Birmingham Parent Magazine | May-June 2024

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10 Tips to Raise a Good Human

Simple advice from educator and author of  Parent’s Pocket Guide to Surviving the Preschool Years

Weather Worries

Teach your children about different types of weather while weathering their worries away.

Choosing the Best Sunscreen

Use these tips to choose the best sunscreen for you and your family this summer.

Make it a Family Game Night

Plan a family game night this month with these must-play games.

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editor’s note

The New and Improved Birmingham Parent is Here

Thanks for picking up this May/June 2024 issue of Birmingham Parent. You may have noticed it has a slightly different look and feel. It’s because we are undergoing a terrific change, a rebirth, if you will.

Family Resource Group Inc. out of Baton Rouge, LA, recently acquired Birmingham Parent, and there is a lot of excitement as we proceed. I am no longer publisher, but will remain the local, associate editor, and you will still see me at the events that we will continue. We/they have lots of great new ideas.

You will see a fresh look, some new stories, and a few surprises to come after the summer. It will still be the magazine you’ve known and loved for 20 years — just better, fresher and updated. We’ll still bring you Happy Healthy Kids Fair (August), Camp Expo (February) and Special Needs Expo (March), and we hope they will be bigger and better than ever before. Our same staff is still here — with a few new folks.

This issue is all about summer fun. Be sure to check out our Party Perfection story by Paige Townley about great birthdays and general party destinations in town. There’s also another “destination” story by Townley about places to take Dad around the Magic City for Father’s Day, as well as my Mother’s Day girls’ trip to Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. It’s also the time of year we are preparing to send kids off to college. Be sure to check out Pam Molnar’s article about the benefits of community college. And as always, don’t forget our calendar highlights, as well as our full, online calendar at birminghamparent. com/directory/events. Go there to get all the latest events that may not have made the print issue, as well as the opportunity to post your own great event.

As Birmingham Parent celebrates 20 years of publishing in metro Birmingham this year, we are now celebrating new friends and new beginnings with Family Resource Group. As always, we welcome your story ideas and suggestions!

Be sure to save the date for the Happy Healthy Kids Fair on Sat., Aug. 25, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. Admission is always FREE, and booths and sponsorships are available! We’ll see you there!

Happy Summer!


Carol Muse Evans is associate editor of Birmingham Parent. She is an award-winning writer and editor who also works as a freelance writer/editor. She has a degree in Journalism from Auburn University, is married with two grown children and lives in Clanton, Alabama.


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BIRMINGHAM PARENT MAGAZINE is published by FAMILY RESOURCE GROUP INC. and distributed free of charge. Subscriptions accepted. Only authorized distributors may deliver and pick up the magazine. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or comment editorially on all materials contributed. We cannot be responsible for the return of any unsolicited material.

BIRMINGHAM PARENT MAGAZINE Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission prohibited.

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Alabama Law Focuses on Distracted Driving Keep Your Hands on the Wheel:

Photo from

Anew Alabama state law seeks to drive down motor vehicle-related fatalities caused by distracted driving, according to Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

In 2022, almost seven percent of all motor vehicle-related fatalities in Alabama were caused by distracted driving. The Alabama Legislature responded in 2023 by passing a law intended to slow the increasing number of people being killed by distracted drivers.

Beginning in June 2024, state and local law enforcement officers can issue tickets to anyone observed making a call while holding a cell phone, or while holding a cell phone to text, search the internet, use a video function or for other activities.

Drivers can only use a single button or swipe of a finger to answer a call. The hands-free law was passed with a one-year grace period with written warnings until June 2024, when the grace period ends. Alabama’s new hands-free law is a secondary offense, meaning you first must be observed committing any other traffic offense to receive a citation.

The new hands-free law was passed in memory of Leah Grace Tarvin, CiCi Lunsford and Jay Kendall, three Alabamians whose tragic deaths were concluded by investigations to be related to distracted driving.

ALDOT shares these tips on how to go hands-free: Use hands-free technology, plan ahead with GPS navigation, playlists, etc., silence notifications on phone, pull over if necessary and put your phone away.

Learn About Opposites with Birmingham’s Own Charles Gigna’s Latest Book

Courtesy of Schiffer Books

Emerging readers can learn all about opposites with an adorable panda in this picture book from award-winning Children’s author and Birmingham resident Charles Ghigna - Father Goose - and illustrator Jacqueline East, available September 2024.

In The Magic Box, Pandora the Panda goes on a journey of imagination and curiosity when she discovers a magic box. What is this box? What should she do with it?

Pick it UP? Put it DOWN?

Join Pandora to explore the highs and lows, the ins and outs, and the many other opposites that are near, far, and everywhere you are! The book offers basic words, short sentences, and lots of repetition to make The Magic Box an ideal first-reading book for emerging readers ages four to eight.

