Huntsville Botanical Garden

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Spring, summer, fall, or winter – the Garden is an oasis of natural beauty in every season!

Open year-round, the Huntsville Botanical Garden has 112 acres to explore, learn, and discover the beauty and wonder of plants. From grassy meadows to woodland paths, aquatic habitats to stunning floral collections, the Garden invites guests of all ages to make memories together in nature.

On a visit to the Garden, you can stroll along the nature trails while admiring collections of Alabama’s native plants. If you visit with little ones, head to the Children’s Garden for play, pretend, and hands-on learning. From May through September, you won’t want to miss seeing over 1,000 brightly colored butterflies the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house. Finally, at the end of the day, you can find a moment of serenity in the cool shade of the trees, surrounded by the sounds of nature.

The beautiful Guest Center features additional amenities to make your trip extra special, including recommendations for dining and a gift shop with a hand-picked selection of unique items for your own home and garden.

With additional events, exhibits, and programs happening throughout the year, the Garden is a place of beauty, education, and celebration for all in every season.

ABHI Eatery + Bar

Located in Mountain Brook Village just minutes south of downtown Birmingham, ABHI Eatery + Bar is a locally-owned Asian Fusion restaurant created by Chef Abhi Sainju and his wife, Ainah. Chef Abhi gained experience in other locally-owned restaurants, honing his skills, and spending years developing the menu for ABHI which opened in February 2017.

photo by Brent Boyd

The food is inspired by Abhi’s upbringing in Nepal and his travels throughout the world exploring different techniques and flavors. Abhi first made his mark in Birmingham creating sushi with the freshest and most inventive ingredients available. His reputation as a perfectionist and inventiveness created a near-cult following of locals and visitors, alike.

photo by Brent Boyd

The menu at ABHI ranges from shareables like Momos (Abhi’s house-made dumplings—a house signature dish), beer battered eggplant, Kathmandu Fried Chicken (KFC) Lollipops, and sushi to noodle, ramen and curry bowls. The sheer number of bowls to choose from on the menu is mind-blowing and you will need to visit over and over again to try them all.

photo by Brent Boyd

The bar isn’t anything to overlook either. An award-winning bartender is constantly preparing unique concoctions to pair with various items on the menu. Craftily combining fresh fruit juices, nuts and spices to create the base for cocktails that are only available at ABHI.

photo by Brent Boyd

Chef Abhi’s eye for perfection, color and balance transcends the kitchen to the modern yet warm décor of the dining room and bar. Black cloth-covered tables are punctuated by bright orange napkins and warmly lit by candles. The marble-topped wooden bar is stocked with the highest quality spirits from all over the world. Visit ABHI today.

  • Business Hours:
  • Monday – 5:00 – 8:30 PM
  • Tuesday – 5:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday – 5:00 – 8:30 PM
  • Thursday – 5:00 – 8:30 PM
  • Friday – 5:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday – 5:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday – 5:00 – 8:30 PM

Josie’s Cafe

Born from Love of Travel, Rock ‘n Roll, Good Food, Fine Wines, and Great People

John Wheat traveled the world as an audio and video expert for decades – including a trip to Turino, Italy for the Olympics in 2006. It was there that John found his love for wines and Mediterranean food. For years, that meant seeking out new or interesting food options on his travels.

Then, in 2018, John saw the opportunity to bring some of his favorite foods home when a restaurant space that had housed other restaurants went up for sale. After adding his own flair to the space, John opened Josie’s as a Mediterranean restaurant with live music on weekends and a unique menu. The name is as uniquely chosen as the decor, with John’s wife, Christy, suggesting it after she heard the Steely Dans’ song “Josie” on the radio. “I looked it up and found that it was a French name that meant “May Jehovah increase” or, in other words, “an addition to your family.”

Since Christy already owned Decatur’s legendary restaurant, Simp McGhee’s, the new restaurant would be an addition to the family for the couple. The name is also variation of the female version of John. So Josie’s was born.

