Auburn is a historic college town, the largest city in eastern Alabama, and the home of Auburn University. Auburn has a surprising number of great parks, such as Chewacla State Park, the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, and Kiesel Park. The Auburn’s Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art has 2,500 exceptional works of art. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Chewacla State Park
3.Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve & Nature Center
4.Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
7.Southeastern Raptor Center
10.Hickory Dickory Park
14.Hamilton's on Magnolia
15 Best Things to Do in Auburn, Alabama
- Toomer's Corner, Photo: City of Auburn, AL - City Government
- Chewacla State Park, Photo: Courtesy of kevinbeasley - Fotolia.com
- Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve & Nature Center, Photo: Courtesy of Tammy Ray - Fotolia.com
- Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Photo: Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
- Jordan-Hare Stadium, Photo: Courtesy of Mark Herreid - Fotolia.com
- Kiesel Park, Photo: Courtesy of Sandro - Fotolia.com
- Southeastern Raptor Center, Photo: Courtesy of Martina Berg - Fotolia.com
- Davis Arboretum, Photo: Courtesy of Eliot - Fotolia.com
- Plainsman Park, Photo: Courtesy of blueiz60 - Fotolia.com
- Hickory Dickory Park, Photo: Hickory Dickory Park
- The Depot, Photo: The Depot
- Acre, Photo: Acre
- Ariccia Trattoria, Photo: The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center
- Hamilton's on Magnolia, Photo: Hamilton's on Magnolia
- The Hound, Photo: The Hound
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of xiefei - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Davis Arboretum
The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden is located at the University of California’s Davis campus, between San Francisco and Sacramento. The site is a resource for both students and the public to learn about environmental education and stewardship.
The Arboretum consists of 100 acres of gardens and research collections, and includes the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, a protected wetlands habitat surrounding a small stream, that’s valuable as a wildlife sanctuary, research and teaching site.
The Arboretum Terrace Garden is a Mediterranean style garden, perfectly suited for the central Californian climate. The garden, which includes the Lois Crowe Patio, features seating options surrounded by decorated pavement and patios, vine-covered pergolas, small sustainable gardens and container plantings. The urban setting of the garden abuts the Downtown Davis Shopping Center. The garden is an example of how local residents can landscape sustainably with a reduced need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and low need for water.
The arboretum’s Peter J. Shield’s Oak Grove is home to over 100 varieties of oak tree, including several rare oaks that are native to the Western United States. The scientifically significant collection is part of the North American Plant Collections Consortium. The sweeping lawns shaded by large trees make this part of the arboretum a popular spot for relaxation and outdoor recreation.
The T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove is the largest collection of Redwood’s outside of their endemic range. The grove includes 65-year old Redwood trees surrounded by understory plants that are native to Redwood forests.
The California Rock Garden is a display of boulders and other geological formations that represent California’s geology and a geological history that includes metamorphic rocks that are 1.7 billion years old. The rock garden is surrounded by native Californian plants.
Other gardens in the collection include the California Foothill Collection, an Acacia Grove, an East Asian and Australian Collection, a Redbud Grove, and separate gardens representing the Southwestern United States, Mexico and the Desert.
The Putah Creek Riparian Reserve traverses over 600 acres of the UC Davis campus. The ecosystem is maintained by the Arboretum and Public Garden and offers a window into what the campus would have looked like before the University was founded. Since the Gold Rush, 95% of California’s streamside habitat has been threatened, degraded, or removed, making the reserve is a valuable resource for wildlife, teachers and students.
A Native American Contemplative Garden was dedicated in 2011. The impetus for the project was the discovery of Patwin remains on the UC Davis campus. The garden is the first in a network of future sites across campus designed to honor Native Americans.
Public art in the arboretum includes Nature’s Gallery Court, a large ceramic tile mural, and an archway made from shovels over the entrance to the Gateway garden. Student artwork is often exhibited throughout the gardens.
Wildlife throughout the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden represents over 30 species of mammals, 40 species of butterflies, and several species of fish, reptiles and amphibians, and insects. Over 135 species of birds have made the arboretum their home or nesting place.
History: The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden was founded in 1936 in part by Dr. T. Elliot Weier, a professor of Botany at UC Davis.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Arboretum and Public Garden, and especially its main path, is popular with those who walk, jog or bike ride along the three and one half mile loop. Picnic tables, seating areas and restrooms are located throughout the arboretum at the Terrace Garden, in the Redwood Grove, and in the Peter J Shields Grove.
