FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- In the heart of the Wiregrass, Dothan offers a couple of family-oriented attractions for those wanting to explore and learn more about the local community.

And military members and their families can enjoy both Landmark Park and the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens for free.

LANDMARK PARK

Landmark Park offers a unique experience for those wanting to learn more about the Wiregrass region and its heritage. Laura Stakelum, park public relations director, said that Landmark Park and its programs are "a great way to learn about the area."

Stakelum described the park as a 135-acre lot that features an 1890s Wiregrass farmstead, farm animals, playground and planetarium.

According to the park website, the historical farmstead comes complete with an old farmhouse, syrup shed, cane mill and smokehouse. The park also features nature trails, a one-room schoolhouse, drugstore and soda fountain, gift shop and picnic area.

Members of the military community are welcome to take advantage of free admission. "[The park] participates in the Blue Star Museum program," said Stakelum, "which means active-duty military and up to five family members can receive free admission to the park between Memorial Day and Labor Day." Regular admission prices are $4 for adults ages 13 and up, $3 for children ages 3-12, and children 2 and under are free of charge.

Stakelum says the park offers many public events during the year, such as Music by Moonlight, the park's concert series. Visitors are encouraged to "bring a picnic and enjoy the music." Additionally, a children's educational movie night and an Animal Adventures program are offered weekly during the summer months. A schedule of upcoming events can be found online.

Landmark Park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information on Landmark Park, visit www.landmarkparkdothan.com or call 334-794-3452.

DOTHAN AREA BOTANICAL GARDENS

The Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, located off U.S. Highway 431, offer scenic displays and educational opportunities for the community. "All types of gardens are available for people to see," said Paul Angeloff, DABG board of directors member. "There's something to suit everybody's interest."

According to the gardens' website, the Botanical Gardens feature 25 unique garden areas, which display a wide range of regional and non-regional plant life. A few of the offered areas include the butterfly garden, succulent garden, meditation garden and tropical house.

For families with children, Angeloff added that the gardens have recently completed the Children's Jungle Garden, which has been very popular so far. A map of the gardens can be found online.

When it comes to admission, Angeloff said, "There is no cost, but donation boxes are placed in the gardens, so if you enjoy your visit, you can donate".

The gardens offer several events throughout the year, such as Scarecrows in the Gardens, the garden's annual scarecrow competition. Individuals, families and groups are invited to build a scarecrow for entry into the competition, or to simply visit the park during the month of October and see the entries on display. The gardens host several scarecrow building workshops in August. There is a $20 entry fee for the scarecrow contest, but the workshop is free to attend.

A current calendar of events can be found online. The gardens are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

For more information on the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, visit www.dabg.com or call 334-793-3224.