Top Ten Destination Spots in Alabama
Huntsville Depo and Museum
Alabama Constitution Village Exterior
10. Earlyworks Museum Complex
Located in Huntsville, Alabama, The Earlyworks Museum Complex houses three museums. One of the museums is The Alabama Constitution Village which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to train tracks from 1860. This railroad station remained active until 1968.
These tracks were used by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad which linked the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Today this railroad is called Southern Railway and still takes the same routes. While visiting the rail station you will have the opportunity to see Civil War graffiti at this historical station.
A thirty minute guided tour is given after a short video is show about the history of Huntsville. The tour guides are knowledgeable and will also teach some history about this three story museum. there is a picnic area outside as well. There is a little trolley that drives around the museum.
The Alabama Constitution Village was a passenger station until 1964 and an interesting place to visit. The Huntsville Depot and Museum is also located at the Earlyworks Museum Complex.
Built in 1819, this station offers spinning wheel demonstrations and freshly baked bread over a fire. The Huntsville Depot and Museum is also the spot where four delegates from the Constitutional Convention met about adding Alabama as a US State.
The final museum located on the grounds of the Earlyworks Museum and Complex is a children’s area called Earlyworks Children’s Museum.
The Earlyworks Children’s Museum offers kids the opportunity to build and climb, along with learning about the area and they even have the opportunity to try on clothes from the 1800’s. There is also a cow for the kids to milk and a garden to stroll through.
The Earlyworks Museum Complex offers fun for both children and adults. Regardless of which section of the museum you visit, between the old buildings and the people dressed in era clothing you will feel like you are back in time.
The Alabama Constitution Village
Mcwane Science Center
Outside of the McWane Science Center
9. Mcwane Science Center
Birmingham, Alabama is home to the Mcwane Science Center. Located at this science center is, The World of Water exhibit which houses an aquarium that holds 50 different species of marine life for you to see and learn about.
There are numerous interactive exhibits and also a challenger learning center. The Challenger Learning Center teaches about The Challenger which was a shuttle that broke apart not long after being launched in 1986. All seven astronauts died.
The Alabama Collections Center houses over 500,000 artifacts including: minerals, fossils and Native American artifacts. Some of the fossils housed in the McWane Science Center are of the Appalachiosaurus which were large lizard like dinosaurs, similar to the T-Rex and is also the Alabama State fossil. The other is the Basilosaurus which was like a whale.
There is also an IMAX Dome available for viewing at the Mcwane Science Center and what offers better viewing than an IMAX theater? If you get feeling hungry while visiting, there are a few eateries here and a great place to take a break and relax before you explore more of this wonderful center.
This science center offers memberships which will give you discounts and free admission for events and galleries. You will also receive a free newsletter straight from the Mcwane Science Center.
The Mcwane Science Center offers educational programs and camps for kids giving them the opportunity to learn about new things.
The Devastating Explosion of the Challenger space shuttle
Are you interested in the US Space and Rocket Center?
Gemini Capsule and Apollo 6 Capsule
8. US Space and Rocket Center
The US Space and Rocket Center is a museum which holds artifacts and achievements from the US Space Program and is located in Huntsville, Alabama.
The US Space and Rocket Center offers different types of exhibits including; Black Holes: Space Warps and Time Twists, The Red Bull Stratos Exhibit along with Da Vinci: The Genius. which is an exhibit that teaches about the life and achievements of Leonardo Da Vinci.
The Red Bull Stratos Exhibit teaches us about Felix Baumgartner, who was aboard the Red Bull Stratos when the speed of sound was broken. The actual Red Bull Stratos Capsule is located at the US Space and Rocker Center.
Twenty seven missiles and rockets are at the Rocket Park and there is also a shuttle park to visit. The US Space and Rocket Center holds the largest collection of space related rockets, shuttles and memorabilia in the world.
Some of the exhibits located at this space center are traveling exhibits which are not permanent exhibits at the US Space and Rocket Center.
Regardless of when you go to visit, there will always be something to catch your interest.
This center also offers various simulators which is where you will experience what it feels like to be launched in a rocket.
There are also other types of simulators as well such as a mars mission. There is even one specifically for children where they can crawl around a space station.
