The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was designed as a living institution, ensuring that Birmingham's contribution to the civil rights movement translates to present generations. At BCRI, guests learn about the courageous men and women who dared confront centuries of bigotry to transform the American landscape. The dream of former Birmingham mayor David Vann, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute opened to the public in November of 1992. Ever since, the BCRI has done everything in its powers to do justice to the heroes portrayed within the institute's halls.
As Halloween approaches, dozens of macabre vistas appear across the country, frightening but somehow also beckoning groups of visitors. The masterminds behind these apparitions? America Is Haunted, a company that has fear down to a science. That starts with the element of surprise, as each location holds its own secrets and scares. Six terrifying mazes, eight mini-shows, more than 300 monsters, goblins, and ghouls including larger-than-life rats, spiders, and gargoyles, as well as interactive experiences, gory vignettes, and costumed actors await throughout each attraction. The escorted journey may begin with a disorienting, technicolor maze where each turn brings guests face to face with some new horror. Other locales might include a maximum-security prison where the inmates run wild or a grocery store where the cereal is all the healthy kind.
Under the shadowy cover of nightfall, and by the flickering glow of a lantern, the Birmingham Ghost Walk weaves gaggles of ghost seekers through the city's spirit-populated historical sites. Tour leader Wolfgang Poe leads each march through time, beginning with a group-bonding ritual that tunes minds into the vibrations of Wolfgang's spirit guides. Winding toward the Alabama and Lyric Theaters, walks stop to discuss brothels, taverns, and townhouses long since gone, but not vacated by their former inhabitants. As the moon slinks behind clouds and shadows move into the shapes of embarrassing childhood nicknames, tour-takers shake off spine-tingling chills to finish the adventure at the Tutwiler Hotel. Cameras are allowed and, due to its dark themes and subject matter, the Ghost Walk gives itself a PG-13 rating.
They tell a tale to quake your bones at Warehouse 31—on October 13, 1875, a woodcutter by the name of Billy Turner killed his nine-year-old daughter in a horrific accident. Unable to cope with his grief, Turner killed himself. But the pain was too great for death to assuage. Soon Pelham was under siege from a series of mysterious events. A young girl found roaming unattended along a railway. The sound of a chainsaw echoing from the forest. Glass doors sliding open as soon as somebody stepped in front of them. Today, Warehouse 31 stands on the site of that ill-fated lumberyard, and guests can experience some scares of their own, thanks to a cast of monsters, high-tech animatronics, and gravely unhinged clowns.
More than 12,000 different plants line the meandering paths of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Spread across its 67.5 acres and more than 25 gardens are 30+ works of outdoor sculptures on display, making it one of the largest collections of public horticulture in the US. Between walks in the gardens, guests can relax in a Japanese garden with a traditional teahouse, and kids can opt into one of the educational programs to understand the science behind botany.
The botanical gardens also host events year round, such as antique shows, plant sales, and cocktail parties, so that the plants don't get bored and fall asleep. Additionally, the lecture series brings in big names and novelists to discuss their trade and put on shows for the garden's visitors.