Whether you are visiting Birmingham for business or pleasure, on an adventure with friends, a romantic getaway with your significant other, or a family vacation designed for bonding, the city is filled with fun. To make the most of your vacation or staycation, you will want the perfect hotel. Luckily, Birmingham has dozens of options spread across the city, so you can choose to stay close to whatever attractions you plan on exploring. There are also hotels for all budgets and with a range of styles, from national and international chains to quaint inns in historic buildings to luxurious resorts and spas loaded with amenities. You just need to figure out which one will best fit your vacation. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square
2.The Redmont Hotel Birmingham
4.The Wynfrey Hotel
6.The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
7.Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
8. Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook
9.Hotel Highland Downtown
11.Hyatt Place Birmingham
12.Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
12 Best Romantic Getaways in Birmingham
- Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square, Photo: Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square
- The Redmont Hotel Birmingham, Photo: The Redmont Hotel Birmingham
- Elyton Hotel, Photo: Elyton Hotel
- The Wynfrey Hotel, Photo: The Wynfrey Hotel
- The Tutwiler, Photo: The Tutwiler
- The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, Photo: The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
- Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast, Photo: Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
- Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook, Photo: Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook
- Hotel Highland Downtown, Photo: Hotel Highland Downtown
- Westin Birmingham, Photo: Westin Birmingham
- Hyatt Place Birmingham, Photo: Hyatt Place Birmingham
- Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, Photo: Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
- Birmingham Marriott, Photo: Birmingham Marriott
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Red Mountain Park
Birmingham, Alabama’s Red Mountain Park is a 1,500-acre park offering trails, outdoor adventures, historic structures and exhibits, a dog park and tree houses, and is located along the Red Mountain Ridge.
Over 15 miles of trails traverse the park and are suitable for hiking or mountain biking. Of these trails, two miles are paved trails suitable for strollers, wheelchairs or easy walking. Destinations along the trails include two scenic overlooks, three tree houses, and Remy’s dog park, the largest outdoor off-leash dog park in Alabama at 6 acres. Bike pump and repair stations are located throughout the trail system. The Butler Snow Sensory Trail is a specially designed trail for visitors with special needs that includes 14 touch and explore activities, a comfort zone, and swinging benches. The Nomads are specially designed off-road wheelchairs that are available free of charge to allow anyone with compromised mobility to explore the trails. Trails at the park also pass by three historic iron ore mining sites; mines number ten, thirteen and fourteen.
Outdoor adventures offered at Red Mountain Park include the Vulcan Materials Zip Trip. The zip line tour takes guests 40 feet above the natural forests and valleys and historic mines. The canopy tour connects the three tree houses with zip lines, rope bridges, rope swings and a series of seven platforms. The Mega Zip is a one-time 1,000-foot long zip line ride that begins at 80 feet above the ground and descends at speeds of 30 miles per hour. A treetop challenge course, the Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest, takes guests on a one hour tour of swaying rope bridges, obstacles, tight ropes and other ropes course elements before the zip line exit. The Kaul Adventure Tower is an 80-foot tall tower that offers several different climbing elements and challenges.
History: Native Americans and early settlers to the area had been using the red dust from the area since before the 1800’s as a dye and coloring for paint and ceramics. It wasn’t until the 1840’s that the red rocks of the land were identified as the iron-containing hematite, and farmers began to strip their land to sell the hematite to blacksmiths. By 1863, the first commercial iron ore mine was open, with many of the profits going to fund the south’s efforts in preparing for the Civil War. The original commercial mine, Eureka 1, is located within Red Mountain Park. Birmingham’s economy was primarily founded on this iron oar, coal and limestone. All three natural resources were exploited fully until the last of the mines closed in 1962.
In 2007, thanks to the efforts of the community, over 1,200 acres of land were sold at a discounted price by US Steel to the Red Mountain Park and Recreational Area Commission, making Red Mountain Park a reality. Thanks to the park, Birmingham now has more green park space per resident than almost any other city in the United States.
Red Mountain Park reclaims land that was once used for mining iron ore, and served as the foundation for the growth of Birmingham and its economy. The park’s mission is to re-connect the Birmingham community through healthy, outdoor activities and recreation, in an area that once divided the community by race and economic status.
