It never ceases to amaze us at just how quickly people can take their surroundings for granted. Once the weekend comes around you probably find yourself moaning that there’s nothing to do in Opelika. Well, we’d like to challenge that notion, because we know we can help you see Opelika through fresh eyes – the eyes of a tourist. Why travel to other cities or countries when you have a host of tourist attractions at home that you’ve probably never even seen or thought about?
Historic Old Town
You’ve probably passed by Old Town hundreds of times over the years, but never slowed down to pay attention to what this part of Opelika has to offer. You already know about the quaint shops, but have you taken an afternoon to browse through their various wares? Or, how about a stroll through the Historic Railroad Avenue district, just before you stop off for a visit at the Museum of East Alabama? You can enjoy a day out with your family or friends, and learn a lot about the city you live in at the same time.
Salem-Shotwell Covered Bridge
This is the last surviving covered bridge in southern Alabama, and has been part of Opelika since 1900. The bridge itself was recently restored after being severely damaged during a storm in 2005. Not only is the bridge part of local history but there’s also rumors floating around that it’s haunted by the spirits of several people. You didn’t know there was a haunted bridge in Opelika? Well, now you do.
Chewacla State Park
Where better to unwind than in a 690-acre state park located right on your doorstep? The 26-acre lake means it’s an ideal place for water sports of every kind, but there are lots of hiking and biking trails for you to enjoy, too. If you want to take your “tourist visit” to Opelika a stage further, then you could always rent one of the six stone cottages in Chewacla Park, and really getting into holiday mode.
John Emerald Distillery
A tour of a distillery might not sound thrilling at first, but when you realize that John Emerald was the first to go into business once prohibition stopped in 1993, and they’ve been in business ever since. For as little as $11 you and a friend can hang out in the distillery sampling the various whiskeys, rums and brandies on offer, but also learning more about the operation of this family-run craft distillery. Please note, you must be over 21 years of age to take part in the alcohol tasting activities here.
This is one of the stranger sights you’ll see on a tour of Opelika, and might not be to everyone’s taste because it’s basically a museum filled with the preserved bodies of animals hunted by George Mann, using just a bow and arrow. You can find the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum at Montgomery Zoo, where you’re allowed to touch many of the exhibits, which is an unusual practice for any museum. You won’t find a tourist attraction quite like this almost anywhere else in North America, so a visit is highly recommended.
We’re quietly confident that most of you haven’t been to every single one of the above attractions, so now is the best possible time for you to change that.