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

Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square
© Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square

The Aloft Birmingham SoHo Square is a hotel in the SoHo Square development of Homewood, close to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It is an urban, loft-inspired hotel that is just minutes from downtown. Choose from a king, double queen, or accessible guestroom, so you can accommodate up to four people. Rooms feature free and fast wireless internet, an ergonomic workstation, a 42-inch LCD TV, Bliss spa amenities, a minifridge, free coffee and bottled water, and plush platform bed(s). If you want to get in a workout while away from home, head to the Re:charge gym or go for a swim in Splash, the indoor pool that is open all year. Don’t worry when the urge to workout hits; Re:charge is open 24/7. For convenience, the hotel includes SPG Keyless, so you can check in, get a room number, and unlock your door via the SPG app. The W XYZ bar is the perfect place to relax with a cocktail and some great conversation. Or you can head to the Re:mix lounge to enjoy live music with your drink. If you want something to eat, head to Re:fuel by Aloft. It is open 24/7 and has made-to-order breakfast items plus grab-n-go food and a range of drinks.

1903 29th Avenue South, Homewood, AL, Phone: 205-874-8055

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2.The Redmont Hotel Birmingham

The Redmont Hotel Birmingham
© The Redmont Hotel Birmingham

The Redmont Hotel Birmingham is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton and first opened in 1925. It was completely renovated in 2015, delivering state-of-the-art amenities and technology without sacrificing its original glamor and style. Every room has complimentary wireless internet, a 40-inch HDTV, an ergonomic work space, a Keurig coffeemaker, and an iHome dock. There are 101 guest rooms and 11 suites, which add even more space plus a living room with an extra 46-inch HDTV. Take advantage of the 24-Hour Connectivity Zone when you want to be productive. Get in some exercise with weights or cardio technology at the 24-hour fitness center. Guests who want a facial or massage can schedule one right in their room. Take advantage of the 24-hour valet parking. Get a meal in the café or full-service Harvest Restaurant & Bar, the latter has American fare with plenty of style. The 2101 Café also has Revelator coffee plus espresso. Or head up to the rooftop terrace to sip your favorite cocktail. If you need a midnight snack, the 24-hour convenience shop is the answer.

2101 5th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-957-6828

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3.Elyton Hotel

Elyton Hotel
© Elyton Hotel

The Elyton Hotel delivers modern indulgences with uncommon cultivation with its location in the iconic Empire Building, among the best-known architectural landmarks in the South. This 16-story building was constructed in 1909 and now features 111 guest rooms plus six suites. All accommodations have pillowtop beds with white Egyptian cotton bedding, carefully selected accessories, modern artwork, complimentary internet, bath amenities from Malin & Goetz, and their own smart minifridge. Guests also enjoy daily maid service, housekeeping, and a nightly turndown service. Depending on the room, you can also enjoy a queen sleeper sofa, large marble shower, executive writing disk, or extra powder room. All rooms also have plenty of natural light. For those who want, there is laundry service available as well as in-room dining. Guests can work out in the on-site fitness center, the Iron Horse, or take advantage of the 24/7 business services. When you want to eat Southern progressive cuisine, head to the Yard. For a craft cocktail or small plate, go to Moon Shine, the rooftop lounge.

1928 1st Ave N., Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-731-3600

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4.The Wynfrey Hotel

The Wynfrey Hotel
© The Wynfrey Hotel

The Wynfrey Hotel is part of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham and is connected with the Riverchase Galleria Mall. It provides chic, upscale accommodations with Southern hospitality. The 329 rooms and suites are fully renovated with oversized flat-screen TVs, free wireless internet, Hyatt Grand Beds, and iHome alarm clock radios. Regency Club Rooms have access to the Regency Club along with continental breakfast and a private concierge. Guests get exclusive access to the members-only Riverchase Country Club Golf Course. Stay on site to enjoy the outdoor pool with its beverage service, relax in the sauna, or get in your workout at the Hyatt StayFit Gym. When you want a bite, order from room service or get a Southern dish from Merks’ Tavern & Kitchen.

