Karate is not about breaking boards or bodies, it is about pushing yourself beyond what you ever thought you could do and often surpassing your goals. You do your best- never giving up, and in the process build a more mentally and physically fit person. Japan International Karate Academy is here to guide and encourage.
During the week, the lot at The Drive-In sits vacant—but it's far from abandoned. A bit before the clock strikes 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, cars start to crowd into empty spots. The carloads of families and couples on date night are there for the feature, which usually includes one kid-friendly movie—think Planes—or one for grownups, such as Wolverine. Plus, audience members can munch on buckets of popcorn as films unfold.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.
Yoga Circle Downtown's instructors lead a diverse selection of athletically paced and calming yoga styles that cater to students of all skill levels. The studio’s schedule includes advanced and fundamental classes, such as Alignment & Form, where instructors demonstrate poses, emphasizing correct posture and positioning for each asana, instilling proper technique in beginning students and recently animated sculptures alike. Students in yoga flow sessions achieve a more vigorous workout by using strong breaths and athletic movements to transition from pose to pose, raising heart rates and bolstering stamina. During Kundalini yoga, instructors promote inner well-being by incorporating time for chants and calming meditation, which leaves students’ minds as centered as a hula hoop snug around an overinflated beach ball. Students gather for classes in an airy practice space with lofty ceilings and intricately painted pillars that keep the floor from floating away during class, accessorizing the room's wooden flooring with either their own yoga mats or a rental from the studio ($1).
In an interview with the Birmingham News, concert promoter Brian Teasley explained the vision behind Bottletree Café: "We wanted to open a place that would serve food we wanted to eat, show films we liked to see, and play music we wanted to hear." It turns out Teasley, along with co-owners Merrilee and Brad Challiss, has pretty good taste: according to Esquire, which ranked the café as one of the country's best bars, "This place is already stealing thunder from every small music venue in the region." FlavorWire backed up this endorsement by ranking Bottletree Café as one of The 10 Greatest New Music Venues of the 21st Century. Since opening in 2006, the venue has hosted Rogue Wave, Band of Horses, and other indie-leaning rock groups.
But the accolades don't stop there. The venue also has attracted praise for its vegetarian-centric menu. Birmingham Weekly rated the café's brunch among the city's best and devoted a full-out love letter to the lunch menu, which was reintroduced in August 2012. The award-winning vegetarian chili ranks among house favorites and makes a repeat appearance in cheese-smothered nachos. Tofu plays a centric role in entrees and desserts, and black-bean patties made a fiber-rich substitute for beef in burgers, or a biodegradable substitute for frisbees in games of disc golf.
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.