12 Parks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Tuscaloosa is home to numerous beautiful parks that offer plenty of recreation, nature, and fun for residents and visitors. From large community parks to smaller neighborhood greenspaces, there is a park for everyone to enjoy in Tuscaloosa. The city has invested in developing and maintaining wonderful outdoor public spaces that contribute to the quality of life here.

Park NameDescription
Alberta City ParkCommunity park with playground and basketball courts in the Alberta area.
Annette N. Shelby ParkRiverfront park with disc golf course and walking trails.
Bowers ParkLarge park with sports fields, disc golf, and aquatic center.
Eureka Springs ParkQuiet neighborhood park with walking paths and gazebo.
Jaycee ParkDowntown park with fountain and amphitheater near the Riverwalk.
Jerry Belk Activity CenterPark with walking trails, tennis courts, and senior center.
McAbee Activity CenterDowntown park with baseball diamond and playground.
Palmore ParkPark with disc golf courses, tennis courts, and camellia garden.
Snow Hinton ParkLarge park with walking trails, sports fields, and playground.
T.S. Jackson ParkNeighborhood park with playground and basketball courts.
Veterans Memorial ParkLakeside memorial park with sculptures, playground, and walking paths.
Warrior ParkPark near university with open green space and tennis courts.

In this article, we will highlight 12 fantastic parks spanning Tuscaloosa that you must check out. There are parks along the river, in the downtown, across the university campus, and more that provide amenities like walking trails, sports facilities, playgrounds, open green space, and stunning natural scenery. Read on to learn more about each one!

Alberta City Park

Name and Location: Alberta City Park is located at 312 1st Avenue NE in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened in the early 1990s, this small neighborhood park provides green space, walking paths, and recreation opportunities for area families and community gatherings in the city’s revitalizing Alberta district.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy playground equipment, picnic tables, a basketball court, tennis courts, and a pavilion that hosts neighborhood events like fundraisers, festivals, and summer camps.

Visitor Information: Alberta City Park is open daily from dawn until dusk with free admission. On-street parking is available near the park.

Alberta City Park is a quaint community park covering just over 5 acres in the charming Alberta neighborhood. Mature trees provide plenty of shade over the park’s picnic area, making this a popular gathering spot for neighborhood events and family barbecues.

The playground equipment entertains kids for hours with swings, slides, and more. Basketball courts give area youth a safe place to play pickup games together after school. Alberta City Park may be small, but it packs a lot of fun and community spirit into its space.

Annette N. Shelby Park

Name and Location: Annette N. Shelby Park is located along the Black Warrior River at the southern end of Queen City Avenue in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened in 1992, this over 50 acre park was named after a prominent local judge and offers river access as well as numerous recreation amenities improving quality of life in the community.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy walking trails, a playground, picnic area, volleyball and basketball courts, athletic fields, a dog park, an 18-hole disc golf course, and access areas for fishing and canoeing along the riverfront.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily from dawn to dusk with free admission. Special events may require paid entry. Parking available within the grounds.

Bordering the picturesque Black Warrior River, Annette N. Shelby Park is a gorgeous park to enjoy the beauty of Tuscaloosa’s waterways. It covers 25 acres filled with wondrous recreational facilities and nature. Walking along the landscaped riverfront trail under canopies of towering trees is a treat any time of year.

The park also features an 18-hole disc golf course winding through the forests and along the river, presenting exciting challenges for players. With a playground, grill pits, picnic pavilions, and restrooms, Annette N. Shelby Park has everything you need for a full day outdoors with family and friends.

Bowers Park

Name and Location: Bowers Park is located south of downtown Tuscaloosa off Highway 215 near the residential neighborhoods of Rosedale and Westmont.

History and Significance: Acquired by the city in 1938, the over 130 acre park has provided generations of families year-round recreation activities from swimming pools to sports programs while preserving open green space and lake access.

What to Expect: In addition to Lake LU, visitors enjoy playgrounds, athletic courts and fields, picnic pavilions, a skate complex, batting cages, a miniature train ride, an accessible tree house and a water park with giant slides open seasonally.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily dawn to dusk. Some attractions like the waterpark require entry fees during May through August operation.

