Montgomery, known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, offers families several ways to get outdoors and learn beyond the classroom for an all-encompassing vacation that is both educational and enriching.
Published: November 12, 2020
“Whether it is for a day trip or an extended ‘road schooling’ stay, a trip to Montgomery is sure to help parents stay sane and keep the boredom at bay while the kids are virtually learning,” says Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Dawn Hathcock. “Bring the history books to life and foster important dialogue with your children regarding civil rights in the city that witnessed some of the most pivotal chapters in our nation’s history.”
See below for a list of activities in key subject areas such as history, arts, and science.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as the Legacy Museum have officially reopened and are providing free admission through December 2020. However, tickets are required due to limited capacity and social distancing precautions. The memorial has also announced extended nighttime viewing hours made available on the weekends. Located outdoors on a six-acre park, this sacred space is the nation’s first and only memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved African Americans who died by lynching. Since opening to the public in April 2018, the thought-provoking cultural experience has been visited by more than 800,000 visitors.
The Rosa Parks Library and Museum at Troy University upholds the accomplishments of individuals associated with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It includes a permanent exhibit, a time machine, temporary exhibit, archives, classroom, auditorium and conference room. Troy University is carefully monitoring all developments with coronavirus and is taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of their students, faculty, staff and visitors to the museum. The museum is currently offering self-guided tours only on an altered schedule, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed Saturday and Sunday. All visitors to the museum are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing, and groups must be eight or fewer in number.
At the Freedom Rides Museum, visitors will learn how 21 young people changed America’s history through nonviolent protest. Artworks, quotes, photographs and architectural elements work together to tell a compelling American story. The Freedom Rides Museum has reopened and is operating at reduced capacity to safeguard against COVID-19.
Visitors can see a reimagined Old Alabama Town through tours focused on architectural history, urban slavery, labor movements in Alabama, the development of neighborhoods, historic everyday life and topics in historic preservation. The museum will soon launch a new app in association with Time Looper that will enrich the presentation of the site with the help of virtual and augmented reality. Old Alabama Town features completely authentic 19th and early 20th century homes and buildings that have been saved from demolition, carefully restored, and reopened to the public as a history museum that teaches how early Americans of all backgrounds lived and worked in Central Alabama.
Arts & Culture Attractions
Bookworms can step back in time and celebrate the new Roaring Twenties at the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, which is now open after being closed due to COVID-19. Located in the couple’s former home, the museum is the only one in the world dedicated to the famous couple and is the location in which they penned parts of “Save Me the Waltz” and “Tender is the Night.” The museum is limiting capacity to allow for proper social distancing.
The Hank Williams Museum houses the most complete collection of Hank Williams memorabilia in the world and illustrates how the country music superstar transformed American music. Over 35 displays document the Montgomery native’s life. The museum is cleaning and disinfecting areas frequently, guests are encouraged not to touch surfaces and social distancing is required.
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is delighted to welcome guests back to experience the museum’s changing exhibition, explore its refreshed permanent collection galleries and engage in programming in the outside Caddell Sculpture Garden. The Garden, which expands over three acres and is naturally a social-distant activity, provides an ever-changing and contemplative haven to view works of art and to enjoy Montgomery’s natural beauty. All museum staff have their temperature taken each day and visitors are required to wear masks.
Home to over 500 animals from five continents, the zoo’s residents roam in natural, barrier-free habitats. Spanning over 40 beautifully landscaped acres, visitors can view exotic and endangered species only minutes from downtown. Safety precautions include limiting the number of guests in the zoo at one time, encouraging guests to purchase tickets online prior to their visit and one-way directional flow through the zoo, which limits contact with other guests.
Lanark, which is a few miles north of Montgomery, is the state headquarters for the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) and the former estate of Isabel and Wiley Hill. The Alabama Nature Center, conceptualized by the AWF, is a 350-acre outdoor education facility with five miles of boardwalks and trails traversing forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds.
E.A.T. South is an urban teaching farm that empowers visitors to change the way food travels from the ground to their plates. The farm offers self-guided, hands-on projects for small groups and family field trip tours.
For a full list of what is open in Montgomery, visit bit.ly/39EVtwx.