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).
Rave Motion Pictures screens the summer blockbusters in 20 auditoriums outfitted with stadium seating. The theaters' digital projectors allow projectionists to easily play such gripping tales as Scream 4, a documentary about Sidney Prescott's return to Woodsboro, where Ghostface threatens the townspeople's safety (movies playing subject to change). Stretch out while watching as rows are spaced 48 inches apart from one another, one for each of the states recognized by most public-school systems. Check showtimes online for all the movies screening throughout the summer.
At Vestavia Bowl Family Fun Center, kids are encouraged to knock things over. The staff strives to spread a passion for bowling through various youth incentives, from organized leagues to the Kids Bowl Free promotion—a system that awards children complimentary games to take up summer free time. The staff even lends out kits to area P.E. teachers as part of the In-School Bowling Program, furnishing classes with balls, pins, carpeted lanes, and lengthy lesson plans on how to find the ball's finger holes.
By tutoring youngsters in bowling techniques, the center hopes to instill the same fondness for the sport held by its managerial team. Certified bowling coach Keith Henderson heads the pack of competitive players—many of whom boast sanctioned 300 games on their records—and oversees 34 lanes equipped with computers and overhead scoring monitors. For an ethereal gaming environment, black lights illuminate the lanes during select hours and birthday parties. Guests can also test their dexterity at pool tables and arcade games. Meanwhile, the snack bar preps burgers, hot dogs, and wings to pair with draft beers; patrons can even take advantage of Eat & Bowl specials, which offer a combo meal and two games for one price.
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.
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.
In one corner, kids practice cracking a safe. In another, tiny hands sift through sand to find ancient fossils, with no archaeologists in sight. Toddlers, meanwhile, wander through a surreal dreamscape of 10-foot milk cartons and car-sized paper towel rolls. But these aren?t scenes from a zany summer movie about all the adults disappearing: they're snapshots of the McWane Science Center, whose dozens of fun, interactive exhibits enliven science.
Notable exhibits include a collection of Alabama dinosaur skeletons that help us understand what life was like in the state millions of years ago. An aquarium area boasts a Shark & Ray Touch Tank, delighting visitors with an aquatic petting zoo. Interactive contraptions such as the pulley chair lift?which lets kids learn about simple machines as they hoist themselves aloft?convey abstract concepts with fun activities.