Birmingham Zoo is the city zoo in Birmingham, Alabama and, despite not being as famous as other zoos around the country, has some excellent exhibits and makes for a fun day out with the kids. In fact, the Birmingham Zoo is so popular that it's been ranked as one of the most popular attractions in the entire state for many years running.
The Zoo has standard exhibits like the predator, reptile, aviary, and primate zones, but it also recently added an exhibit called Trails of Africa which showcases a small herd of African elephants and even lets you gt up close and personal with giraffes. Seeing the massive creatures up close is definitely the highlight of the Zoo. I'd also like to make a special mention of the shows and activities. They have regular sea lion and bird shows and you can take the kids on camel rides during the spring and summer.
Besides all the exhibits, the zoo also has shops and several cafes so you can spend the whole day with the family enjoying the displays and learning about the animals.
Railroad Park is an urban park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama and one of the prettiest parts of the city. It was built over rail lines and in fact a lot of the materials they found were used to built the actual park. To say that Railroad Park is an oasis of ponds and trees is to sell it short. It has a lake, a really beautiful water curtain, and several ponds and streams that run through the park.
I'd also like to add that there's a path that circles the park that is a little under a mile long. It's the perfect place to go jogging if you're looking for a little peace and fresh air. Also, there is free wi-fi throughout the entire premises so next time you need to catch up on some work you can ditch the Starbucks and head for a nice bench by the lake.
There's also a skate park, a Venice-beach style fitness area, and several playgrounds for the kids. That's actually probably my favorite part...there's a little bit of everything so people for all walks of life can come and enjoy the park. Oh, if you're in Birmingham in springtime, make sure to check out the Relax by the Tracks concert series the hold every year.
Vulcan Park is most famous for being home to the Vulcan statue, the largest cast iron statue in the world and, at over 50 feet tall, on of the largest statues in the United States. Vulcan Park is located on top of Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama and offers what are probably the best views in the entire city. The statue itself is depicts the Roman god Vulcan, the forger, and is in tribute to Birmingham's mining and forging past.
The park is open 7 days a week and costs around $6 for adults with discounts for veterans, seniors, and kids. While the statue and the views are worth the trip alone, they've recently put a lot of work into transforming the park into a full-on educational center with a museum detailing Birmingham's mining history dating all the way back to its founding.
The best times to visit the park are on 4th of July and during the autumn concert series. On July 4th, they organize the largest fireworks display in the state of Alabama and the spectacle couldn't be better. In the fall, they organize after-work concert series in the afternoon accompanied by craft beer and, of course, great sunsets over the city. If you're in Birmingham, spending an afternoon up at Vulcan Park should definitely be on your list!
The McWane Science Center is a large science museum in downtown Birmingham, Alabama that's a great choice to bring the kids for a day. You know, a little fun and education at the same time never hurts! Thee other nice thing is that there's a bit of everything, from dinosaurs to IMAX to interactive games, so you're sure not to get bored.
I especially liked the World of Water, a large exhibit based around fish, amphibians, and other critters. The kids' favorite was undoubtedly the sharks and stingrays on the bottom floor. They have a tank where you can walk right up and bet the animals...lots of shrieks and giggles to be had for sure! Another cool exhibit was the Alabama Dinosaurs. I never knew Alabama has such a...prehistoric past. They had a couple of big T-Rex looking ones that were pretty impressive.
The admission is $13 for adults and $9 for kids, plus a bit extra if you want to go to an IMAX show. Frankly, I think a day with the exhibits, activities, and games is enough to keep the flock entertained. It's definitely a place to check out if you're traveling through Birmingham with kids.
The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the most prestigious and extensive art museums in the Southeast United States. It has over 20,000 works showcasing everything from Pre-Columbian artifacts to African art to the most contemporary works from the region. Especially impressive is the European Art collection which features the Kress Collection of Renaissance Art, a mix of paintings and decorative arts ranging from the 13th to 18th centuries.
Another highlight is the Native American Arts section which has artworks from tribes from throughout the United States, including Navajo weavings and woodworking by the Pacific Northwest tribes. Don't miss the chance for a stroll through the Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden to see works by Rodin surrounded by beautiful tiled fountains. It's one of the prettiest and most unique places in the city.
What's the best part? It's free! That's right, you can spend the day perusing centuries of fine art for free. Of course, if there's a traveling exhibit there'll be a surcharge but the museum's permanent collection is otherwise free of charge and open to the public seven days a week!
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the largest botanical gardens in Alabama and a real pleasure for nature lovers, couples, and those of us who just like relaxing strolls. One of the best parts is the sheer variety of gardens they have to explore: there's a Japanese-style garden, formal gardens, rose gardens, and even a garden dedicated to Southern Living magazine! Like I said, there's no shortage here!
The best plan is to just head into the garden and take a stroll wherever the wind takes you. Grab your significant other and just head down a trail, enjoying a conversation and the beautiful flowers in bloom. There's also a "Plant Adventure Zone" that has some education activities if you're traveling with kids and they get a bit restless among all the peace and quiet!
Both the entrance fee and parking are free, so you can pay a visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens at any point during your trip to Birmingham without worrying about going over-budget. Oh, and don't forget to stop and smell the roses!
The Alabama Theater is a gorgeous historic theater in the heart of downtown Birmingham, Alabama. It was built in the 1920's and can hold over 2,000 patrons. The theater is famous for it's classic architecture (you know, ornate domed ceilings, red velvet chairs, balconies, an authentic classic theater!) and Mighty Wurlitzer, a 1920's organ that was once used to provide the soundtrack to silent films.
I have to say, the Alabama Theater is one of the most beautiful theaters I've ever seen and quite a surprise to find in downtown Birmingham. The stained glass on the side walls is absolutely gorgeous and the central dome reminds me of some of the more over-the-top theaters of Europe.
What's the best way to check out the Alabama? Catch a show, of course! They theater regularly holds events like plays, concerts, and dance recitals as well as things like weddings and graduations. If you're travelling through Birmingham, check out the website and see what's playing. You won't regret it!
Are you making your list of what to do in Birmingham? Great, then all of this information will come in handy for your trip. The city has a lot to offer travelers including many new Birmingham activities to experience. There are so many things to do in Birmingham, the largest city in the state of Alabama in the United States. You can begin your visit of attractions in Birmingham with the Institute of Civil Rights, which has a lovely museum dedicated to social struggles throughout history. If anything, one of the most characteristic places to visit in Birmingham is the Oak Mountain National Park. Just outside the city is a natural space dedicated to the conservation of plant and animal species in danger of extinction. You have to make a reservation in order to visit, but it's well worth it. It's also another one of the many Birmingham attractions to visit if you're passionate about sports as you can freely explore the park by bike or on foot. There are many galleries and things to see in Birmingham related to art and exhibition, like the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Southern Museum of Flight. There's lots of stuff to do in Birmingham that you can't miss, like going to see a basketball or hockey hockey game in one of the city's stadiums.