An instant favorite in the city, Josie’s is the trendy little sister to Simp’s, with dinner crowds from the restaurant often joining Josie’s regulars for a nightcap. Josie’s has recently revamped the menu, with the help of a new chef. Original menu favorites like the French onion soup and “Josie’s Pasta” (a penne pasta with veggies in a garlic cream sauce and shrimp or chicken added will remain on the menu, along with the Blanco pizza and Chicken Carbonara pizza with garlic cream sauce that have become favorites and the herb roasted salmon with orzo.

Open from early afternoon to late in the evening (and sometimes until early in the morning) Josie’s is a must-visit. The Sunday brunch is also a delicious treat.

“I used to be the guy from out of town who went into the restaurants. Now, I’m the guy who owns the restaurant and people from out of town come into my place,” John said with a laugh. 

  • JOSIE’S CAFE
  • 109 2nd Avenue NE, Decatur, AL 35601
  • 256.822.2229
  • @josies_downtown

8 Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

Alabama Splash Adventure

Water slides, wave pool, lazy river, kid’s area…there’s so much fun to have at Alabama Splash Adventure this summer! Grab the kids and plan to spend the day beating the summer heat.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Have you considered how exquisite a motorcycle is in its styling, mechanics, and capabilities? Their artistry is what Birmingham native George Barber saw when he began collecting motorcycles in 1988. Six years later, he established the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Today, it is home to the largest collection of motorcycles in the world.

Cook Museum of Natural Science

The Cook Museum of Natural Science, located in downtown Decatur, Alabama, is a hands-on, immersive experience where guests can explore, interact with, and learn about nature.

High Point Climbing

High Point Climbing and Fitness in Birmingham is located in the completely renovated Next Fitness facility on Highway 280. High Point Birmingham brings world class climbing to Alabama with 25,000 square feet of indoor climbing surface featuring up to 52+ feet of climbing. The facility is now completely open with the Kid Zone, Bouldering, Weight, Aerobic, Yoga Room, and Route Area! Climbing Clubs and Team can be joined at anytime.  Yoga is now offered five nights a week and is included with any Membership or Day Pass.Come have fun and get fit at High Point!

McWane Science Center

Fun and learning never end at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on museum and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder — from an amazing collection of dinosaurs to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds, and an awe-inspiring aquarium. The energy and excitement of discovery spring to life through an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by talented educators. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX® Dome Theater, where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breathtaking films on a 5-story-tall screen surrounded by 3 tons of high-intensity speakers.

Point Mallard Park

The Point Mallard Waterpark is home to America’s First Wave Pool and so much more! There’s also Point Mallard Golf Course, Point Mallard Ice Complex, Point Mallard Camp Ground, and Strike Zone Batting Cages.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Since opening its doors in 1970, nearly 16 million people have toured the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The vast majority of those visitors have been from out of state or from foreign nations. Many of the more than 550,000 annual visitors are school students on field trips to their future. Dozens of interactive exhibits encourage visitor participation, prompting one official to note: “Here, everyone can be an astronaut for the day!”


Home to Space Camp® and Aviation Challenge® Camp, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is the most comprehensive U.S. manned spaceflight hardware museum in the world. Its large rocket and space hardware collection is valued in the tens of millions of dollars. From America’s first satellite, Explorer I, to next generation space vehicles like Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, the museum showcases the past, present and future of human spaceflight.


The USSRC is more than just artifacts! Experience the physics of astronaut training like never before in simulators like Space Shot and G-Force. Our Spacedome IMAX® Theater transports you to different worlds with amazing documentary films like Hubble, and live demonstrations in the Discovery Theater will have you seeing space science in a whole new light. There’s always something happening at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center!

See an actual moon rock at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Vulcan Park & Museum

What kind of city builds a huge statue of a burly, bearded, bare-bottomed man to tower over its entire population? One that never forgets its roots. Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, watches over all of Birmingham as a symbol of the city’s iron origins–and the ever-present spark of its indomitable spirit at the Vulcan Park & Museum.

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Performing Arts

From live theater and cabaret to opera and the symphony, Birmingham’s performing arts scenes is bound to amaze.

Alabama Ballet


2726 1st Ave. S; 205.322.4300;
alabamaballet.org
Alabama Ballet seeks to promote and foster the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality education and community outreach. They offer a variety of classes for all ages. Under the direction of
Tracey Alvey, this company of professional dancers presents four full-length productions annually.


