McWane Science Center

#10 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
McWane Science Center picture
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

200 19th St N.

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.7scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive McWane Science Center. An integral part of the revitalization of downtown Birmingham, the center is located in the historic Loveman's department store building. Hands-on exhibits include the Fox 6 Weather Lab, the High Cycle (a high-wire bicycle that teaches visitors about the laws of gravity), the Itty Bitty Magic City and the Shark and Ray Touch Tank. The center also boasts an Imax theater.

Both parents and grandparents say McWane is a "super fun" place to spend a day with the kids, especially since the center appeals to a variety of age groups. Families that visited said they appreciated the option to purchase Imax theater admission separately and enjoyed the convenience of the on-site food court. However, some reviewers said the exhibits need to be updated more often.

You'll find the the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham, less than a mile east of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the Adventure Halls costs $13 for adults and $9 for kids ages 2 to 12. You can also purchase separate Imax tickets or combo tickets. Visit the website for holiday closure dates and more information.

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#1 Civil Rights District

To learn more about Birmingham's role in the civil rights movement, plan a visit to the Civil Rights District. This six-block area in downtown Birmingham encompasses several historic sites, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Gardens and the Fourth Avenue Business District, among other points of interest.

Perhaps the most significant site is Kelly Ingram Park, which played host to civil rights rallies, demonstrations and confrontations in the 1960s, including the Children's Crusade. You can take a self-led walking tour through the park to learn about the notable protesters and the significant incidents of this turbulent time in the city's history, detailed by markers along the Freedom Walk route. The park is also home to the Four Spirits statues, which honor the four African American girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. To fully experience the walk, you can access a free audio tour from your cell phone by calling 205-307-5455.

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Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
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