Alabama, “The Heart of Dixie,” is a Southern gem in all respects. Visiting students will truly be blown away by all the fun, engaging activities the state has to offer. Teachers will marvel at how many points and places there are to incorporate education into their students’ good times. There’s no need for anyone to compromise on an Alabama trip. Adventure and history, fun and science, education and exhilaration can all be found in the many diverse locations opening their doors to student groups.
See a Heroic History
We’re starting at the very beginning here. Mooresville is known as the very first town to be incorporated into the Alabama territory and, more intriguingly, “the town older than the state.” You see, Mooresville started up in 1805, long before the state was ever formed. Various historic sites and buildings around town are maintained as a testimony to its colorful past. Students enjoy tours of the town’s many historical residences given by knowledgeable local guides.
Another landmark in Alabama is the homestead Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, birthplace of Helen Keller. Artifacts, including the water pump where Helen learned her first word, are displayed all over the grounds. Guided tours showcase Ivy Green’s grounds and the house itself, with the rooms of Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and other household members carefully preserved for period accuracy.
In Birmingham, learn about a brave set of heroes from Alabama’s past. Visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, students will learn of African Americans’ struggle for equality, with all the important milestones along the way. Located right across the street is the 16th Street Baptist Church, location of the infamous 1963 Birmingham church bombing; see the memorial statue to the four young girls who died that day. Tours of the church and its history are given.
Be Wowed by Science
One of the best-known attractions in the state, Hunstville’s U.S. Space and Rocket Center is truly a must-see for anyone interested in the country’s love affair with space exploration. Students can enjoy in-depth museum tours and learn, through experience, about the life of an astronaut. The U.S. Space Camp, adjacent to the museum, also shows students what it takes to travel through outer space, offering week-long camps and day camps. Aviation Challenge and Robotics Camp are other camps meant to teach kids important skills for exploring space and working for NASA.
Outside of the space sphere, Huntsville offers Sci-Quest, an interactive museum designed to make science engaging. Teachers can organize field trips that include museum admission and special lessons and lectures. From the human body to microwaves and electricity, nothing is off-limits for exploration at Sci-Quest.
For those with a green thumb, visiting Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore is an excellent way to learn more about plants and gardening. Student groups can tour the picturesque garden, or enroll in educational workshops on everything from the insects and animals inhabiting the garden to map-making skills and the cultural differences expressed in the Asian American Garden.
Exciting Outdoor Adventures
If students want to explore the wilderness, they’ll be hard pressed to find a state with a wider variety of options for camping and exploring. Alabama Eco Adventures is a company committed to helping groups of campers truly bond with the forested landscape of Northern Alabama. Guides provide the know-how and some supplies, including tents, life jackets, and canoes and kayaks. Different tours and trips are offered based on group experience, ensuring everyone has a safe, manageable trek into the wilderness.
For more adventure, DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park near Childersburg offers students the chance to explore vast caverns. In addition to a guided tour of the caves, complete with a laser light show, students can also enjoy some of the fun attractions surrounding the caverns, including panning for gems and exploring the Lost Trail Maze. Student group packages include meals and attraction tickets.
In the charming town of Decatur, many opportunities for exploring the outdoors are available, from birding trails and fishing spots to their more unique geocaching trails. Decatur has a number of trails devoted to geocaching, a hobby which involves locating hidden logs and capsules by following mapped-out coordinates. Geocaching is a fun and educational way to explore the outdoors, but Decatur didn’t stop there. They included a Get to Know Decatur trail and a Civil War trail, with spots and clues meant to educate geocachers about the town’s history.
Whatever you and your student groups are looking for, chances are you’ll find it in Alabama. The state offers a wide variety of attractions for every kind of group. Students can learn of the state’s history, reach into the farthest corners of the universe with scientific camps and programs, and explore Alabama’s vast natural beauty. With all the exciting adventures to be had, students will hardly even notice they’re learning. Want to tell us about your own Alabama trip? Drop us a line in the comment section below!