Geology
Rocks and minerals can be found in your own backyard. Explore the world around you and learn about the history of the formation of the Earth by studying geology. We've gathered resources to make it fun and interesting.
Things to See & Do in Alabama
Little River Canyon National Preserve
Little River flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. The river and canyon systems are spectacular Appalachian Plateau landscapes any season of the year. Forested uplands, waterfalls, canyon rims and bluffs, stream riffles and pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs offer settings for a variety of recreational activities. Natural resources and cultural heritage come together to tell the story of the Preserve, a special place in the Southern Appalachians. Little River Canyon National Preserve is located near Fort Payne.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Located in Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,011-acre nature preserve in eastern Jefferson County. Its protected forest, ridges and valleys provide a refuge for a wide variety of native plants and wildlife. Located in the center of Alabama’s largest urban area, it also offers a place for people to retreat to the serenity of the outdoors.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
Thrill to Rickwood's miracle mile of underground caverns. The 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish and underground pools are just a few of the natural wonders exhibited in the colorful caverns. The park also features an Olympic size swimming pool, picnic area and campground.
Alabama Museum of Natural History
The Alabama Museum of Natural History, located in Smith Hall, the first building to be built on the University of Alabama campus in the twentieth century, is one of the finest excaples of Classical Revival architecture in the region. Experience the natural diversity of Alabama through exhibits from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. View extensive collections of geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, ethnology, history, and photography. Explore the Alabama Museum of Natural History housed in historic Smith Hall, one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the region. See the Hodges meteorite, the only meteorite know to have struck a human. The Museum is located on The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.
Russell Cave National Monument
For thousands of years bands of prehistoric Indians came to the area we know today as Russell Cave. The cave provided a shelter. The surrounding forest provided food, tools, and fuel for their fires. Occupation of the cave shelter continued from the earliest known people to inhabit the southeastern United States, until the time of European explorers. The story of the inhabitants of Russell Cave is one of adaptation and survival. These people left behind clues to their way of life. These clues help us to have a better understanding of the people who have gone through the mists of time. Russell Cave National Monument is located near Bridgeport.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Alabama Mining Museum
The Alabama Mining Museum, designated by the State Legislature as the official State Coal Mining Museum, focuses primarily on mining from 1890 to 1940 when mining became an important industrial force in the United States. The Museum tells the technological, social, and human stories involved in Alabama's development into one of the most important coal mining regions in the United States.
Water Course
The Water Course is a project of the Alabama Power Foundation. The Water Course’s high-tech exhibits teach visitors about Alabama’s waterways and reservoirs, the state’s geography, and how water affects the lifestyles we lead. Visitors can take a simulated helicopter ride over some of the state’s waterways or challenge others in the game show.
Cathedral Caverns
Cathedral Caverns was originally called Bats Cave. Jacob (Jay) Gurley bought the cave in 1955 and opened it to the public. When he took his wife into the cave for the first time, she was struck by the beautiful of one big room with all the stalagmites and stalactites and said that it looked like a "cathedral." Gurley wisely changed the name of the cave at that point and it has been known since then as Cathedral Caverns, although it has changed hands many times. Cathedral Caverns became a state park in 1987. It includes 461 acres of land near Grant, Alabama. The cave now has a paved and lighted pathway that is 10 feet above the original path. The walk is a little over a mile for the round trip and takes an hour and 15 minutes.
Aldrich Coal Mine Museum
Housed in the "Company Store" of the former Montevallo Coal Mining Company in Aldrich, Alabama and Historic Farrington Hall. See and learn of local history as well as the coal mining industry as it was back then...See the only monument in Alabama dedicated to all coal miners!
Sci-Quest
Located in a 40,000 square foot facility within America's second largest research park in Huntsville, Sci-Quest boasts more than 150 interactive exhibits covering areas of science such as engineering; electricity and magnetism; world ecosystems and weather sciences; fluid dynamics; physiology; waves, light and sound; chemistry and material sciences; and early childhood education. Sci-Quest's newest component is the one-of-a-kind Immersive Theater. This new format captivates audiences with majestic, high-definition 3D images projected onto a 12 ft. by 26 ft. screen and state-of-the-art stereo surround sound. Visitors are given control of the various program scenarios through the use of touch-screen monitors and pop-up facts and questions, enabling each audience member to have an individually customized experience. Sci-Quest offers more than 200 public educational programs each year for children of all ages. Instead of using a traditional classroom format, however, Sci-Quest's science educators use interactive demonstrations and hands-on experiments to enhance the audience's experience.
McWane Center
See the wonders of our world in action, and leave with new-found perspectives. Through amazing hands-on exhibits, larger-than-life IMAX® films and quality educational programs, McWane Center in Birmingham strives to make learning an adventure for all ages. Features ScienceQuest, Just Mice Size, and World of Water exhibits.
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