The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority operates the extensive facilities at Bowers Park, offering over 400 acres of sports fields, courts, walking trails, and open green spaces for public recreation. Baseball and softball enthusiasts flock to Bowers Park’s 12 lighted diamond fields that host leagues and tournaments.

With abundant parking and seating, the park can accommodate thousands of players and spectators. Bowers Park also contains an 18-hole disc golf course, a BMX track, batting cages, concessions, restrooms, and more. Its many multipurpose fields provide space for soccer, lacrosse, and other sports. Nearby, PARA’s Bowers Park Aquatic Center packs summer fun with waterslides, lap lanes, diving boards, and kid-friendly areas.

Eureka Springs Park

Name and Location: Eureka Springs Park is located along the Black Warrior River downtown at the corner of Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard North and Greensboro Avenue near the River Market.

History and Significance: Opened in 2005 atop a former industrial site, the urban 4-acre park transformed eyesore space into a community gem providing river access and recreation opportunities improving quality of life downtown.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy walking trails, a canoe launch, open fields, a pavilion and an accessible treehouse-themed playground connecting neighboring River Market development along restored natural habitat.

Visitor Information: Free public access daily dawn to dusk year round. Parking available at the adjacent River Market. Leashed pets and programmed event fees may apply.

Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood near Stillman College, Eureka Springs Park offers a peaceful patch of nature within the city. Its heavily wooded area features plenty of shade, graveled walking paths, and a delightful gazebo surrounded by flowers and greenery.

The tranquil environment attracts community members seeking solace, families looking for fresh air, and nature lovers wanting to spot birds. With a small playground, grill pits, and picnic tables, the 4-acre park also supports low-key gatherings and playtime. Though small, Eureka Springs Park’s refreshing natural scenery punches above its weight.

Jaycee Park

Name and Location: Jaycee Park is located in southeast Tuscaloosa off Highway 69 South/Greensboro Avenue within the larger Palmore Park complex.

History and Significance: Named for the civic Jaycee foundation, the park opened in 1978 offering additional recreation amenities for area families through a public-private partnership supporting quality of life.

What to Expect: Baseball diamonds, soccer fields, batting cages, concession stands and playground units offer day and evening activities. An 18-hole disc golf course winds through the wooded terrain with long open fairways.

Visitor Information: Open daily dawn to dusk for free public use. Parking available within grounds. Field reservations needed for team sports. Some areas lit for night play.

Originally called Government Plaza Park, Jaycee Park spans 8 acres in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa adjacent to City Hall. Its proximity to the Black Warrior River and the Riverwalk recreational trail means Jaycee Park sees plenty of foot traffic.

The focal point fountain provides pleasant ambience as visitors pass through or take a moment to rest. Concerts and community events often utilize the park’s amphitheater stage and expansive lawns that slope down to the river. Jaycee Park connects Tuscaloosa locals and visitors to the natural beauty and cultural attractions of downtown.

Jerry Belk Activity Center

Name and Location: The Jerry Belk Activity Center is located within Bowers Park south of downtown Tuscaloosa at 3602 Mental Health Drive.

History and Significance: Originally built in 1982 as the Bowers Park Recreation Center, the multipurpose complex was renamed for a late community leader in 2001 and today hosts meetings, sports, training and events year-round.

What to Expect: Visiting groups utilize the modern spaces featuring a gymnasium, activity rooms, concession stand, locker facilities, sports equipment, a walking track and both lighted and covered outdoor athletic courts.

Visitor Information: Open daily with varying hour availability to reserve. Nominal rental fees support operational costs. Some public social activities offered.

Adults, seniors, and families love the amenities and programming available at Jerry Belk Activity Center park in west Tuscaloosa. The 25-acre park contains walking trails, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, and popular venues like the PARA Senior Center and Camp Lapasata. Kids find endless fun at two large playgrounds while parents and seniors socialize and take classes inside.

