9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Alabama
1 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute offers a look at the events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and continuing issues. The struggle that began here in Birmingham was part of a larger social movement that eventually led to changes. The galleries feature permanent and temporary exhibits on a variety of related topics.
2 USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
The star attraction of the Memorial Park in Mobile is the 1940s USS Alabama Battleship docked along the waterfront, but there are many other interesting sites. Also on site are a variety of aircraft, including a B-52 bomber, and equipment from other war time periods. The park is a memorial to all those who served in WWII, as well as more recent operations.
3 Birmingham Museum of Art
Regarded as the finest art museum in Alabama, The Birmingham Museum of Art features an extensive permanent collection as well as changing exhibits. The tiered grounds feature the Charles W Ireland Sculpture Garden and botanical displays.
4 Civil Rights Memorial
The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery features an exquisite black granite sculpture commemorating those killed during the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The memorial stands in a square next to the Civil Rights Memorial Center.
5 Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum
Rosenbaum House was house was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 for newlyweds, Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum. Located in Florence, the house is the only structure in Alabama, designed by Wright. It is constructed of cypress, glass, and brick. The Usonian design features a flat, multi-level roof, and board and batten walls. The house has its original Wright-designed furniture. The Rosenbaums were the only owners and occupants of Rosenbaum house until 1999, when it was purchased by the City of Florence and restored. It is the only house of Wright's in the southeast that is open to the public.
6 W.C. Handy Home Museum and Library
Located in Florence, the W.C. Handy Home and Museum is a log cabin with memorabilia and artifacts that belonged to "the father of the blues." He lived in the cabin when he wrote "Beale Street Blues" and "Memphis Blues." Exhibits include W.C. Handy's trumpet and the piano on which many of his songs were written.
7 National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, located in Selma, highlights the struggle for voting rights from the 1600s to the Voting Rights Act in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. African-American political figures are featured after Blacks secured the right to vote. Other figures who made history through their participation in the voting rights movement include Viola Liuzzo and Marie Foster.
8 University of Alabama
The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa began in 1827 and by 1831 had seven buildings on campus. Today the campus is home to an art gallery, 50-acre arboretum, pre-Civil War classroom, two museums, and the Gorgas House, which now serves as a museum.
The Gorgas House was built in 1829 as the first structure completed on the campus by renowned architect William Nichols. It is also one of only four structures that survived the burning of the university during the Civil War. Today the house serves as a museum with collections of antiques and Gorgas family memorabilia. General Josiah Gorgas was a former university president.
The Alabama Museum of Natural History is located in Smith Hall, the first building to be built on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa in the 20th C. Exhibits include displays from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. Visitors can also view the Hodges meteorite, the only meteorite known to have struck a human.
The Paul W. Bryant Museum traces the history of the University of Alabama football tradition back to its beginning in 1892. The collections highlight other sports played by University athletes as well.
9 Mobile Bay
Set along the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay is a scenic area of Alabama's coastline. The area has beaches and historic areas that attraction locals and tourists year round. Dauphin Island, located in the Bay, is a barrier island with a small town, also known as Dauphin Island. Also located here is historic Fort Gaines, built in the early 1800s.