Alabama has several bonded wineries and most are located in the central part near Birmingham. The climate of the northeastern region of the state is good for growing grape vines, but throughout most of the state, the climate is hot and humid and not suitable.
Most wines produced in the state are made from native grape varieties, such as muscadine and Norton, fruit wines from peach and blueberry, and French-American hybrids such as Chardonel and Chambourcin. Alabama's wineries are all part of the Alabama Wine Trail, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Alabama in spite of the fact that about one-third of Alabama's counties are dry.
1. Cat-n-Bird Winery
© Cat-n-Bird Winery
Located in the suburbs of Chelsea, Alabama in the basement of the owners Matt and Robyn Lyons’ house, Cat-n-Bird is a boutique winery that imports grapes and grape juice from different wine growing regions around the world.
They use the fruits and juice to produce their own custom wines. They start the process with fermentation and then monitor the wine as it develops. They then bottle, cork, and label their wines before selling them from their tasting room.
They use standard wine grapes such as chardonnay, cabernet and pinot grigio, instead of the muscadines used by most Alabama wineries.
Their signature wines are La Rubia, a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Viognier; and a blend of California Syrah, Cabernet, and Zinfandel called the Trinita Cremisi. Explore weekend getaways in Alabama for more travel ideas.
11661 Old Hwy 280, Chelsea, AL 35043, Phone: 205-610-9463
2. Corbin Farms Winery
© Corbin Farms Winery
Corbin Farms Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Alabama. Located on 5 acres of fertile farmland, Corbin Farms Winery produces and bottles a large range of wines from grapes grown in Alabama and other major American grape-growing regions such as Oregon, California, and Washington.
They offer a guided tour of the winery and the surrounding grounds. The host and guide will share with visitors the stories about the winery and their wines.
The guests are invited to visit Corbin’s charming bistro, where they will be offered delicious meals and desserts perfectly chosen to accompany their wines. The large patio is open on warm days, offering beautiful views of the vineyard and live music by local artists. Browse our places to visit in Alabama guide for more ideas.
800 Co Rd 87, Calera, AL 35040, Phone: 205-685-0655
3. Alabama Wineries: Fruithurst Winery Co
© Fruithurst Winery Co
The Fruithurst Winery is located north of the town of Fruithurst and is surrounded by 15 acres of muscadine vineyards. It inherited the name from the original winery located on that location as well as the culture and elegance of a true vineyard village.
The Fruithurst offers a full range of muscadine wines as well as other wines made from local fruits. All fruits used to make wines, including muscadines, peaches, and strawberries, are grown locally.
Wines include red and white muscadine, blueberry, strawberry and peach wines, dry, sweet, and semi-sweet varieties. The Fruithurst Winery works together with Laminack Vineyards. The property also includes a small patch of strawberries.
27091 Co Rd 49, Fruithurst, AL 36262, Phone: 256-463-1003
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4. Hidden Meadow Vineyard and Winery
© Hidden Meadow Vineyard and Winery
Hidden Meadow Vineyard is a small family-run farm and winery in the town of Jemison, Alabama. The first grape vines were planted in 2005. With additional plantings, by 2010 they had planted a total of 4 acres of vineyard.
Varieties include traditional muscadine grapes (Carlos, Noble and Magnolia), and Cynthiana. All wines are made on-site from grapes and other fruits grown on the premises and only at times are they acquired from other sources.
They currently offer more than a dozen varieties of wines, from dry to dessert, which can be tasted in their tasting room. On warm days, the party moves outside to their lovely deck overlooking the vineyard. Browse our things to do in Alabama guide for more ideas.
664 Co Rd 606, Jemison, AL 35085, Phone: 205-688-4648
5. Alabama Wineries: High Country Cellars
High Country Cellars is a winery located in Heflin, Alabama, about a 1-hour drive from Birmingham or Atlanta, on the slopes of Cheehahaw Mountain, part of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Range. They ferment, bottle, and sell their wines on the premises from the region’s finest vineyards and orchards, producing a diverse assortment of unique, custom-made wines.
Their tasting room is open during the winery’s normal business hours, but private tastings and tours are available by appointment.
