Summer is upon us. Hitting the pool and playing around the neighborhood are great, but it’s also fun to get outside Hoover for a new adventure. We’ve compiled a list of things to do just a short drive away, some outdoor and some indoor, some close by and some a little further away.
I’ve tried them with my family and recommend each and every one. You’ll also find contact information as well as the driving distance and time from the Riverchase Galleria to help you plan your trip.
Red Mountain Park
10 miles, 15 minutes
Birmingham’s newest green space offers 10 miles of hiking trails, seven miles of mountain biking trails and two miles of flat trails. The Tree House at the top of the ridge is a favorite for kids of all ages! For those with older kids seeking more adventure, a thrilling zip line tour through the canopy of trees or the new the Beanstalk Forest adventure will please even the least outdoorsy family member.
• For the GPS: 277 Lyon Lane,
Birmingham, AL 35211
Visit redmountainpark.org or call 202-6043.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
20 miles, 30 minutes
Enjoy miles of tranquil forest-covered trails as well as heart-pumping ridgeline trails. The new architecturally “green” Treehouse Visitor Center boasts a woodland animal exhibit, and the back porch is a perfect place for a family picnic.
• For the GPS: 1214 81st Street South,
Birmingham, AL 35206
Visit ruffnermountain.org or call 833-8264 .
Moss Rock Preserve and Waterfalls
3 miles, 7 minutes
Spend a morning hiking the 10 miles of trails at Moss Rock Preserve. The trails will whisk you past two cascading waterfalls and through a unique and historic boulder field. These huge rocks were once used by Native Americans as campsites, and today are popular for bouldering and rock climbing. The rocks are also a wonderland for kids; the rock tunnels are a great for a game of hide and seek.
• For the GPS: 617 Preserve Parkway,
Birmingham, AL 35226
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
20 miles, 25 minutes
Discover how Birmingham’s iron industry began on these 1,500 acres through blacksmith demonstrations held at Tannehill on the weekends. A mini train also chugs 1 mile up to Farley Field. Many of the hiking trails available today were used by Confederate troops during the Civil War and are some of the most beautiful sections of the park. Skip rocks in the creek or even bring a fishing pole, as the creek is stocked with Rainbow Trout. Wrap up your visit with something delicious at the Sweet Shoppe for the short ride home.
• For the GPS: 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla, AL 35111
Visit tannehill.org or call 477-5711.
30 miles, 30 minutes
An inexpensive and fun way to spend an evening with the family! Go back to the 1950s with an old-fashioned drive in. Pack an appetizer- style picnic dinner the family can graze on, complete with homemade popcorn. If the evening proves to be a nice southern night, open your tailgate and line the back with pillows or use a blow up mattress in a friend’s truck bed. If you want to move outdoors, BYOC (bring your own chair), grab a blanket and set up shop facing the screen. There is nothing like taking in a family flick under the southern night sky.
• For the GPS: 100 Angus Street,
Trussville, AL 35173
Visit argodrive-in.com or call 467-3434 for more.
12 miles, 20 minutes
What could be better than a warm bag of peanuts on a rainy day? Drive into the loft district and walk onto cobblestoned Morris Avenue to take a trip back in time. Take in the architecture as you walk into the turn-of-the-century building that houses the Peanut Depot. Let the kids enjoy the sights and sounds of the antique roasters roasting peanuts the original organic way. Be sure to take a bag to go – the first bag will likely be gone before you arrive back in Hoover.
• For the GPS: 2016 Morris Ave,
Birmingham, AL 35203
Visit peanutdepot.com or call 251-3314.
Vintage Fire Truck Museum
11 miles, 20 minutes
Imagine you are 5 years old, dreaming of hopping in an open-top fire truck, honking the horn, running the siren and even pretending you are racing to a real fire. Now wake up – in downtown Birmingham, this is a reality. The Southern Vintage Fire Apparatus Association houses more than 20 vintage fire trucks dating back to 1917. Truck owners and museum staff couldn’t be any nicer or more excited to share their collection with your family. It is a morning well spent and a ball for all who are young and young at heart.
Contact Jerry Northington at 903-0050 to schedule a visit.
Southern Museum of Flight
18 miles, 25 minutes
Let the kids take off on a morning of adventure at this museum of southern aviation history. The attraction is outstandingly family-friendly and offers fun for toddlers through teens. A pilots’ playroom includes an indoor mini playground and many aircraft toys, a Moonwalk, an airplane open for exploration and a flight simulator for kids age 12 and over. An F-4 Phantom provides shade for the perfect picnic spot, so pack a lunch for this high-flying fun morning.
• For the GPS: 4343 73rd Street North, Birmingham, AL 35206
Visit southernmuseumofflight.org or call 833-8226 .
Golden Flake Company
10 miles, 15 minutes
Have you ever eaten a warm chip right off the delivery line? Well if not, you’re in luck. Birmingham is home to one of the oldest and most recognizable snack companies in the nation, Golden Flake. The company offers walking tours to ages 5 and up Monday through Wednesday. Come hungry — you will have plenty of time to sample warm chips just off the line, as well as take some bags of fresh chips home with you and all for free!
• For the GPS: 1 Golden Flake Drive, Birmingham, AL 35205
Visit goldenflake.com/tours.html or call 323-6161.