Despite that, we did find some glaring omissions.
Thank you Tourism
First things first, we applaud the folks at Tourism for compiling this impressive list. It is not easy, and they must know, folks are going to get disappointed. And remember, we are unabashed Magic City fans.
Here are our takes and suggestions.
Congrats Birmingham Botanical Gardens
It is great to see the Birmingham Botanical Gardens notch the top spot for the Top 10 Free Attractions category. Along with the Birmingham Museum of Art, which ranked 4th, it is nice to see these two beloved landmarks get some well deserved recognition.
Where is Vulcan?
How can you forget the “big guy?” Nothing against the amusement parks, but how can you leave out the Vulcan Park and Museum! Vulcan does fall into both the “admission” and “free” category, so perhaps that made them hard to rank.
Where are the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute & Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument?
We don’t know about the Institute’s attendance numbers. Maybe they didn’t release them to Alabama Tourism. But, we are pretty shocked that the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Alabama’s newest National Park unit, did not make the list of free sites.
Sidewalk Film Festival
We are just curious about how many folks attend Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival. Wouldn’t it be great for them to “crack” the top ten list events?
You missed Little River Canyon National Preserve
Bham Now wrote a story in 2017 about Little River Canyon setting attendance records. According to National Park Service numbers, Little River Canyon National Preserve attracted more than 462,000 visitors in 2016.
What do you have against basketball?
I know we love our football, but no basketball arenas listed on your sports destinations list? Auburn’s 2018 SEC Champion team soldout nearly every game last year.
Here’s the Alabama Tourism Department’s list for 2018:
Top 10 admission-charged attractions
• No. 1: U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville with attendance of 849,981
• No. 2: Birmingham Zoo with attendance of 543,090
• No. 3: Huntsville Botanical Garden with attendance of 353,841
• No. 4: Barber Vintage Motorsports Park in Birmingham with attendance of 352,000
• No. 5: McWane Science Center in Birmingham with attendance of 347,508
• No. 6: USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile with attendance of 343,034
• No. 7: Point Mallard Park in Decatur with attendance of 274,448
• No. 8: Adventureland Theme Park in Dothan with attendance of 250,000
• No. 9: Montgomery Zoo with attendance of 245,620
• No. 10: Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer with attendance of 190,134
Top 10 free attractions
• No. 1: Birmingham Botanical Gardens with attendance of 352,000
• No. 2: Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment in Huntsville with attendance of 285,000
• No. 3: Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery with attendance of 151,156
• No. 4: Birmingham Museum of Art with attendance of 127,693
• No. 5: Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville with attendance of 110,000
• No. 6: Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker with attendance of 100,000
• No. 7: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts with attendance of 94,249
• No. 8: Aldridge Gardens in Hoover with attendance of 87,372
• No. 9: Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery in Tuscumbia with attendance of 75,000
• No. 10: Jesse Owens Museum in Danville with attendance of 59,000
Top 10 events
• No. 1: Mobile Mardi Gras with attendance of 892,811
• No. 2: W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence with attendance of 300,000
• No. 3 National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores with attendance of 250,000
• No. 4: National Peanut Festival in Dothan with attendance of 200,000
• No. 5: Gulf Coast Balloon Festival in Foley with attendance of 165,000
• No. 6: Barber Vintage Festival in Birmingham with attendance of 79,336
• No. 7: Christmas at the Falls in Gadsden with attendance of 77,333
• No. 8: Magic City Classic in Birmingham with attendance of 65,906
• No. 9 (Tie): Ballyhoo Festival in Gulf Shores and Winfield Mule Day both with attendance of 20,000
Top 10 parks and natural destinations
• No. 1: Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches (Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Fort Morgan/Dauphin Island) with attendance of 6,700,000
• No. 2: Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores with attendance of 2,320,000
• No. 3: Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur with attendance of 670,000
• No. 4: Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham with attendance of 501,100
• No. 5: Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park in McCalla with attendance of 500,000
• No. 6: Railroad Park in Birmingham with attendance of 395,186
• No. 7: Lake Guntersville State Park with attendance: 295,200
• No. 8: Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City with attendance of 248,500
• No. 9: Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville with attendance of 248,458
• No. 10: J.D. & Annie S. Hays Nature Preserve at Owens Cross Roads with attendance of 200,000
Top 10 sports destinations
• No. 1: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa with attendance of 609,250
• No. 2: Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn with attendance of 591,236
• No. 3: Talladega Superspeedway with attendance of 420,000
• No. 4: Birmingham Barons baseball with attendance of 391,061
• No. 5: Montgomery Biscuits baseball with attendance of 238,538
• No. 6 Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy with attendance of 147,160
• No. 7 Legion Field Stadium in Birmingham with attendance of 145,747
• No. 8 Burges-Snow Field at Jacksonville State University with attendance of 101,421
• No. 9: Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile with attendance of 96,383
• No. 10: Mobile Baybears baseball with attendance of 69,504