Alabama Symphony Orchestra


3621 6th Ave. S; 205.975.2787;
alabamasymphony.org
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has entertained audiences for more than 70 years, playing a variety of classical and popular compositions and
hosting performances by some of the finest international guest artists. The symphony’s 54 talented musicians bring to life some of the world’s most
treasured musical masterpieces, giving 190 performances a year.


Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center


1200 10th Ave. S; 205.975.2787 or
alysstephens.org
The trademark of UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center is diversity—diverse performances and diverse audiences. From classical, pop, jazz and world beat music to dance, comedy, theater and family entertainment, the
center welcomes the entire community into the magical realm of performing arts.


Birmingham Children’s Theatre


2130 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N;
205.458.8181; bct123.org
Birmingham Children’s Theatre was founded in 1946. Since that time, it has become one of America’s largest professional theatres for young audiences and now operates in a three-theatre complex at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. The theatre produces eight shows shows seasonally, four of which tour, giving the theatre a combined audience of over 200,000 each year.


Birmingham Festival Theatre


1901 11th Ave. S; 205.933.2383;
bftonline.org
Founded in 1972, Birmingham Festival Theatre is the oldest theatre in Birmingham producing contemporary and classic theatre. It is managed by an all-volunteer board of directors. Since its founding, BFT has staged more than 200 productions—involving more than 50 directors, almost 1,000 actors and 500 crew people—attended by almost 100,000 audience members.


Central Alabama Theater


36 Church Street; 888.870.2477;
centralalabamatheater.com
Central Alabama Theater (CAT) was founded in 2013 by Carl Peoples with the tag line “Where The Stars Fall On Alabama!” CAT produces a New York style Cabaret series titled CAT CABARET; a “free to the public” play reading series titled CAT SCRIPTS, as well as full productions of musicals and plays. CAT is most proud of their Junior Advisory Board (JAB); the educational arm
of the non-profit, where each year, 12 students from local high schools and colleges are chosen to serve (free of charge) on JAB where they learn performance best practices, as well as the “business” of theatre!


Opera Birmingham


3601 6th Ave. S; 205.322.6737;
operabirmingham.org
Northern Alabama’s only professional, regional opera company, Opera Birmingham has entertained and informed audiences in the region for over 50 years. From its humble beginnings in 1955 to its 50th anniversary in 2005 and beyond, Opera Birmingham has produced world-class operatic
productions and concerts that have been hailed by critics and loved by audiences.


Red Mountain Theatre Company


301 19th Street S; 205.324.2424;
redmountaintheatre.org
Red Mountain Theatre Company is a nonprofit professional theatre organization with an emphasis on musical theatre. Red Mountain Theatre Company‘s season begins in September and runs through July each year with a wide variety of well-known musicals.


Terrific New Theatre


2821 2nd Ave. S; 205.328.0868;
terrificnewtheatre.com
Founded by Steve Stella and Carl Stewart in 1986, Terrific New Theatre (TNT) is the off-Broadway of Birmingham. Featuring avant garde performances, TNT thrills audiences with performances that aren’t seen anywhere else in town. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm. Cash or checks only.


Theatre Downtown


2410 5th Ave. South;
205.565.8838; theatredowntown.org
Theatre Downtown was founded in 2006 and provides the city of Birmingham with cutting-edge contemporary theatre and a host of Alabama and Southeastern premieres. A traveling troupe, Theatre Downtown performs throughout the Birmingham area in a variety of locations.


Verizon Wireless Music Center


1000 Amphitheatre Road;
205.985.0703 ; theoakmountaintainamphitheater.com
Each year between April and October, some of the world’s top musicians perform in the beautiful outdoor arena, formerly known as Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. Fee varies with each performance. Now a LiveNation venue, located just south of the city, Highway 119 exit off I-65.


Virginia Samford Theatre


1116 26th Street S; 205.251.1206;
virginiasamfordtheatre.org
The Virginia Samford Theatre presents a wide variety of musicals. The charming historic theater with its park-side setting is located on Birmingham’s southside and has a lovely outdoor courtyard. Season begins each August.