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With football, dinosaur exhibit and other attractions, Alabama has winter fun coveredcomment (0)

October 11, 2007

By Linda Holloway

Alabama has a variety of attractions in winter. You can visit with a dinosaur in northeast Alabama or travel to Florence to a televised sporting event. History buffs will enjoy a trip to south Alabama to see a trail that explores one of Alabama’s famous battles. The Anniston Museum of Natural History will host the traveling exhibit “A T. rex named Sue.”

According to The Field Museum in Chicago, where the original exhibit resides, this bilingual exhibition combines thrilling science, solid educational credentials and blockbuster appeal in the story of the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever unearthed.

Visitors can view the 42-foot-long and 12-foot-high dinosaur that is remarkable in size, completeness and quality of preservation. A full-sized cast of Sue’s skeleton is the centerpiece of the exhibition, surrounded by interactive exhibits exploring the science reconstructing Sue’s life. Touchable replicas, videos and colorful graphics set the stage for a combination of visual, tactile, audible and aromatic activities that also enhance the experience.

During Sue’s stay, the Anniston museum will feature exhibits with dinosaur-related material.
Among the special additions are a variety of fossils, coal-age track ways and several dinosaur replicas mounted before realistically rendered backdrops of their specific eras.

Other dinosaur-related programming will include guest lectures, self-guided scavenger hunts, Dino-Day Family Discovery Days and Nature Tyme: Prehistoric Preschool. “Anniston Museum of Natural History is truly a hidden gem,” said Margie Conner, marketing manager for the museum, noting the museum is one of only three Smithsonian affiliate museums in Alabama. For more information, call 256-237-6766 or visit www.annistonmuseum.org.

A new twist on history
Retrace the footsteps of Confederate soldiers at the new Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail. With 19 interpretative signs and six trailhead signs, this trail spans approximately 90 miles as it meanders through Mobile and Baldwin counties.

There are stories of ship captains, fort commanders and common men who fought in the Overland Campaign and the Battle of Mobile Bay. The trail also features Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, which are a short ferry ride apart.

“Development of this entertaining trail has resulted in yet another way for visitors and residents alike to explore our local history at a pace convenient to them,” said Mike Foster, vice president of marketing at the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some people choose to visit a couple of sites while others embark on a day-long trip.

Regardless, this trail is the ideal family activity for comfortably cool winter days on the Alabama Gulf Coast.” For information or to obtain your copy of the trail guide, call either 1-800-745-SAND or 1-800-5MOBILE or visit www.battleofmobilebay.com.

NCAA Division II National Football Championship
Pride, school spirit and screaming fans fill Braly Stadium for one of the biggest football games of the year each December. Since 1986, Florence has been the home to the nationally televised NCAA Division II Football Championship. This year the championship game will take place Dec. 15 at 11 a.m.
Florence is not only the host city for the event, but the University of North Alabama, located in Florence, also won the championship three consecutive years beginning in 1993.

Each year, approximately 8,000 fans attend in support of their favorite teams, and more than 1 million watch from home as the game is broadcast on ESPN. “The Division II National Championship Game captures what the Shoals area is all about — sharing good times with great people,” said game coordinator Sarah Beth Vandiver. For more information, contact the Shoals Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-764-4661.
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