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Visitors enjoy a wide choice of cultural sites in Alabama. Whether you are an art lover, history buff, or science enthusiast, the Yellowhammer State offers museums, performing arts venues, and educational centers to delight all ages and interests.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville is one of the most popular destinations in the state. See the Saturn V rocket used in the moon mission and hundreds of fascinating exhibits and artifacts from the U.S. space program. Art lovers won’t want to miss the Mary Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in downtown Gadsden. Tour three art galleries with permanent and rotating exhibits. The venue presents performing arts in its Centerstage series and also hosts the Imagination Place Children’s Museum. The nearby Gadsden Museum of Art and History features a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and regional artifacts.
The Mobile Museum of Art was established by the Mobile Art Association in 1963. Tour themed galleries featuring African and Asian art and other wings showcasing American fine art, glass, crafts and sculptures. Enjoy the Mobile Ballet and Mobile Opera in performances at the Mobile Civic Center, or see plays and concerts at the Saenger Theatre Performing Arts Center. View exhibits on Mardi Gras history at the Bernstein-Bush Mansion.
The Church Street East Historic District in Mobile is home to Cathedral Square and the impressive Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. After touring the 150-year-old landmark, take in a movie at the historic Crescent Theater or visit the Gulf Coast Science Center. Battle-Friedman House in Tuscaloosa is a must-see for architecture fans. Built in 1835, the antebellum home is a great example of Federal architecture and contains Renaissance Revival furniture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home is open for tours Tuesday-Saturday from 11:30am-4pm.
Crimson Tide football fans will enjoy a tour of the Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa. Named for legendary football coach Bear Bryant, the museum honors Bryant’s legacy and provides a history of the University of Alabama’s varsity teams. Gorgas House Museum is situated in Tuscaloosa’s Gorgas-Manly Historic District. Built in 1829, the historic building was the first structure on the University of Alabama campus. Take a self-guided tour on weekdays from 9am-4:30pm.
The Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa features a variety of interactive exhibits for children. Enjoy three floors of fun and over 25 hands-on activities. Exhibits explore food and health, river transportation, Tuscaloosa’s Indian heritage, forests and nature, space, and more. Tour 20 carefully preserved ancient mounds and see exhibits on the first inhabitants of northern Alabama at the Oakville Mounds Education Center in Danville. Situated on 83 acres, the historic site hosts multicultural events at the Oakville Ceremonial Woodland Mound.
Housed in the former Great Southern Railroad Depot, the Bessemer Hall of History Museum in historic downtown Bessemer offers displays on regional history and exhibits featuring historic artifacts and photos. Tour the nearby Owen Plantation House and Canaan Baptist Church, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville was used as the set for the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. Built in 1903, the former Monroe County Courthouse features exhibits on author Harper Lee and her close friend, Truman Capote, who spent his youth in Monroeville. Plan your visit in April or May and watch the annual production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” by the Mockingbird Players.
Tour the Civil Rights District in Birmingham and visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Founded in 1992, the center features educational exhibits on the city’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. Annual events include the Juneteenth celebration and the Milestones Walking Tour.
Vulcan Park and Museum at Red Mountain in Birmingham spans 10 acres. The museum offers a variety of interactive historical exhibits and a gift shop, but the main attraction is the Vulcan statue, a symbol of the iron and steel industry. Standing 56 ft. tall, it is the world’s largest cast iron statue. The impressive Roman god of the forge stands on a 124-ft. pedestal, rising to a height of 180 ft. If you happen to be in town on July 4th, the Thunder on the Mountain Fireworks Extravaganza is a fun event for the whole family.
Learn about Alabama’s contributions to jazz history at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in North Birmingham. Established in 1978, the museum honors regional jazz musicians and fosters appreciation for jazz with special events throughout the year.