Lapasata’s zip lines, climbing walls, swimming pool, and outdoor adventures entertain campers all summer long. Rentable spaces make Jerry Belk ideal for hosting reunions, parties, meetings, and more both indoors and outdoors. With broad appeal across ages and abundant options, Jerry Belk Activity Center brings the Tuscaloosa community together.

McAbee Activity Center

Name and Location: Eugene L. McAbee Sr. Activity Center sits on 13th Street East near the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa adjacent to the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy.

History and Significance: Originally Central YMCA, the recreational complex transitioned into a public activity center in 1994 providing gymnastics training, after-school programs and community space before a major renovation in 2019.

What to Expect: Visitors utilize the modern amenities including a rock climbing wall, athletic courts, crossfit area, dance and exercise studios, walking track, classroom spaces and play room with WIFI access.

Visitor Information: Open for public use with hourly fees. Memberships offered. Programming serves people of all abilities and ages with childcare available during workouts.

McAbee Activity Center packs recreational facilities into its cozy 1.3 acres in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa. Baseball and softball players of all ages keep the baseball diamond busy with pickup games and practices. Two batting cages allow for honing hitting skills before stepping up to the plate.

Families enjoy the playground equipment while teens meet up on the basketball court. Picnic tables offer seating for snack breaks or team meetings. Though small, McAbee Activity Center’s prime location and quality amenities meet the physical activity needs of city center residents.

Palmore Park

Name and Location: Palmore Park is situated off Highway 69 South spanning 200 acres one mile southeast of downtown Tuscaloosa within the Bird Creek and Jaycee Park areas.

History and Significance: Developed from former swampland in the 1960s, ongoing expansion transformed fields into diverse athletic facilities hosting local and regional baseball tournaments and championships for decades.

What to Expect: Baseball players and fans utilize the multiple regulation-size lighted diamond fields featuring covered dugouts, concessions, restrooms, electronic scoreboards and seating for crowds up to 500 people per field across the scenic complex.

Visitor Information: The park is open year round dawn to dusk for casual use. Field reservations needed for teams and events which may require fees. Parking on site.

Palmore Park’s 39 acres contain a delightful mix of active and passive recreational options with something for all interests. Nature lovers delight in the park’s gorgeous camellia garden showcasing hundreds of vibrant blooms every winter. Miles of walking trails lace through Palmore Park’s forests, open meadows, and wetlands.

The park meets community recreation needs with lighted tennis courts, ball fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds. Visitors enjoy cooler months playing one of Palmore Park’s two disc golf courses tucked beneath the canopy of towering pines. Picnic pavilions provide gathering places for potlucks or party overflow seating. Palmore Park balances natural beauty and built amenities that come together creating an accessible backyard for city residents.

Snow Hinton Park

Name and Location: Snow Hinton Park sits along the Black Warrior River centrally located downtown Tuscaloosa between Hargrove Road East and Greensboro Avenue.

History and Significance: Dedicated in 1979 honoring former Vice President of UA Doc Snow and County Commissioner Hinton, the scenic 22 acre park provides access to experience river ecology and recreation.

What to Expect: Features include a boat ramp, canoe launch, fishing pier, picnic pavilions, a mile long walking trail looping the grounds, disc golf course, playground, outdoor fitness equipment, and courts for various sports.

Visitor Information: Free public access daily 5am-10:30pm. Restrooms on site. Parking available but fills during peak times. Trash bins encourage carry out to keep clean.

Snow Hinton Park spans 84 peaceful acres straddling flowing Bryam Creek in north Tuscaloosa. Its location adjacent to the Jack Warner Parkway makes accessing Snow Hinton Park easy whether walking, biking or driving. Visitors delight in strolling the paved walking trails spotting birds and native plants in the riparian corridor.

Snow Hinton Park delivers community recreation with ball fields, soccer pitch space, tennis and pickleball courts, and playground equipment. The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority offers summertime programming like nature education and outdoor adventure camps for youth. With plentiful amenities complementing the gorgeous natural backdrop, Snow Hinton Park is both sustainable and scenic.

T.S. Jackson Park

Name and Location: T.S. Jackson Park is located in the Alberta community along University Boulevard East between I-359 and Fairlane Drive North in Tuscaloosa.

