June 5, 2023


pets keep it coming

Unusual Attractions in Northern Alabama

2 min read

Northern Alabama has a lot to offer visitors. Mountains and scenic lakes give plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, hunting, and golf. Many visitors overlook some of the area’s more unusual attractions. A wild animal preserve, a religious grotto, and places to try gemstone mining are just waiting to be explored. Here are the highlights of these unique attractions.

Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain is a nonprofit rescue preserve near Gadsden. The privately owned facility is home to more than 100 exotic animals including over 30 tigers. There are also African lions, leopards, mountain lions, camels, a zebra, wolves, and bears. The animals have been rescued from zoos and circuses that have closed or were donated by private owners that could no longer keep them. The animals are not bred but are given a safe place to live out their lives. Visitors are welcome to come on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am-5pm. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for ages 3-11. Pets and cameras are not allowed. The preserve is located at 710 County Road 345 in Attalla, Alabama.

The beautifully landscaped park at Ave Maria Grotto is the setting for what has become known as “Jerusalem in Miniature.” The 125 stone and concrete structures are miniature reproductions of historic shrines, churches, and other religious buildings from around the world. They were created by the late Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of the adjacent St. Bernard Abbey. The grotto is located at 1600 St. Bernard Drive SE in Cullman, Alabama. It is open daily from 9am-5pm. Admission is $7 for adults and $4.50 for ages 6-12.

On spring and fall weekends visitors can mine for gemstones in the foothills of northern Alabama at Yellow Wolf Gem Mining. It’s a fun activity for all ages to try. All the necessary equipment is provided for fluming. Visitors scoop dirt onto a screen and rinse with clear water. Gemstones that have been found here include garnets, rubies, moonstones, and quartz crystals such as citrine. During the fall there is also a corn maze and pumpkin patch. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic or enjoy the wooded hiking trails. Yellow Wolf Gem Mining is located at 1128 County Road 58 in Moulton, Alabama.

Another place to try fluming is Cathedral Caverns State Park near Scottsboro. Bags of mining dirt are available for $6. Park staff lead tours into the impressive caverns, where there are unique formations including the Frozen Waterfall, Stalagmite Mountain, and Big Rock Canyon. Cave tours are $12 for adults and $6 for ages 6-11. The state park is located at 637 Cave Road in Woodville, Alabama.

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