Alabama, nicknamed "The Heart of Dixie" is known for its heritage as a key southern state. Today the state contains an exciting mixture of old and new. From traditional agricultural events to high-tech rocketry, there's something for everyone.
Some highlights to visit in Alabama include:
1. Ave Maria Grotto (in Cullman): Also known as "Jerusalem in Miniature", and constructed by Brother Joseph Zoetti, a Benedictine monk, the Ave Maria Grotto is a 4 acre park containing 125 miniature reproductions of famous shrines and historical buildings from around the world.
2. Battleship Memorial Park (in Mobile): Home to the battleship USS Alabama, the submarine USS Drum, as well as many tanks and aircraft.
3. Bellingrath Gardens and Home (Southwest of Mobile): A beautiful 65-acre garden estate that offers walking tours, cruises on the Fowl River, and is home to an award-winning rose garden.
4. Birmingham Museum of Art (in North Birmingham): Contains an outstanding collection of over 21,000 works of art.
5. DeSoto Caverns Park (Southeast of Birmingham): offers guided tours through the state's biggest cave which is 12 stories high and larger than a football field. There are also a variety of family attractions in the park outside the caverns.
6. Early Works Museum Complex (in Huntsville): An impressive complex of three history museums including a hands-on history museum for children and a railroad museum.
7. International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum (in Talladega): This museum, next door to the Talladega Superspeedway records and celebrates the history of motorsports. Exhibits include the Budweiser rocket car which was the first car to break the speed of sound.
8. Noccalulua Falls Park (in Gadsden): A 250-acre public park containing a legendary water wall, as wall caves, Indian and civil war carvings, a pioneer home steed, a mini-golf course, a petting zoo, and more.
9. Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (throughout Alabama): A must for golf-lovers. The Trail is a result of the largest golf course construction project ever attempted. And contains over 400 holes spread across multiple sites around the state.
10. US Space & Rocket Center (in Huntsville): contains the United States' largest collection space memorabilia and rockets including the Pathfinder shuttle simulator and a Saturn V moon rocket.