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Best Outdoor Activities in Birmingham

By: Cityseeker
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Kelly Ingram Park

Kelly Ingram Park is a treasure trove of sculptures occupying the heart of Birmingham. Formerly known as the West Park, the park served as the platform for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It is home to several sculptures that thoughtfully commemorate those who fought for racial equality. The bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, the 'Four Spirits' sculptures, and the 'I Ain't Afraid Of Your Jail are three of the park's standout sights. Thriving under the aegis of the 16th Street Baptist Church, this park is a beautiful amalgamation of history and culture.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Rickwood Field

Rickwood Field was built in 1910 for in the city's professional baseball team, the Coal Barons. Rickwood Field has since been restored to look the way it did in its 1940s heyday, all the way down to the hand-operated scoreboard. Wearing old-time uniforms, the Birmingham Barons play the annual Rickwood Classic. Baseball greats who played at Rickwood include Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb and Birmingham's own Burleigh Grimes, the last legal spitball pitcher in the big leagues. Rickwood was also home to the Birmingham Black Barons Negro League team, which brought the likes of Satchel Paige, Piper Davis and local teenage phenomenon Willie Mays to play here. There is no charge to visit Rickwood; inquire about admission prices for the Rickwood Classic and other special events.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham's warm climate ensures that something is always blooming at the Botanical Gardens. Enjoy spring azaleas, summer roses, fall leaves and winter camellias as you tour the extensive grounds. Or, step inside the Southeast's largest clear-span glass greenhouse to enjoy orchids and other tropicals. Visit the Japanese Tea House and Garden and the Southern Living Garden, plus vegetable, fern, iris and other special gardens. Other attractions include the Gatehouse Gift Shop, a café and a library. Lectures, demonstrations, concerts and other events occur almost daily; inquire for a schedule. Admission is free. All paths are wheelchair and stroller-accessible.

Mountain Brook, AL, United States
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Jemison Park Nature Trail

The Jemison Park Nature Trail is a three mile long trail located at Jemison Park in Mountain Brook. The trail is extremely popular with joggers, hikers and bikers. The trail is also a great spot for bird-watching, and the Friends of Jemison Park organization even puts out a bird list so you can maximize your birding experience.

Mountain Brook, AL, United States
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Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park consists of 1500 acres (607.02 hectares) full of outdoor fun and excitement. In addition to the 11 hiking trails in the park, there are also zip-lining facilities, historic mines, three tree houses and the Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest and Kaul Adventure Tower. The park is one of Birmingham's favorite destinations for outdoor adventure.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Red Ore Zip Tour

For an adventure zipping between the treetops of Red Mountain Park, check out the zipline adventure from Red Ore Zip Tours. Your adventure guides will lead you from treehouse to treehouse, along ropes courses and speeding down suspended cables for some blood-pumping fun. To get to the zip tour, you must hike about 10-15 minutes through Red Mountain Park, so you get a bit of fitness in with your fun.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

This outstanding nature center situated on the site of an iron ore mine was closed in the 1950s and reopened as a nature refuge in the 1970s. Visitors to this mid-city refuge can explore the former quarries and ore crushers, hike 10 miles of trails, watch hawks soar, study rock formations and enjoy the wildflowers and wildlife.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Veteran's Park

Veteran's Park is 82 acres of outdoor fun in Hoover. The park features a whole array of facilities for your convenience, fitness and entertainment. Take advantage of the namesake Veteran's Memorial, the four acre lake, two pavilions, cross country trail, beach volleyball courts and the Butterfly Garden. There are restrooms available in the park, as well as parking.

Birmingham, AL, United States
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Oak Mountain State Park

Touted to be the best place in the state to mountain bike, Oak Mountain State Park is where beautiful central Alabama scenery unfolds in all its glory. Sprawled across acres and acres, this rolling state park is a wonderland for recreation, boasting an undulating, picturesque landscape. The park is complete with elongated miles of bike trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and camping sites, and rustic cabins, while the presence of serene lakes only accentuates its picture-perfect topography. The park is home to motley picnicking areas, basketball courts and a golf course, and the jubilant Peavine Falls also lie burrowed in its idyllic recesses. Weaving through dense woods is a boardwalk which witnesses the true grace of nature, while the Alabama Wildlife Center harbors periled and native wildlife. Approximately a 30-minute drive south from the city center, Oak Mountain State Park is a remarkable one among all of Alabama's state parks.

Pelham, AL, United States
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