20 Interesting and Fun Facts About Alabama

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Alabama is the 30th largest state in the country and was the 22nd to join the Union. As one of the southernmost states in the country, there are many fascinating and fun facts about Alabama that make it interesting.

The state’s iron and steel industry, warm welcome, sweet tea, and football (particularly the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide) are just some of the things that Alabama is know for. But what are some of the different Alabama facts you need to know before visiting?

Here are 20 interesting and fun facts about Alabama to help you plan your next vacation.

Quick Facts And Statistics About Arkansas

[As of 2022]

  • Capital: Montgomery
  • Population: 5.08 million (24th Populous State in the U.S)
  • Land Area: 52,419 sq mi / 135,765 km² (30th Largest in U.S)
  • Nickname: The Heart of Dixie
  • Abbreviation: AL
  • Statehood: December 14, 1819 (22nd U.S. State)
  • State Bird: Yellowhammer
  • State Flower: Camellia

Alabama Facts For Tourists

Alabama Was Tourist Destination To More Than 28 Million People In 2021

Here is an exciting and fun fact about Alabama for anyone considering to visit the State. In 2021, an estimated 28.2 million tourists traveled to Alabama, where they spent a whopping $19.6 billion during their stays.

There are tons of activities you can enjoy in Alabama

Alabama Cities Have Unique Nicknames

An interesting fact about Alabama is the unique nicknames of its cities. Many cities across the state of Alabama have formally recognized nickname usage. Cities in Alabama have several nicknames, such as “The Magic City” for Birmingham, “The Rocket City” for Huntsville, and “The Azalea City” for Mobile.

Photo credit: lspencer/Depositphotos.com

Alabama Has an All-Water Mail Route

All of Magnolia Springs, Alabama’s mail is brought to the town by riverboat. This is the last remaining mail route in the continental United States that is carried out entirely by water.

State With The Only Meotorite Survivor In Human History

An Alabama resident is the only known meteorite survivor in human history. In Oak Grove, on November 30, 1954, Ann Hodges was resting on her couch when the incident occurred. Surely a weird Alabama fact.

Alabama Is Home To The Largest Collection Of African-American Art

Donations of artwork by Paul R. Jones to the University of Alabama totaled $4.8 million in 2008. Among the nearly 1,700 paintings in the collection were some of the most sought-after works by African-American artists.

Jones acquired the pieces after realizing there was a shortage of high-quality work by African-American artists in the area’s museums, galleries, and auction houses.

A Monk Created A Small City

An intriguing fact about Alabama is that it is likely the only location you will come across a miniature city constructed by a hunchbacked monk.

By 1958, Brother Joseph Zoettl had finished the four-acre Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, which he had dedicated to various well-known religious structures. The intricately designed exhibit has become a popular destination.

Historical Facts About Alabama


Alabama Was Formerly A Grassland

Grassland once occupied most of what is now Alabama. It’s easy to imagine how drastically different Alabama must have seemed to the first European settlers. Early settlers arrived, cleared the ground of trees and grass, and got to work cultivating the area.

Historically, grasslands, marsh areas, and open grassy forests made up more than half of the state’s original terrain. Unfortunately, less than one percent of the natural prairie exists.

On December 14, 1819, Alabama became the 22nd state to join the United States. Once part of the Union, it seceded in 1861 and returned once the war was over.

The First Europeans To Visit Alabama Were Spanish, But The French Became The First To Settle In The State

The first Europeans to discover Alabama were the Spanish. Hernando de Soto led a group of gold seekers across Alabama in the 16th century. In 1702, the French were the first Europeans to establish themselves permanently in Alabama.

The Confederacy Built The First Successful Submarine In Alabama And Used It To Sink An Enemy Vessel

This is one of the most popular facts about Alabama. The Confederacy built the first successful submarine in Alabama and used it to sink a Union ship. This submarine H.L. Hunley, designed by James McClintlock, was completed in 1863.

Five crew members drowned in the ship’s first testing run, and all eight members perished in the ship’s second trial run. The Confederates brought the submarine to the surface and tried again, despite the growing body count.

In 1864, H.L. Hunley was victorious, but it was a bittersweet victory. The USS Housatonic, a sloop-of-war in the United States Navy, was sunk thanks to a torpedo attack. However, the H.L. Hunley sank once more after the attack, taking with it its entire crew.


Alabama Is The State To Record The First 911 Call

Following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for a nationwide emergency line, the Haleyville telephone company has constructed a first-responder system. The first 911 call was placed by two people in Alabama, on February 16, 1968.

It involved Alabama’s House Speaker Rankin Fite reaching out to Bevill. Both men were physically present in the City Hall building during the conversation. Therefore it wasn’t long-distance.

