Montgomery, Alabama has long been known as “The Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.” If you’re a history buff, you might have taken a trip to the Must See Civil Rights Attractions in Montgomery. But what you may not know is Montgomery has developed a vibe that is drawing young families back to the area. Located less than three hours from the beach, Montgomery is a wonderful place to stop and spend some time with the family. Here are six attractions the entire family will enjoy.
Must Visit Family Attractions Montgomery, Alabama
1. Museum of Alabama– Want a free activity to entertain and educate the kids? Stop by the Museum of Alabama. With more than 800 artifacts, this museum tells the story of Alabama’s history from the first Native American tribes to the present day. There are interactive exhibits featured throughout the museum to provide hands-on learning experiences for the kids. Who wouldn’t want to stop by Grandma’s Attic for dress-up and a chance to play with toys from bygone eras?
While you’re touring be sure not to miss the “Alabama Voices.” This exhibit is unique because it features actual accounts of Alabama history collected from memos, diaries, journals, papers and other sources. You’ll be able to hear history come alive as you listen to first-hand accounts of historical events. Plan to spend at least two hours to maximize your experience.
2. Alabama Shakespeare Festival– is a regional theater that produces approximately seven to ten plays a season, including at least two by Shakespeare. The ASF makes learning fun for children with abridged versions of Shakespeare classics and other plays, as well as providing hands-on activities and study guides. They also offer acting workshops, summer camps and more. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the matinees presented each season. It’s the perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon!
While you are visiting the theater, stop by and visit the Shakespeare gardens, a beautifully decorated outdoor venue, and relax in the surrounding Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park. The lovely 77-acre park has walking trails, ponds, and statuary throughout the grounds. It’s the perfect place to allow the kids to play or have a picnic.
3. Biscuits Baseball– Biscuits and gravy are known in the South as a classic breakfast food. Montgomery has expounded on this concept, making Biscuits synonymous with Baseball. A minor league AA team, the Biscuits are located in Riverfront Stadium, a former train shed, at 200 Coosa Street. Once used as a prison and later a hotel, the building is said to be haunted by long-dead specters. Today Riverwalk Stadium is a bustling place, with their own sports bar, a venue for events and of course, baseball.
Have small children who might get bored during the game? There’s a separate children’s play area with inflatables available for a modest additional fee. Each game includes special highlights ranging from Max Fireworks after the game to Kids Day, where children can play catch before the game, make arts and crafts, and run the bases after the game. Of course, adults are included in the promotions too, with events like Star Wars Night, when you’re able to dress up as your favorite character, or Thirsty Thursday with $2 drink specials.
4. Blake’s Segway Tours– Want to see a different view of the city? Try a Segway Tour. Owned and operated by Jeff and Sara Blake, they offer three tours of the area; the Riverfront Tour, the Downtown Tour, and the Civil Rights/Civil War tour. Depending on the tour option, you’ll need to plan 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours for your excursion. The tour groups are small, with a maximum of four people for an intimate feel. Prior experience riding a Segway isn’t necessary. I was the only person in our group who had never ridden before and was apprehensive. Sara gave me step by step instructions and allowed ample practice time before starting the tour.
The pace of the tour is unrushed. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and take pictures during the tour. We began our tour with a ride along the sidewalk of the Alabama River. Sara stopped often to share historical facts, answered all of our questions, and patiently waited as we took pictures. She even offered to take pictures for us. By the time the tour was over I had a new appreciation for Segway riding and the history and modern culture of Montgomery. It’s easy to find the Segway Tours too. They’re located at the Montgomery Area Visitors Center at 300 Water Street. Tip: Riders must be at least 14 years old and weigh between 85 and 260 pounds to take the tour. Reservations are encouraged. Custom tours can be arranged upon request.
5. Escapology Virtual Reality– Ready for an adventure that encourages teamwork and critical thinking skills while promoting fun? Escapalogy is for you. Six Escape Games, allowing participants to attempt to solve a mystery and escape from a locked room in 60 minutes or less, are available. (Tip: Participants aren’t really locked in. You can leave at any time if you must.) Our group was “Shanghaied” by the evil King of the Crimps, Joseph “Bunko” Kelly and forcefully drafted to work on his ship. Our one chance of escape, if we didn’t want to face years on the ship, was to find a map and get off the ship. The game was fast-paced and frantic as we tried to solve the clues while racing against the clock. Whenever we were completely stuck a personal game master helped by giving us hints. The Escapes vary in difficulty. If you have never played before, check the difficulty rating before you begin.
Escapology also offers VR (Virtual Reality) Experiences. These are designed for small groups of up to four people and are available by the hour. Escapology can be rented for events or parties. They are located at 130 Commerce Street.
6. Hank Williams Museum– If you are a country music fan you’ll want to stop by the Hank Williams Museum. Known by many as the father of modern country music, Hank moved to Montgomery from nearby Mount Olive, Alabama when he was a child. His life story is fascinating for both his personal history and his music career. Before his death at the early age of 29, he had written or co-written over 100 songs and was the acknowledged country superstar of the day. His personal life was turbulent as the demands on his time caused stress and he struggled with pain from spina bifida and alcohol addiction.
The 6500-foot museum, located on Commerce Street, contains many rare artifacts, including the baby blue Cadillac he was riding in at the time of his death. Serious Hank Williams fans will also wish to Oakwood Cemetery where Hank Williams and his first wife, Audrey, are buried. You might even see one of the cans of beer people leave at his grave in tribute! (Note: Pictures are not allowed inside the museum.)
If you need a place to stay while in Montgomery, the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center is located in the center of the action. You can easily walk to downtown attractions and restaurants from this site and the views are spectacular! They offer plush bedding for a comfortable night’s rest and free wi-fi so you can stay connected. You can enjoy daily happy hour specials in their bar, “The Harbor,” or a meal at their restaurant, “The House.” Tip: Try the breakfast buffet.
Have you been to Montgomery? What is your favorite must visit attractions?