If you long to stretch your legs and let the kids run and explore, there's no better tourist attraction than Vulcan Park, 1701 Valley View Dr. (tel. 205/933-1409; www.vulcanpark.org), site of the largest cast-iron statue in the world. Created for the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, the imposing statue depicts Vulcan, the god of forge. After a recent restoration, the statue once again dominates a 10-acre park atop Red Mountain. The grounds offer unparalleled views of the Birmingham skyline -- not to mention free Wi-Fi. A visitor center includes exhibits and displays showcasing the city's rise as an iron-producing center at the turn of the 20th century, and traces the decline of the industry during the Great Depression of the 1930s and beyond.
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 12632 Confederate Pkwy., McCalla (tel. 205/477-5711; www.tannehill.org), is a 1,500-acre haven for hiking, camping, horseback riding, and other recreation. Artisans such as a blacksmith and miller ply their trades outside restored 19th-century pioneer cabins to create a vision of a village from long ago. The ironworks give visitors a glimpse into life in the 1800s. The festive Tannehill Trade Days take place every third Saturday March through November. To reach the park from Birmingham, take I-59 south to exit 100 and follow the signs.
Among other family-friendly options are spectator sports, including minor league baseball's Birmingham Barons, 100 Ben Chapman Dr. (tel. 205/988-3200; http://barons.com). The team, an AA Southern Class affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, plays at Regions Park, 100 Ben Chapman Dr. Tickets range from $6 to $12.
Swinging Into Birmingham
Alabama has been called a golfer's paradise, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail that spans the state has become one of its top attractions. When visiting the Birmingham area, golfers will find a challenging scenic course at the Oxmoor Valley Golf Club, 100 Sunbelt Pkwy. (tel. 800/949-4444 or 205/942-1177; www.rtjgolf.com). The public 54-hole course (greens fees $43-$64) is one of the trail's 11 golf sites. It's only a few miles from downtown.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.