Prattville has its own bamboo forest

Prattville has its own bamboo forest
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - At first glance, it looks like you're in Asia, it looks nothing like Alabama.

"Driving by you don't even know it's here," said Prattville Parks and Recreation Director Kellie Cook. "Unless you walk down the path you have
no idea it's here."

These 60-foot bamboo trees have taken over Wilderness Park in Prattville.

"The landowner in 1940s had a passion for exotic plants. So he purchased some bamboo seeds and planted 26 acres of bamboo. It's like kudzu.
It takes off and keeps growing."

This is a natural park. They don't do anything but make sure the paths are clear and the bamboos do the rest.

"With bamboos, it grows like grass because it is a grass," said Prattville's Superintendent of Urban Management Deven Peek. "It grows laterally and it has chutes that come up."

All you have to do is knock to see these aren't your typical trees.

"Between each layer, these rings right here, you have a hollow section," said Peek.

It's so much like the terrain in Asia the US military used this area in Prattville to train troops before sending them to Vietnam.

"The dense conditions, vegetation, humidity was similar to Southeast Asia," said Cook. "So they used this area as a training ground facility to get acclimated with the conditions they would be working with."

There is one thing you won't find here.

"People ask, are there pandas there? We get that a lot. And no we don't have pandas."

Even without the pandas, it's literally a cool place to check out.  A trip to Asia right in our own back yard. It's open every day from dawn until dusk and it's free to get in.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.