They offer dry, semi-sweet, and sweet wines, but they also have chocolate and specialty wines. High Country Cellars also sells wine-making and beer-brewing supplies for those who want to start their own home operation.
849 Almon St, Heflin, AL 36264, Phone: 256-463-3456
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6. Hodges Vineyards & Winery
© Hodges Vineyards & Winery
Hodges Vineyards and Winery is located just a few minutes from Auburn, Auburn University, Lake Martin, and Opelika in east-central Alabama.
The winery produces a large selection of muscadine grape and fruit wines, and much of the fruit is grown in its own vineyards. Most blueberries, apples, and blackberries for their fruit wines are imported from within the state of Alabama. Wines are bottled on-site.
Visitors are invited to sample all varieties of Hodges wines in their elegant tasting room or outside under the pergola. They can take a stroll through the vineyards, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with friends, and watch new plantings of Lenoir, Merlot, Norton, and Blanc du Bois grapes and Champanel vines.
230 Co Rd 71, Camp Hill, AL 36850, Phone: 256-896-4036
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7. Alabama Wineries: Jules J Berta Vineyards
Jules J. Berta Vineyards is located high on Sand Mountain in Albertville, Alabama, at an elevation of 1,100 feet, a few minutes from Lake Guntersville. The 28-acre farm is planted with 8 acres of vineyards. The high elevation and sandy soil create a unique condition for growing vinifera grapes. Jules J Berta is the first Alabama producer of this type of wine grapes. They grow Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Syrah, Sylvaner, and Blaufrankisch. Their wine tastings include wines from their estate-grown grapes, local sweet muscadine, and sweet fruit wines and are complemented with charcuterie baskets for trellis dining. They also sell home wine-making supplies and gift baskets and offer tours.
2, 1409 1, Darden Ave, Albertville, AL 35951, Phone: 256-891-5115
More ideas: Alabama Beaches
8. Lewis Lakes Vineyards
Lewis Lakes Vineyards is a family-owned operation with both the vineyard and winery located on their 60-acre farm located less than 2 miles north of Shelby County Courthouse in Columbiana, Alabama.
Each phase of their wine-making process, from planting, growing, and nurturing vines to harvesting grapes, fermenting the juice, and bottling and selling their wines is strictly Alabama.
Their wines are sold at the winery on Chelsea Road. The vineyards lie near picturesque Lake Michelle, which provides the water for the irrigation of the vineyards. Lewis Lakes invites visitors to sample their wines and take a tour of their beautiful vineyard. There are Adirondack chairs at different points on the grounds so that visitors can enjoy the sun setting over the vineyard.
1075 Chelsea Rd, Columbiana, AL 35051, Phone: 205-555-5555
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9. Alabama Wineries: Mad County Winery LLC
© Mad County Winery LLC
Mad County is a small family-owned distillery and a winery in Madison County Alabama known for their strong, 20 percent country fruit wines. Their unique wines have won a number of prestigious national awards.
One of them is their apple wine made from Red Delicious apples, butterscotch, and a touch of cinnamon. Their small tasting room is a popular spot in Madison in part because of the owner, who is always ready to entertain guests with stories, and in part because of their original wines and spirits, especially rum.
Their wines and spirits can be purchased only on the premises or in a few stores in Madison. Things to Do in Madison
121 Castle Drive N.W., Bldg D, Madison, AL 35758, Phone: 256-651-5669
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10. Maraella Winery and Vineyard
Located in the verdant foothills of the Appalachia Mountains, Maraella Estate Farm Vineyards & Winery is a family operation established in 2005 by the Lee family. Their wines are made from locally grown grapes and fruit.
Their flagship wine is a cabernet sauvignon, estate-grown, produced, and bottled. This wine’s 2010 vintage has received gold and silver medals at the wine shows all over the country.
Their 2012 cabernet sauvignon, 2013 Riesling, 2013 cabernet sauvignon as well as a dry white muscadine called Carlos have also won a number of gold and silver medals. Tours of the winery and wine tasting room are available daily.