1000 Riverchase Galleria, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-705-1234

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5.The Tutwiler

The Tutwiler
© The Tutwiler

The Tutwiler is an iconic downtown hotel with more than a century of historic splendor. It has 149 guestrooms, including 53 suites, a figure which includes six balcony suites. Every room has expansive windows with amazing views and upscale décor with elegant finishes and gorgeous mahogany furniture. Rooms all have 40-inch HDTVs, work desks, alarm clock radios, coffeemakers, comfortable Hampton beds, walk-in showers, WaterPik showerheads, and fluffy towels. Suites add living rooms, sofa beds, an extra HDTV, and fridges. Enjoy using the gym/fitness center and the complimentary wireless internet throughout the property. For a meal or drink, head to the Tutwiler Bar & Grill, right on site. Every guest gets a free hot breakfast with their stay. If you don’t have time, opt for a free On the Run breakfast bag on weekdays instead. No matter the hour, you can get something at the Pavilion Pantry Market. There is also a complimentary beverage area.

2021 Park Place, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-322-2100

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6.The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
© The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

The Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa is a Renaissance Hotel known for its sophistication. The accommodations all have marble bathrooms, picturesque views, and stylish furnishings along with private balconies. Relax on the pillowtop mattresses with their custom duvets or go the bathroom, where you will find a separate shower and Aveda products. The most exciting amenity on this property for many guests is the fifth-longest golf course in the world. Don’t forget to use the driving range, putting green, clubhouse and golf shop. After a day of golfing, relax in the world-class Aveda salon and spa or use the badminton lawn or tennis courts. There are also saltwater pools both inside and outside, including bar service, a slide, and waterfall plus a 24/7 fitness center. Take a break from golfing at the Clubhouse Restaurant for American cuisine. Start your morning off with a breakfast buffet or some room service throughout the day. You can also get a caffeine boost at the coffee shop or Mediterranean dishes at Brock’s. At the end of the day, get a drink at JT’s Lounge with live entertainment.

4000 Grand Ave, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-916-7677

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7.Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast

Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast
© Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast

Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast provides relaxation and that homey feel in a Victorian environment. Throughout the property, you will find antiques and cozy touches designed to make you feel at home while transporting you back in time to the Victorian era. Every guestroom has a theme and Victorian furniture, with the restoration including marble fireplaces and gorgeous wood floors and trim. The seven guest rooms are all air-conditioned, as is the property as a whole. They also each have private bathrooms with hairdryers and toiletries and cable TV. The property also has wireless internet, and you can get extras like a four-poster bed, fainting couch, chandelier, 12-foot ceilings, bay windows, private entry, and/or antique hand-washing station. Some accommodations sleep four in two separate bedrooms. Guests can use the guest fridge with its complimentary beverages and space for guest food. The daily breakfast is served in the formal dining room on fine china with a crystal chandelier helping to set the mood. The menu rotates but includes things like eggs and bacon, apple dumplings, crepes, omelets, blueberry pancakes, and coffee.

1309 19th Street South, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-918-9090

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8. Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook
© Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook is part of the Autograph Collection from Marriott, delivering boutique luxury, unparalleled service and exceptional amenities. Each room and suite has its own style, complete with marble bathrooms and custom furnishings, along with complimentary wireless internet. You also get an in-room desk, pillowtop bed, flat-screen TV, irons with ironing boards, safes, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, phones with voicemail, premium movie channels, fine linens, lighted makeup mirrors, luxe amenities, and plush robes. Relax after a day of sightseeing in the Poseidon Spa with its full menu of luxury treatments or take a dip in the outdoor pool or get in your workout at the fitness center. Browse the Grand Bohemian Gallery in the lobby with its original artwork. Visit Habitat Feed & Social, the rooftop bar and restaurant with farm-to-table cuisine. You can also take a class for cooking or wine blending. A continental or full American breakfast is also available every morning.

2655 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-414-0505

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9.Hotel Highland Downtown

Hotel Highland Downtown
© Hotel Highland Downtown

The Hotel Highland at Five Points South Downtown UAB is a premiere luxury boutique hotel with a convenient location no matter why you are in Birmingham. They are undergoing renovations and will soon be Hotel Indigo, so don’t be surprised if you see that name. The 63 guest quarters are all distinctive, with fine Brazilian bed linens plus selected handcrafted furniture from Brazil. All rooms come with LCD high-definition televisions and complimentary high-speed internet with either a king bed or two doubles. You can opt for a suite with an extra TV, a wet bar, a microwave, and a fridge. The hotel is pet-friendly for a small fee. The restaurant on site serves breakfast and dinner, or you can opt for room service if you prefer to dine in your room. Or go to the hotel’s full bar to find your favorite alcoholic beverage. Because of the hotel’s location, guests have easy access to various attractions, including sports venues, the airport, and the center of commerce.

