Events and Places of Interest
There are many recreational opportunities for visitors to Tuscaloosa County. Lake Lurleen State Park, named for Governor Lurleen Wallace, is located about 10 minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa and offers 1,600 acres for camping and hiking and a 250-acre lake for swimming and fishing. Located 15 miles south of Tuscaloosa is Moundville Archaeological Park, part of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and is the site of a Mississippian period settlement. The 320-acre park includes nature trails, Native American village reconstructions, and a museum that houses artifacts and documents relating to Native American cultures in the area. A portion of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, built around the pre-Civil War Tannehill Iron Works, spreads across the wooded hills of eastern Tuscaloosa County, although most of the park is located in neighboring Jefferson County. The park contains a monument to the Confederacy and offers camping, hiking, golfing, hiking, and swimming. Special events at the park include an annual re-eanactment of a Civil War battle and monthly trade days. Other outdoor recreational areas in Tuscaloosa County include Lake Tuscaloosa, Holt Lake, and Lake Nichol. In addition, the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority operates 31 small public parks totaling 1,700 acres.
Tuscaloosa County is home to a number of museums and cultural centers. The Alabama Museum of Natural History, located in Smith Hall on the University of Alabama campus, displays fossils, rocks, and minerals. The Murphy African-American Museum at the Murphy-Collins House in Tuscaloosa was home to William J. Murphy, the first licensed African-American mortician in Alabama, and features Murphy family memorabilia as well as other artifacts representative of the lifestyle of affluent African Americans at the turn of the century. Celebrating more than 100 years of Crimson Tide football and multiple national championships, the Paul W. Bryant Museum on the University of Alabama campus houses a re-creation of Coach “Bear” Bryant’s office along with other football memorabilia. The Children’s Hands-On Museum provides educational experience for children of all ages through hands-on exhibits, programs, and special events.
Other places and events of interest in Tuscaloosa County include the Kentuck Art Center in Northport. The gallery features rotating monthly exhibits of regional artists and hosts the annual Kentuck Arts Festival. At the Mercedes-Benz Visitor’s Center in Vance, visitors can tour the plant and trace the history of Mercedes-Benz from 1886 to the present. Tuscaloosa County is home to many historic buildings as well, including the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion in Tuscaloosa, the Denny Chimes Tower and Gorgas House on the campus of the University of Alabama, and the Mildred Warner House.