5296 Old Us Highway 278 E, Hokes Bluff, AL 35903, Phone: 256-494-1000
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11. Alabama Wineries: Maria's Vineyard
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Maria’s Vineyard is a working muscadine vineyard in Dothan, Alabama. All their muscadine vines are grown organically.
At the heart of the vineyard is a beautiful Tuscan-style vineyard house with a bridal suite, banquet area, covered porches, jasmine-covered arbors, rose gardens, marble gazebo, and trickling fountains.
Maria’s Vineyard is a popular venue not only for lavish weddings but also for superb birthday parties, receptions or any other big events.
Even if you are not having any celebration, a visit to the vineyard during the summer and early fall is worth it just for enjoying the beauty of the vineyard, picking your own sweet grapes, or tasting their delicious wines. There are many great things to do in Dothan.
3940 Fortner St, Dothan, AL 36305, Phone: 334-791-2514
12. Alabama Wineries: Morgan Creek Vineyards
Morgan Creek Vineyards in Harpersville, Alabama, offers Minnesota-grown muscadine wines and artisan foods made from locally sourced ingredients in a lively European atmosphere.
It is one of eleven wineries in the state and it is part of the Southern Minnesota/Northern Iowa Wine Trail. It is Minnesota's only underground winery.
The underground earth shelter where the winery is located provides the perfect temperature for wine production and ageing. The romantic and inviting atmosphere is perfect for the tasting room and gift shop. The vineyard is known as a venue for a range of special events, such as a spring Bacchus Festival, a German wine tasting, and an annual grape stomp during the Octoberfest. The vineyard also includes the Wine Café and wood-fired gourmet food.
181 Morgan Creek Ln, Harpersville, AL 35078, Phone: 205-672-2053
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13. Ozan Winery & Vineyard
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Ozan Winery and Vineyard are located in the heart of Alabama's wine community, only a mile from Calera in Shelby County.
The winery uses traditional viticulture practices, and both the vineyard and winery are open to the public. Their cellar and tasting room enjoy a view of the vineyards and all the activity as well as a spectacular sunset.
Ozan's charming tasting room is designed in the European farm style, with classic stone walls and ceiling beams. The main feature is a wall of stone bottle racks imported from Europe. The winery’s Cafe Vino serves lunch six days a week.
173 Co Rd 301, Calera, AL 35040, Phone: 205-668-6926
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14. Wineries in Alabama: Perdido Vineyards
© Perdido Vineyards
Perdido Vineyards, plated with 50 acres of muscadine grapes, was established in 1972 by Jim and Marianne Eddins to grow grapes for Bartels Winery of Pensacola, Florida. Sweet muscadine was their first vintage of 1979, and it is today representing Alabama on exhibit at the California Wine Museum. Perdido Vineyards produces premium white, red, and rosé wines with the fruity taste of the Alabama native Scuppernong and muscadine grapes. Perdido Vineyards also produces high-quality apple wines made from Alabama apples.
This modern 90,000-gallon winery uses cold fermentation and temperature controlled storage, ensuring the best quality table wines in the South. Perdido Vineyards wine labels are designed by local artists and represent local history and attractions.
22100 Co Rd 47, Perdido, AL 36562, Phone: 251-937-9463
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15. South Ridge Wine
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South Ridge Wine is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery located in Crenshaw County, Alabama. They produce a range of handmade wines made exclusively from grapes grown in their own vineyards.
All grapes are hand-harvested and processed to make their South Ridge Wine. Their selection of wines is made from native muscadine, Black Spanish, Blanc DuBois or Lenoir grapes. There are currently five wines under South Ridge Wine label: Three reds and two whites.
All wines are 100 percent pure juice, with no water added. The wine-producing equipment has been carefully selected and imported from the wine regions of Italy.
3297 Live Oak Rd, Luverne, AL 36049, Phone: 334-429-0572
More ideas: Things to Do in Decatur
16. Wineries in Alabama: Whippoorwill Vineyards
Whippoorwill Vineyards is a family owned and operated farm winery in Notasulga, Southeastern Alabama, about 20 minutes from Auburn and 40 minutes from Montgomery. It is the only winery in this region. Every operation in the vineyard is done by hand – harvesting, bottling, corking, sealing, and boxing of wines. Most of the vineyard was planted by 2005, and Whippoorwill became a fully operating winery in 2009.
