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Eccentric Excursions: Northern Alabama




Eccentric Excursions: Northern Alabama

Emma Wilson

If you’re in Northern Alabama and you’re looking to take a little day trip or mini road trip this weekend, we have some rad places you should definitely check out!

Let’s make a stop in Hollywood! Hollywood, Alabama that is. Here there is a zoo unlike any other. There are no animals, with the exception of a pet dog. What makes this zoo special is that all the animals are made of stone. This is the Rock Zoo! It all started in the 1970’s with a boulder that looked somewhat like a rooster. Leonard Dawson, founder of the zoo, painted that boulder and started it all. Now there are close to two dozen “animals” at the zoo. You can climb on the animals and take all the photos your heart desires, but please don’t feed the animals!

After your trip to the zoo you can walk down memory lane at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. Find that suitcase you lost years ago on your trip to New York! Or just find some gems of the poor soul who lost their favorite band tee in the abyss known as lost luggage. Here you can purchase suitcases and the content inside, including jewelry, electronics, and clothing. If you’re adventurous, you can join the team and rummage through unprocessed bags yourself! Some interesting finds include a shrunken head, signed sports gear, a full Scottish kilt, and even moose antlers!


Noccalula Falls is one of many gorgeous waterfalls in Alabama. This is a 90 foot waterfall with a hallowing story. You can read more about the history of Noccalula Falls here. Surrounding the waterfall is a 250 acre public park. The park has activities including mini-golf, a petting zoo, and botanical garden.

Now let’s fly to Jerusalem! Or you could visit “Jerusalem in Miniature” in Cullman, Alabama. This is Ave Maria Grotto, a park with over 100 miniature reproductions of buildings in Jerusalem, all made by Brother Joseph Zoettl. He began creating these replicas in the early 1930’s. He completed his last creation at the age of 80 in 1958. The Grotto is spread over three acres of land and is definitely a neat little spot!

Next on our list of weird attractions is the world’s only Coon Dog Cemetery, located a few miles West of Tuscumbia. You might find it a familiar sight from a scene in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. This site began with Key Underwood burying his coonhound, Troop, in 1937. Since then more than 185 coon dogs have been laid to rest in the cemetery.

So in one trip we’ve visited Hollywood, went to a one of a kind zoo, found long lost treasures, enjoyed a gorgeous waterfall, saw Jerusalem, and walked a famous movie scene. Sounds like a good day to me.