Red Mountain is a non-profit organization that is funded by its outdoor adventure activities, membership fees and donations. Many of the adventure activities and programs receive funding from corporate sponsorships. Approximately 11,000 people make use of the park each year.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The park’s TravelStorys App lets any visitor turn their cell phone into a tour guide. The app tells personal history stories of people who worked at or around Red Mountain’s iron ore mines, or lived in the area. Red Mountain Park Oral History Project, which began in 2009, is an effort to preserve the history of iron and steel workers and their experiences in the mines and the surrounding communities.
Red Mountain Park offers downloadable educator’s guides to assist teachers in designing outdoor field trips and adventures. Areas of focus include history, archeology, and environmental science. Team Building activities are available and include either outdoor games, or activities on the low or high ropes courses. A partnership with Clarus Consulting Group helps facilitate post-activity discussions.
Special events at the park include group hiking and running meet ups and competitions, dog park meet ups, guided hikes and yoga in the park.
2011 Frankfurt Drive Birmingham, AL 35211, Phone: 205-202-6043
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More Ideas: Birmingham Zoo
Covering 122 acres, the Birmingham Zoo attracts more than 575,000 visitors each year. It is home to about 950 animals and 230 species, including endangered species from six continents. Find more great things to do in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Birmingham Zoo has had a special connection with elephants ever since Mona, its first elephant, came aboard in 1955, the same year the Birmingham Zoo, once known as The Jimmy Morgan Zoo, opened.
Today, the zoo is blazing new trails in the field of elephant conservation. Its latest fascinating exhibit, Trails of Africa, makes the zoo a nationally recognized front-runner in the conservation and care of elephants. The facility is embarking on an initiative that is intended to set new benchmarks for the nation’s care and breeding of elephants. Trails of Africa is a mixed species exhibit that features red river hogs, a bachelor elephant herd, and rhinos, among other animals. Trails of Africa features aerial and ground observation opportunities for a singularly unique visitor experience.
Since Aril 2011, hundreds of thousands of visitors have been able to experience the new and existing animals and their expanded exhibit areas. Trails of Africa relies on a botanical and cultural emersion-themed motif, and is now widely viewed as a world-class community asset. School groups visit regularly for science and ecology lessons and it is generally agreed to spur growth and tourism. Throughout Trails of Africa, visitors observe African wildlife and become enamored with the charm of many different species; they will also become enlightened about the plight of endangered animals and inspired to support global wildlife conservation efforts.
Dinosaurs are returning to the Birmingham Zoo in the zoo’s newest exhibit: Dino Discovery. Through July 31, 2016 this exhibit features life-sized, native North American animatronic dinosaurs that measure almost 20 feet, weigh nearly seven tons and run 85 feet in length. Visitors meander down a trail filled with these magnificent creatures, which careened throughout our planet more than 160 million years ago.
In 2005, during the zoo’s 50th birthday celebration, the zoo finished the Junior League of Birmingham – Hugh Kaul Children’s Zoo, a $15 million children’s exhibit committed to urban, rural and wild animals.
In 2007, the zoo premiered its Sea Lion Splash Show, which features the enchanting antics of sea lions, including dancing, whispering and talking – and even audience interaction. This event is meant to increase public awareness of the marine mammals’ conservation.
Kori Kountry was built by zookeepers and includes Kori Bustards and Kookaburra, among other creatures.
As part of its conservation efforts, the zoo also supports the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which is committed to conservation education. Sigourney Weaver, the actress, is the Honorary Chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. She portrayed Fossey in the film “Gorillas in the Mist,” and recentlywas featured in a Public Service Announcement that recognized the Birmingham Zoo’s support. Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International promotes research about gorillas and their ecosystems, which are threatened, and provides information about their relevance to the world. The Zoo is dedicated to advancing Fossey’s work.
Gorillas are now listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Without the implementation of significant steps from organizations such as Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, this species could disappear in the future. Habitat loss, poaching, disease and other issues threaten gorillas with extinction. Fossey’s organization monitors and protects gorillas through anti-poaching patrols, tracking of gorilla groups and education programs for poor communities, plus other conservation efforts.
The zoo also supports its very own Passion into Conservation Action (PICA) Program, which encourages employees to submit conservation research projects that the Zoo will fund. All of these projects forward the Zoo’s conservation programs. After the applications were reviewed and narrowed down through a selection process, individuals were awarded grants to fund their chosen projects. There are several recipients each year.