History and Significance: Named after a devoted physician, the 17 acre park broke ground in 2000 on once contaminated industrial land serving a revitalized neighborhood through green space, sports and walking trails connecting to other city paths.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy a playground, picnic pavilion, basketball court, ball fields, skate plaza, BMX track and a 7 acre manmade lake surrounded by walking paths under a scenic wooden pedestrian bridge.

Visitor Information: Free access daily 5am-10:30pm. Some areas like the skate plaza require safety gear. Parking available within site.

Nestled within a south Tuscaloosa neighborhood, tiny T.S. Jackson Park packs big fun into its half-acre space. Kids gravitate towards the large, vibrant playground entertained for hours by the equipment. Nearby, two regulation-size basketball courts give teens and adults ample space to shoot hoops together.

Grills and picnic tables allow easy community gatherings and cookouts in the park. Benches provide quiet spots to relax in the shade watching all the activity. Though small in scale, T.S. Jackson Park supports neighbors coming together through active recreation and shared community green space.

Veterans Memorial Park

Name and Location: Veterans Memorial Park resides southeast of downtown Tuscaloosa along the Black Warrior River at the end of Lake Hill Drive.

History and Significance: Opened on July 4, 1998, the 25 acre park honors those who’ve served in the armed forces through ceremonies, monuments and preserves while offering scenic riverfront recreation opportunities for community gatherings and events.

What to Expect: Features include memorial walls and wreaths, a castle-themed playground, picnic pavilions, lighted walking trails, an amphitheater seating 800 people, boat launch area, open fields and a glass engraving memorial wall.

Visitor Information: Free access daily 5am-10:30pm. Some areas available to rent for private events. Parking on site plus nearby garage option.

Honoring fallen heroes, Veterans Memorial Park presents a solemn, beautiful tribute in a tranquil lakeside setting. Visitors enter the park through a stirring walkway inscribed with thought-provoking quotes about war, sacrifice, and what it means to serve one’s country.

In the memorial plaza, brick pavers engraved with service members’ names surround the stirring centerpiece sculpture by artist Caleb O’Connor. Benches, flags, and stunning landscaping complete the space for quiet reflection and remembrance. Families also enjoy Veterans Memorial Park’s pedestrian bridge over the lake, delightful playground, and walking paths when not paying respects. The park’s mix of memorialization and recreation make it both sobering and uplifting.

Warrior Park

Name and Location: Warrior Park resides along the Black Warrior River downtown Tuscaloosa flanking both sides of Jack Warner Parkway south of the river bridge crossing.

History and Significance: Created through developments in the late 20th century, the scenic park provides pedestrian access and recreation along the central riverfront through walking trails, a wharf, event spaces and boat mooring areas connecting the downtown district.

What to Expect: Features include open lawns, benches, lighted fountain, outdoor performance pavilion, decorated walkways, decorative lighting displays, boat launch and access to farmer’s market plus seasonal events like outdoor movies and summer concerts.

Visitor Information: Free access daily 5am-10:30pm. Some areas available to rent for private events. Nearby parking garages available, some free on nights and weekends.

Located across University Blvd from the University of Alabama campus, Warrior Park contains amenities catering to student life. Its proximity to sorority row makes it popular for sisterhood events, team practices, hanging between classes, and weekend fun. Warrior Park’s versatile open green space accommodates everything from yoga sessions to tossing a Frisbee to just lying out in the sun.

Tennis players take advantage of the lighted hard courts until late in the evening. The park gives campus community members access to recreation beyond what the university intramural fields offer. From Greek life to study breaks to club sports, Warrior Park supports student activity thanks to its ideal location and flexible amenities.

Conclusion


Tuscaloosa’s wonderful parks contribute enormously to quality of life through community amenities, recreation access, events venues, natural spaces, and memorialization. The twelve parks highlighted here provide only a sampling of what Tuscaloosa offers. Whether you want to play tennis, walk trails, remember fallen service members, cookout with friends, play disc golf, catch a concert, or slide down waterslides, there is a fantastic park waiting for you in Tuscaloosa, Alabama!

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