Every day it seems that the Magic City is unveiling a new Vulcan statue. If you’ve ever wondered where they’re all located, follow our guide that takes you along the Vulcan on Parade trail, plus learn about some extra statues we know about along the way.
What is Vulcan on Parade and who’s behind it?
Vulcan on Parade is an art installation that consists of individually painted fiberglass replicas of Birmingham’s infamous Vulcan statue. Debuted in 2015, the project was designed to highlight visitor attractions in the area.
Who’s behind it? The answer is Vulcan Park and Museum’s Junior Board. The mission of the Junior Board is to support the mission, needs and overall promotion of Vulcan Park and Museum. The Vulcan on Parades project is an extension of that.
“I think one of the biggest benefits that the Vulcans on Parade project brings to Vulcan Park & Museum is increased interest in the Park. Most of us have seen Vulcan from a distance, but not everybody has seen Vulcan up close and personal. Seeing these statues around town at eye level may spark people’s interest in learning more about the actual Vulcan statue and the park and museum. From there, we are hopeful that that interest then turns into lifelong support of Vulcan Park and Museum.”Jason Bivens, President, Vulcan Park & Museum Junior Board
Here’s how it works.
- A statue is purchased by a local sponsor.
- Local artists submit sketches.
- When the artist/sketch is chosen, creation of the statues can begin.
The time needed to complete each statue varies, but typically takes just a few months. Learn more here.
Before we hit the Vulcan trail, let’s start with the original statue itself
Here are some cool facts about the Birmingham’s Vulcan statue that watches over the Magic City:
- It’s the world’s largest cast-iron statue and the largest metal statue ever made in the US.
- It was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and based on the Roman God of fire and forge.
- It was cast from local iron in 1904.
- Since the 1930s, it’s overlooked the city from atop Red Mountain.
- It stands 56 feet tall from toe to spear point upon a 124-foot pedestal—a total of 180 feet high. It weighs 101,200 pounds.
You can find the original Vulcan statue at Vulcan Park at Museum at 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209.
Now, on to where you can find Vulcan statues around Birmingham.
1. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center (BJCC)
Located in front of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center (BJCC), this Vulcan statue gives a nod to Birmingham’s future with the phrase “We Are Birmingham…Always Forging Ahead.”
Where: Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center, 1 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Title: “Forging Ahead”
Artist: Paul Cordes Wilm
Sponsor: BC/BS of Alabama; Brasfield & Gorrie; Vulcan Materials Co; Protective Life
2. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Overlooking the Dunn Formal Rose Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, this nature-inspired Vulcan welcomes visitors in earthy floral and fauna.
Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, AL
Title: “Alba Vulcanis”
Artist: Melissa Shultz-Jones
Sponsor: Protective & Botanical G.
3. The Birmingham Zoo
Covered in colored mosaic glass and 36 native Alabama species, the “Indigenous Vulcan” at The Birmingham Zoo has one of the most intricate designs along the Vulcan Parade.
Where: The Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223
Title: “Indigenous Vulcan”
Artist: Rhandie Weaver
Sponsor: Protective Life
4. Birmingham-Southern College
Did you know a large part of the Vulcan Park Foundation is education? Birmingham-Southern College was the first institute of higher education to showcase the Vulcan Parade’s line of “Forward Forever” statutes.
Where: Birmingham-Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Rd, Birmingham, AL 35254
Title: “Forward Forever!”
Artist: Bham Southern Art Students League
Sponsor: Birmingham-Southern College
5. Kinetic Communications
Located at Kinetic Communications, this Vulcan faces Birmingham’s historic Morris Avenue. Inspired by a combination of sci-fi space and engineering, with a little steampunk thrown in, this may just be one of the coolest Vulcans in town.
Where: Kinetic Communications, 2025 Morris Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203
Title: “Rising Phoenix”
Artist: Myrna Gates
Sponsor: Kinetic Communications
6. Magic City Dentistry
Curious to see a Vulcan Statue being created? Check out this time lapse video with artist Sonia Summers.
