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Eccentric Excursions: Central Alabama

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Eccentric Excursions: Central Alabama

Emma Wilson

Lots of people I have met from central Alabama say there isn’t much to do. Well here are a few wacky places to go visit next time you’re looking to make a day trip!

First stop is Oakwood Cemetery. Yes, a cemetery. The trip will be well worth it! In this cemetery is one of the most visited graves in the South. The deceased is not an incredibly notable person, but the grave marker is. A five-foot-tall dollhouse, completed with windows, a small brick-lined lawn, and rooms filled with toys, marks the grave of 4 year old Nadine Earles. It’s a rare site, as there are incredibly few dollhouse gravesites. To learn more about Little Nadine’s Playhouse Mausoleum click here.

About an hour from Nadine’s Playhouse, on the border of Georgia and Alabama, is a neat little museum that could really bring some nostalgic feelings for some. In Columbus, Georgia is the Lunch Box Museum! This holds the collection of Allen Woodall Jr. While he does not have an exact count of how many lunchboxes he has, he knows it’s in the thousands. If you carried a metal lunch box in school, Allen likely has that very design in his collection. The best part? This is one of those cool museums where touching is encouraged!

 

We have another museum on the list: the Museum of Wonder, also known as Butch Anthony’s collection of oddities. This museum began as Butch’s taxidermy and artifacts, but has now grown to include folk art, antiques, and overall strange items, mostly from Alabama. Part of the museum can be driven through, but it is suggested you park, exit the car, and explore!

We have another place to get out and explore. If you’ve ever seen Tim Burton’s movie Big Fish, the Town of Spectre may sound familiar. The abandoned movie set from the movie lies on an island just outside of Montgomery. To gain access to the property you will need to contact the owner, but it’s well worth it. You can get the code by calling the number on the gate of the property. If you’re a Tim Burton fan, like to explore abandoned properties (with permission), or just like offbeat places, this stop is a must.

Now it’s time to relax. Lucky for you, a hidden gem in Prattville is a 26-acre park containing a bamboo forest! Some of the largest bamboo stalks are as tall as 60 feet, and as thick as 6 inches in diameter. The park doesn’t only have bamboo, but lots of other plants, including one of Alabama’s largest beech trees. This park was used by the US military in the Vietnam era as a training site, as the climate and vegetation were as close to that of Southeast Asia as US soldiers could find! Instead of a training site, it is more of a place of relaxation today.

No longer will I hear the dreaded words “There’s nothing to do there,” in regards to an area that has lots of quirky places hidden away, all you need to do is look!