Georgia is full of hikes that lead to hidden canyons, waterfalls and natural swimming holes, but what happens when you've had the opportunity to explore them all? Well, we've got plenty of neighboring states with tons of hidden gems that are only a short drive away. This rock garden near Georgia is a massive village filled with over 100 mini sculptures only three hours outside of Atlanta.
The Ave Maria Grotto, AKA "Jerusalem in Miniature" is in Cullman, Alabama. The sculptures takes up a four-acre area of land scattered with over 125 insanely realistic miniscule recreations of famous religious sculptures throughout the world. The grotto, built in 1934, is located on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman and it took over 50 years to complete. The craziest part is that is was built entirely by one human, a Benedictine monk named Brother Joseph Zoettl.
Zoettl collected and combined items like sea shells, marbles, bricks and costume jewelry to create these insanely incredible sculptures that are so detailed, it's like you are looking at the real thing. It's as if you took a trip to the Caribbean to view a mini Monteserrat or all the way to Vatican City, Italy to see this life-like St. Peter's Basilica.
This renowned landmark is so popular that visitors come from all over the world to scope it out. Luckily, we are only a short three-hour drive from this masterpiece.
It's the perfect spot for your next road trip and it's filled with plenty of Instagrammable moments. From the castles to the caves, you are guaranteed to be awe-struck as you frolick through this fairytale wonderland with your friends.
If you want to channel your inner Tinkerbell in Georgia too, check out this magical village with our own whimsical sculptures. You also can't miss this gorgeous farm with secret trails and a treehouse.
Ave Maria Grotto
Address: 1600 St Bernard Dr, Cullman, AL 35055
Why You Need To Go: To make your magical fairytale dreams come true as you browse through a magical forest of mini structures from all around the globe.