They now have a 15-acre vineyard with a large variety of grapes, allowing them to produce 11 types of wine, from sweet to dry. Visitors are invited to visit the winery and enjoy the rich flavors of their wines.
They can also take a tour of the vineyard, visit the gift shop, pick their own grapes during the harvest season, and spend the night in their campground.
4282 Co Rd 31, Notasulga, AL 36866, Phone: 334-257-2711
More ideas: Things to Do in Tuscaloosa
17. Wills Creek Winery and Vineyards
© Wills Creek Winery and Vineyards
Wills Creek Winery and Vineyards is located in Duck Springs, Alabama, with the vineyards nestled in the hills of the Duck Springs Valley, not far from the Duck Springs Wildlife Preserve.
Wills Creek produces a range of muscadine wines, fruit wines from locally grown fruits, naturally flavored grape wines, specialty vinifera wines, and dessert wines.
They also make jellies, candles, preserves, and gift baskets, which they sell in their gift shop. Visitors are invited to taste and purchase up to 20 varieties of wine.
They can take a tour of the processing rooms, attend a wine-making class, purchase home wine and beer-making supplies, and have lunch on the winery’s beautiful deck or patio with spectacular views of the Duck Spring Nature Preserve.
10522 Duck Springs Rd, Attalla, AL 35954, Phone: 256-538-5452
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18. White Oak Vineyards
© White Oak VineyardsWhite Oaks Vineyards
Located about half way between Birmingham and Atlanta, White Oak Vineyards cover 52 acres at an elevation of 1000 feet, providing an ideal terroir for several grape varietals.
The first wines were planted in 1998 and now supply most of the grapes used to produce the Southern Oak Wine range.
Visitors are always welcome to stop by the winery Tasting Room to sample some of their delicious wines and enjoy sweeping views out over the rolling hills and valleys.
The Tasting Room is open from Thursday to Saturday for walk-ins and on Monday to Wednesday by prior arrangement. Their range of wines includes dry and semi-dry reds, Muscadines and mouth-watering fruit wines.
W1484 Dry Hollow Road, Choccolocco Valley, Anniston, AL 36207, 256 231 7998
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19. Junavelli Winery, Alabama
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The Junavelli Winery was officially launched in May 2018, but the story of their wines started long before then with an amateur wine-making experiment which delivered a delicious sweet blueberry elixir.
Once the passion was ignited, there was no stopping self-taught winemaker Roger, as he continued to make and perfect his range of small-town wines.
Today you are invited to stop by for a tasting and get to know their selection of delicious wines made (mostly) from fruit and berries. Whether your palate prefers sweet or dry wines, you will definitely find a few memorable wines that hit the spot.
Junavelli Winery, 357 Gum Tree Lane, Brewton, AL 36426, 251 809 3396
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20. Lake Point Vineyard and Winery, Alabama
© Lake Point Vineyard and Winery
Lake Point Winery came into existence when fruit farmers Rita and Daniel Lewis found that they had more delicious fruit than they could use or sell on. They started experimenting with making a variety of fruit-based wines that were so successful that they soon needed to build a winery, tasting room and a deck where visitors can sit and relax as they enjoy a tasting.
Today the couple produces more than 50 varieties of delicious fruit wines (there are also a few grape varietals) which have earned them awards and gained them a staunch following of wine lovers.
Lake Point Vineyard, 694 Lake Point Drive, Mathews, AL 36052, 334 517 8334
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21. Novi Vineyards and Winery, Alabama
Located in the foothills of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, Novi Vineyards and Winery combines stunning mountain views and a fertile valley ideal for growing grapes.
Family owned and operated, there are 10 acres of vineyards planted with French hybrid cultivars such as Blanc du Bois and Lenoir, together with American Norton vines, all of which are perfectly suited to the hot and humid Alabama weather.
