3745 North Walston Bridge Road Jasper, AL 35504 +1 205 387 2567
One of the largest earth and rock-filled dams in the eastern United States, Lewis Dam is 2,200 feet in length and 300 feet high. With 500 miles of shoreline and a length of 35 miles, Smith Lake reservoir extends through three counties. Managed by Alabama Power Company, which uses it to generate hydroelectric power, the lake and dam draw over 40,000 visitors each year. Smith Lake is ranked number one in Alabama for spotted bass fishing and number three for crappie fishing. It has been the location for five world-record catches of spotted bass. The Smith Dam tailrace is the only location in Alabama where fishermen can catch rainbow trout, which like its cold water. In addition, Smith Lake offers waterskiing, tent and RV camping, picnic pavilions, a water slide and a swimming pool.
The growth of Birmingham and surrounding communities is intimately tied to the rise of mining in Alabama. Focusing on the time period from 1890-1940, this museum tells the stories of people and communities involved in the mining industry. Visitors can learn about what it was like to live in a mining camp, where companies controlled everything from the schools and stores to medical care and housing. In addition, the museum explores changes in mining technology over the years. It is located in a gymnasium built in 1935 by the Works Project Administration. Early 20th-century train and mining cars are on exhibit. Admission is free.
6055 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36116 +1 334 277 3133
Inspired by the English countryside, this 250-acre park features the Shakespeare Garden, which contains plants mentioned in the Bard's works. In addition, the manicured grounds include other gardens, outdoor sculptures, a thatched-roof pavilion, lakes, trails, picnic areas, and a 325-seat amphitheater. Also located within the Cultural Park are the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Theater and the Alabama Museum of Art. Symphony concerts, ballet performances, a Renaissance festival, Scottish Highland games, and art fairs are among the many events the park holds throughout the year.
12632 Confederate Parkway McCalla, AL 35111 +1 205 477 5711
One of the most interesting destinations in the area, this park is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Birmingham. Tannehill was the site of a large Civil War-era blast furnace that was destroyed by Union troops in 1865. Accompanying the restored furnace are a museum and, in the summer, working artisans recreating rural Alabama life circa the 1840s. There are also several hiking trails, as well as cabins for rent and a campground. The park is open daily.
300 Paul W. Bryant Drive University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 +1 205 348 4668
Located on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is named after the legendary "Bear" Bryant, arguably the most famous college football coach in American history. In this part of the country, college football is as important as eating and breathing. If you're not lucky enough to go to a game on campus, this museum is the next best thing. State-of-the-art multimedia displays are combined with artifacts and documents to tell the colorful story of college football in Alabama. Admission is free, and the museum is open every day except major winter holidays.
13075 Moundville Archeological Route 69 and County Line Road Moundville, AL 35474 +1 205 371 2234
The Moundville Archaeological Park, located on Highway 69 about 14 miles south of Tuscaloosa, is one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the United States and one of the most popular destinations in Alabama. The park consists of 26 earthen mounds, the Jones Archaeological Museum and a campground. It is believed that between 800 CE and 1400 CE, Moundville was home to as many as 5,000 indigenous people, making it perhaps the largest city in North America. The collections housed at the museum are among the most important of their kind in the country. Native Americans and children under five years are admitted free. Guided tours are available.
800 Museum Drive Anniston, AL 36207 +1 256 237 6766
Located about an hour drive from Birmingham, the Anniston Museum of Natural History uses artifacts, documents and interactive exhibits to explain the natural world around us. The most popular exhibits are the large dinosaur skeleton reconstructions, but the museum also houses excellent collections of Native American artifacts and one of the most important ornithological (bird) collections in North America. The museum is open seven days a week, although it is closed on major winter holidays. There is also a museum store. Admission is USD4.50 for adults, USD3.50 for children ages 4-17 and free for children three and younger.
200 Terrace Drive Pelham, AL 35124 +1 205 620 2520
Said to be the best place in the state to mountain bike, Oak Mountain State Park offers 9,400 acres of beautiful central Alabama sprawl. Its features include 18 miles of bike trails, 20 miles of horse trails, camping, cabins and beaches. There is also a demonstration farm with livestock and a wildlife rehabilitation center. Golfing, boating, fishing, swimming and hiking accommodations are all available as well, and picnic areas and restrooms are situated throughout the grounds. The park is approximately a 30-minute drive south from the city center.
With the largest skylight in the western hemisphere situated atop a nine-story glass atrium, the Riverchase Galleria is considered one of Birmingham's must-see landmarks. Not only does the Galleria comprise 200-plus specialty shops and several large department stores, it also boasts more than 30 eateries, indoor landscaping and fountains, arcades, a NASCAR simulator and a merry-go-round.
325 Cardiff Street Brookside, AL 35036 +1 205 989 9622
Sure, Alabama is a partially landlocked state (with the ocean several hours away), but that doesn't mean you can't escape the hustle and bustle of the city and be on the water within 20 minutes of downtown Birmingham. From March through November, Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company offers canoeing and kayaking on 26 miles of Alabama waters. Rental rates start at USD25 for canoes and USD20 for kayaks. No padding experience? Don't worry. They'll give the inexperienced a short lesson. Tubing is also available. Reservations are required, with at least three days notice. Owned by the city of Brookside. - Terah Shelton
Located at 1st Avenue North and 32nd Street, Sloss Furnaces
is literally the birthplace of the city of Birmingham. The furnaces, restored in 1983, were constructed in 1882 and produced steel for more than 90 years. In addition to ...
Alabama Historical Radio Society/Don Kresge Memorial Museum
Step back in time to the era when the word
"wireless" referred to radio. Founded by and named after a retired General Electric engineer, the Don Kresge Memorial Museum features antique radios, photos and other memorabilia. Displays allow visitors ...
Located in the historic Carver Theatre in the Civil Rights
District, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame started in 1978 as a tribute to the truly American music form. Many beloved jazz musicians of all time got their start ...