Decatur, Alabama is the biggest city in Morgan County. There are a lot of historical structures are displayed throughout the city, which includes several of the most notable Victorian-era structures still standing in the state of Alabama today. The major attractions like Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Point Mallard Park as well as the Princess Theatre are also popular with tourists from all over the American Southeast for day trips and weekend getaways. Certain attractions could be for a short time closed and require prior reservations. The hours and availability may have changed.

Decatur

1. Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Decatur, Alabama

Wheeler Wildlife Refuge spans 35,000 acres along the banks of the Tennessee River and provides an important wintering and migration habitat for species like Canada geese as well as red-tailed hawks. The refuge, named in the honor the Major General Joseph Wheeler, was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is managed jointly by The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which manages its Redstone Arsenal area. 

More than 700,000 people take part in outdoor activities in the refuge, including hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Five trails for hiking are available across the entire refuge as well as six boat launch locations and a tower for wildlife observation and a variety of Spotting scope stations. Every year, the refuge hosts events that include a rodeo for youth fishing as well as a southern wildlife celebration and summer youth day camps.

Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

2. Point Mallard Park, Decatur, Alabama

Point Mallard Waterpark is located on the border with Wheeler National Refuge in Alabama which covers over 500 acres on the shores of Flint Creek. The multi-use park is most famous because of the J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center which opened in the year 1970. It is home to the European-style wave pool 10 meters from the diving tower, a lazy river as well as two high-speed water slides. The park’s facilities for sports consist of an 18-hole Point Mallard Golf Course, the baseball-focused Bill J.

Dukes Athletic Complex and The Jimmy Johns Tennis Center, and the Point Mallard Ice Complex, as well as a golf driving range and batting cages. Indoor courts, as well as a game room and fitness facilities, are available within the T.C. Almon Center. A permanently outdoor stage can be found situated in the Ronald Reagan Spirit of America Fields area. Other amenities include a campground with 210 sites and a chapel for prayer that seats 80 people and a covered pavilion for picnics that can seat groups of up 500 people. Events held annually in this park comprise the Skirmish Civil War Reenactment, which is held every Labor Day.

Point Mallard Park

3. Cook The Natural Science Museum Decatur, Alabama

Cook Natural Science Museum formed the dream by John R. Cook, Cook’s Pest Control president John R. Cook, whose personal natural sciences collection was developed from a collection that was utilized for technician education to become an outstanding collection of natural science. 

The museum is privately owned and has a collection of over 2000 specimens and exhibits that range from mounted birds and other wildlife to extensive exhibits of rocks, minerals, and coral. The most notable exhibits are the Tennessee Valley Lake Exhibit showcasing the native flora and fauna and are one of the very few displays within the United States to feature both golden and bald taxidermies of the eagle.

Cook The Natural Science Museum

4. Delano Park

Delano Park is Decatur’s oldest park and was made public in 1887 as part of an overall plan to reimagine Decatur’s city after the American Civil War. It was named after the name of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is currently being renovated to include amenities such as a kid’s splash pad that includes a huge city map with Alabama’s towns as well as rivers on its ground. 

The park’s Delano Rose Garden reconstructs the historical rose gardens established during the park’s first construction, and its famous concrete bridge, constructed during the 1930s is an iconic spot for photography and reflection. Future plans for redevelopment include the creation of historical trails that will connect the park’s central and western areas.

Delano Park

5. The Old State Bank

The Old State Bank was originally built in 1833 to be the headquarters of the Branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama, one of the first initiatives that established the city’s importance in that part of the American Southeast. While the original bank branch was shut down in 1845 as a result of an economic crisis across the nation the establishment of it is considered to be one of the main elements that helped to transform Decatur from a frontier community to a city of modernity. 

Through the 1920s and 19th centuries, the bank was used as a Union Army hospital, public border’s house, and American Legion hall before its donation to the City of Decatur in the year 1976. It is now accessible for public viewing as an exhibit of living history, featuring a recreated first-floor banking lobby and second-floor banker’s house.

The Old State Bank

6. The Old Decatur Historic District

The Old Decatur Historic District spans an area of 116 acres that is part of The city’s Albany as well as Old Decatur historic areas, which showcases the state’s largest collection of preserved Victorian-era buildings and homes. The district is situated around the city’s historical Bank Street, the home of the Old State Bank building, which was the city’s main commercial center in the 19th century because of its riverboat, wagon, and railway connections. 

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While some of the district’s historic structures were destroyed during the American Civil War and a significant local fire in 1877, the buildings which were rebuilt in the latter part of the 19th century have been thought to be among the most important Victorian and Italianate buildings within the region. Four of the buildings dating from the pre-Civil war era are still standing in the area, including the Todd House which is located at Lafayette Street. The district was officially recognized in 1985. the neighborhood was included on the National Register of Historic Places and, today, the buildings can be visited via walks or tours by car.

The Old Decatur Historic District

7. Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur, Alabama

Carnegie Visual Arts Center is situated within the 1904 Carnegie Library, which served as the city’s municipal library for more than seven years. The center is today the first regional art museum and an arts education center that showcases over 4000 sq ft of exhibition space, studio, and workshop space. 

A range of eight to 10 art exhibits for the public is featured in the main galleries each year with national touring exhibitions and exhibitions of the work of regional and local artists. A collection of permanent Alabama folklore is on display that showcases works of artists like Jimmy Lee Sudath and Mose Tolliver. The basement level of the Daikin America Education Center presents workshops and classes for residents of all levels of artistic ability as well as summer camps for kids.

