No, I’m not talking Dickens here. I’ve never been to London or France. But, I’m talking Jacksonville, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama. Two cities of the south , one dear to my heart and one growing on me.
Safe cracking in underground Jax
Before I left Jax, my BFF and I did as much exploring as we could. We’d both grown up there, but never knew there was a small underground tunnel downtown, originally built to transfer money between banks. And now I know B’ham has walkable/drivable tunnels with lights.
Both cities have grand old theaters. The Florida Theater, a lovely art deco masterpiece, was where I saw many a performance, from The Nutcracker on field trips with my students, to Leo Kottke with my daughter, to Boz Scaggs, The Temptations and The Four Tops, and Loretta Lynn with my BFF. I have yet to visit the Alabama, but it’s high on my list. The cool thing is they were both built in 1927.
St. Johns River Railroad Park
The music scene flourishes in both cities, as well as Minor League baseball. There are lovely old buildings and modern ones, including a Wells Fargo in both as you can see in my pictures above. What Jacksonville has that Birmingham doesn’t is the St. Johns River flowing in it’s midst. But, B’ham has numerous well kept parks and more restaurants that attract people. The downtown doesn’t shut down at 5pm, as I discovered on Thursday when I met my #capturetheham group at Urban Standard for a walk-about in the area. I look forward to more downtown exploring in the months ahead!
This past Thursday was my first visit to Vulcan Park – another gem of a park in B’ham! I met with my #capturetheham group and got some great photography pointers. Then we tried to put our skills to work.
Vulcan Park is definitely a place where I want to return. I want to stay a little later next time to walk the trails and capture the full sunset.
What you need to know:
The Vulcan Park is located at 1701 Valley View Drive and is open 10am-10pm Monday- Saturday and 12pm-10pm on Sunday; the museum closes at 6pm each day (the park also closes at 6pm on July 4th). Parking is free.
DAILY ADMISSION RATES 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.:
- Adult $6
- Seniors (65+) / Military $5
- Children ages 5-12 $4
- Children 4 years and under free
EVENING ADMISSION RATES 6 – 10 P.M.:
- All ages 5 and up $4
- Children 4 years and under free
Bring your camera!
Don’t go up the Vulcan if you are afraid of heights.
If you are a AAA member, you and a guest will get 20% off (I didn’t see this before !!)
Pets allowed on a leash – you must clean up after them, of course.
Railroad along park perimeter
Thursday night I met a group of people for an enjoyable evening in Railroad Park. This was my first time there and I was super impressed! I didn’t know what to expect from a park in the middle of downtown, so I was pleasantly surprised.
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.
Small group practice Softball practice at the park
The landscaping is gorgeous and I was there during prime photo time, just before sunset. I joined a “Capture the ‘ham” small group hosted by Jamie Golden. You can see our pictures under #capturetheham on Instagram. We will be meeting five more Thursdays this summer at a different location each time. Jamie gave us some great photo tips as well as some inspirational thoughts on capturing moments, but not just with our cameras. I hope to capture some moments with my heart as well.
Parting shot on my way home
Thanks to our longtime friend, Rod Cherry, I found a great online magazine which is also a print publication. Check out the story of his niece, Jana, then peruse the rest of the magazine!