13 arts, culture + sports organizations opening back up, including the Negro Southern League Museum

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is one of the organizations that's reopened
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been back to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens since they reopened. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

When COVID hit back in March 2020, the City of Birmingham closed arts, cultural and sporting organizations across the city. Some of these have opened back up and others will soon. Keep reading for all the details.

When you’re ready to visit any of these spots, don your mask and take advantage of the hand sanitizer you’ll find at all of them. Bring your own water bottle—water fountains are switched off because germs. As you can imagine, hours are reduced so there’s time for deep cleaning.

Already reopened

1. Birmingham Botanical Gardens—reopened June 15

You can see so much beauty at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
So much beauty. Photo via Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

2. Birmingham Park and Rec—reopened June 15

Birmingham Park and Rec reopened a number of their facilities back in June
Back before COVID, these kids were honing their gardening skills at McAlpine Rec Center. Photo via McAlpine Rec’s Facebook page
  • Occupancy: 50% total capacity
  • Limits: Still no basketball at parks or rec centers
  • These 10 rec centers are open:
    • Central Park
    • East Pinson Valley
    • Ensley
    • Fitness Center North
    • Fountain Heights
    • Highland Park
    • Martin Luther King Jr.
    • McAlpine
    • Memorial Park
    • Oxmoor Valley
  • Reservations: 205-254-2556
  • Follow: Website | Facebook

Look for a vote October 7 from the Park and Rec Board re: when and whether other rec centers will open.

3. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark—reopened September 26

Birmingham, Sloss Furnaces
Been missing Sloss? Book a tour today. Photo via Sloss Furnaces
  • Tours—by appointment only: self-guided and guided (docent) tours at 10AM and 2PM, Tuesday-Saturday.
  • Private events max: 25 people
  • Tours max: 10 people
  • Gallery + gift shop: open
  • Location: 20 32nd Street N, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • Reservations: call 205-254-2554 to reserve your tour
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook

4. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute—reopened October 1

welcomeback 13 arts, culture + sports organizations opening back up, including the Negro Southern League Museum
The BCRI reopened October 1. Photo via Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Facebook page

5. Birmingham CrossPlex—reopening October 1

Birmingham, Alabama, CrossPlex
A swimmer training at Birmingham’s CrossPlex natatorium. Photo via CrossPlex’s Facebook page
  • Occupancy: 25% of venue’s overall capacity through the end of 2020, 50 people max in meeting room
  • Open: weekdays from 8AM to 5PM
  • Hours: based on event schedules
    • AHSAA State Volleyball Championship—October 27-29
    • AHSAA Sectional Cheer Competition—November 9
    • AHSAA Central Sectional Swim Meet—November 20-21
    • JAM/JEV Gymnastics—December 3 – 6
    • Spirit Brands Cheer Competition—December 12
    • WSA Brands Cheer Competition—December 13
  • Concessions: mobile ordering available
  • Location: 2337 Bessemer Road
  • Contact: 205-279-8900
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

6. Birmingham Public Library downtown location—reopening October 1

Linn Henley Research Library at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
One of the most beautiful rooms in the Linn Henley Reearch Library at the Birmingham Public Library. Photo via- friendsofthebpl.org

Downtown is the *only* Birmingham library that will be open to the public for now, with access to the East building only.

  • Occupancy: 100 visitors
  • In-person hours: Monday-Friday, 10AM-3PM

The Archives and Southern History sections are located in the Linn-Henley Research Library, with access available by appointment only. Online services are available 24/7.

Curbside services will be available at four locations:

  • Avondale: Monday, Wednesday + Friday, 9AM-4PM
  • Springville Road: Tuesdays, 9AM-4PM
  • Five Points West: Thursdays, 9AM-4PM
  • Downtown: Monday-Friday, 9AM-4PM
  • More info: here and here
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Reopening later in October

7. Birmingham Museum of Art—reopening October 6

Birmingham Museum of art reopens so soon
The Birmingham Museum of Art reopens so soon. Photo via Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Attendance: 50% of venue’s total capacity
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-5PM + Sundays, noon-5PM
  • Gift shop: open with face coverings for sale—check with museum for hours
  • Oscar’s Café + Bart’s ArtVenture: closed until further notice
  • Exhibits + programming: find all the details here
  • Location: 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.
  • Call: 205-254-2565
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook

8. Southern Museum of Flight—reopening October 6

The Southern Museum of Flight is reopening soon
The Southern Museum of Flight is a very cool place to visit. Photo via Southern Museum of Flight’s Facebook page
  • Attendance: 50% of venue’s overall capacity
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-2PM
  • Tours: self-guided in main exhibit galleries, no guided tours
  • Closed: children’s play area, computer area + hands-on exhibits
  • Open: gift shop + outdoor picnic area
  • Location: 4343 73rd St. North
  • Call: 205-833-8226
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook

9. Negro Southern League Museum—reopening October 6

  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10AM-4PM, Saturday, 10AM-2PM
  • Occupancy: limited, 75 people for events
  • Tours: self-guided—reservation only
  • Call: 205-581-3040
  • Location: 120-16th St. South 
  • Follow: Website | Instagram | Facebook

10. Arlington House—reopening October 6  

Arlington in Birmingham, Alabama
Arlington Home & Gardens. Photo via Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens Facebook page
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-3PM
  • Tours: self-guided in the museum house—no more than 20 people
  • Occupancy: 24 max in the Garden Room/Dining Room, 50 outdoors
  • Curbside lunches: Tuesday-Friday, 11AM- 2PM
  • Gift shop: open with masks for sale
  • Call: 205-780-5656
  • Location: 331 Cotton Avenue
  • Follow: Website

Reopening in November

11. Boutwell Auditorium—reopening November 1

  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM, weekend hours based on bookings
  • Occupancy: 150 people or less for private events, 50% of venue’s overall capacity
  • Reservations: 205-254-2820
  • Location: 1930 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd.
  • Follow: Website

12. Bill Harris Arena—available for booked events starting November 2

Birmingham, Alabama, CrossPlex
The Birmingham CrossPlex Bill Harris Arena. Photo via Birmingham CrossPlex
  • Occupancy: private events limited to 25% of venue’s capacity
  • Reservations: 205-279-8955
  • Location: 2337 Bessemer Road

Reopening in 2021

13. Shields Center at W.C. Patton Park

  • Attendance: capacity for private events currently under review
  • Reservations: 205-279-8955

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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