Whether you’re a Bama fan or not, the campus has a lot to see, including an arboretum and several museums. But Tuscaloosa is a whole lot more than a college town.
Stroll along the river. The Riverwalk runs along Jack Warner Parkway and includes a walking/biking trail, playground, picnic tables, benches, and a direct path to a couple of great eateries: Another Broken Egg has an amazing menu of breakfast/brunch items and is open 7am-2pm daily. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is open 11am-10pm all week plus until 11pm Friday/Saturday.
Tuscaloosa Museum of Art. Also on the Jack Warner Parkway, the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art includes the substantial collection of Tuscaloosa businessman Jack Warner plus interior furnishings dating from 1700-1865. Works by Edward Hopper, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent are among the 40 artists on exhibit. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm, Sunday 1-6pm. Free admission.
Transportation Museum. Another Jack Warner Parkway venue is the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum, featuring artifacts, replications, photographs, and displays of the area’s history through the various forms of transportation used along Tuscaloosa’s rivers, roads, and railways. Open 10am-4:30pm Tuesday-Saturday. Admission: adults, $5; seniors, $2; kids 6-17, $2; under age 6, free.
Capstone Club of Alabama Golf. The Capstone Club of Alabama is ranked as one of the top public golf course in the state. Rates are a very reasonable $25-$45, plus with a Champion Frequent Player Card, each 5th round of golf is free. Memberships are available at super low prices. Monday thru Saturday, the Club offers a buffet lunch with weekday prices at only $9.95 (+ tax) per person, including main dish, sides, salad bar, rolls, soup, and dessert.
Children’s Hands-On Museum. The Children’s Hands-On Museum on University Boulevard is a three-story building with 23 exhibits geared toward every age from newborn to young teens. Open Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm; Friday, 9am-7:30pm; Saturday, 10am-pm. Admission: $8, ages 3 to adult; seniors, $6; over age 1 to under age 3, $5; under age 1, free.
Lake Lurleen State Park. Lake Lurleen State Park covers 1,625 acres, including the 250-acre lake, a modern campground, picnic area, playground, swim beach, fishing piers, boat rentals, and boat launches. Day-use fees are $3, adults; $1, seniors; $1, ages 6-17; free, under 6. During football season, campground reservations require a 2-night minimum at a total cost of $75.95 per Friday/Saturday. You can also store a camper for the entire season for $150.
Kentuck Art Festival. The third weekend in October – October 19 and 20 – are the dates for this year’s Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Kentuck Park with the works of nearly 300 artists, including nationally and internationally acclaimed artisans. Events will include live demonstrations by basketweavers, potters, blacksmiths, fabric artists, woodworkers, jewelers, and glassblowers. Ranked in the top ten art festivals in the U.S., it’s the perfect place and season to experience the Tuscaloosa area.
Check out Mercedes-Benz. Stop by the Mercedes-Benz plant in nearby Vance and enjoy their Visitor Center & Museum with multimedia exhibits, vintage automobiles, and a fabulous gift shop. A kids-geared video, “The Big Auto Plant,” shows how an M-Class is made at the plant. Open Monday thru Friday from 8:30am to 4pm. Free admission.
Factory tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am, 9:15am, 12:30pm, & 12:45pm. Cost is $5 per person and advance reservations are highly recommended as all time slots usually fill up quickly. Before you, go be prepared; download a copy of the requirements – such as no shorts, no sandals or open-toed shoes, etc.. To set a date and time, phone: (888) 286-8762.
Historic Tuscaloosa. Over a dozen homes and other sites are featured by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, including the Murphy-Collins House; the Battle-Friedman House & Gardens; the Jemison-Van de Graaf Mansion; Northport Train Depot; and First African Baptist Church. The Society’s website lists highlights, addresses, and open days and hours for each venue.
More info. To learn more about Tuscaloosa, visit: www.VisitTuscaloosa.com or phone the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Commission at: (800) 538-8696.