Vulcan Park and Museum#9 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
Overlooking the city of Birmingham is a bearded man that pays homage to Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge. The largest cast iron statue in the world, Vulcan is a reminder of the city's iron mining roots. Visitors can ascend the Vulcan tower for spectacular, open-air city views or explore the ground-level museum to learn more about Birmingham's history. The park is also home to the city's official visitor center.
Recent visitors enjoyed the local legend surrounding the statue and said the trip up the tower is well worth the ticket. Some reviewers do caution, though, that the open grated floor on the observation deck may be a problem for those with a fear of heights. Most agreed that the museum is interesting, and noted this is a good attraction to visit on Sunday mornings, when most other attractions are closed.
You'll find the Vulcan Park and Museum about 3 miles south of downtown Birmingham, in the city's Five Points South neighborhood. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the observation tower stays open until 10 p.m. A combo admission to the museum and observation tower costs $6 for adults and $4 for kids ages 5 to 12; evening admission to the observation tower costs $4 for visitors ages 5 and older. Check the park's website for holiday or special event closures.
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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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