Alabama Top 10 Attractions

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Like most Southern States, Alabama has a rich history and mix of cultural traditions. The state was colonized for thousands of years before Europeans reached the country and it quickly became one of the largest cotton producing states in the US. With such a rich history, the state is truly beautiful with several natural and man-made attractions distributed all over the state. If you are planning to visit the state, do take the time to visit these top 10 must-see attractions at least once.
The US Space & Rocket CenterThe US Space & Rocket Center
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1: US Space & Rocket Center

The US Space & Rocket Center is located in Huntsville and the city will always be remembered as the birthplace of America's space program. It was Dr Wernher von Braun who adopted the city as the final place to refine and set up the Apollo rocket. The event is memorialized in the form of a permanent exhibit at the US Space & Rocket Center. Nearly 16 million people have visited the Center since them and dozens of interactive exhibits are held in the Center all through the year. The Center also hosts the extremely popular Space Camp, Aviation Challenge Camp, and Robotics Camp that are attended by thousands of competitors every year.

Website:

www.rocketcenter.com

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Birmingham ZooBirmingham Zoo
Photo courtesy: publicdomainpictures.net
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2: Birmingham Zoo

The Birmingham Zoo is truly beautiful. Spread out over more than 122-acres, the beautiful zoo is home to more than 800 animals from all over the world. The Zoo has more than 50 different exhibits that are open all through the year. Apart from the exhibits, the Zoo also holds education classes for children and adults. Special classes are also available for teachers, preschoolers, and students. Special classes like bird photography training, after school labs, etc. are also held depending on availability and interest. During the summer vacations, the Summer ZooFari Camps are very popular with children and the camps are often booked well in advance.

Website:

www.birminghamzoo.com

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Robert Trent Jones Golf TrailRobert Trent Jones Golf Trail
Photo Courtesy:Flickr/Bill Sutton
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3: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

What's the big deal about golf courses, right? Well, that just means you are not a golf enthusiast because the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is pretty popular with golf fans. The Trail is a collection of championship-level courses spread out over Alabama and they are perfect for golfers. The trail now involves more than 468 holes spread out over eleven sites and two of the courses now host the LPGA Tour. If you are a hardcore golfer, do take the time to try the championship route at least once.

Website:

www.rtjgolf.com

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Point Mallard ParkPoint Mallard Park
Photo courtesy: Point Mallard Park
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4: Point Mallard Park

Point Mallard Water Park is a wonderful place for families. The Park has lovely outdoor facilities that include wave-making swimming pools, diving boards, a flume slide, a sky pond, a duck pond and many more. Apart from these water activities, the Park also offers a 200-acre golf course with a driving range, clubhouse, restroom, showers and concessions area. You can use the attached campgrounds with campsites with all attached facilities, the Ice Complex, and the Tennis Center. Other great amenities include the Soccer Park, Almond Recreation Center, the Bill J. Duke Athletic Complex, and Spirit of America Stage. It's also a great place to have fun on the hiking, jogging, and biking trails that wind about the park and campsite.

Website:

www.pointmallardpark.com

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Cheaha MountainCheaha Mountain
Photo courtesy: Amann09 (commons.wikimedia.org)
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5: Cheaha State Park

If you like nature, the Cheaha State Park is a must-visit. The park is one of the oldest nature parks in the city and it offers scenic locales and overlooks, hiking, biking and camping trails, campsites, restaurants, and lodges in and around the State Park. The overnight facilities are truly impressive with more than 73 campsites fully equipped with water, sewage and electric hook-ups.

Website:

www.alapark.com

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Alabama Battle ShipAlabama Battle Ship
Photo Courtesy:Flickr/stockrdb
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6: USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

If you like big ships and American history, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a must-visit. The USS Alabama Battleship is docked along the waterfront and it is a great floating museum. The 680-feet battleship takes more than two hours to see completely but visitors are encouraged to stay the entire day and see all the attractions. Apart from the Battleship, visitors can also visit the USS DRUM Submarine that is located close to the Battleship. The USS DRUM is the oldest submarine on display in the world and it does require two or more hours to see completely. The Park is also home to more than 25 beautiful military aircraft that include Tomcats, Hornets, and Blackbirds. Other attractions include the park memorials, the military equipment on display, and the recreational area for visitors.

Website:

www.ussalabama.com

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Gulf ShoresGulf Shores
Photo Courtesy:Flickr/paradisecoastie
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7: Gulf Shores

This tourist community has bounced back after the 2010 BP oil spill and it has returned to its pre-spill beauty. The town has beautiful beaches with pure powder sand that makes them truly unique. Now that the beaches are back to normal, visitors can enjoy deep sea fishing, sports fishing, boating cruises, water sports, and other activities related to the beaches. The community also has two beautiful golf courses that are in high demand with pro golfers as training pitches. Other attractions in the area include the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Craft Farms Pelican Place, and a water park called Waterville USA.

Website:

www.gulfshores.com

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McWane Science CenterMcWane Science Center
Photo Courtesy:Flickr/ralphandjenny
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8: McWane Science Center

This state-of-the-art museum and aquarium is a great way to entertain friends and family. The 9000-square feet Center has four floors of interactive exhibits that have captured the attention of more than 10 million visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The exhibits include artifacts of native american tribes, preserved biological specimens, rocks and minerals, and many types of fossils. The science center is dedicated to preserve and understand the natural wonders of Alabama. For more interactive experience, there is an IMAX Dome theater playing educational documentaries like Mysteries of the Unseen World, Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.

Website:

www.mcwane.org

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Huntsville Botanical GardenHuntsville Botanical Garden
Photo Courtesy:Flickr/bnorwood
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9: Huntsville Botanical Garden

The Huntsville Botanical Garden is spread over 112 acres and is open all through the year. More than 400,000 visitors toured the garden in 2008 alone and the count continued to increase as the garden expands its exhibits and displays. At present, the garden have a butterfly park, an aquatic display, fern display, wildflower garden and nature center. Visitors may love the Biblical garden featuring plants mentioned in the Bible, the Dogwood trail featuring dogwood trees including a hundred year old dogwood transplanted to the site and the Vegetable garden providing useful tips to the home gardeners.

Website:

www.hsvbg.org

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Birmingham Civil Rights InstituteBirmingham Civil Rights Institute
Photo courtesy: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
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10: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Alabama has a complex history. The area was colonized by indigenous people of varying culture much before Europeans reached the area. By the 16th century, the European settlers colonized the area. By the 19th century, prosperous Southern planters bought in slaves from Africa to work on their plantations and this resulted in a huge mix of cultures and races in the south-eastern states. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute catalogs all these intricate cultures and the way they interacted with each other to gain their independence. The museum catalogs the struggle that started in Birmingham and how the freedom struggle progressed from there. The museum also holds regular exhibitions, traveling exhibits, and musical shows for locals and tourists.

Website:

www.bcri.org

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