at the shop. You can find items like local art, t-shirts, snacks, and Augusta and Co. even offers tasting samples!

12. Augusta Museum of History

Augusta Museum of History Building
LittleT889, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 560 Reynolds St, Augusta, GA 30901

The Augusta Museum of History was started in 1937 to preserve and educate visitors on the area’s history. The expansive building includes exhibits where you can learn about local legends like wrestler Hulk Hogan and the history of transportation. You can also see various collections of historic clothing, photographs, postcards, and more.

A popular exhibit at the museum is the Transportation Corridor. The kids will love the life-size replicas of a 1920s trolley car, a 1930s gas station, a 1914 train, and historic cars!

Attend fun events like the seasonal Gingerbread Village. The Great Building Showdown is a STEM event showcasing miniature replicas of historic buildings around Augusta.

See Related: Museums in the US You Need to Visit

13. Morris Museum of Art

Morris Museum of Art Painting Exhibit
image by Sean B/TripAdvisor

Address: 1 10th St 2nd Floor, Augusta, GA 30901

The Morris Museum of Art is dedicated to Southern art and culture collections. William S. Morris started collecting in 1985 and eventually created the museum for the public in 1992.

Some exhibits you can expect to see at the Morris Museum of Art are paintings by Savannah women, work by local Augustan artists, and oil paintings of 1800s Southern life.

The Morris Museum of Art also includes a library called the Center for the Study of Southern Art. Access to the library is by appointment only.

Over 19,000 volumes and 25,000 vertical files are included in the library, focusing on art, culture, media, and more. The museum is next to the Augusta Riverwalk, and there is free parking.

14. Augusta Mall

Augusta Mall Building
image by Mike Kalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 3450 Wrightsboro Rd, Augusta, GA 30909

You might be wondering what makes this mall special. The Augusta Mall is one of the largest in the state of Georgia and is worth a visit when touring the city.

Inside you can find over 140 stores and restaurants with the main shops being Barnes & Noble, Dillard’s, Macy’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. You can also find higher-end stores like Michael Kors.

The larger restaurants include P.F. Chang’s and The Chop House. A convenient service the Augusta Mall offers is curbside pickup from a store or restaurant if they participate in the program. During the holidays, you can get pictures with Santa; they even allow pet portraits with the big guy.

See Related: Places to Visit in Your 20s in the US

15. Lucy Craft Laney Museum

Lucy Craft Laney Museum Sign
image by AmberAmzine/TripAdvisor

Address: 1116 Phillips St, Augusta, GA 30901

The Lucy Craft Laney Museum teaches visitors about the impact of African Americans throughout Augusta’s history. The museum is named after Lucy Craft Laney, born in the 1850s to two freed slaves. She settled in the Augusta area as an educator.

Her accomplishments include opening the region’s first black children’s school and nursing program. Today, Laney’s portrait hangs in the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.

The Lucy Craft Laney Museum hosts exhibits and events throughout the year and plays a big part in the Augusta community. Some past events included a ballet workshop with ballerina Karen Brown, an exhibit on The Great War from an African-American perspective, and their annual golf tournament (fitting for Augusta, GA).

The museum dedicated a monument to honor the first African-American woman, Carrie Mays, on the Augusta City Council. You can visit the memorial on Lucy Craft Laney Boulevard.

Guided tours are offered at select times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Parking is available onsite on the corner of Laney Walker Boulevard and Phillips Street.

16. Imperial Theatre

Imperial Theatre Building
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Address: 749 Broad St, Augusta, GA 30901

The Imperial Theatre opened in 1918 and was originally called the Wells Theatre. The theatre was successful with vaudeville acts and photoplay, charging as little as 10 to 35 cents per ticket when it first opened! Supposedly, Charlie Chaplin even visited during its first year.

Unfortunately, the theatre opened during the year of the Spanish Flu, and the theatre had to be sold. Eventually, the name was changed to the Imperial Theatre.

Located in downtown Augusta, the Imperial Theatre today has had a facelift and continues to book shows for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Visit to see plays like the Nutcracker or music acts like local Georgians, Drive by Truckers. Stay at the nearby Hyatt House or Holiday Inn Express if you stay in Augusta for the night.

See Related: Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia

17. The Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Gwringle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 720 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901

The church organization was founded in 1810 when Catholic communities started expanding in Georgia. The current Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church building was constructed in the mid-1800s around the Civil War era. It is considered one of the oldest Catholic Churches in Georgia still in operation.

The outside has a white facade with a simplified look reminiscent of the Neo-Romanesque style. The inside is styled as a basilica and features a painted scene above the altar of Jesus’ execution. On the sides is 20th century-added stained-glass windows with scenes from Jesus’ life stories in the Bible.

As you head back toward the church’s front entrance, you see the majestic pipe organ. The pipe organ contains 1,520 pipes installed in 1868 after the Civil War.