They also bottle and cellar a few other varietals including Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Visitors are invited to visit the Tasting Room where you can enjoy a tasting flight of wines. You are also welcome to take a relaxing walk through the vineyards.
Novi Vineyards and Winery, 6361 Risers Mill Road, Alpine, AL 35014, 205 966 1889
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22. Alabama Wineries: Five Points Farms
Picturesquely nestled between Lafayette and Roanoke, Five Points Farm is home to blueberry and blackberry orchards and a small vineyard planted to French Hybrid, American and Muscadine vines.
The farm plans to open their own Winery in 2022 and visitors will be able to come and taste a range of delicious and unusual wines in a beautiful country setting, dominated by a big red barn. The farm is also home to an apiary and a sorghum cane plantation. The farm offers periodic Bee Camps where interested parties can come and learn more about honey production. At Christmas you can enjoy their Christmas in the Vineyards event.
Five Points Farms, 2185 County Road 261, Five Points, AL 36855, 334 864 0087
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The 20 Best Alabama Wineries near me today according to local experts:
More Ideas in Alabama: Chewacla State Park
Alabama’s Chewacla State Park offers close to 700 acres of recreational outdoor space in the near the Auburn-Opelika area of Eastern Alabama.
Chewacla State Park is home to the 27-acre Lake Chewacla, perfect for swimming and fishing. With no boat ramp, traffic is limited to small craft such as canoes and kayaks, and the lake is home to bass, bream, catfish and crappie. A small lakeside beach area is used for swimming. The dam’s spillway, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930’s creates the picturesque Chewacla Falls. Three covered open-air pavilions are located throughout the park. The Beachside Pavilion is located adjacent to the lake. The Lower Pavilion is the most secluded of the three, and is adjacent to the playground, while the Upper Pavilion, the only one with electricity, is located next to a small field perfect for a game of kickball or soccer.
Hiking for all levels runs through the park’s varied terrain. Visitors can hike through the short interpretative Sweet Shrub Trail, which runs alongside the Moore's Mill Creek from the Lower Pavilion, or challenge themselves with longer hikes such as the Troop 30 Boy Scout Trail, a longer trail that follows Moore’s Mill Creek to the park’s boundary, and then loops back to it’s starting point at Murphy Drive. Eagle Scout Trail is a wide, easy to follow trail that follows the shore of Lake Chewacla in some parts. The Deer Rub Trail follows Chewacla Creek to Walnut Shelter. The trail takes hikers past large gneiss boulders that are estimated to be billions of years old.
Mountain biking trails throughout the park are maintained by the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers (CAMP). CAMP is an official member of the International Mountain Biking Association and is committed to improving the lives of visitors to the park by maintaining a network of safe, well maintained trails, and educating the public on mountain biking and its benefits. Close to twenty miles of cycling trails in the park include everything from flat loops around the campgrounds to intermediate single-track trails and advanced technical trails with jumps, dips and vertical climbs. The NORBA National Trail is a historic trail and home of the first ever NORBA National mountain bike race to be held east of the Mississippi River.
Accommodations at the park include six stone cottages built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The recently renovated cottages now have modern kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood flooring, stone fireplaces and central heating and air conditioning. The cottages are available for rent year round, and linens are provided. Additional camping options include thirty-six RV hookup sites, and ten primitive camping sites. Each campground is equipped with shower and toilet facilities.
Wildlife at the park includes chipmunks, squirrels, red foxes and deer. Among the park’s birds are wild turkey and waterfowl such as Kingfishers and Blue Herons. In the spring, native Rhododendron and mountain laurel are in full bloom along many of the park’s trails. Chewacla State Park is one of a handful of Alabama State Parks that allows falconry as a method of hunting during squirrel and rabbit season.
History: In the late 19th century visitors were flocking to the water surrounding Wright's Mill for swimming and recreation. By the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps had built the park’s six cabins, along with a network of trails and additional facilities, including a stone arched bridge, and the dam that created Lake Chewacla. In 1939, the state of Alabama took possession of the area, and designated it a public park.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Alabama State Parks offer an online video series on outdoor skills. Videos include information on selecting the proper footwear for outdoor recreation, and basic gear needed for camping.
