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Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, you’ll enjoy a wide choice of Alabama attractions. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville is one of the most popular destinations in the state. View the Saturn V moon rocket and exhibits on the Space Shuttle program. Try out a space travel simulator and learn about new innovations under development at NASA. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum is constructed to look like a ship and sits near Mobile Bay. Enjoy interactive programs and educational exhibits on shipwrecks, hurricanes and marine artifacts.
Explore the history of southern Alabama and the Gulf Coast at the Archaeology Museum of South Alabama in Mobile. View exhibits on Native American tribes, early French settlers and archaeological artifacts. St. Stephens is the state’s most visited ghost town. Visit the nearby archaeological site and view ruins from the former state capital. Pike Pioneer Museum in Troy showcases 19th century buildings and offers a variety of fascinating exhibits and demonstrations. Moundville Archaeological Park, near Tuscaloosa, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See more than 200 artifacts at the Jones Archaeological Museum and tour 29 ancient mounds at the cultural site.
Many visitors are surprised to learn that Mobile hosts the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. The Mobile Carnival Museum features videos of past celebrations. Admire exhibits displaying crowns, scepters, costumes and masks. You’ll also see the intricacies of float construction and a gallery of photos dating back to 1886. The Mobile Museum of Art is the largest art museum on the Gulf Coast. Situated at Langan Park, the museum boasts a collection of more than 10,000 works of art. View exhibits featuring Asian, American, African and European artists. Stop by the gift shop for art-inspired gifts and souvenirs.
Montgomery and Selma offer many attractions for history buffs. See the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor and tour the Rosa Parks Museum and Freedom Rides Museum. The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail (US-80) includes many historic sites related to the Civil Rights Movement. The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery was constructed in 1850. Famous as the Confederate Capitol Building, the Greek Revival style structure is where the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March ended with a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. on the capitol steps.
Tannehill Ironworks State Historical Park in McCalla showcases the history of Alabama’s 19th century iron industry at the Iron and Steel Museum. Situated on 1500 acres, the park also features a pioneer farm, cotton gin and working gristmill. View machines and tools used in early industry and watch demonstrations by blacksmiths, millers and other craftsmen.
Set aside some time to visit the state’s wildlife preserves and zoos. The Birmingham Zoo is home to more than 900 animals and 230 species. Tigers for Tomorrow in Attalia is just a short drive from Gadsden. View habitats featuring over 160 animals including black leopards, tigers, lions and bears. Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see bird watching site along the Tombigbee River. Catch glimpses of bald eagles, herons and wood storks. The Montgomery Zoo offers over 40 acres of attractions and 500 animals. Tour the zoo exhibits and enjoy fun rides and family activities.
As you travel through the state, you’ll discover many small towns with charming downtown districts. Browse boutiques and galleries in Gadsden, tour historic buildings in Bessemer and Anniston, and visit quaint shops and museums in Madison. Bessemer’s Hall of History Museum features a fascinating array of exhibits on Native American culture, the Civil War, mining and railroads.
Architecture fans will find much to admire in every region of the state. Northern Alabama offers the largest number of antebellum homes in the South. The Twickenham District in downtown Huntsville is a great place to begin a tour of the grand structures. Old Alabama Town in Central Alabama is a village featuring restored 19th and 20th century buildings and homes. Spanning six blocks in downtown Montgomery’s historic district, the village and museum provide a glimpse at lifestyles from the pioneer days to the present.
Monroeville is where writers Harper Lee and Truman Capote spent their childhoods. Attend the town’s annual production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” in April. The Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery features costumes, guitars and hats owned by the country music legend. Take photos with his 1952 blue Cadillac and enjoy videos, photos and exhibits. Williams’ childhood home is in nearby Georgiana. Baseball fans won’t want to miss a visit to the Hank Aaron Museum at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. See a variety of exhibits on the baseball legend and view the home where he grew up.
Spend a leisurely day wandering through botanical gardens. Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Mobile spans 65 acres. After a stroll through the gorgeous gardens, tour the 15-room mansion owned by Coca-Coca tycoon Walter Bellingrath. Dothan Area Botanical Gardens offers 50 acres of themed gardens and nature trails, while Birmingham Botanical Gardens combines 12,000 plant species with outdoor sculptures. See the largest open-air butterfly display at Huntsville Botanical Garden.
Take an auto manufacturing tour and see how Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz vehicles are assembled. The Hyundai plant tour in Montgomery lasts 90 minutes. The Mercedes-Benz facility in Vance is a short drive from Tuscaloosa or Birmingham. Browse exhibits at the museum and enjoy a two-hour factory tour.
Best Western Hotels offer easy access to the most popular Alabama attractions. Spend the day sightseeing and relax in comfortable accommodations designed to make you feel right at home.
Standing at 115 feet tall, Denny Chimes is a 25-bell, campanile tower found on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. The tower gets its namesake from George H. Denny – former university president of 25 years. The tower was built in 1929, and is considered to be a staple of central Alabama is easily the most visible structure on campus. The tower is surroudning by a Walk of Fame, showcasing the names, footprints, and handprints of every former Crimson Tide football captain since 1947.
Set on the Tennessee River, the Pickwick Belle Riverboat departs from the Ingalls Harbor Pavilion in Decatur. Located in northern Alabama, the Belle accommodates up to 112 boarders. The Pickwick Belle Riverboat features cruises for lunch, dinner, sightseeing, and corporate functions. A paddle wheel riverboat, the Belle cruises Wheeler Lake and the Tennessee River and lends itself to great sight-seeing.
Located on the campus of Athens State University, the Altar of the New Testament is a wood-carved shrine depicting characters and stories of the New Testament. The altar can be found in Founders Hall in the northern Alabama city of Athens. The campus itself features many more must-sees, including the Athens State College Historic District, named to the National Register of Historic Places. As Alabama's oldest college, many buildings like the Beaty-Mason House, Brown Hall, and others, come with a good amount of historical significance.