Birmingham Family Attractions
McWane Science Center
DESCRIPTION: Combines two institutions of the recent past, Discovery Place and Red Mountain Museum, to create a stimulating interactive science museum and a depository of natural artifacts for collection and interpretive display. Opened in a renovated department store, it houses Rushton Science Theater and scientific equipment presented in an edutainment context, including the Collections Center of butterflies, rocks, shells with computer and microscope stations for interactivity. The onsite IMAX theater also draws crowds as more popular movies get the IMAX treatment.
ADMISSION:pricing begins at $11 ages 13-64, $8 ages 2-12 and 65+; age 1 enters free; added or separate fee for IMAX
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p, Sat 10a-6p, Sun Noon-6p
ADDRESS: 200 19th Street North, Birmingham, AL MAP
DESCRIPTION: More than 700 animals cavort in various exhibits. Although the Alligator Swamp, Aviary and children’s train are notable, the Africa Savannah will purchase your affinity with naturalistic settings for giraffes, gazelles, and ostriches and other wild ranging animals. The carousel is always a hit with youngsters; food concessions and gift shop are available. The zoo is expanding.
PARKING: free onside
DAYS & HOURS: daily 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham, AL MAP
Southern Museum of Flight
DESCRIPTION: Military, civilian and home-built aircraft from old to recent times are on display. The museum includes a Wright Flyer replica, a Fokker VII, A-12 Blackbird, a Huey UH-1 helicopter, a F-4 Phantom jet fighter and two US Air Force fighter jet cockpit simulators. An 11-foot model of the WWII aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is the centerpiece of the Model Gallery. Airplane models are displayed in the surrounding cases and remote-controlled planes “fly” suspended from above – sure to keep the kids attention. Alabama Aviation’s Hall of Fame includes Tuskegee Airmen, such as General Benjamin O. Davis.
PARKING: free onsite
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 9:30a-4:30p , Sun 1p-4:30p
ADDRESS: 4343 73rd Street North, Birmingham, AL MAP
Kelly Ingram Park
DESCRIPTION: Pace Freedom Walk in the park slowly to digest the gravity, sacrifices and triumph as Civil Rights Movement theory met harsh reality at this National Historic site;; bronzed sculptures of police attacking civil rights protesters with a Billy-club, attacking police dogs, children jailed for protesting, three ministers praying for justice capture a truthful snapshot of the madness of Jim Crow in the 1960s — it sends a visceral reminder to generations to come that America must never return to those shameful days; a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and four paths along Freedom Walk converge towards a center that features a circular inscription with calming words of hope.
ADDRESS: bounded by 16th Street North to 17th Street North and Fifth Ave North to Sixth Ave North, Birmingham, AL MAP
DESCRIPTION: Though built in 1910 for the Birmingham Barons Baseball team (white players), in 1924 the Birmingham Black Barons also took the field on alternating weekends with Negro Leagues Baseball to packed houses. Satchel Paige, Jimmie Crutchfield, “Mule” Suttles, Piper Davis and Willie Mays played here in the Negro Baseball Leagues and the Black Barons captured championships in 1943 and 1948. Willie Mays played on the 1948 Black Barons team prior to moving up to the Major Leagues. In an ironic twist, when the White Barons played African-Americans sat in the bleachers, when the Black Barons played European-Americans sat in the bleachers. This currently operational field is on the National Register of Historic Places.
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 1137 Second Avenue, Birmingham, AL MAP
Birmingham Children’s Theatre
DESCRIPTION: Established in 1947, to provide professional theatrical entertainment for children throughout Alabama. It features a range of productions that target specific age groups.
ADMISSION: $50 per adult for performances, sometimes lower
PARKING: varies by venue they perform in
DAYS & HOURS: varies by performance
ADDRESS: 2130 Richard Arrington Blvd, Birmingham, AL MAP
DESCRIPTION: Guess what we did in Birmingham – visit a peanut roasting company. Okay, after the laughs stop, you remember how good the fresh roasted peanuts tasted, presented with all the charm of its original hundred year old building. Sometimes small places like this make you yearn for a return visit — to feel like a nut. Open since 1907, the unique building on historic Morris Avenue provides a glimpse into Alabama life at the turn of the 20th century.
ADMISSION: free, but you won’t want leave without buying nuts
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 8a-530p, Sat 9a-1p
ADDRESS: 2016 Morris Avenue, Birmingham, AL MAP
DESCRIPTION: Ages 7-18 experience a range of aviation, space launch and robotics are so special that visitors come from all 50 states and DC. Train like an astronaut in a program that includes model rocket launches into space and complex simulated missions to the International Space Station and the moon, build rockets and form new friendships. Astronaut Trainees are immersed in the realms of flight, shelter building and food procurement survival tactics and water-survival skills. Program interactive robots using a variety of sensors and motors or use hands-free human interface devices. Create your own customized LED cannon using series or parallel circuits that you can take home. Best of all, Train in cutting edge, custom-designed Unmanned Aerial Systems simulations! The experience is so stimulating that it influences most students to take more STEM classes afterwards.
ADMISSION: $$$, includes a $50 deposit
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 10a-4:30p
ADDRESS: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL MAP
DESCRIPTION: Mostly a water park, but its expansive 300-acres of rolling terrain includes a rollercoaster, and other theme rides. Compared to major national parks, the prices are lower.
ADMISSION: $35 per day
DAYS & HOURS: April 30 through Summer
ADDRESS: 5051 Prince Street, Bessemer, AL MAP
Alabama Museum of Natural History
DESCRIPTION: Experience the natural diversity of Alabama through exhibits from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age and the Ice Age. Collections of geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology and ethnology abound. In a rarity, see the Hodges meteorite, the only meteorite known to have struck a human.
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 10a-4:30p
ADDRESS: Sixth Ave & Capstone Drive in Smith Hall, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL MAP
Children’s Hands-On Museum
DESCRIPTION: The permanent exhibits are designed to stimulate children’s curiosity about their community and their place in it. Exhibits include a Choctaw Indian Village. A bank, a print shop, hospital and planetarium are on-site too. A developmental center for preschoolers, called Beavers’ Bend, is popular as well.
ADMISSION: $, children under age 1 enter FREE
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p, Sat 10p-4p
ADDRESS: 2213 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL MAP