Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Escapes #11 - Orr Park, Alabama

Orr Park in Montevallo, Alabama, is a great place to escape on a hot summer day. Shoal Creek, popular for kayaking, flows through the park, which also features picnic areas, walking trails, natural areas, open spaces, playgrounds, ballfields and more.

What really makes this city park south of Birmingham unique, however, is that it features one of the largest and most unusual outdoor art displays in the South.

In 1993 a severe storm struck the area, doing heavy damage to decades old cedar trees growing in the park. Dead trees usually meet their fates quickly, but in this case Choctaw artist Tim Tingle came to the rescue with an unusual plan. He wanted to turn the dead and dying trees into works of art that would blend with the living trees of the forest.

As Tingle's work began to take shape, the people of Montevallo fell in love with the project. The result is a magnificent collection of carvings that take the shape of animals, mythical characters, human faces and even a dragon. More than 30 now dot the wooded areas along the walking trail at Oor Park.

To learn more about this fascinating (and free) Alabama escape, please visit

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