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 Economist's globe-spanning scope, comprehensive analysis, and crushing, unflinching grasp on world economics make it required reading for people, people persons, and people-shaped cacti looking to stay up-to-date on world news, politics, and business. In addition to the weekly publications—including the magazine's 20+ Special Reports and its Technology Quarterly—subscribers to The Economist also receive special benefits, such as The World in 2012, a special annual volume that predicts trends for the coming year. Subscribers also get unrestricted access to the online site, with a fully searchable archive dating back to the Neolithic Internet era (1997), as well as free access to The Economist in audio, which includes the option to listen to digital recordings of all print articles or to download them as a weekly podcast. For updates on the go or “on the sitting down on a park bench enjoying the scenery,” access The Economist on an iPhone or iPad—every photo, article, and chart is delivered to subscribers' devices by Thursday at 4 p.m. EST.
Dedicated to a next-day turnaround for many assignments, Thompson's encases everything from diplomas to completed jigsaw puzzles within the ornate borders of more than 2,000 customizable frames. Guests can also peruse a collection of 300 ready-made frames that will fit snugly around standard-size pictures, or commission custom tabletop frames to showcase unconventionally sized posters. More than 100 framed, beveled mirrors further populate the store, silently reflecting the reversed T-shirt graphics and snarky grins of each shopper's personal doppelgänger. Frames and mirrors are complemented by a collection of original oil paintings, which help homeowners adorn their walls with a colorful still life, a muted landscape, or an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the human condition.
Spanning 4,000 square feet, the climbing surfaces at First Avenue Rocks mimic the natural textures of the abundant local sandstone boulder terrain. One hundred varied climbing routes up to 17 feet high greet climbers who choose to ascend by bouldering without ropes on angled walls and roofs dotted with challenging foot-and handholds or on the facility?s ropes courses. For safety, the facility positions its vertical terrain above the floor?s 10-inch-deep Asana pads for soft landings in the event of missed holds or misguided urges to fly. Instructors are available to prep students of all ages and ability levels to tackle the gym's terrain, teaching three stages of introductory climbing courses and two advanced lead-climbing courses.
To ensure each of The Fish Market Restaurant?s dishes are as fresh as possible, the two families at the restaurant's helm carefully source the seafood in everything from the eatery?s classic fish and chips to the heartier charbroiled swordfish steak. The chefs often infuse their creations with Greek and Cajun flair by saut?ing shrimp with feta cheese and sliced olives or topping snapper with greek island Santorini wine sauce. Thanks to a constant influx of culinary inspiration, the menu expands regularly, adding to the custom selections available for off-site catering services that can nourish gatherings from small dinner parties to massive cloning experiments gone wrong.
After working for decades as a successful oil executive, National Senior Games gold medalist Homer Brown decided to shift gears, opening BumperNets in 1999 to promote his beloved sport of table tennis to the masses. Nestled within the Riverchase Galleria Mall, Brown’s well-stocked, interactive emporium lets visitors hone their ping-pong or pool skills under the tutelage of a trained professional, or master the finer points of team management at the foosball table. Homer and his knowledgeable staff help guests deck game rooms in felt-clad pool tables, glittering pinball machines, and skee-ball alleys for rental or purchase, and can assist with onsite assembly.