The Original Capital Of Alabama Is Now A Deserted Ghost Town

This is one of the weirder and more intriguing Alabama facts. After Alabama became a state, it was necessary to select a location for the capital.

The location of Cahaba, often spelled Cahawba, was decided upon on November 21, 1818. By 1820, the capital had been laid out, the land had been auctioned off, and construction had begun.

Cahaba served as the state capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1825. Subsequently, they decided to change the state capital due to persistent flooding in the area. And after another devastating flood in 1865, the town was all but deserted and never fully recovered.

Therefore, the U.S. census no longer included Cahaba after 1880.

Alabama Is The Site Of The World’s First Successful Open-heart Surgery On A Patient’s Body

When Luther Hill opened up a wounded 13-year-old boy in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1902 and operated on his heart, it was an infrequent and risky procedure.

Hill sutured a knife wound in the heart of his knocked-out patient on a kitchen table in what is widely considered the first cardiac operation of its kind in the United States.

Photo credits: shooterjt/Depositphotos.com

Alabama Is Home To The Country’s Pioneering School Of Civil Aviation

Alabama is the birthplace of the United States’ first school to teach civilian pilots. The Wright Brothers, often known as Orville and Wilbur, established the first civil aviation school in the United States in a location other than Montgomery, Alabama.

The Wright Brothers are remembered for many things, but they will always be remembered as those who pioneered aviation. These American aviation trailblazers did more than design the airplane — they also built and piloted the very first successful aircraft of their kind.

This is definitely one of the proudest historical facts about Alabama.

Fun Facts About Alabama

World Largest Cake Was Built In Alabama

One of the fun facts about Alabama you might not know is the Centenary cake in 1989.

Fort Payne, Alabama’s residents, decided to do something special for the city’s centenary in 1989, making it the world’s largest cake. There were twelve layers to the cake, which measured 80 feet in length and 32 feet in width.

It was around 128,238 pounds. A centenarian cut the cake at Fort Payne’s centennial celebration. However, there is now a new record from Las Vegas.

The State Erected A Monument To An Insect

In early 1909, an insect known as the boll weevil established a breeding ground near the state’s border with Mississippi.

When the cotton-eating bug decimated so much farmland over time, farmers had little choice except to seek out new planting grounds. Coincidentally, that actually led to a wider diversity of food crops. Although cotton production continues to be one of the things that Alabama is known for.

Although the first memorial to the noble weevil was erected in 1919, it wasn’t until 1949 that a sculpture was commissioned to forever remember the pest.


Indeed, “Sweet Home Alabama” Really Exists

In 1906, funeral director H.W. Sweet commissioned architect William Benns to design and construct his dream home. Sweet’s home in Bessemer has a historical marker stating that it cost him $10,000.

The First Monkey To Survive A Trip To Space Is Buried In Alabama

Miss Baker was hailed as a hero in Huntsville when she made history in 1959 by being the first monkey to survive a space trip. When she passed away in 1984 from unavoidable causes, a burial plot was prepared near the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

People have been known to place bananas atop her tombstone as a sign of respect. A heartwarming fact about Alabama that shows the nature of the people.

World Fastest Construction

The Habitat for Humanity chapter in Shelby County, Alabama, now holds the record for the fastest home building in the world. It took just 3 hours and 26 minutes to finish the course, which is located near Montevallo.


Alabama Is A Great Place To Go Shopping For Lost Luggage

Another interesting fact about Alabama is – All Lost and unclaimed luggage is sent to Scottsboro, Alabama. The Unclaimed Baggage Center, located in the state, is the final destination for missing luggage when all other avenues of recovery have been exhausted.

The goods are then sold to customers in a thrift shop setting. (Just in case you’re curious, just one tourist has ever purchased something that turned out to be theirs, to begin with).

Cannon Balls From The American Civil War Were Discovered In Alabama In 2015

Although the Civil War technically finished in 1865, that doesn’t mean Alabamians were entirely safe. Cannonballs were unearthed from beneath University of Alabama sidewalks in June 2015.

Ten were discovered by maintenance workers, who immediately reported their find to the police, who then sent a bomb squad to remove them.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Alabama

These are some fascinating and fun facts about Alabama. Is there anything you didn’t know about this massive, exciting metropolis? You can certainly find out even more interesting discoveries when visiting the state.

There are many fascinating landmarks in Alabama that can be explored by anyone interested in learning more about the city. Plan your trip and explore the city’s many attractions and local culture. In the summer, you can even take advantage of the beautiful beaches in Alabama for a vacation by the waters.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


other stories