It’s been one year since I posted my summer ideas for fun in Birmingham. My kids are one year older, and hopefully a bit more mature, but the need for fun, affordable family entertainment is still essential! Some events have changed, and some things are new this year, so check out Birmingham Moms Blog new and improved summer activity list:
Fellow moms, here’s my list of top 25 sanity-saving ideas for our summer in Birmingham:
- If you don’t do anything else this summer, make sure you visit the NEW Hoover Explore Playground and Splashpad. Beside the fact that there is a 17-foot play clubhouse, a double zip track, and a roller slide, the complex incorporates a universally inclusive design where children of all abilities and ages can play together.
- Pelham Civic Center Ice Skating — Because . . . what better wait way to beat the hot Alabama heat than ice skating?!
- Birmingham Museum of Art — specifically, the Bart’s ArtVenture interactive area for kids. (FREE)
- Vulcan Park and Museum — It’s actually cool and windy up on the viewing deck directly under the big guy — even on a hot summer day! Kids receive a scavenger hunt check-off sheet to use inside the museum. Plus, be sure to check out the newly renovated Vulcan Trail, complete with a beautiful new fountain! (Kids 4 and under are FREE)
- Do It Yourself Crafts in Homewood — because as a mom, it’s always better for your kids to make an art mess outside your home, can I get an amen?! Then reward yourselves for a craft well done by stopping by nearby Cookie Fix. They sell the best cookies I’ve ever had. And trust me, I know cookies! These are beyond incredible.
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens — Even on a hot summer day, you can always find shady spots to sit, swing, and enjoy a picnic at the BBG. Plus, there’s the water fountain sculpture at the entrance for kids to splash around and cool off. And be sure to check out their summer night movie series! (FREE)
- Riverchase Galleria — Ride the carousel and indoor train (and check out a Birmingham Children’s Theatre show — see #9).
- Bowling (with the bumpers up, of course!) — Brunswick Bowling Alley on 280, Vestavia Bowl, Oak Mountain Lanes, and Spare Time in Trussville to name a few.
- Birmingham Children’s Theatre summer shows — If you’ve never been to BCT, this summer is the perfect time to go! They have several FREE performances of Alice in Wonderland at Sloss Furnaces and at the Riverchase Galleria. Reserve your tickets here.
- Free and cheap summer movies for the family – The Edge 12 movie theater in Crestwood will show family-friendly movies for free every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10:00 a.m., beginning the last week of May and going through July! Also check out AMC Classic Movie Summer Camp at Lorna Ridge Theater in Hoover. Every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., enjoy a movie and a snack pack, all for $4.00 per person!
- Birmingham Barons Baseball — Support our local minor league team by cheering them on in person! While most of their home games are played in the evening, there are a few middle-of-the-day games (perfect outing for beating the mid-summertime blues)! Read about Birmingham Moms Blog contributors event here and get some tips for your family outing!
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute — This is a must-visit for every local. Check out my recent Birmingham Moms Blog post about our visit, in preparation for your first visit. The BCRI is stroller-friendly and is FREE for ages three and under.
- Birmingham Zoo — If you haven’t been in a while, now’s a great time to go see all the new offerings: sign up for a behind-the-scenes encounter with a rhino or a sea lion. Ride the train, the carousel, and the inner tube slide, then cool off in the splash pad. And plan to eat lunch at their new restaurant, Wild Burger (located near the elephant exhibit).
- Chuck E. Cheese — where a kid can be a kid (anyone remember their 1990’s jingle?? Just me? Ok, moving on . . .) What better way for kids to burn off energy than ski ball and air hockey, am I right? With two Birmingham locations, it’s a fun (and air conditioned!) treat on a summer day.
- Southern Museum of Flight — Children will love the “Little Pilots Playroom” as well as the Aviation Hangar featuring a real airplane that kids can climb in and play pretend pilot. (Active military and families get FREE admission)
- DeSoto Caverns — Less than an hour’s drive southeast of Birmingham in Childersburg, you and your kids can enjoy a fun-filled day of miniature golf, train rides, panning for gold, paddle boats, go-karts, as well as a tour the of the caverns in all its 60 degree Fahrenheit gloriousness! This is not the DeSoto Caverns we remember from elementary school trips some 20 to 30-odd years ago. It’s completely updated and jam-packed with family-friendly activities!
- Splash Pads — Liberty Park (Vestavia) and Celebration Park (Gardendale) — What could be better than that on a humid day? (Plus, both are FREE)
- American Village in Montevallo — the perfect family outing any time of year, but especially around the upcoming Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays. (Veterans, active military, and children four and under get FREE admission).
- Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Hoover — I literally can’t think of a better way for my kids to expend their never-ending energy than at the trampoline park. Sky Zone also offers toddler-only jump times — how great is that?
- The McWane Science Center — Discover the new “Bionic Me” summer exhibit, catch an IMAX movie, and explore the Itty Bitty Magic City!
- The Beaches in Oak Mountain State Park — If the beach is calling your name, but you don’t feel like a 4-hour-plus drive with screaming toddlers in tow, take an afternoon trip to Oak Mountain State Park and enjoy one of their two sandy beaches — complete with nearby restrooms and concession stands.
- Free Friday Night Flicks at Veteran’s Park in Hoover — Each Friday night beginning June 7th, enjoy a FREE family-friendly movie under the stars.
- Blueberry Picking at Grabuck Farms in Pelham — We’ve been reading the classic book Blueberries for Sal, and my kids will love getting to pick blueberries just like little Sal!
- Alabama Splash Adventure Water Park in Bessemer — The Birmingham Moms Blog contributors went last summer and had a blast! Read about it here!
- And finally . . . discover Downtown Birmingham. Stop by the archives building (find old photos of your house if it was built before 1969), walk the Rotary Trail, eat lunch in the Pizitz Food Hall, and basically do everything you see in the Down in the Ham coloring book!
On those days when we just need to get out of the house and do something simple, I’m thankful we have great park options and hiking trails to choose from throughout the city! We’ll throw a few day trips into the mix as well when we want to change things up and get out of town.
How about you? What are your plans to beat the summer heat (and boredom)? If I missed your favorite activity spot, let me know in the comments below how you will stay sane this summer in Birmingham!