Carnegie Visual Arts Center

8. The Princess Theatre

The Princess Theatre is a historic performing arts facility that was built in 1887 as a stable for livery prior to its conversion in 1919 to a vaudeville and film theatre. In 1941, the venue was updated by adding an Art Deco fa├žade and neon marquee, with interior design elements like glow-in-the-dark murals as well as a terrazzo floor map that depicts the entire state of Alabama. 

After its acquisition from Decatur’s City of Decatur in 1978 The theater was remodeled into a live performance arts facility and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the theater seats 677. is home to more than 60,000 guests to its shows, which include performances of national touring artists as well as performances of Broadway touring performances. Local performing arts groups perform regularly, such as dance groups for children and theater troupes.

The Princess Theatre

9. Wheeler Lake Decatur, Alabama

Wheeler Lake is the second-largest lake that is located on the Tennessee River, spanning a distance of more than 60 miles, and an area of more than 67,000 acres. The man-made reservoir was established by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s to provide the generation of hydroelectric power and regional flood control. It is now a popular recreational spot within the Decatur region in the present. 

Over four million people visit the lake each year and enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, boating and hunting, wildlife viewing, and water activities. The visitor center is available as well as places for camping overnight and picnicking. The lake is situated next to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, which offers a wide range of options for outdoor recreation.

Wheeler Lake

10. Morgan County Archives

Morgan County Archives was created in 1995 by the Morgan County Commission as a permanent repository of the region’s inactive community and government records. The archives house the major community documents dating to 1819, such as census, marriage, and court records, and are regarded as one of the most well-known archives of documents that record the city’s history as a city. 

The archives are renowned as the only access to the Original copies of Decatur Daily and Hartselle Enquirer local newspapers. The archives are open to the public during days off as a source for community and genealogical research and offer computers for public use libraries, library volumes, as well as access to microfilm. Small exhibitions of special collections are regularly displayed, which include exhibitions on cities’ Civil War history and notable historical individuals.

Morgan County Archives

11. Alabama Jubilee

Alabama Jubilee is the largest hot air balloon event in the American mid-South. Its first event, in 1978 was conceived as an event to show off the city’s new Hot Air Balloon that was officially licensed. It was among the first city-owned hot balloons in the nation. In its beginning, it was attended by nearly twenty balloonists, mostly from neighboring states like Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and drew attention to the rising popularity of hot ballooning as an activity across the country. 

Today, the celebration has been ranked among the most prestigious tourism activities throughout the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society which has attracted over 60 pilots from 20 states across the United States and is the region’s signature summer start-up event each Memorial Day weekend. The jubilee’s popularity as a major event that draws an international audience has resulted in the city being declared”the “Ballooning capital in Alabama” by Alabama’s Alabama Legislature.

Alabama Jubilee

12. The RailYard

The RailYard is a downtown Decatur restaurant owned by its owner Tyler Jones and executive chef Bill Harden, one of the first pioneers in the local farm-to-fork movement. The restaurant focuses on globally-inspired southern comfort food that is made with fresh, local ingredients as often as possible. The restaurant is open seven all week for brunch as well as lunch and dinner. It serves a broad selection of dishes in a casual tavern atmosphere. 

The menu is filled with specialty sandwiches made with local meats, burgers made in craft pub-style and a wide selection of dishes that emphasize seafood from the south. The seasonal cocktails feature fresh fruit and premium liquors, while the draft beer menu highlights local and national microbreweries’ best-loved beers.

The RailYard

13. Big Bob Gibson’s Bar B-Qe, Decatur, Alabama

Big Bob Gibson’s Barbecue was initially established on the streets of Decatur in 1925. Since then, it has gained national recognition as one of the nation’s oldest and most sought-after barbecue establishments. The restaurant was founded with the help of L&N Railroad employee Bob Gibson and first gained fame for its famed Original BBQ White Sauce. 

Since that time, it has been awarded over 15 World Barbecue Championship awards for its distinctive pork, ribs bristles, brisket, and chicken dishes. The restaurant is run by the management of a fourth-generation family today. It has 2 locations within Decatur and one on the Danville Road location and a restaurant located on Decatur’s Sixth Street. The menu options for take-away or dine-in include barbecue platters that have won awards as well as a variety of meals and barbecue pit sandwiches.

Big Bob Gibson's Bar B-Qe

14. Simp McGhee’s

Simp McGhee’s was named after Decatur’s famous riverboat captain at the turn of the century with a boisterous personality. His unique riverboat operation led to him becoming a legend in the area before he was revoked of his piloting licence in 1917. The restaurant is situated in the historical Bank Street district and offers exquisite old-fashioned food with a Cajun-inspired elegance for dinner as well as tapas-style service. 

The menu is unique and includes eggs with crawfish and tuna Lafayette and lamb ratatouille and Cajun seafood Gumbo. A wide selection of drinks and liquors are offered with gourmet martinis caffeine-infused beverages, and exquisite red, white or sparkling wines. Outdoor seating with a pet-friendly patio is available throughout the year as well as a second-story dining space is available for booking for special occasions.

Simp McGhee's

15. Whitt’s Barbecue

Whitt’s Barbecue was the idea of a barbecue pit builder who was a hobbyist Floyd Whitt, who left his bricklaying job to establish his first restaurant on Labor Day of 1966. Today, there are three Whitt’s Barbecue restaurants and stores in operation across the Northern Alabama region, with two locations on Decatur’s Spring and Sixth Streets. 

The brand has been mentioned on the cover of Southern Living magazine and is known for the 100% hickory wood-smoked barbecue recipes, which include meat, chicken, pork turkey, and ribs. Family packs and full-plate selections are available, as well barbeque sandwiches Brunswick stews, as well as many home-style sides, pies, and cookies. catering is offered for parties of 25 or more with menus that can be customized for private events.

Whitt's Barbecue

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