Three Indoor/Outdoor, In-town Itineraries for Spring Break

MLK Jr. statue in Kelly Ingram Park downtown

Civil Rights Institute & Kelly Ingram Park – The Civil Rights Institute has just unveiled an exhibit focusing on the Children’s marches during the riots of 1963, so even if you’ve toured the Institute, you haven’t seen this. When will you have a better opportunity to bring the kids and share how their hometown was the flashpoint of history?

Kelly Ingram Park is just across the street and is a pleasant stroll. You can see from one end to the other, so you don’t have to be quite so worried that your wildest kid will get away from you. I know most moms are leery of downtown public parks, even during the day, but all the visitors to the Institute keep the park at a healthy level of activity and oversight. With pleasant weather, it’s a great place for a snack or short break from being inside. If your kids are old enough, why not walk the Civil Rights Trail, which is well marked and easy to follow?

Dollar Movie & Aldridge GardensMonsters, Inc. 3D, Wreck-It Ralph, and Rise of the Guardians are all showing at Carmike 10 on Lorna Road in Hoover, and those are just the animated options. Start mid-morning at Aldridge Gardens just down the road on Lorna, where you’ll find a pleasant walking trail, calm lake and ducks. Bring a picnic or cheat and go through a nearby drive-thru (the usual fast food chains are all on Lorna Road) and have some outdoor time before heading into the dark of the theater. If they can make it through an early afternoon movie (most of the kid movies start between 12:30 – 1:30), they’ll be ready for nap or at least subdued for the later afternoon.

Railroad Park & Paramount for yogurt – Railroad Park is a mainstay for folks who are already near downtown, but if you’re a suburban mom you probably don’t consider coming into the city for outdoor fun. So wrong! Railroad Park is wide open space with a gentle walking trail, clean restrooms (with changing facilities) and a shaded pavilion. It’s a great place to throw a frisbee and watch people and their dogs. If you haven’t been yet, make the trip to see what all the fuss is about and why the park has been recognized for its revitalization of the area and its eco-friendly aspects. You will wonder how the designers made a pile of bricks and fencing into inviting seating. Plus there are trains passing in the background, and who doesn’t like trains?

You may get lucky and have a food truck arrive while you’re at the park, in which case your picnic is delivered. Paramount is a few blocks over on 18th street – better to walk than look for parking –  and has a frozen yogurt bar with a cheerful interior. You can have a specialty coffee or cupcake if you have any money left over (because what weighs more than gold these days? Frozen yogurt, apparently. Or maybe it’s those dense gummy worm as toppings).

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The libraries, the Galleria, and McWane Center will be lively during spring break, but whether you would enjoy them depends on your tolerance for crowds and more kids.

You want to make your time over spring break count, especially if you are using vacation time to hang out with the kids. The Civil Rights Institute, Aldridge Gardens, and Railroad Park are just a few of the places you probably say you intend to visit but somehow never do. Take a day and do it this time; it will be as much a discovery for you as for the kids.