Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, is located in the “Heart of Dixie,” But don’t be misled. Montgomery is no sleepy little southern town. Montgomery is a major livestock, cotton market, and manufacturing hub. Huntingdon College, Alabama State University, Faulkner University and divisions of several other colleges call Montgomery home. Maxwell Air Force Base, the center of USAF Professional Military Education, is located in Montgomery.
As the birthplace of the Civil War Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery’s roots are deep. Stop by the Montgomery Visitor Center on Water Street in at historic Union Station for the scoop on the city’s attractions. Fifty distinctive buildings at Old Alabama Town introduce visitors to the days of pioneer taverns, one-room schools, cotton gins, antebellum townhouses and slave quarters. Step back in time and stand on the star on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President of the Confederate States of American in 1861. Take a guided tour of Jefferson Davis’s home, the first headquarters for the Confederacy. Relive the glory days of 1930’s with a visit to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum. Scott wrote Tender is the Night while living there.
Pay tribute to the Civil Rights Movement with a visit to the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. preached messages of hope and equality. At the Civil Rights Memorial water flows over a poignant table inscribed with the names of 40 people who died for racial equality during the civil rights movement. At Rosa Parks Library and Museum, view interactive exhibits chronicling the difficult days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Moving forward to the present, visit the newly renovated Montgomery Riverfront Park and cruise down the Alabama River on an authentic stern-wheel riverboat, The Betsy Ann. Talk to 700 animals at the Montgomery Zoo. The W.A. Gayle Planetarium, one of the major planetariums in the United States, features an auditorium simuating the natural sky by projecting images of the sun, moon, planets, stars and other celestial objects on a 50-foot domed ceiling. Once you run out of attractions you can always shop‘til you drop at area boutiques and malls and recharge with genuine southern cooking at over 100 area restaurants.
Written by: Lynne Christen