Construction on the Anniston Museum of Natural History’s Nature Trail began in 1977; it opened in 1978. It wound through the woods surrounding the property and was complete with different signs, informing visitors about common Alabama plant life and animals. In 1979, the trail was updated yet again with brail signs, allowing the blind access to the educational information featured on the trail. While the original trails were the product of staff ingenuity, they have been constantly improved by volunteers and valuable members of the community.
In 1991, Jacksonville High School Science Club members helped to clear brush to give the trails a makeover. Over the course of their existence, the trails have relied on volunteer efforts for maintenance. Thanks to several organizations, the trails have remained clear since their creation for visitors from all over Alabama and beyond. Longleaf Botanical Garden staff and Anniston Museum staff have sought to upkeep the educational aspects of the trail for guests. Today, the trails carry visitors through the largest forest in Anniston. Because of the diligence with which the trails are kept, and the size of the forest, AMNH received the Treasure Forest award!
To further enrich visitor experience, Anniston Museum expanded the Nature Trails to include the Bird of Prey trail. This trail features a hutch and five aviaries (bird enclosures). The hutch houses the museum’s rabbit ambassadors year-round and its tortoise ambassadors in the warmer months. The five aviaries host non-releasable, native birds of prey. Featured on the trail are the barn owl, great horned owl, the barn owl, a red tail hawk, and a red shouldered hawk.
The museum’s nature trails operate under the same hours as Anniston Museums and Gardens, and are free to explore. Visit today and enjoy a quiet amble through the woods, take a peek at an elusive owl, or discover some of Alabama’s wonderful flora and fauna!