The iNaturalist program is a downloadable app that helps visitors identify native flora and fauna in the parks. Visitors can also record their observations by uploading photographs of wildlife they see in the parks, which helps contribute to the species list for each of the parks.
The Alabama State Park system is part of the Alabama 100 Miles Challenge, a non-profit initiative designed to encourage Alabama residents to walk, hike, bike, boat or swim 100 miles each year. Participants log their mileage via the 100 miles app and share their progress on social media platforms.
What’s Nearby: Chewacla State Park is located just 5 miles from Auburn University, and just 15 miles from Opelika’s historic downtown.
124 Shell Toomer Parkway Auburn, AL 36830, Phone: 334-887-5621
More Ideas in Alabama: Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is among the best art museums in the State of Alabama. The collection of over 2,500 works represents a range of traditional and contemporary fine art, with a focus on 19th and 20th century American and European works. The permanent collection is complemented by visiting works on display in temporary exhibits. Works are regularly rotated through the galleries to provide visitors with an ever-changing look at the museum’s permanent collection.
Permanent collections include the Advancing American Art collection of 117 modern American paintings. The collection is based on a group of 32 works that were originally displayed throughout Eastern Europe, Latin America and East Asia immediately after World War II in an effort to exhibit the artistic freedoms available to artists in America. When the exhibit was halted due to outcry over the multi-cultural background of the artists and the theme of some paintings, the works were sold at auction. Recent acquisitions made to complement the original group came from the 1072 Society, a group of donors who have been giving to the museum’s acquisition fund since 2008. The number 1072 represents the amount paid for the museum’s original 32 works of American painting, as well as the amount members of the society donate annually.
Among the museum’s cornerstone collections are over 100 prints by John James Audubon, a naturalist known for his scientific illustrations of birds, and over 300 pieces of Belleek porcelain from Northern Ireland, which were donated to the museum in 1958. Highlights of the diverse fine art collection include a 1901 drawing by Edvard Munch, a 1902 etching by Käthe Kollwitz, a 1975 etching by Jim Dine, photographs by William Wegman from the 1990’s, a 1930 lithograph by Diego Rivera and 1930 oil on canvas by Georgia O’Keefe.
The museum itself is a 40,000 square foot facility with travertine exterior, surrounded by a formal English garden, a wooded landscape, and an outdoor sculpture garden. Inside are six rotating exhibit galleries, an auditorium, gift shop and café, and terrace overlooking a small lake.
History: The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is the only art museum in the state of Alabama to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a designation it has had since 2013. The museum first opened ten years earlier in 2003. Jule Collins Smith is the spouse of Albert Smith, a 1947 graduate of Auburn University. His $3 million donation to the museum project was a gift to his wife for their 50th wedding anniversary.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art hosts approximately 200 free public programs for 30,000 visitors annually. Educational programs include art studio programming for children in grades kindergarten through twelve. Poetry readings, music performances, artist’s talks, films and tours are also on the agenda.
Art Café takes place Thursday evenings, offering a live music performance or artist’s talk. Third Thursdays are reserved for poetry readings, by Auburn University Students, or visiting poets. Student Practicum Talks are given by students of art or art history, and offer educational background and history of items in the permanent collection.
Group tours are available by appointment, with trained docents leading groups through the current exhibits.
Past and Future Exhibits: Past exhibits have included “Celebrating 125 Years of Auburn Women.” The exhibit of works from the permanent collection ran from 2014 through 2017 and highlighted works by female artists to celebrate Auburn University’s admittance of women since 1892. “Audubon’s Last Wilderness Journey” ran from January through May of 2018 and focused on The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a three-volume work published between 1845 and 1848.
“The Third Poetry” is on display through January 2019. The exhibit features watercolors, prints and ceramics by Mississippi coastal artist Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965), who is known for his contemporary artistry and craftsmanship in representing the native flora and fauna of the American south. The exhibit is complemented by “Mississippi,” which runs through December 2018. This exhibit features the work of Mississippi artists Maude Schuyler Clay and Ann Fisher-Wirth, who represent the state’s historic and diverse landscapes through poetry and photographs.
