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.
Sporting the largest cast-iron statue in the world—a 56-foot, 100,000-pound statue of Vulcan, Roman god of the forge—Vulcan Park and Museum also boasts panoramic views of the city and eye-opening lessons on Birmingham's geology and industrial history. Assembled from local metal in 1904 and erected at the World’s Fair in St. Louis the same year, Vulcan was then shipped back to Birmingham. In 2003, after successfully defending the city from the Kraken, the Colossus of the Deep South was painstakingly moved to its current Red Mountain roost. Inside the museum, a multitude of interactive exhibits regale visitors with tales of the town and Vulcan's storied past, from its World's Fair beginnings to its failed hip-hop career. An elevator ride to Vulcan Park's 124-foot-high observation deck splashes dazzling snapshots of the teeming wildlife in the urban jungle below.
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).
Situated on a 19-acre 'green' space that merges the "industrial and artistic heritage" of Birmingham, George's Boxcar Café serves a menu of casual eats and drinks, sating visitors during a variety of events held onsite. On nights with nice weather, the park is home to events such as Sounds & Snacks By The Tracks, featuring jazzy sounds of local musicians and the summery taste of hot dogs, burgers, and frisbees.