More than 50 authentically restored structures, from lush antebellum mansions to cozy log cabins, line the six blocks of Old Alabama Town. Relics of the 19th and early 20th centuries, these buildings include one-room schoolhouses where children gathered for lessons, as well as a tavern their parents might have frequented. Ticketed tours permit peeks into some of Montgomery's historic cottages, while visitors on self-guided excursions can interact with costumed interpreters on the village's every block. Guests can even take home history from Rescued Relics, the museum's salvage warehouse full of old-timey architectural pieces, including mantels and doors.
The recently renovated W.A. Gayle Planetarium harnesses the sublime splendor of the night sky within its hemispheric white dome. Two hundred theater-style seats carry astrophiles through interstellar space minus the bothersome side effects of an oxygen-free vacuum. The planetarium’s latticed-framework star projector, in use since 1968, bedazzles armchair astronomers and celestial connoisseurs alike with one-hour seasonal star shows on astral phenomena. Gain extra-powerful cosmic vision with Through the Eyes of Hubble while spying on stellar births and deaths, grandiose galactic collisions, and chaotic storms on Saturn. A Trip Into Space explores black holes and planetary conditions, and Bear Tales and Other Grizzly Stories offers spirited yarns about springtime constellations while incorporating ancient Greek mythology, pirate legends, and interviews with sentient starfish long disgruntled by human appropriation of their heavenly twins.
Tonya Speed’s Dance Connection has connected restless feet with inspiring rhythms for more than 20 years in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. During one-hour Zumba classes, one of the studio's seasoned instructors coaxes shy dance muscles and hesitant limbs to sway, stomp, and groove to exotic Latin and international music. The sessions, limited to 20 participants, can decrease stress and shake off pesky shoulder anvils. Students should come in fitness attire and comfortable tennis shoes for the upbeat full-body workouts, designed to incinerate calories, drop pounds, increase energy levels, and pound unruly floorboards back into place. Zumba participants must be 12 years of age or older.
With a focus on entertainment, Abrakadoodle can transform any party into a chance to expand minds and glitter-slicks with many choices of creative games and lessons (parties start at $150, $15 per child with a minimum of 10 youngsters). Pint-sized Monets can create their own lovely water lilies at a painting party or practice sea-worthy slang and parrot conversational skills with a Party Pirates event. Birthday parties can take place in your home or at various schools and community centers close to where you live (in Greater Montgomery, Prattville, Deatsville, Ramer, and Wetumpka). Or, keep young minds active with one of Abrakadoodle's many children's art classes, designed for aspiring Picassos as young as 20 months. The expansive schedule features classes in painting, drawing, and more (sessions start at $15 and run between 45–90 minutes).
The staff members at Sylvan Learning Center's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.