FUN IS THE THEME
Family fun is in the plans with visits to any of several Wiregrass destinations, like Adventureland Theme Park with its arcade, go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages and mini golf. Corndodgers Farm in Headland offers pony and wagon rides, a corn maze and other old-fashioned fun. Water World in Dothan features a water slide, 450,000-gallon Rip Tide Wave Pool, Twister Slides and Kids Cove.
At the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, visitors can learn about the history of Army aviation. The museum exhibits include 160 military aircraft and the world’s largest collection of military helicopters.
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks grew up on a 260-acre farm in Abbeville. The Rosa Parks Childhood Home still stands but is not open for tours. Cherry Street AME Church, organized in 1877, is known as the “Mother Church” of the AME denomination in Alabama. Bethune/Kennedy House in Henry County was built by local physician William Calvin Bethune around 1870 and sold to the Kennedy family in 1885. It’s listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and the National Register of Historic Places. “Soldier In the Window” Stained Glass Memorial, at the Methodist church in Abbeville, is a favorite of visitors. It depicts a soldier in his World War I uniform, a Doughboy, holding a rifle with an angel behind him.
E.R. Porter Hardware Museum, long the oldest continually operating hardware store in Alabama, opened in 1889 and is preserved as it was the day it closed in 2014. The George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum showcases the contributions to arts and sciences made by African Americans, including its namesake, the scientist George Washington Carver. Wiregrass Museum of Art, housed inside what was once the city of Dothan’s electric and water plant, displays works by contemporary artists from around the state and the Southeast.
Dothan Area Botanical Gardens feature 50 acres of nature trails, cultivated gardens and undeveloped wooded landscape.
NUTS TO YOU
Known as the “Peanut Capital of the World,” Dothan celebrates its fame with Peanuts Around Town, whimsically decorated peanut statues all around the town. Also in Dothan, Shute Pecan Co., open since 1929, buys and sells pecans and peanuts.
CATCH A SHOW
The Dothan Civic Center & Opera House hosts everything from concerts, recitals and plays to meetings and sporting events. Southeast Alabama Community Theater, established in 1974, showcases local talent. The Uptown, open Friday and Saturday nights in Dothan, features live jazz, open mic nights and “Drip ‘N’ Sip” events where patrons can paint while enjoying fine wines.
Joseph Monument and Memorial Park near the Wiregrass Museum of Art honors the biblical origin of the city name: Genesis 37:17, “For I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan,’” that inspired city founders in 1885 to name the city. A replica of the Statue of Liberty stands along Alabama 10 in Abbeville to honor Giuseppe Reina, grandfather of Jimmy Rane, the founder and CEO of Abbeville’s Great Southern Wood Preserving. Reina immigrated from Sicily in 1907 at the age of 29.
RELAX AND LEARN
Landmark Park in Dothan focuses on the Wiregrass Region’s historic past, with an 1890s farmstead with farm animals, smokehouse, cane mill, general store and one-room schoolhouse. Todd Syrup Farm in Headland is a seventh-generation family farm with a museum teaching the history of syrup making. The farm also has a general store and café. The ATTA in downtown Abbeville is a new library of STEM and history offering visitors of all ages a chance to learn history and scientific concepts through the interactive displays.
MURALS TO VIEW
Dothan celebrates its local history and hometown heroes in Murals of the Wiregrass throughout downtown. Film star Johnny Mack Brown and Tuskegee Airman Sherman Rose are among those featured.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” called this triangle patch of land in Dothan “The World’s Smallest City Block,” followed by recognition in 1964 by the Camellia Garden Club of Dothan.
Ravenwood Sporting Clays is designed for skeet shooting enthusiasts. The facility includes a club house and pavilion.
Golf options abound in the Wiregrass. Highland Oaks is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and features 36 holes, a pro shop, dining and a lounge. Roundabout Plantation Golf offers a driving range and lessons from experts. Celebrated architect Robert Simmons designed the 18-hole course at Dothan National Hotel and Golf Club. Dothan Driving Range and Golf Shop offers club repair, lessons and practice sessions. Silver Wings Golf Club at Fort Rucker offers a 27-hole course that’s available to military and civilian players. The semi-private Headland Country Club has golf, a pool and club house.
Doug Tew Community Center offers a recreation center, five ball fields, swimming pool, playground and picnic area. Eastgate Park amenities include a two-mile walking trail, boardwalk, catch-and-release fish ponds, disc golf course, archery range, dog park and greenspace for picnics. James Oates Park, Dothan’s newest, features AstroTurf fields for baseball and softball. Rip Hewes Athletic Complex includes a 10,000-seat football stadium, six tennis courts, two softball fields and a baseball field. Westgate Park, Dothan’s largest, offers a nature trail, recreation center, the Water World water park and Miracle Field for Miracle League baseball.
Lake Eufaula on the Chattahoochee River offers fishing and boating, plus lakeside parks, eateries and festivities. Southern Cross Ranch is a horse ranch with lessons, training and boarding. Its banquet room is available for weddings and other events.
TAKE A SIP
Keel and Co. Distilling in Headland makes bourbon whiskey, rums, vodka and gin, and visitors can taste before they buy. Friday and Saturday nights feature live entertainment.
This article appears in the July 2023 issue of Business Alabama.