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Alabama offers cultural, historic events for spring’s travelerscomment (0)

January 11, 2007

By Linda Holloway


This spring, enjoy the great outdoors in a historic state park. Or if Alabama’s Gulf Coast is in your plans, then stop by a zoo where the animals are famous. You may also want to travel to Montgomery and enjoy a peach of a play.

Tannehill State Park
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park in McCalla contains more than 1,500 acres in three counties. "History and nature combine at Tannehill to allow visitors to ... take a glimpse back at the state’s iron and steel beginnings," said Helon Riggins, events coordinator.

Tannehill Furnaces began when Daniel Hillman built a bloomery forge on the banks of Roupes Creek in 1830 to produce crude wrought iron from ore. By 1865, the Roupes Valley Ironworks at Tannehill was at peak production, melting ore to be made into "pigs" of iron to form the Confederacy’s tools of war.

Today the park features the Alabama Iron and Steel Museum. Visitors will also enjoy seeing the Pioneer Farm and a cotton gin and hiking the trails. Open weekends March through November, the craft cabins feature craftsmen demonstrating trades.

Trade Days are held the third full weekend of the month, March through November. The outdoor market has more than 300 dealers buying, selling or trading items. A favorite for children is a demonstration of grinding cornmeal at the John Wesley Halls Gristmill during Trade Days. The church on site also has services each Sunday at 9 a.m. and is available for other services. For information, call 205-477-5711 or visit www.tannehill.org.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Take a break from the sand and sea in Gulf Shores to visit a group of animals that are prime-time television stars. On Feb. 15, 2006, the cable network Animal Planet aired a 13-part series that was shot on location at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The series, "The Little Zoo that Could," traced the trials and triumphs of zoo staff and volunteers as they struggled to rebuild after the zoo was struck by hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina in 2004 and 2005.

"We were truly blessed to be selected by Animal Planet to tell our story," said Patti Hall, zoo director. Animal Planet returned recently for more footage and will air a one-hour special in February.

The zoo is home to more than 290 animals including lions, tigers, monkeys and macaws. There’s also a petting zoo, reptile house and aviary. The zoo received the 2006 Director’s Award from the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel.

For information, call 251-968-5731 or visit www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org.

‘James and the Giant Peach’
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) in Montgomery will present the children’s favorite "James and the Giant Peach" Jan. 13–Feb.10. The play was written by David Wood and adapted from the book by Roald Dahl. It will be performed Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

James’ evil Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker have turned his giant peach into a London tourist attraction. So James and his friends commandeer the fruit and escape over the Atlantic Ocean. James and the crew face numerous dangers as the peach heads west for safe haven in The Big Apple.

The ASF is the sixth-largest Shakespeare festival in the world, said Meg Lewis, ASF public relations manager. For information, call 1-800-841-4ASF or visit www.asf.net.

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