Educational programs at the Arboretum and Garden are available for the public and include guided tours, nature programs for families and individuals, and talks, classes, and workshops led by UC Davis faculty, as well as visiting artists and lecturers.
Ongoing weekend family programming includes the popular Folk Music Jam Session next to the Redwood Grove, Wednesday Walks with Warren, the arboretum’s Superintendent Emeritus and storyteller, and the general Meet the Arboretum Tour. Recent special events have included Oak Day, a lecture on Fire and California Oak Trees, and a class on preparing your garden for winter.
Plant sales take place several times per year, with a focus on low-water, easy to care for plants that are well suited for the California climate. Plant sale proceeds benefit Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, a community support group that organizes volunteers and fundraising in support of the arboretum’s mission.
Valley Oak Cottage 448 La Rue Road, Davis, CA 95616, Phone: 530-752-1011
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Attraction Spotlight: Hickory Dickory Park
Hickory Dickory Park is a public park with playground in Auburn, Alabama. The 12,000 square foot park offers two play areas, picnicking space and restrooms.
Two play areas at the park are separated into age appropriate play environments for pre-school aged children and older children. In the pre-school play area visitors will find baby and toddler swings, and an accessible swing for children with special needs. The play area also includes a small slide, sandbox, and climbing and imagination-inducing elements such as an old wooden tractor with gearbox, funhouse mirror and “tiger tail” that refers to the Auburn University mascot.
Elements of the park’s play area replicate Auburn’s historic downtown area. At a play-sized Toomer’s Corner that mimics the historic downtown drugstore, children can pretend to sell lemonade and ice cream, the two things that Toomers is perhaps best known for. A small sidewalk perfect for tricycle riding mimics College Street, while the tiger paw prints in the cement represent Auburn University’s mascot, the Tiger.
The older children’s play area includes more challenging climbing elements, such as a rope climb, monkey bars and lookout tower. There are three larger slides, including a covered tunnel slide and swings. All terrain surrounding the play elements at the park is covered with a thick layer of woodchips for safety.
A covered pavilion overlooks the park’s play area, so parents may watch children play from the shade. Picnic tables are located under the pavilion and are not available to be reserved, but are a popular summer picnic spot. A large grassy area, perfect for running and other games is also surrounded by picnic tables and is adjacent to an area with water fountains and restrooms. Plenty of shade trees line the park’s perimeter.
History: The Park, originally named Hickory Lane Park, for its location on Hickory Lane, was renamed in 1999 when the current playground structure was constructed. The name Hickory Dickory Park refers to the popular children’s nursery rhyme by Mother Goose, Hickory Dickory Dock. Facilities at the park were constructed by the City of Auburn Parks and Recreation Department, with assistance from community volunteers.
Hickory Dickory Park is one of eight parks managed by the City of Auburn Parks and Recreation department. The department’s mission is to provide high quality recreation opportunities for City of Auburn residents, in addition to managing the City’s cemeteries.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Hickory Dickory Park’s facilities are not available to be reserved for private functions, although it remains a popular location for picnics and parties on a first come, first served basis.
City of Auburn Parks and Recreation hosts several community events throughout the year at each of their parks, including competitive walks, runs and other athletics events, art sales and exhibitions, Family Fun Days, concert series and fitness classes.
Ongoing programs managed by Parks and Recreation include programs for adults 50 and older, aquatics programs at community centers, summer camps for children, ceramics classes and a variety of performing arts classes.
What’s Nearby: Nearby outdoor activities that are popular with kids in Auburn, Alabama include the Chewacla State Park, the Louise Kreher Ecology Preserve and Nature Center, and Kiesel Park, the largest of Auburn’s city parks at 124 acres. All three parks offer a variety of walking trails with play areas for children and outdoor recreation opportunities. Kiesel Park is home to the Nunn-Winston House, an 1850’s Greek Revival home, and the City’s largest free outdoor community event, the Auburn CityFest, which takes place each April.
The real Toomer’s Corner is located in downtown Auburn, and has operated as a drug store since 1896. It is one of Auburn’s most recognizable landmarks, and it’s location directly across from Auburn University’s newly renovated campus entrance, it has become the center of University life as well. Toomers is famous for its fresh-squeezed lemonade, soda fountain and ice cream shakes. “Rolling Toomers” has been a tradition at Auburn since the days of the telegraph. As the only place in the city with a telegraph machine, Toomers would receive word of away-game wins first, and would through the telegraph tape up into the trees in celebration. Today, after each home and away game win for Auburn football, fans throw toilet paper into the trees, street signs and power lines all around Toomer’s corner.
