If you’re passing through Alabama or you’ve lived hear all of your life, don’t miss one of the coolest things in our state – Jesse Owens Memorial Museum and across the street the Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center. Both are within an hour of Birmingham and Huntsville and get this – they are free.
Head to Danville, AL and look for signs for the Jesse Owens Museum and Oakville Mounds, they are off the same road and within less than a mile from each other.
What my kids thought:
They loved seeing Jesse’s track shoes and uniforms, learning about his appearance in the Olympics and they really loved the long jump practice area. The museum is a great intro to the movie featuring Owen’s accomplishments in Race.
At the mounds they loved climbing the mounds of course, they collect arrowheads so they were really impressed by the large Oakville collection.
First lets stop at the Jesse Owens Museum. They are open daily however you might get there and find the doors locked. If that happens look at the sign on the door for phone numbers to call. Someone will arrive in 10 minutes or so to open the museum for you. Admission is free and includes a museum, a playground, a long jump running area and a replica of his childhood home.
There are picnic tables and a playground at the entrance. The playground is kinda old but I’m sure your kids can find something to do. If you hit the souvenir shop they have souvenir pins for $1.
Bonus tip: If you’re lucky enough to have a good docent make sure you ask them to tell you what they know about Jesse and the what you can find in the museum. We had a wonderful docent that was great with the kids.
Admission: Free, donations are accepted.
Once you’re done make sure to head across the street to the Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center. It is packed with thousands of arrowheads and Native American artifacts. There’s a statue of Sequoyah you can’t miss and don’t forget to drive around to the mounds, which you can climb.
This center is owned by the county’s board of education. They have a number of programs and welcome field trips. Make sure you read the historical markers to help you understand the significance of the mounds.
Call before you go to make sure they are open or they’re not closing early.
Admission: Free, unless special events are taking place.
Our original trip was in July of 2014 but we did a follow up visit recently on a road trip to Tuscumbia. Again it’s free and worth the stop.