Sightseeing in Mountain Brook

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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.

4343 73rd St N
Birmingham,
AL
US

Run by master picturemaker Jennifer Harwell, a self-taught painter popular for her angel series, jenniferharwellart's weekly classes help sprouting artists' talents grow and blossom. In a laid-back, relaxed setting, students unleash their furor artisticus upon a 16"x20" canvas while the swaddling wraps of a smock-frock protect their soft innards. Usually the gallery provides wine and snacks in addition to all the necessary artistic supplies. Students get to keep their magnum opus once their paint guns stop smoking.

1901 6th Ave N
Birmingham,
AL
US

Sips n Strokes gifts paintbrush-wielding neophytes the tools and confidence to create, with a mélange of masterpiece-making tutorials and a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Artists can elect a class from the shop's calendar to hone the painting style that best complements their home, office, or neighbor's windshield, including picks of imagery from Parisian scenes to funky roosters. Each course, led by an instructor well versed in the trade, pairs well with the liquid inspiration of each student's choosing. Silence-seeking artists or easily corruptible mimes may opt for an afternoon or weeknight session, as the weekends generally garner 20 to 50 rowdy rookies.

522 Cahaba Park Cir
Birmingham,
AL
US