The University of Alabama is among the country’s best-known college campuses, but it offers more than academics and athletics. In and around the campus are famous landmarks and hidden gems for a picture-perfect social media post. Whether it’s your first time on campus, posing for graduation photos or just looking for a nice place to snap a selfie, these 10 locations are worth visiting.
#10: The University of Alabama Arboretum
The University of Alabama Arboretum may be tucked away in the forest just beyond campus, but it’s a hidden treasure for photo enthusiasts. It’s home to a conservatory for butterflies and bumblebees, as well as year-round beautiful flowers and more than 100 varieties of trees, ranging from those native to Alabama to types from all over the world.
Before you go: Make sure you make a reservation with the arboretum to get the full experience and see nature up close.
#9: Manderson Landing and the Minerva statue
Nestled along the Black Warrior River sits Manderson Landing, home to the Alabama Rowing team and the recently unveiled Minerva statue. The statue was created by local artists Caleb O’Connor and UA professor Craig Wedderspoon in honor of Tuscaloosa’s bicentennial celebration. Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategy, is a long-standing symbol within the university, appearing on the UA seal.
Top tip: Visit Manderson Landing during the “golden hours” for best shots with not just the Black Warrior River in the background, but also with Minerva. Golden hours are usually an hour before sunrise and sunset.
#8: Gorgas House
Built in 1829 as the first building on campus, Gorgas House was originally a dining hall, a post office, a residence for the Gorgas family and, later, faculty housing. Gorgas House is one of four original buildings to survive the Civil War and the burning of the campus in 1865. The landscaping and stunning architecture are a perfect backdrop for selfies and graduation shoots. Don’t forget to make a reservation to enter the house and take in the details of what life was like when it was home to the Gorgas family.
Fun fact: In 1971, Gorgas House was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
#7: Elephant Topiary, Rose Administration
Created in 2015 at the request of UA President Stuart Bell, the elephant topiary is an iconic spot on campus, not just for gameday fans but for anyone who loves a pachyderm. The topiary is in front of Rose Administration building. It sports a red graduation cap each semester, standing out as a 4.0 GPA star.
Did you know?: The topiary was inspired by Walt Disney World’s character topiaries.
#6: Tuska Plaza
UA’s newest statue is a 7-ton, 19-foot bronze elephant named Tuska. Originally standing at the entrance of the NorthRiver Yacht Club since 2000, Tuska was donated to the university in 2021 and unveiled on campus April 12 at University Boulevard and Wallace Wade Avenue. The statue was created by Terry Matthews, an English artist known for his realistic wildlife sculptures. The life-size bronze statue resides in its own plaza.
#5: Shelby Fountain
Nestled within the main campus is Shelby Quad, one of several quadrants at the Capstone. Named after U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, the wide-open area is excellent for portraits. The fountain, the main feature in Shelby Quad, offers a beautiful backdrop with its jets of water. Other great spots around Shelby Quad for pictures are Shelby Hall, the nearby Foundry and engineering buildings that might be near and dear to one’s heart.
Fun fact: Five buildings surround Shelby Quad and the fountain, as well as Rodgers Library.
#4: Marr’s Spring Pond
Marr’s Spring Pond is easily missed when walking around campus, but it played a massive role in the building of the university. Originally, Marr’s Spring was the campus water supply, until the Capstone joined the city’s water supply, leaving the pond to become a scenic background for stunning photos. The pond is now a thriving ecosystem for small fish and is a popular study spot for students, as it is secluded from campus.
Don’t miss this: Different insects and amphibians can be spotted around the pond throughout the year.
#3: Bryant-Denny Stadium and the Walk of Champions
No trip through campus would be complete without a stop at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the Walk of Champions. Near Tuska Plaza, the Walk of Champions is marked with pavers for every SEC or NCAA championship, as well as bronze statues of coaches Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, Gene Stallings and Nick Saban. Make sure you pose with the University of Alabama sign in front of the stadium – it’s the perfect spot to get the most of the stadium in the frame.
#2: Denny Chimes
Built in 1929 and dedicated to then-UA President George Denny, Denny Chimes is one of the best places on campus to take photos. The chimes are surrounded by UA’s “Walk of Fame,” concrete pavers with the hand and cleat prints of football all-stars dating back to the early 1930s. Pose on the steps, in the doorway and from across the street to get the best shots of Denny Chimes.
Fun fact: Denny Chimes is made out of Alabama limestone and Virginia red brick.
#1: President’s Mansion
Across from Denny Chimes is the President’s Mansion, home to UA’s current President Stuart Bell and 30 other past presidents. The mansion is one of the most popular places on campus for a photo shoot. You can also take photos of Denny Chimes from the mansion’s courtyard. Depending on the time of year, the rose garden, tulip grove and azalea bushes are stunning backdrops.
Did you know?: The mansion has been home to all but three UA presidents.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.