The Rocket Park
The USS Drum
Battleship Memorial Park
7. Battleship Memorial Park
Located in Mobile, Alabama, Is the Battleship Memorial Park and where the USS Alabama is located. The USS Alabama Battleship was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II. After retiring the ship in 1962, today it is used as a museum ship. This historic ship is listed as a Historic National Landmark.
Due to the location, the ship has been susceptible to being damaged from hurricanes which can be devastating to the area the ship sits at. As a matter of fact; at one point the USS Alabama was shelter to eighteen employees and their families during a hurricane. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Mobile, Alabama, where the ship is located. The ship was damaged from this disastrous hurricane and was closed to the public. In 2006 the ship was reopened as a museum ship.
This is a popular destination point for school field trips and military reunions where the staff will assist in a number of things to make the reunion successful. A fun fact about the USS Alabama is it has been featured in movies such as; Under Siege and Abbott and Costello’s: In the Navy.
The USS Drum is another vessel located in Battleship Memorial Park and is a submarine. It was launched in 1941 and served in World War II. This is the only remaining submarine of it's kind still in use and has been declared a National Historic Landmark.
This Battleship Memorial Park offers a scout program which give the kids the opportunity to spend the night there and sleep in the bunks. The ages of the kids vary from 6 years old to 18 years old.
The USS Alabama
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
6. Birmingham Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Zoo was opened on a $250,000 budget in 1955 and their focus is on research, conservation and education. The Birmingham Zoo is home to approximately 800 animals and varies in over 200 species. This zoo has great programs for kids as well as adults.
The kids will have fun experiencing the Camp for Kids program which offers learning in a classroom setting. During this program the kids will be assigned homework and discussions as well as well as interaction with labs and art. They even get a tour of the zoo. Adults will enjoy the Nightlife Program which is a tour geared towards the nocturnal animals in the park.
There are plenty of eateries located at the Birmingham Zoo to grab a bite to eat at and a number of places to grab a drink as well. Don't forget to stop into the gift shop to browse and maybe purchase a souvenir to remember your visit by.
Also in the same park are the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. These gardens offer many gardens to see including Japanese gardens and rose gardens. There is also a quaint tea house located here. There are also educational programs at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and is a popular attraction for field trips by the schools in the area. A great thing about these botanical gardens is that admission is free!
Two Beautiful Macaws at the Birmingham Zoo
The Dauphin Island Bridge
Indian Shell Mound Park
5. Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island is close to Mobile, Alabama. It is surrounded by water and is accessible by bridge. To the south of Dauphin Island is the Mississippi Sound and to the north is Mobile Bay. This island is a popular spot for bird watching and attracts bird watchers from all over. Dauphin Island is home to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary along with some smaller bird sanctuaries on the island. A lot of birds that are in the area migrated from the south.
The Dauphin Island bridge Starts from the mainland and crosses over the waters to reach Dauphin Island. Once you are there, plenty fishing areas are available. This bridge was built in 1955 but was destroyed by a hurricane and later rebuilt with concrete. The Dauphin Island Bridge reopened in 1982.
Fort Gaines is also on Dauphin Island and was established in 1821, making a National Historic Landmark. This fort is probably best known for its involvement in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War. While visiting this fort you will see several different exhibits. A museum located at Fort Gaines is a great place to stop in to hear about the history of the fort.
Indian Shell Mound Park is a historical place to visit and full of gorgeous oak trees. This is also a great place for bird watching and attracts many species of bird and butterfly. The park is named after the mounds of oyster shells created by the native people around 1100 BC.
Bringing your camera to this island is worth it. There are plenty of birds, beaches and scenery to capture views of your trip to Dauphin Island.
Fort Gaines Historic Site
Montgomery is the capital of Alabama and the site of many events that played pivotal roles in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
Located on the Alabama River, Montgomery is where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person and was arrested, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You can see the bus stop where it happened. The bus is at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Close by in Selma, Alabama was the location of Bloody Sunday. In 1965, state troopers violently attacked Civil Rights protesters during a march. After the death of Jimmie Lee Johnson, a civil rights protester who was unarmed and shot by an Alabama state trooper, the march begun.
