In finalizing the cessation of my other blog, I thought I’d put together some bits and pieces about things to do outdoors around Birmingham.
Moss Rock Preserve
Looking for a spot to get your Saturday morning hike on? Moss Rock Preserve is the perfect place. Situated only minutes from John Hawkins Parkway and Shades Crest Road in Hoover, this 349 acre preserve is a great location for hikers and nature lovers of all ages and skill levels. This is where my husband began getting in shape for a trip to Montana a few years back. There are 12 miles of trails to explore. And it’s free!
- Bring water
- Leave no trash behind
- Bring snacks if you have a 5-year old – “I’m hungry” is a common refrain
- A walking stick comes in handy
- Watch out for wet, slippery rocks (I speak from experience)
- Don’t forget your camera
Oak Mountain Park
This 9000+ acre park in Pelham, the largest state park in Alabama, has so much to offer in addition to hiking. There is a beach and swimming area, boat rentals, camping, biking, golf, nature programs, basketball courts, horseback riding – and that’s just some of what you’ll find here – whew!
The trails are clearly marked ; when our five year old grandson hiked with us he was a great scout, keeping us on the white and yellow trails. Along the way there was a creek flowing through – a great spot for a break.
- Bug spray is helpful
- Hiking shoes – it’s not about the looks, it’s about the ankle support
- Buy a map at the park office and use it
- Bring water
- Don’t overdo it
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Another beautiful and free place to visit, with so many varieties of roses! I discovered that there is a library at the gardens – mostly botanical related items. I was able to use my library card to check out a few magazines and I can then return them at the Hoover Library – sweet! There is also a wonderful gift shop that has delicious smelling soaps and candles and lots of unique items.
Pepper Place Market
This outdoor market, held on Saturdays, has not just produce, but lots of local crafts and ready-made food items. There is music to enjoy and on hot days a mister for the kids, or hot adults.
This 19 acre park along 1st street is right next to Regions Field, home of the Barons. It has numerous paths to walk, water features, two playgrounds, grassy areas for play or picnicking and even a designated areas for skaters.
The Zoo is great for all ages. Your best bargain is to get a Membership for a year. This will also get you discounted admission to reciprocal locals across the country. Besides the animals, there is a train ride, carousel, playgrounds,and water play area for the kids. There are also numerous places to get a bite to eat, and also a gift shop.
- If you want to save money, go on half-price Tuesday
- If you want to avoid crowds, don’t go on Tuesday
- Use sunscreen
- Take your time; go with your kids’ pace. It’s better to savor the moments than to try to see everything
- May is prime Field Trip time for schools