18. Sacred Heart Cultural Center

Sacred Heart Cultural Center Building

Address: 1301 Greene St, Augusta, GA 30901

In Augusta’s downtown historic district sits a beautiful former Catholic church. The building held its first Mass in 1900 and the last service in 1971. After being abandoned and nearly destroyed, the Peter S. Knox family revived it as Augusta’s epicenter of culture, history, and art.

Reopening in 1987, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center has served as a venue for the community to host art exhibitions, garden teas, and more. The Center is known for its Garden City Festival, which it hosts in the spring. The festival includes a vendor market and access to several private gardens around the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

The Symphony Orchestra Augusta is also a key attraction at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center, though sometimes shows are held at the Miller Theater. Take a peek inside the sanctuary where weddings are often held. It’s hard not to appreciate the design with rounded arches, Grecian columns, and stained glass decorating the space.

19. Meadow Garden

Meadow Garden Scenery
Flickr user Sir Mildred Pierce, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1320 Independence Dr, Augusta, GA 30901

While Meadow Garden sounds like a delightful name where you can frolic in meadows, it is instead named for the home of George Walton. George Walton was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence at 26 and played a key part in the independence from Great Britain. He continued down a political path, becoming Georgia’s governor, a senator, and a chief justice.

The Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the Meadow Garden home in 1900 to renovate and help maintain Augusta’s history. Meadow Garden is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

In the present day, you can step back to see what the house would have looked like in the late 1700s. Tours are held on Saturdays by appointment only, but they also do holiday tours for a fee.

See Related: Things to Do in Jekyll Island, Georgia

20. The Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home

Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home Building
Annalisa.frazier, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 419 7th St, Augusta, GA 30901

Being a true Georgia native, I am embarrassed that I did not realize President Woodrow Wilson spent his childhood in Augusta, Georgia.

His political life did start in the Northeast, after all. It was here where he first heard President Abraham Lincoln had been elected and saw the effects of the Civil War on his doorstep.

In the downtown area of Augusta, you can tour the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home as it was during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. The Wilson family moved to the area for Joseph Ruggles Wilson to become the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church.

Inside, you can see a window pane where President Woodrow Wilson signed his name as “Tom” for his first name, Thomas. He lived there with his parents and three siblings from 1860-1870 before moving to South Carolina.

Guided tours of the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home are offered Wednesday through Saturday at select times, and reservations are encouraged.

21. James Brown Tour

James Brown Mural in Augusta

Address: 560 Reynolds St, Augusta, GA 30901

The legendary musician James Brown has made his mark in Augusta, Georgia. There are many places to visit in Augusta that pay homage to the funk and soul singer, which you can do as a guided tour or on your own.

Like many Southern artists, he started in gospel music with his band, the Gospel Starlighters. Eventually, the band grew into an R&B sound before exploring the funk and soul side of things. He went on to win many accolades and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

The Augusta Museum of History includes an exhibit where you can learn about his legacy and see personal artifacts, costumes, and more. Brown grew up in the area during the Great Depression and World War II. He learned to escape those realities of hardship by teaching himself music.

Stop at the TBonz Steakhouse for a meal, which supposedly was one of Brown’s favorite local spots. Soul City Pizza is where Brown performed, and the Imperial Theatre was a rehearsal space for the singer. Get Instagram-worthy photos in front of the Spirit of Funk mural in downtown Augusta, painted by Georgian muralist Cole Phail.

James Brown sadly passed away in 2006. The James Brown Arena, formerly the Civic Center, is where his funeral was held, and thousands of mourners came to pay their respects.

Places to Stay in Augusta

1. The Partridge Inn Augusta, Curio Collection by Hilton Top Recommendation

The Partridge Inn, Curio Collection by Hilton is a historic inn located in the heart of Augusta. The property is within walking distance to Georgia National Golf Club, Augusta Convention Center and the Riverwalk Amphitheater. The hotel is also 4 miles from James Brown Arena and 2 miles from Augusta University and Medical District.

2. Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center

The Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center is just 11.3 km from the Masters Golf Tournament course and offers a wood-paneled cocktail bar and an outdoor pool. Free WiFi access is available in public areas, and rooms have TVs with cable channels. Each room features down comforters, free bottled water, and satellite TV with HBO®. The Augustino's Italian Eatery serves steaks and Italian dishes for dinner. Breakfast items are served at K.C.'s Korner and sandwiches can be purchased at the sandwich shop on site.

3. Cozy single family house

It's a cozy single family house with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, family room, kitchen, screen room, and a dining room. Located in Summerville, right next to the national golf course and the Augusta country club! Very convenient location (within 15 minutes to attractions such as Augusta mall).

FAQ

Where do I fly to visit Augusta, Georgia?

You can fly into the Augusta Regional Airport, located six miles south of Augusta, or the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, about a two-and-a-half to three-hour drive from Augusta.

Can I play golf where the Masters Tournament is held?

The Augusta National Golf Club that hosts the Masters Tournament is a private club for members and their guests only. Check out the nearby public clubs, Forest Hills and Augusta Municipal, to book tee times.

Is Augusta, Georgia, walkable?

The downtown area of Augusta and along the river are walkable. You will want a car or public transportation option to see other Augusta tourist attractions.

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