The Kudzoo Café is situated in the Children’s Zoo. It is truly a place to rest and eat while children enjoy themselves on the playground or splash pad. The Kudzoo Café is open throughout the year, with choices such as salads, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, custom-made sandwiches, chicken tenders, veggie burgers, hot dogs, kid meals, and desserts.
The Safari Café is the perfect spot to rest after a walk on the Trails of Africa. The Safari Café is open March through July and weekends only, during August through October, and offers burgers, corn dogs, hot dogs, pizza, chicken tenders, children’s meals, salads and desserts.
These kiosks are located in several areas within the Zoo to give visitors access to ice-cold drinks, snacks and ice cream, from March through October.
The Marketplace Gift Shop, at the main entrance or exit to the Zoo, has a plethora of plush animals, many of which you will see during your visit. It also has a wide selection of apparel and other souvenirs – all of which make perfect keepsakes from your day at the Zoo.
The Lorikeet Aviary Tiki Hut specializes in gifts related to birds and is located exclusively at this location. This store offers souvenirs such as gifts, toys and plush animals. It is open seasonally.
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Situated at the Kiwanis Giraffe Encounter exhibit, the Giraffe Encounter Outpost specializes in African-themed gifts, toys and plush animals not found anywhere else in the Zoo. It is only open seasonally.
The next time you’re looking for a unique spot to host an event, whether that be a birthday party, or an occasion as important as a wedding, company meeting or picnic, why not consider the zoo?
The zoo offers three spaces for rental: the Zoo Lodge, which is an old house made of stone secluded in the woods; the Children’s Zoo, which features an interactive barn with animals, a carousel and water activities; and the Safari Peak in Trails of Africa, from which you can see the Zoo’s African bull elephants.
Catering options range from African safari fare to formal elegance.
The Zoo also makes arrangements for special visitor options like greetings, walkabouts, and animal demonstrations.
There are several activities for which the zoo charges a small fee. Take a train ride to learn about the zoo from the conductor aboard the Birmingham Zoo Express or Red Diamond Express.
There are carousel rides every day, too. Children may choose among an array of animals to ride on the carousel, including a rhinoceros, giraffe, gorilla, frog, zebra, and cheetah. Wild Slide is offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Camel Rides are offered daily, too.
You may feed some of the animals. The zoo charges guests to feed the giraffes and lorikeets. There are giraffe feedings twice a day. Lorikeet Feedings at the Schaeffer Eye Center take place every day.
Activities that don’t carry an additional charge include the Red Diamond Sea Lion Show, on Saturdays and Sundays; the Children’s Zoo Contact Yard, which is open every day; Sea Lion Training, twice a day from Monday through Friday; and The Schaeffer Eye Center Wildlife Show, Elephant Chat and Predator Zone on Saturdays and Sundays. A Pelican feeding is offered every day, where visitors can toss fish right into the open bills of the Zoo’s American White Pelicans.
A severe lack of funding was not enough to completely derail the Birmingham Zoo, but in the 1990s, the facility did lose its accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). Due to a multitude of financial demands on the largest city in the state of Alabama, the zoo’s prospects were dim. But circumstances brought a strong set of community leaders together and in 2006, it was named the state’s leading tourist attraction.
The zoo’s turnaround began in the last year of the millennium; in 1999, Mayor Richard Arrington petitioned for the privatization of the zoo, an effort he backed with vital leaders in the community who were to serve as the first Board of Directors of a new organization, Birmingham Zoo, Inc. (BZI).
BZI is in its sixteenth fiscal year as a non-profit, private organization. An incredible 18-month effort addressed the most immediate problems so that the Zoo could become accredited by the AZA once again. The Zoo now ranks in the top 10 percent of animal holding facilities in the nation.
At the helm is William R. Foster, DVM, who joined the zoo as CEO in January 2004. Foster, a veterinarian and preeminent authority on zoo management, is a former president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He was also the executive director and president of the Louisville Zoo for years. The zoo is now on course for many healthy years ahead. In fact, it has plans to expand.
Currently under way is Renew the Zoo, an $18 million capital campaign, made possible through membership in the Tiger Society, to establish new habitats for endangered Asian species such as the red panda, Malayan tiger, Komodo dragon and Sumatran orangutan. With visitor support, the zoo is on track to create the new Asian Passage exhibit, as well as a new welcome plaza and entrance.
2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, Phone: 205-879-0409
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