The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum showcases vintage bikes from 20 countries, which fill the massive showroom at the Barber Motorsports Park, with technicians constantly working to keep each of the museum's 1,300 bikes authentically maintained and road-ready. Additionally, technicians ensure the overall gallery represents the evolution of the motorcycle through the 20th and 21st centuries.
Who They Are
George Barber first explored his love of racing in the 1960s, behind the wheel of a Porsche. By 1988, he had begun collecting and restoring classic and vintage sports cars, and his acquisitions soon spilled into motorcycles. His fleet eventually became the Barber Collection and the defacto garage for his own vintage-motorcycle racing team. Today, Barber's Collection has become a full non-profit motorsports museum that has shared its pieces at exhibitions at the Guggenheim in Spain, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
The seed of flight was planted when Erik Box was still a boy and his grandfather Lindbergh carved him a propeller from wood. Today, Box Aviation is the natural outgrowth of that lifelong love, giving Erik the chance to fulfill his passion each day. Stationed at Montgomery Aviation, the outfit provides fellow enthusiasts with services such as flight training, rental aircraft, and maintenance for personally owned planes. Newcomers to the field can get a taste of the open skies via a discovery flight, which places them next to an expert instructor for short loops through Montgomery airspace.
By the Numbers
1974: The year a band of horticulturists founded Mobile Botanical Gardens to preserve the local environment
100: The number of acres filled with cultivated gardens, woodland trails, and longleaf pines
12: The oldest age a visitor can enter the gardens for free without parachuting in past the gate
The Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
The forest blooms with more than 165 species of plants, including longleaf pines, southern magnolias, and native wildflowers.
The Founders? Fragrance and Texture Garden
Benches, a Japanese footbridge, and a small koi pond distinguish this garden, which was designed for the visually impaired.
The Millie McConnell Rhododendron Garden
Nineteenth-Century architectural artifacts line the brick paths. Hummingbirds and butterflies often buzz about the shrubs and annuals.
In the early 20th century, Tate Farms was a social hub for sharecroppers, who congregated at farmer John Patterson's general store, blacksmith shop, and gristmill. More than 200 harvests later, John Patterson's grandson, Homer Tate's descendants continue to uphold the farm’s legacy as a community gathering spot. However, instead of waiting for a new batch of horseshoes or gossiping about which neighbor might be a spy for the Kaiser, people now come to pick from 90 varieties of pumpkins on the 70-acre pumpkin patch. Leading visitors across the wider 5,000-acre fields, tour guides not only illuminate the farm’s history but teach visitors rural-agriculture info, including lessons on the role bees play in pollinating pumpkins and cotton.
Though the Tate family strives to preserve the past, they have retrofitted the farm with a brand new 14,000-square-foot covered area. Here, visitors sample fresh pumpkin pie made with the farm’s own pumpkins at the Country Café or head to the bakery for fresh pumpkin muffins and cinnamon rolls.
Run by the adventurers at Wild Native, City Safaris' urban expeditions invite participants to discover the unlikely thrills hidden within some of Mobile's stateliest settings. Whether they're recreating the festive fun of Mardi Gras, exploring downtown's historical haunts, or snooping through the inside of the U.S.S. Alabama and the surrounding grounds at Battleship Park, participants compete with one another while flexing their problem-solving muscles. Since friendly competition often brings out a participant's true nature, Wild Native's adventurers also schedule singles hunts that pair up prospective dates for an evening of strategizing.
The FAA–certified instructors at Wesson Aviation instill safe-flying habits in budding aviators, whether their aim is to casually jaunt through the clouds or to pursue a license for flying a plane, helicopter, or really large, specially folded piece of paper. No matter their aerial pursuit, pilots learn on modern and well-maintained equipment. The Bell Jet Ranger helicopter has flown about 1,400 hours and spoils students with modern avionic equipment, such as a Garmin GPS, radar altimeter, and heating and air conditioning—creature comforts to revel in when playing long hide-and-seek games with a stealth bomber. Students can also work toward their FAA pilot certification for private, commercial, or instructor flight at more than 200 miles per hour aboard the outfit’s twin-engine Beechcraft Baron airplane.: