USA’s Best New Museum for 2021

Three guests marvel at the features in the 15,000 gallon salt water aquarium at the Cook Museum of Natural Science. 

DECATUR – The Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur has been selected as the winner of the USA Today 2021 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel Award for Best New Museum.

Twenty museums from across the country that opened in the last two years were nominated by a panel of experts at USA Today’s travel website Subsequently, readers voted for four weeks to select the top ten museums. The Cook Museum was voted number distinguishing them as the Best New Museum in the country for 2021.

“This award means a great deal to our guests, team, community, and region,” said Executive Director, Scott Mayo. “To have an unsolicited nomination by USA Today on a national scale as a best new museum, and then to be voted as number one among museums from across the country, is a huge honor that speaks volumes about the experience of our guests, the hard work of our team, and the value we’re able to provide right here in North Alabama. This award adds even more excitement as we go into the summer months and families come from all over to be engaged, excited, and educated here at the Cook Museum.”

Located at 133 4th Ave NE in Decatur, Alabama, the Cook Museum of Natural Science opened to the public on June 7, 2019. It contains 62,000 square feet of exhibit galleries which include a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, an immersive cave, an interactive sand table, live animals, Museum Store, and the first Nature’s Table café in Alabama.