Montgomery is home to the Civil Rights Movement Memorial which has 40 names inscribed on it. These names are of the forty men and women who were killed during the civil rights battle from 1954-1968. Another monument located in this historic city is The Confederate Monument which honors the 122,000 Alabama soldiers who fought during the Civil War and lost their lives in the process.
There is now a trail in honor of the march from Selma to Montgomery. On this trail you will learn about the history of the march and the civil rights movement. The trail has been named, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.
Also located in Montgomery is the First White House of the Confederacy, built in 1835 and home to the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. it served as the White House for three months until the Capital of the Confederacy was moved to Richmond, Virginia. The house is still furnished in the same era décor and is open to the public.
Visit the Hank Williams Museum which is dedicated to the country music icon. This museum houses more Hank Williams collections than any other museum. There are artifacts which include some personal things along with his baby blue cadillac and some of his suits along with other clothing.
Montgomery has many places to shop, eat and sleep.
The Rosa Parks Bus
Selma to Montgomery March in 1965
First White House of the Confederacy
The Civil Rights Movement Memorial
Huntsville Botanical Gardens
3. Huntsville Botanical Gardens
Huntsville, Alabama is home to the beautiful Huntsville Botanical Gardens. There are many different gardens located here and are all colorful and full of beauty.
The Nature Center has a tall structure built to overlook Little Smith Lake. This area is full of butterflies, frogs and even turtles. You will also see a waterfall, ponds and streams along with the nation’s largest butterfly house.
Garden Railway is another section of the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and shares a home with a small village. This village is fun for both children and adults. This small village includes a firehouse, homes, a church, eateries, a waterfall, a farm and it's main attraction; the little steam locomotive. This is a locomotive that drives through the miniature area.
These botanical gardens also include; a bonsai display, three trails, many flower gardens, herb and vegetable gardens, a fern glade and an aquatic garden.
The Huntsville Botanical Gardens offer a number of different programs including a camp for kids and adult classes. These gardens are also a great place to have a birthday party or a school field trip.
While visiting these beautiful gardens you an stop into Clementine's to grab a bite to eat. They serve gourmet sandwiches and home made soups.
Huntsville Botanical Gardens Butterfly House
Is Point Mallard Park Somewhere you would Visit?
Decatur Alabama, Seen from the Tennessee River
2. Point Mallard Park
Point Mallard Park is a recreational facility which focuses on fun for the whole family. There is a bike and hiking trail which stretches over 3 miles. This trail is just one of the recreational areas that Point Mallard Park has to offer. There is a Civil War reenactment in which they reenact The Battle of Decatur.
There are also areas for fishing along the Tennessee River and 233 campground spots with full hookup sites. The water park is a main attraction and is a great spot to cool off on a hot day. Tube rides, pools and slides along with concession stands and a sandy beach.
While visiting the beach you will have access to lounge chairs which are accommodated. There is an ice skating rink on the land as well as three baseball fields, batting cages, a golf course and a driving range.The golf course is open all year round.
The Point Mallard Ice Complex offers programs such as School Skate Free Night and Hockey programs. There are also events such as this year's A Christmas Carol on Ice.
Point Mallard Park is located in Decatur Alabama where you will find places to shop and dine as well as explore the area.
1. The Alabama Theater
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, The Alabama Theater is a gorgeous theater originally built to show silent films. Silent films were accompanied by a pianist and this theater is home to one of only 25 organs ever built of its kind. It's one of three places in the United States that still have the Wurlitzer organ in its original location. This organ was built specifically for the Alabama Theater. There is still am organist who plays this unique organ today.
Built in 1927, over the years The Alabama Theater has hosted more than just silent movies, it was the site of its popular 1933 Mickey Mouse Club which invited kids to come to the theater and have some fun. The Alabama Theater sponsored for many "feed the needy" programs as well as programs for children. Now it is used for pageants and symphonies along with other forms of entertainment.
Later the theater underwent a complete restoration. Some is original and fix and some of it has been totally replace. The Alabama Theater is on the National Register of Historic Places and the gold leaf and gorgeous décor makes this theater a must see.