UNA Lions in Florence

September 28, 2015


UNA Lions, Fairhope Supply Co. Even within my own family, there are those who have a more pronounced Southern accent than others. So when my Great Aunt Modeane was giving us directions to her new house in Montgomery a few years ago and told us to, “turn between the lines,” we looked and looked for lines on the road but couldn’t find any. We realized our mistake when we drove past a stately pair of cement . . . LIONS.


Leo III and Una, Lions at University of North Alabama

But if you keep driving a few more hours to the north corner of the state, you’ll see these LIONS are the real thing.

University of North Alabama, Florence, AL

A few weeks ago, I took my Mother up to Florence, Alabama to visit two of her sisters and while we were sitting around the house doing “mature” lady things like watching the hummingbirds and rabbits, I suggested we go out for a little drive.



University of North Alabama, Florence AL, Fairhope Supply Co. We ended up on the beautiful campus of The University of North Alabama, which I had never seen before.


President's House UNA, Florence, AL - Fairhope Supply Co. Formerly named, “Florence State College,” I’ve had two Aunts and a cousin graduate from the four year school that has just over 7,000 students. The beautiful house above is the President’s House, which is within close roaring distance of the Lion’s habitat. So close, I was thinking if I lived in the president’s house, I would keep a close eye on Lois Lane. A plump little beagle would make a tasty snack for these two cats.


fountain (1)The UNA Lions are majestic mascots and are very well cared for. We visited the campus on a Sunday, and although it was quiet, there was a steady stream of admirers coming to see the beasts.


Sleepy lions, UNA Lions, Leo III and Una, Florence ALBut alas . . . the brother and sister, Leo III and Una, were worn out from the big game day crowd on the previous day, and were taking a leisurely Sunday siesta, snoozing in the warm sun. Their habitat has a climate controlled area to combat the hot Alabama summers and cold North Alabama winters. They are the only two live lion mascots in the United States.


Lions at UNA, Florence Alabama, Fairhope Supply Co. Anne Howard, who was in the safety of the double fence, said she bottle fed the duo when they were small kitty-cats. There are four local veterinarians who help in the excellent care of the lions, and if a major need arises, they call on their vet friends down at Auburn University. Here’s a story about Anne and how she came to be the lion’s volunteer caretaker.

George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, UNA, Florence, ALThe habitat cost 1.3 million dollars to construct, and the annual cost to feed the lions is approximately $35,000, which is all covered by charitable donations. (I’ve heard they throw the losing team’s mascot to the lions for their dessert).


Lions at UNA, Florence Alabama, Fairhope Supply Co. BlogThe habitat is clean and a popular spot for children’s field trips as well as a stop on their way to classes for the college students.


University of North Alabama, UNA, Florence AL, Fairhope Supply Co. BlogThis lion was the friendliest I found and was eager to be awake for a play session. After we left the lions, we drove around Florence and saw some beautiful houses and more of the pretty downtown, which I’ll show you tomorrow.

Until then . . . ROAR! And Go Lions!

Read about caretaker Anne Howard HERE.

And for more information on the George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, click HERE.

  • I had no idea there were real lions on campus and I know a few girls that go there. I’ll have to bring this up to them when I see them next. I’m sure they’ll be surprised I know such an odd fact about their school. Thanks for sharing it! 🙂

  • I bet I know exactly where those “lines” (lions) are here in Montgomery….two places, one off Madison Avenue and the other over in an older section of town that used to be “elite” but is now …..well, you know.

    My sister and I have talked about a day trip to Florence, so we might add that to our things to do.

    Happy October 1st!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Madison sounds familiar, but I remember the name of her street was “Ann.” She doesn’t live there any longer, but the house was an adorable older bungalow style with beautiful wood floors, a cute breakfast room and interesting built-in bookshelves. I always loved visiting her and my Great Uncle not only because I loved seeing them, but I enjoyed looking at their house.

  • Hi Little Bitty Pretty! Thanks for popping in again to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  • Beautiful campus and fabulous lions (lines). Honestly never heard of the school, but now it is on my map.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      The University of SOUTH Alabama is not too far away from me in Mobile, but it is much larger than UNA. I thought they were about the same size. UNA had a beautiful campus and of course, the Lions put them over the top as an awesome place to go to school. Can you imagine sitting in class and hearing, “RROOOAAARRRRR!!!!”

  • You’re so cute! I do understand about the accents. I have to watch mine occasionally and if I come back to Alabama and am around my relatives, I seem to slip right back into that accent! 🙂 The lions are pretty and what a lovely university! I’ve never been there. Thanks for coming along with me on my trip to England. You asked about the food. The top was called a roast with veggies and the bread bowl is called ‘pudding’. A hoot, huh? The bottom was a brie and red onion tart! The red on top was pureed red onions. This was what I ate and it was delish! You got dinner ready? I’m hungry now.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Leslie Anne says:

      English food gets such a bad rap. I think your food looked delicious! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Who knew?!?!?! I sure hope that my team never loses to UNA. Our poor leprechaun wouldn’t stand a chance!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      For some reason, I think a leprechaun would be minty, and since everyone knows lions don’t like mint, you’re okay.

  • That is a beautiful campus and great (obviously well cared for) mascots. Must generate a lot of school spirit.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      There were people all around while we were there and one young man told us he was a former football player at UNA who just liked to come back and visit the lions every now and then!

  • Oh we love to go to Florence to eat at Riccatonis! I have taken many Georgia visitors to see Helen Keller’s home in Tuscumbia. And do not tell any of those northwestern Alabamians that Florence, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals are all the same place. You will be notified that they are three separate places.lol Speaking of between the lines….A friend told me that her house was the one with the watermelon fence. I was too embarassed to ask her to spell it and we found out that her house was the one with the wrought iron fence.lol Southern accents are all different.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Very funny! I asked my Aunts if we could see Helen Keller’s house, and they said, “no, that’s in Tuscumbia” like it was on the other side of the planet!

      I’ve actually seen a fence in New Orleans with watermelons on it . . . and it was also wrought iron! Hahaha!

  • Your comment about sitting around doing the “mature lady things” cracked me up. I am sure my hubby and son felt that way on Christmas Day at my mama’s house. There is just not much to do in a small town on Christmas Day. My step dad watched old westerns instead of any possible sporting events. I think it must have been sheer torture for them.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Ha! You can read between the lines can’t you! (Or is that, between the “Lions?”)

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