Where: Magic City Dentistry, 2117 1st Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203
Title: “Facets of Birmingham”
Artist: Sonia Summers
Sponsor: Magic City Dentistry
7. Maynard Birmingham Law Firms
This brilliant statue is the newest statue to join Vulcan on Parade. Shining boldly in silver and red, you can find it at Maynard Birmingham Law Firms.
Where: Maynard Birmingham Law Firms, 1901 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Title: “Espirit de Corps”
Artist: Sonia Summers
8. Oak Mountain Elementary
The statue at Oak Mountain Elementary School represents Birmingham during the 1904 World’s Fair and our city’s leadership in the iron and steel industry. The statue shows how students are learning to be leaders at school and how they’re being prepared to be future leaders in Birmingham’s community and beyond.
Where: Oak Mountain Elementary, 5640 Cahaba Valley Rd, Birmingham, AL 35242
Title: “Leadership Starts Here”
Artist: Carol Popwell (Art Teacher)
Sponsor: Oak Mountain Elementary
9. Redmont Distilling Co.
For a distillery that’s known for its vodka, this fired-up Vulcan is the perfect touch to Redmont Distilling Company.
Where: Redmont Distilling Co, 4550 5th Ave S, Building N, Birmingham, AL 35222
Title: “Forged in Fire”
Artist: Shawn Fitzwater
Sponsor: Redmont Distilling Co.
10. The Pizitz Food Hall
Standing brightly in the courtyard of The Pizitz Food Hall, this Vulcan replica visualizes Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods as one larger community.
Where: The Pizitz Food Hall, 1821 2nd Ave N, #3112, Birmingham, AL 35203
Title: “Your Friendly Neighborhood Vulcan
Artist: Brandon Watkins at Yellow Hammer Creative
Sponsor: Pizitz Food Hall
11. Railroad Park
“Magic City Lights” was the very first statue to be part of Vulcan on Parade. Though it was recently destroyed, Bevin’s said the process to have it replaced has been begun and a new unveiling may take place in the next few months.
Where: Railroad Park, 1600 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
Title: “Magic City Lights”
Artist: Carrie Barber McGrann
Sponsor(s): BC/BS of Alabama, Brasfield & Gorrie, Vulcan Materials Co and Protective Life
What’s interesting about this particular Vulcan statue is you can rent it from PropHouse for use as an event decoration. After all, what fun is an event without Vulcan in attendance? Learn more.
Where: PropHouse, 89 Robert Jemison Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209
Title: “Vulcan on Parade”
13. Liverpool, England
If you thought the Vulcan Parade is confined to Birmingham, think again. It actually extends much further.
In 2016, this Beatles-themed “Love is Groovy” statue was gifted to Birmingham’s Sister City Liverpool, England.
Where: City Hall Building, Liverpool, England
Title: “Love is Groovy”
Artist: LovePinkLucy, Crystal Conner
Sponsor: Birmingham Sister City Commission
Additional Vulcan Statues in Birmingham
While most Vulcan statues are part of Vulcan on Parade, some have gone rogue, popping up in random spots around the city. Check these out:
The Anvil Gift Shop at Vulcan Park and Museum
You’re officially “somebody” when you have your very own bobblehead created in your honor. Obviously, Vulcan has one, and it’s available at Vulcan Park and Museum’s gift shop, The Anvil.
It’s no ordinary bobblehead, either. This one also shows off quite the impressive bobblebuns.
The Anvil’s not the only place the Bobblehead Vulcan can be found. In 2019, Birmingham’s pint-sized fella became part of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee. He joins the ranks of other celebrity bobbleheads like Lebron James, the cast of Game of Thrones and more.
Where: The Anvil, 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209
REI at The Summit
Where: REI, 335 Summit Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35243
Where will the next Vulcan Statue be?
That’s the beauty of Vulcan on Parade—you never know where the next Vulcan statute will pop up around the Magic City.
According to Jason, there’s been a lot of community interest in the project over the last few months. While he wouldn’t tell me where the next Vulcan statue will be, he did offer this curious clue:
“Keep your EYES open for the next one. It may or may not be in the shadow of a giant!”
My interest has been piqued. Has yours?