Available in September, wherever books are sold.

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Health Experts are Warning Parents about the Measles

Courtesy of Children’s of Alabama

Healthexperts are warning parents to make sure their children are vaccinated against measles. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of March 28, 2024, a total of 97 cases were reported by 18 states. As of mid-April, Alabama is not one of those states yet.

Dr. David Kimberlin, a professor of pediatrics and the co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s of Alabama, says measles is an age-old viral infection. He says new parents may not be as familiar with it as their own parents and grandparents because a very safe and effective measles vaccine has been used since the 1960s to prevent it. Kimberlin adds that one of the most challenging aspects of measles is that people can start spreading the virus up to four days before they start having symptoms. People with weak immune systems can spread the measles virus longer.

“So, when you start having a measles outbreak, it spreads like wildfire if not enough people in a community have protection because they are not vaccinated,” Kimberlin says.


• Bad cough

• Congestion

• Red eyes

• High fever

• Rash on the face

Kids may also have Koplik’s spots (small red spots with blue-white centers) inside the mouth before the rash starts.

Measles spreads when people breathe in or have contact with virus-infected fluid. It can pass through droplets sprayed into the air when someone with

measles sneezes or coughs. Someone exposed to the virus usually shows symptoms 7-14 days later. Before widespread vaccination against measles, up to 3,000 people, mostly children, died from measles every year in the United States.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we have not caught up on our vaccination rates,” Kimberlin says. “This is a virtually completely vaccine-preventable disease. If a person gets two doses of the measles vaccine, they have 97 percent protection against the measles. That’s about as close to 100 percent protection as you can get.”

Parents should call a doctor right away if they think their child has measles or if their child has been around someone who has measles, especially if their child is an infant, is taking medication that suppresses the immune system, has tuberculosis, cancer, or a disease that affects the immune system or hasn’t gotten two doses of the measles vaccine. A measles infection and the medical problems that may follow can last for several weeks.

To learn more about the measles vaccines visit ChildrensAlabama/en/parents/mmr-vaccine.html. | 11

Nine Reasons Community College May Be the Best Choice

Manypeople overlook the opportunity to attend community college, assuming that it is just for those who aren’t accepted to “real colleges.” The truth is community colleges might be the best fit and deserve a stop on your college tour list, and here is why:


We all know that attending community college will save you money, but how much? According to a College Board report in 2021, the average community college tuition and fees are $3800. Other factors, including books and room and board, are not included in that number. If we want to compare apples to apples, the average cost of tuition and fees in a public, in-state four-year college averages $10,390. Community college is almost a third of the cost.

Smaller Class Sizes

Not everyone is successful in a large auditorium-like setting. Community colleges have smaller class sizes and allow for more hands-on learning experiences and better relationships with professors. In addition, many night classes are taught by people in their field vs. a professor who has not been in the field for several years. These adjunct professors are also helpful in opening doors for future employment.

Opportunity to Explore Options

It’s hard to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at 18. Community college allows a student to try different introductory classes without committing to a semester of classes, room and board and all the expense of entering a four-year college. With smaller departments, students at community colleges may have the opportunity to shadow another student to see if that field of study is really what they want to do.

Close to home

By definition, community colleges are closer to home, which means less commuting time and no extra room and board. This is especially important for students who need help with family either physically or financially. It is also an easier transition for those students who need a little more time to adjust to post-high school life and are not ready to move away from home yet.


The class times at a community college, especially general education classes are offered during the day or at night, as well as some weekend and online classes. This allows the student the ability to work a full-time job or tend to other responsibilities. Some community colleges offer offsite classes in local libraries or other small campus buildings, so students don’t have to drive to the main campus.

Extra Curricular Activities

Community colleges have many of the groups you will find at a four-year

college – athletics, theatre, honors societies, clubs, leadership opportunities and travel to study abroad. The average size of a community college is 5,000 students. When compared to the thousands of students in larger four-year colleges, community colleges have less competition to fill these positions.

Gateway to a Four-Year University

Community college is a great solution for students whose GPA falls just under the acceptance requirements of their dream four-year institution. Community colleges near larger universities often have transfer agreements, meaning they work together to provide a sequence of classes that gives the community college student a better chance of transfer acceptance after graduation. Many of these programs are referred to as 2 + 2 programs.


Community college means community involvement. Many local businesses offer scholarships to students at the college in their community with the hopes of recruiting some of these students to work for them in the future. Transfer scholarships are also available to students who choose to go to four-year colleges after graduation.

It Might Be All You Need

Dozens of careers only require a 2-year community college degree, so attending a four-year university is not the only road to success. recently shared a list of 25 in-demand careers you can get with a 2-year degree which include a Web Developer ($81,148), a Dental Hygienist ($98,577) a Respiratory Therapist ($103,987), an MRI Technician ($121,473) and an Air Traffic Controller ($130,420).