“Out of the Box” is a biennial juried outdoor sculpture exhibit, which began in 2013. The exhibit aims to engage and educate members of the community while contributing to ongoing growth of the permanent collection of outdoor sculpture. The most recent installment of the show featured eleven works selected from over 100 submissions.
901 South College Street | Auburn, Alabama 36849, Phone: 334-844-1484
More Ideas in Alabama: Delano Park
Delano Park, also known as Alabama’s Emerald Jewel, is a public park in northern Alabama managed by the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department. The 28-acre park in historic downtown Decatur is over 130 years old, and its landscape is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as Decatur’s first landscaped City Park. The park is home to several heritage trees and offers a historic architecture, public sculptures and walking paths to inspire and relax.
Features of the park include several historic Works Progress Administration structures. These historic structures include the wall and columns surrounding the Rose Garden, a bathhouse, bandstand, and a Girl Scout Little House, which offers a kitchen, meeting room and restroom facilities. A stone bridge spanning a drainage ditch was moved to the park in the 1930’s from Decatur’s Ferry Street, and has been a favorite park landmark ever since. A former swimming pool has since been filled in, and is now used as a field at the east end of the park.
Delano Park’s centerpiece is the historic Rose Garden, which was built by the Civil Works Administration in 1934 and was refurbished between 2005 and 2006 as part of a master plan to bring the park back to its historically rich landscaping. When it was first planted, the Rose Garden contained over 2,000 roses planted to take full advantage of each viewing point. In addition to roses, crape myrtles and gladiolas were planted in the Rose Garden along with several trees transplanted from Bankhead National Forest in northwestern Alabama.
Delano Park’s Riverwild Garden is built on a site that was once occupied by an original WPA playground. Today, a new playground with accessible features and updated safety and play elements occupies the Riverwild Garden. Children in wheelchairs are able to play alongside their friends without having to leave their equipment. An adjacent splash pad is built on what was once a WPA wading pool. The splash pad’s bathhouse is a historic structure that now offers family friendly restrooms and changing facilities. Both the playground and splash pad are inspired by Alabama’s wild rivers, and include elements inspired by Alabama’s native flora and fauna.
Delano Park is home to a one-mile long walking trail. Additional recreational facilities include four tennis courts, a basketball court and two picnic pavilions. The Fort Decatur Recreational Complex within the park provides an indoor basketball court and conference room.
Public art within the park includes seven large-scale outdoor sculptures surrounding the Riverwild Garden. Sculptures reflect the theme of native Alabaman wildlife and were created by local artists Bruce Larsen and Frank Fleming. Two great herons top an archway over a walking path, a giant turtle and bullfrog rest on rock outcroppings, and a larger-than-life dragonfly made of steel and found objects perches above the park.
The Trail of History is a paved sidewalk that connects the park’s east and west ends. The trail is dotted with educational signage that outlines the history of Decatur and Delano Park from the late 1880’s to the mid 1930’s.
History: Decatur Park was designed in 1887 by famed American landscape architect Nathan Franklin Barrett who also designed parks in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and Texas. He was a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Originally, the park was part of a master plan to revitalize Decatur’s downtown area after it had been devastated by the Civil War and an outbreak of yellow fever.
The historic Rose Garden was designed in 1934 by Carolyn Cortner Smith, one of Alabama’s earliest female architects. The Civil Works Administration project employed approximately 140 men at a time when Decatur was facing vast unemployment and the closure of businesses during the Great Depression. The name Delano is in honor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose New Deal helped fund the park, and who inspired municipal parks as focal points of downtown areas across the United States.
Delano Park underwent a massive restoration in 2005 under the direction of Alabama’s Paige Duke Landcape Architects. The park’s sculptures were installed between 2009 and 2011, made possible by private donations raised by Friends of Delano Park. The non-profit organization is in the midst of executing a master plan to refurbish and revitalize the park, including more properly connecting the park’s middle and west ends. Delano Park is managed by the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department.
825 Gordon Drive, SE Decatur, AL 35601, Phone: 256-341-4930