Alabama Museum of Natural History
The skeleton of a basilosaurus, an ancient kind of whale, hangs over the Grand Gallery of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. This giant fossil is just one of many artifacts displayed here with the purpose of teaching visitors about history, science and paleontology. Revel in the academic atmosphere of the museum and learn more about the world around you through its enlightening exhibits.
The cornerstone of the museum was laid in 1907 and the building, also known as Smith Hall, was completed in 1909. At the time of its construction, a museum boom had swept across America and the Alabama Natural History Museum was built to reflect the classical revival styles of similar buildings in New York, Chicago and Washington. Pause for a moment to notice the rather plain exterior. Then enter to see the central gallery brilliantly lit by sunlight streaming in from a glass roof.
Get familiar with the various animal species living in Alabama at the Tuscaloosa’s Backyard Critters exhibit, which documents city life in all shapes and sizes. The Skulls and Skeletons display provides additional information about animals and how they work.
Inspect thousand-year-old fossils and discover how the world was made at the museum’s geological displays. These collections focus mainly on marine fossils. If you’re traveling with a group of 10 or more, sign up for a guided tour, which will provide extra information on all the exhibits.
Listen to experts share their knowledge at one of the museum’s lectures. Many of the talks by local academics are free. In October, embrace the Halloween spirit on a guided tour of the surrounding university campus at night.
The museum hosts outdoor field trips in summer. Dig for prehistoric treasures and dredge the river floor to find out more about the geography and geology of the state.
The Alabama Museum of Natural History is located on the University of Alabama campus. It is closed on Sundays as well as during university holidays. To get here, take the Tuscaloosa Trolley service to Lloyd Hall stop. The museum has on-site parking, which is free for the first hour.