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23. Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Alabama s official railroad museum, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum has operating standard gauge and narrow gauge trains and two restored depots housing a good collection of railroad artifacts. Also on the grounds is a collection of railway cars, locomotives and cabooses. Train rides available call for dates and times. Museum open Tues Sat, 9 am 4 pm. Donations welcome. 1919 9th St, Calera. 205-668-3435.

24. Kelly Ingram Park Called a Place of Revolution and Reconciliation, Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham s Civil Rights District is adjacent to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and historic 16th Street Baptist Church. The park served as a staging area for demonstrations in the early 1960s, including the ones in which police dogs and fire hoses were turned on marchers. Images of those attacks haunted Birmingham in the decades that followed, but they were the same images that were instrumental in overturning legal segregation. An audio tour, available via your cell phone, takes you on a journey through the most dramatic days of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Bounded by 16th and 17th Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues North.

25. Letter From Birmingham Jail Historic Marker Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail in April 1963 while he was incarcerated for violating an injunction that prohibited public civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham. He wrote it in response to a handful of Alabama s leading white religious leaders who had issued a public statement questioning the motives and methods of the King-led demonstrations in the city. 425 6th Ave S.

26. McWane Science Center Four floors of hands-on exhibits and an IMAX Dome Theatre are all part of the fun of learning at McWane Science Center. Celebrating science


When planning your Birmingham itinerary, be sure to include time to visit Aldridge Gardens in the suburb of Hoover.

This 30-acre botanical spread is widely known for its hydrangeas and its collection of art. The signature flower of the gardens is the Snowflake Hydrangea, developed and propagated by noted horticulturalist Eddie Aldridge. (Yes, this is his garden.) Camellias and other native Alabama plants landscape this lush wooded hideaway.

In 2012, the gardens acquired the largest collection of Frank Fleming sculptures available for public viewing. A local collector donated 19 of the renowned Alabama sculptor s unusual and playful bronze pieces.

Opened in 2002, the young gardens also have a six-acre lake with a walking trail, along with an event venue and outdoor pavilion. In addition to plant sales, concerts and bird walks, Aldridge Gardens also hosts Plein Air painting exhibitions that attract a range of artists and viewers.

It is the blending of art and nature that makes this a gem of an attraction to complement your visit in Birmingham.