Updated: May 4
The seating capacity for Bryant-Denny Stadium is said to be 101,821, so I have to concede that there are MANY people who come to Tuscaloosa primarily to watch a football game. But what if you go to Tuscaloosa a few days BEFORE a game or stay a few days AFTER one. Or, what is there to do in Tuscaloosa if your visit doesn't coincide with football season? If you think about it, there are only SEVEN home football Saturdays during a normal fall season, so that leaves 358 days a year when you are likely to want to find something else to do.
During a recent visit to T--Town, I found several that I'd like to recommend over my next several blogs.
MOUNDVILLE ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK
Moundville Archeological Park is technically 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa at 634 Mound State Parkway in Moundville, Alabama on the Black Warrior River. The heritage site comprises more than 300 acres and portrays the Mississippian culture dating back 800 years. In addition to the nice visitors center where you can get information, use the restroom, and watch an informative video, there are miles of walking trails, a campground, the beautiful Jones Archaeological Museum, a gift shop, and a coffee shop featuring Black Warrior Coffee. The most stunning sites, though, are the 29 large mounds scattered throughout the grounds in a pattern that made sense to the Native Americans who created them. Two of the largest mounds have steps making it possible to reach the top and take in a 360-degree view.
The park is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week with an $8 per person admission fee.
KENTUCK ART CENTER
Kentuck Art Center is in Northport, which is actually only 2.2 miles from Bryant-Denny Stadium and a short drive over the bridge crossing the Black Warrior River from downtown Tuscaloosa.
You'll know you've reached the right spot when you see a large, red, metal dog sculpture atop one of the main buildings.
Eight artist studios are on the grounds, and you'll likely be one or more working on their creations when you visit. Plus there are three galleries, a classroom, a Courtyard of Wonders (which you will love strolling through -- be sure to snap some selfies with some of the interesting pieces), and a gallery shop where you can purchase works made by locals.
On the day I visited, I watched potter Kerry Kennedy of Fire Horse Pottery hard at work getting a large number of pieces ready for an upcoming show. Such beautiful work.
Then I had a chance to chat with Scott McQueen, who turned out to be a former Baptist pastor. As you might imagine, we knew the same "language." His works contain a lot of homespun wisdom with humorous twists, and each one has a Bible passage written on the back. In a lot of ways, he's still preaching, but this time there's no formal pulpit.
Kentuck's largest yearly event -- Kentuck Festival of the Arts -- in the fall. It has been called one of the best events in Alabama. This year it is scheduled for October 15-16, from 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and from 9:00 to 4:00 on Sunday. Admission is $10 for one day or $15 for the whole weekend.
Both of these attractions are well worth finding. You will learn a LOT. At least, I did!