Notable Graduates of Community College

» Halle Berry – Actor - Cuyahoga Community College

» John & Jim Belushi – Actors – College of DuPage

» Eileen Collins – Astronaut – Corning Community College

» Guy Fieri – Food TV Host – American River College

» Morgan Freeman – Actor – Los Angeles City College

» Tom Hanks – Actor - Chabot College

» Steve Jobs – Co-Founder and CEO Apple – Reed College

» George Lucas – Filmmaker – Modesto Jr. College

» Jackie Robinson – MLB Star – Pasadena City College

» Aaron Rodgers – NFL Star – Butte College

» Arnold Schwarzenegger – Former Gov. of CA – Santa Monica College

» Amy Tan – Author – San Jose City College

12 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024
14 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024 | 15 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Explore your passion with Samford’s Academy of the Arts classes! Classes include art, language, music and photography, and are available for all ages. We also offer summer music and art camps for various ages. Register online or find more information on our website.

Academy of the Arts offers:

• Art for Children and Teens

• Drawing

• Language Classes (English as a second language; French, Italian, Spanish)

• Private Music Lessons (piano, strings, voice)

• Painting

• Photography Classes and Certificate Program

• Pottery

• Stained Glass

• Summer Camps

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Party Perfection: Unforgettable Party Destinations for Kids

Birmingham is brimming with fantastic options for celebrating your child’s special day. From picturesque parks to interactive spaces, there are a myriad of options ready to create unforgettable memories—even venues where you can host for free. So ditch the backyard and discover some of the most unique birthday party destinations the Magic City has to offer.


When it comes to hosting a truly unforgettable child’s birthday party, few places rival the excitement of a movie theater. Most theaters offer private screenings that turn a simple movie night into a blockbuster birthday celebration. With the entire cinema reserved just for them, the birthday boy or girl has the freedom to choose their favorite flick, whether it’s a timeless classic or the latest hit, watching it with friends while munching on their favorite theater snacks.


Bring on all the glam with a party hosted at a local nail salon. The birthday girl and all of her friends will enjoy a time of pampering and glamour as they enjoy a manicure, pedicure, or perhaps even both. A number of nail salons around Birmingham offer party packages.


A bowling party proves that fun doesn’t have to be fancy to be unforgettable. With a party hosted at a local bowling alley, children can lace up their bowling shoes and get into the competitive spirit. Some Birmingham bowling alleys add to the atmosphere with onsite arcades as well.


Help children unleash their inner Picasso with a painting party. Guided by talented instructors, kids can celebrate the birthday and bring their imaginations to life, one brushstroke at a time. Depending on the type

of painting the birthday boy or girl prefers, there are a number of options around Birmingham. And if canvas painting isn’t your style, there are also spots like Do It Yourself Crafts, which offers up all sorts of pottery pieces for kids to paint too.

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For birthday boys or girls that prefer a thrilling adventure, check out a local climbing gym. Indoor climbing venues, such as Birmingham’s High Point, offer a dynamic experience for young adventurers in a safe indoor atmosphere. Friends and family can celebrate while climbing towering walls, navigating challenges, and building confidence as they conquer each obstacle.


Celebrate amongst the glow of neon lights and an upbeat playlist of music at the roller rink. In addition to hours of skating fun, the roller rink can offer so much to keep children of all ages entertained.


Embrace the simplicity and natural beauty of hosting a birthday party at a local park. Birmingham offers so many sprawling parks that provide a beautiful canvas for a party with green space and playgrounds to let kids run around, engage in a game of tag, chase bubbles, and let their imagination soar.

Hosting at the park is also a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on fun, allowing families and friends to celebrate without breaking the bank. Bring along the cake and some kid-friendly snacks and the morning or afternoon is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Note: Many parks do require reservation of pavilion space and/or rental fee depending on location.


Keep the party simple while pleasing all of the kids by planning an outing to a local ice cream shop. There are a plethora of sweet shops all across Birmingham, from favorite chains like Bruster’s to local mom and pop shops like Bendy’s Cookies & Cream. Some even have plenty of space for kids to run and play, such as Doodle’s Homemade Sorbets and Ices. | 19

June 3-7 Teen Art Studio

June 10-14 Explorations in Music

June 17-21 Bulldog Art Camp I

June 24-28 Bulldog Art Camp II

July 8-12 Adventures in Music

July 15-19 Bulldog Art Camp III

July 22-26 Strings Camp

Our Bulldog Art Camps are full. Sign up for a waitlist if interested.

Scan the QR code to learn more and register today.

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2024 | 21 | 205-966-3847

A Little Piece of Heaven

Notall all-inclusive resorts are equal. I have experienced many all-inclusive resorts, but this one is by far my favorite. If I could have stolen the bed and brought it on an airplane, I 100 percent would have. They didn’t skip over a single detail when they designed this resort.