1023 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-933-9555

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10.Westin Birmingham

Westin Birmingham
© Westin Birmingham

As a Westin Hotel, those who stay here are treated to luxury in spacious accommodations with thoughtful amenities. Every guest room has its own Heavenly Bath and signature Westin Heavenly Bed. Other standard amenities include an ergonomic desk with jack pack, laptop safe, fridge, and 42-inch HD flat-panel TV. There are also accessible rooms and those with additional space, chaise lounges, and/or separate parlors. Wi-Fi is available for a fee. Stay in shape while on vacation at the WestinWORKOUT fitness studio or go for a swim or float on the rooftop pool. Don’t forget to relax in the hot tub as well or use a cabana or umbrella. If you plan on working out but don’t want to bring your gear, you can borrow New Balance workout gear during your stay. Use the gear to follow a RunWESTIN route by the hotel. Guests can also opt for an in-room spa appointment, which includes all you need to feel as if you are in a designated spa room. Head to the business lounge, The Hive, with its complimentary wireless internet, flat-screen TVs, and computer workstations. When you want a drink or meal, visit the award-winning Todd English P.U.B.

2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-307-3600

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11.Hyatt Place Birmingham

Hyatt Place Birmingham
© Hyatt Place Birmingham

This Hyatt Place hotel delivers a casually chic feel that lets you recharge while still being close to amazing attractions. The guest rooms are cozy with flat-screen TVs, spacious layouts, free wireless internet, and work desks. Rooms also feature Cozy Corners with sleeper sofas, or you can choose a high floor room with an elevated view. Work out in the fitness center or go for a swim in the outdoor pool, which is seasonal. Visit the business center for some productivity or connectivity. For convenience, guests get free parking and there is a complimentary shuttle service within 5 miles of the hotel during the day. The day starts off with a free breakfast and you can get a freshly prepared dish whenever you want, 24/7. Get a drink at the Coffee to Cocktails Bar, whether you need coffee to start off your day or want to unwind at night with your favorite alcoholic beverage. There is also a 24-hour guest market with freshly prepared salads and sandwiches, snacks, and more. Things to Do in Birmingham

4686 Highway 280 East, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-995-9242

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12.Sheraton Birmingham Hotel

Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
© Sheraton Birmingham Hotel

Situated in the Uptown District, the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel is very conveniently located. Choose from several room types, including choices with either a king or two double beds. All rooms have Sheraton Signature Experience Beds, ergonomic desks, 42-inch flat-panel HD TVs, work desks, and plenty of space. Opt for a room with extra space, and/or amazing views, and sitting areas. Enjoy the Shine for Sheraton bath amenities in the bathrooms. Guests can take advantage of the complimentary shuttle from the airport as well as of the modern meeting facilities and 24-hour business center. All guests are welcome to work up a sweat in the Sheraton Fitness Center or do a few laps in the indoor heated pool. Relax in the spa during your downtime. Those in Club Rooms get access to the Club Lounge, where they will find a comfortable seating area and complimentary high-speed internet access. The Club Lounge also features a complimentary breakfast, hors d’oeuvres in the evening, and beverages and snacks throughout the day. Everyone is welcome to dine at Paired, where there is global cuisine. You can also eat at the Atrium Café and Casey’s Sports Bar and Grill, get an alcoholic beverage at Moretti’s, or have coffee and baked goods at La Tazza.

2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-324-5000

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13.Birmingham Marriott

Birmingham Marriott
© Birmingham Marriott

The Birmingham Marriot was recently renovated to ensure every guest has the best experience possible in this centrally located hotel. The rooms all have ergonomic work spaces, flat-screen LCD HDTVs, and ultra-comfortable bedding. Choose a room with a king bed, two double beds, or a king bed and a sleeper sofa. There are also rooms with M Club Lounge Access and suites. You will always get a pillowtop mattress, featherbed, shower/tub combination, Bath and Body Works bath amenities, hairdryer, chair and ottoman, safe, iron with ironing board, alarm clock, coffeemaker, minifridge, phone with voicemail, cable and satellite channels, and premium movie channels. Visit the fitness center or go for a swim. The Marriot Greatroom has contemporary style and flexible seating. There, you will find a coffee bar with Starbucks coffee and a menu featuring chef-crafted small plates as well as pours. In the M Club Lounge, you will find a deluxe continental breakfast featuring breakfast meat, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal plus midday snacks like candies, chips, and fruit. In the evening, there is local cheese, antipasto, and charcuterie, all of which is complimentary. All guests can get a casual American meal at Marre & Allen.

3590 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, AL, Phone: 205-968-3775

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12 Best Romantic Getaways in Birmingham

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.

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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

Back to: Best Things to Do in Birmingham, Alabama

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