Zoos in general are kinda ehhh to me when traveling as I feel they’re kind of a waste of money, but this zoo was relatively affordable and also happened to be one of my traveling partner’s favorite childhood memories. A highlight of the zoo was their relaxed approach in dealing with lemurs in what they call “Lemur Encounter,” where you’re put in a play-pen with two lemurs and you just play around with them. I was especially pleased at their selfie taking skills. I’m out ☮.
Even if you’re not religious in any way I still recommend this ornate and calming grotto. I’m not a practicing Catholic, but religions fascinate me. The Grotto, created by Brother Joseph, is in the middle of nowhere Alabama about an hour in between Huntsille and Birmingham, located at a Catholic prep school.
It was a mere $7 for entrance and completely self-guided. The statues were decorated with basically anything BroJoe (as my friend and I liked to call him) could find – seashells, broken glass, rocks, even mud. He created sculptures of mostly holy related places, but it definitely took you on a journey all over the globe from Portugal to Japan to Ireland.
For me this was one of those places that I just wanted to pray at. Even though I can’t remember the last time I prayed I just wanted to. There was this overly Catholic music playing in the background that reminded me of my wretched time in Catholic school for elementary school, but it was oddly beautiful. Maybe because no one was trying to jam religion down my throat it was just simply playing quietly in the background. I really liked that.
Lastly they had some of the cheapest souvenirs I’ve ever seen! $0.25 postcards and $1.50 magnets (of every state) – I went crazy buying up all the magnets of states I love.