1399 Hickory Lane Auburn, AL 36830, Phone: 334-501-2930
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Attraction Spotlight: Plainsman Park
Auburn University’s Plainsman Park is the home of Samford Stadium at Hitchcock Field, a baseball field built in 1950, which has been the home of the Auburn University Tigers baseball team for over 60 years.
The 4,000-seat stadium includes over 3,200 chair backed seats and combines the look of historic ballparks, the Auburn Campus buildings, and modern facilities all within the painted steel and brick design, which surrounds a natural grass field. The park is known for an intimate seating arrangement that places spectators just a few feet from ground, only 40 feet from first and third base, and just 60 feet behind home plate. The stadium is home to one of the country’s largest video boards, at 24 feet tall and over 60 feet long, enhanced by a state-of-the-art sound system. Flanking the field is a 30-foot tall dark green outfield wall, reminiscent of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, which was installed prior to the 1995 season. Two concession stands serve the park, the Curveball Café, and the Home Plate. Both serve typical baseball fare, including hotdogs, hamburgers, sodas, and snacks.
Beyond the field, Plainsman Park is home to the baseball clubhouse, which includes locker rooms for the team and umpires, coaches’ offices, a team lounge, and indoor equipment and training facilities, including an indoor hitting tunnel.
The Plainsman Park Strength and Rehabilitation Center, built in 2004, is home to the Auburn Sports Medicine Clinic and the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. The Orthopedic Center is a research facility that not only serves Auburn University athletes, but professional athletes as well, under the direction of Dr. James Andrews. Physical therapy and rehabilitation services are also available to the public at this facility.
History: Auburn University Baseball has a strong history that dates back to the 1930’s. The University’s first Southeastern Conference baseball title was won in 1937, in large part thanks to star athlete Billy Hitchcock, who along with his brother, Jimmy, the University’s first All-American athlete in both football and baseball, the Samford-Hitchcock Stadium is named. Since baseball was first introduced at the school in 1931, there have been six SEC Championship wins, nineteen NCAA Regional Championship appearances and four College World Series appearances.
Auburn University is the alma mater of several nationally known baseball players including Tim Hudson, a former All-American who donated $1 million to the park’s renovations in the 1990’s. Professional football player Bo Jackson played baseball for Auburn, Chicago White Sox player Frank Thomas and Major League Baseball players Gregg Olson, Scott Sullivan, Gabe Gross and Josh Donaldson all played for Auburn and have since been inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame.
Plainsman Park was originally built in 1950. The first major renovation took place in 1996 and since then, there have been three additional major renovations. 2013 improvements included updates to the clubhouse, athletic training room, locker rooms and equipment rooms. 2014 renovations included extensions and renovations to the dugouts. Renovations in 2017 were the most recent and included the installation of the large format LED video screen.
Plainsman Park has hosted NCAA regional competitions four separate times, in 1978, 1999, 2003 and 2010. In 2002, over 14,000 attendees filled the park to hear President George W. Bush give a speech. In 2003, Baseball America voted the park the best collegiate baseball facility in America. In 2016, the park was named among the country’s best collegiate baseball facilities by D1baseball.com.
Hitchcock Field is named in honor two of Auburn’s most noted athletes, Billy and Jimmy Hitchcock, who both competed for the university in the 1930’s. The Samford Stadium name was added in 2003 in honor of Jimmy Samford, a member of the Aurburn Board of Trustees, whose tireless efforts contributed to the significant improvements to the stadium throughout the 1990’s, and its rise to national recognition.
Auburn Baseball is currently coached by Butch Thompson and plays in the NCAA’s Division I Southeastern Conference, the SEC. The stadium boasts an average of 2,600 attendees at each home game, placing it among the top 25 attendance rates for Division I schools.
What’s Nearby: The Samford Stadium-Hitchcock Field of Plainsman Park is located with the Auburn University athletic complex, adjacent to the Jordan-Hare Football Stadium, and just across the street from the Auburn Arena, home of the basketball, volleyball and women’s gymnastics teams. Auburn University is known for it’s historic architecture and the quaint small town feel of the surrounding area of historic downtown Auburn.
351 South Donohue Dr Auburn, AL 36830, Phone: 855-282-2010
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