Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions

IMG 9378 Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions
June 29, 2019 is the official Grand Opening of the Birmingham Zoo’s Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza.The new entrance is the culmination of Phase 2 of the Renew the Zoo Capital Campaign. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The Magic City’s most visited tourist attraction, the Birmingham Zoo, returns this week on Thursday, June 11th for general admission patrons.

Read on about the Zoo’s reopening and our compilation of reopenings and status reports at Birmingham’s museums and sports venues.

Birmingham Zoo – A New Day

IMG 9374 Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions
Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Closed to the public since mid-March because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Zoo will open and operate in phases, and in compliance with city, state, and federal guidelines. Phase One is a reduced opening with strict limits on attendance and one-way traffic patterns. Guests will enter through the front gate and be required to exit through the Children’s Zoo gate. 

Most important new requirement? A timed-ticketing system.

To keep people safe, the Zoo will be limiting the attendance so there can be social distancing.  Bottomline: Online admission tickets will be required for members and visitors and will be available on the Zoo’s website at

Members will need to sign-in to their account to reserve a time and access a Member ticket.

A Bonus for Members

What’s the old saying, membership has its privileges? Zoo Members get to visit the Zoo this week on Monday, June 8th.

“We are excited to welcome our guests back to your Zoo. Our staff is taking every precaution to keep our visitors and animals safe during every phase of reopening. We are committed to providing a safe environment for our guests to enjoy the natural world and make memorable connections to wildlife.”  – Chris Pfefferkorn, President & CEO, in an email to Zoo members.

Birmingham Legion FC Season Starts Back in July

Screen Shot 2019 02 20 at 10.59.12 AM Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions
Photo from the Birmingham Legion Football Club Instagram

More good news on the reopening front.  Last week, the USL, the league the Birmingham Legion FC plays in, announced a provisional start date set for July 11th. Soccer fans can expect in the coming days a new schedule and safety guidelines. 

Vulcan Park and Museum – Park Grounds Remain Open

Kiwanis Birmingham
View of Vulcan from Kiwanis Centennial Park, photo by Pat Byington

As a result of last week’s curfew the Vulcan Park grounds and Kiwanis Centennial Plaza  are now closing at 5:00p.m instead of 8:00p.m.. You can enter the park at 8:00a.m. Still no word on a reopening of the Vulcan Center, The Anvil and Observation Tower, but they are currently booking private and corporate events for future dates. Contact their Event Manager to secure a date.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Visit Virtually

6 Mother daughter at SPS Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions
Photo courtesy of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is presently awaiting a plan from the City of Birmingham’s Park and Recreation Board for the green light to reopen.  Meanwhile, enjoy the Gardens via Bham Now’s spring tour – Take a walk through Birmingham Botanical Gardens—virtually, of course!

McWane Science Center – Summer Camps

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, education
Volunteers play an important role in McWane’s success. Photo via McWane Science Center’s Facebook page

Even though the McWane Science Center is closed to the public right now, they have running an incredible series of “must see” videos called “Itty Bitty Magic City”.

Along with the videos – McWane will be reopening for Summer Camps beginning June 15th!  The camps are filling up quickly – so we recommend you visit the McWane Science Center today, take a look at their wide array of themed based science education programs and Register!

 Btw – my favorite is the dinosaur camp.

Birmingham Barons – Smell the Grass

IMG 1206 Birmingham Zoo returns this week! Check out the status of several Magic City attractions
Snyder family watching fireworks at Birmingham Barons Friday night game. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

No announcements yet about when the Birmingham Barons will be opening back up, but the team has opened up the Switchyard – their restaurant inside Regions Field.  There is plenty of parking and the view will make you yearn to watch baseball again!

Birmingham Museum of Art – Forget Netflix

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If you’ve been to the BMA, you know that sometimes the art just knocks you off your feet. Good thing they have benches! Photo via the Birmingham Museum of Art on Facebook

Want to learn about the Buddist art collection at the BMA? Or how about its Native American collection?  Forget Netflix or Amazon Prime – take a personal  tour of BMA’s collections with Executive Director Graham Corray Boettcher and his staff.

Opening Watch  List

Fred Shuttlesworth
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth statue at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

We are also anxiously waiting for reopening announcements from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.

This week, the reopening restrictions by the Jefferson County Department of Health on entertainment venues in lapse. Expect more openings, including movie theaters in the near future.

Bham Now Local Directory

Need more info about your favorite places reopening?  Check out Bham Now’s LOCAL Business directory and nonprofit directory. We’ve over 630 establishments and more are being added daily.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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