Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel.While many attractions may not be open right now, we encourage educators and tour planners to gather ideas and formulate itineraries for the future.
Known as “The Dinner Table of the South,” Birmingham hosts the country’s best dining scene and was Ground Zero for the American Civil Rights Movement — now drawing visitors from around the world to immerse in this flavorful and historic city.
Birmingham is internationally known for its medical community; at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students can take tours of the campus included with hands-on learning in the simulation lab.
The Birmingham Zoo is one of the state’s top attractions, hosting 950 animals from 230 different species that students can examine during educational programs.
“This is a city made for student tour visits,” said Sara Hamlin, tourism vice president at Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Along with themed tours, our calendar is packed with special events, from independent film celebrations to art and food festivals.”
The Birmingham CVB makes visits easy and productive, with custom itineraries and specialized guides that help educators plan every detail to ensure an exciting trip.
Visit National Historic Landmarks, explore Alabama sports history and enjoy endless outdoor activities while in one of Alabama’s largest cities.
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Pizitz Food Hall
Dining at The Pizitz Food Hall is especially popular with students, serving up a variety of dishes from around the world. The Pizitz Food Hall houses 14 food stalls, one restaurant and a variety of other businesses and shops. Students can get a taste for Southern American, Israeli, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Indian and Japanese cuisine all in one place. End the meal with handcrafted candy, a warm pie, rich smoothies or other sweet treats offered at Pizitz.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Boasting over 1,600 bikes, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum houses the world’s largest collection of old, new and rare motorcycles — a must-see for bike and Lotus car enthusiasts. Students will enjoy the Wheels of Technology program, which highlights how science, math and engineering are used in the racing world. Get a social studies lesson from the Rolling Through Time tour and discuss how motorcycles impacted world history — from the Industrial Revolution through WWII and beyond.
Birmingham Civil Rights District
The global spotlight was cast on Birmingham in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement revolutionized the streets, with protests and marches rising throughout the city. The Birmingham Civil Rights District allows students to take a deeper dive into the events that still influence American culture today. Study the Children’s March of 1963 with an interactive program at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Visit historic 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of the 1963 fatal bombing.
McWane Science Center
McWane Science Center is a modern exploration venue with an aquarium and a 280-seat IMAX Dome Theater. Students will see dinosaurs, sea monsters, lightning bolts, jellyfish and more. Visit the Shark & Ray Touch Tank to physically interact with the sharks and rays. Play tug-of-war with the Giant Lever. Spin colorful sand and watch digital butterflies alight on the walls in the Art & Tech Gallery. The McWane Science Center features four state-of-the-art classrooms for educational programs that allow educators to enhance their curriculums.
Red Mountain Park
Practice the Tarzan call and get ready to swing among the trees at the 1,500-acre Red Mountain Park. Once the site of extensive iron ore mining, Red Mountain Park hosts over 15 miles of trails; three treehouses; a 6-acre off-leash dog park; and a plethora of thrilling adventures including zip lines, ropes courses and rock walls. Sign up for the a team building exercise, which combines the elements of group dynamics and outdoor adventure to forge stronger student relationships.