The sleek, dark body of the A-12 Blackbird is invisible to radar detection, but that doesn’t stop it from attracting the attention of every visitor to the Southern Museum of Flight in sight. The retired bomber is just one of the aircrafts in the Southern Museum of Flight’s outdoor collection, and it gives visitors a glimpse of what’s to come. Stepping inside, you can almost hear the purring engines from the Korean War jet or 1920s Huff-Daland crop duster.
Not only does the museum bring high-flown feats of engineering artistry down to earth, it sets its impressive collection of airplanes into realistic dioramas. The exhibits, designed to give life to the history of southern aviation, sprawl across 75,000 square feet and includes photographs, models, original engines, and the tiny gnomes that power them. The Korean War Jets exhibit, for example, uses mannequins and a surprisingly realistic mock-up of Kimpo Air Force Base to tell the story of No Kum Sok, a North Korean lieutenant in the Air Force who defected.
More than 50 authentically restored structures, from lush antebellum mansions to cozy log cabins, line the six blocks of Old Alabama Town. Relics of the 19th and early 20th centuries, these buildings include one-room schoolhouses where children gathered for lessons, as well as a tavern their parents might have frequented. Ticketed tours permit peeks into some of Montgomery's historic cottages, while visitors on self-guided excursions can interact with costumed interpreters on the village's every block. Guests can even take home history from Rescued Relics, the museum's salvage warehouse full of old-timey architectural pieces, including mantels and doors.
The USS Alabama spent 37 months in active duty during World War II. It earned nine battle stars and never suffered significant damage from enemy fire. Following this illustrious military career, the battleship was set to be scrapped because of the prohibitive cost of maintaining a wartime fleet. Efforts to save the battleship became the catalyst for corporations to help fund the balance and attain the goal of $1 million, which was used to preserve the battleship as a memorial to the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. And so the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park was born.
Today, the ship rests safe and sound in the harbor?a 680-foot mammoth whose enormous mass displaces more than 44,500 tons of water.
Resting alongside the ship, the WWII submarine USS Drum welcomes visitors to explore inside its labyrinthine hull, inviting them to climb through hatches and imagine what life would be like if every doorway were round. The memorial park also houses a cavalcade of military equipment, vehicles, and aircraft on display, including a T-55 Iraqi tank, a Cold War?era Lockheed A-12 Blackbird, and a World War II?era Douglas C-47D Skytrain.
The Huntsville Museum of Art's collection and exhibitions provide an aesthetic roost for predominantly Southeast American artwork, housing more than 3,000 artistic objects by national and regional artists. Sporting spacious galleries and the recently added Davidson Center for the Arts wing, the museum woos wayward gazes with more than 400 paper works of 19th- and 20th-century American masters, including James McNeill Whistler, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and John Sloan. Current exhibitions include Future Retro: Drawings from the Great Age of Automobiles, which documents the post-war history of American automobile design through primary sketches and drawings, rather than with rejected robot lecturers from Epcot's Hall of Presidents, as well as Edward Weston: Leaves of Grass, which displays 53 black-and-white images used by the photographer to illustrate Walt Whitman's famous poem.
Named after celebrated collector Jonathan "Jack" Westervelt Warner, the Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art lines its storied interior with hundreds of paintings, sculptures, artifacts, and antiques from the artistic annals of American history. From its woody nest overlooking Lake Tuscaloosa, the museum commemorates significant events and figures in America's history, from posed portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Paul Revere-made silver and furniture designed by revolutionary wood-sculpting beavers. Explore the creative flourishings of world-renowned artists in Westervelt-Warner's various galleries, from Edward Hopper's portrayal of soldiers in Dawn Before Gettysburg, situated in the Mid 19th Century Civil War collection, to the impressionist gallery's Children Playing at the Beach, depicting four young girls frolicking in the summer surf while calculating the market value of their split-level sandcastles. Other galleries include works from the Hudson River School, Native American & Western art, 20th Century oils, and Still Life easel musings.
In addition to unlimited admission, members receive a plethora of perks, as well as discounts on concerts (25%), seminars (25%), hydrangea sales (10%–30%), and the gardens’ gift kiosk (15%) and reciprocal benefits and admission at more than 200 botanical gardens throughout North America. Additionally, with this deal, you will receive a $20 credit toward any of the upcoming classes or concerts, such as the culinary herbs ($15) or pine needle basket-weaving ($25) courses, or an evening of love told alfresco ($14).