Grand Velas was built by Eduardo Vela Ruiz, founder of Velas Resorts, in 1989 with brother Juan Vela, vice president of Velas Resorts, by his side. And today, the latter still heads up the group. Since the first all-inclusive opened, six more have developed throughout Mexico.

These all-inclusive resorts are nothing like I have seen before. They are pure luxury, from the tiniest detail of folding a towel to the extravagant architecture. While most may think that all-inclusive resorts are too expensive, I beg to differ. Just like any vacation you plan, the little expenses add up, from food, drinks, buying the appropriate beach toys, and the random trips because you forgot something else at the store. When you choose an all-inclusive resort, you have everything you need in one location. The stress of planning out each day disappears because you have access to eat whenever you want, and you don’t have to go anywhere because you have everything you need at the resort.

The staff at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is so amazing. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by all staff services that would be assisting us for the week. We stayed in Grand Class, and our beachfront room included our own plunge pool on our balcony. The room was very large with plenty of space to lounge around or work, which we made use of because being the boss means you never get a full vacation; there is always something that has to be done. Throughout our stay, we explored the property, tried out the pools, and tested the pretty blue ocean water.

This little piece of heaven in Cancun offers three unique experiences. There is one area for adults, which includes private plunge pools and stunning sunsets. Another area focuses on relaxation, offering you an experience to

22 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024 FAMILY TRAVEL

be in the jungle with the flora and fauna. Finally, there’s an area for family fun. I can promise you each area didn’t disappoint. Since we stayed in the Grand Class, I enjoyed my quiet time with my husband, but I look forward to coming back with my children.

The Ambassador had everything a family needs to enjoy their stay. They even have a Baby Concierge who can provide guests with cribs, bouncy seats, high chairs, bottles, bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers, baby bathtubs, strollers, and even teepees for the younger ones who don’t need a crib. They offer kids and teen clubs to keep the younger crowd entertained, and they host daily activities so the kiddos are not stuck doing the same things each day. If you are looking for a night out or a lunch alone with the adults, they even offer babysitting.

We dined at almost all of the restaurants. Maybe if we had stayed another two days, we could have gotten to them all. The breakfast buffet every morning was amazing. There were so many fresh options, and the amazing wait staff made sure we had everything we needed. I think my husband’s favorite was the daily omelets that he didn’t have to make. He still says that Cancun ruined him because he hasn’t found another omelet that compares. For lunch, we would order from the poolside, usually nachos or quesadillas, nothing too fancy as we lounged around enjoying all the nature and views.

Our first dinner was at Frida, the Mexican restaurant. We had tableside margaritas made, along with guacamole made right in front of us. I used to think my cousin made the best guacamole from scratch, but I hate to say that this one is giving him a run for his money, or guac in this case. My husband was brave enough to try crickets and even ants with his guac. We also enjoyed Piaf, Lucca, Chaka and Sin Lin, all unique experiences with amazing food. All restaurants even accommodated my gluten-free lifestyle. I don’t think I could pick a favorite because they were each unique in their own way.

Finally, we have the Spa. I don’t think anything can beat that experience. It started with a quick rinse in a shower, maybe like a minute at most, followed by a sauna that smelled of cinnamon. The next room was cold, like an igloo. My senses were definitely heightened. From there, I went to a steam room that smelled of eucalyptus, followed by another quick rinse that went from cold to hot. I thought this was the end, but then I was led to another room to exfoliate before the Water Ceremony. The Experience Sensation Pool was large, and I was told what path to follow. There were six stations in the massive pool from the waterfalls to the pebble walkway and the water bubbles. Once this was complete, it was time for the hot tub followed by the cold plunge. Finally, the massage was to die for. Once I was done, I was at peace for the rest of the day. I think we even ordered room service because I was so relaxed I didn’t want to get dressed for dinner!

I can’t wait to visit the other six resorts that the Velas brothers have! This incredible experience is perfect for your next trip away with your special someone, a girl’s trip, or even a family trip! | 23

How My Kids Will Know the Grandmother They’ll Never Meet

Originally published in Milwaukee Mom, May 2017

“Mama, it’s not fair that I won’t ever get to meet Grandma Kate.”

This comment from my second grader punctures me right in the heart. My mother passed away several years before my children were born, but I can still picture exactly the type of grandmother she would be: doting, playful, and fond of sharing silly jokes.

For a while, I didn’t know how to respond when my kids wanted to talk about my mom. But I’ve since realized that I can still help my daughters know their grandmother, even though they’ll never meet her. Here’s how:

Through Storytelling

When my oldest daughter was five, she started collecting stories about her grandmother. It all began when I showed her some pictures of my mom. The more I shared with my daughter, the more she wanted to know. Soon it became part of our usual bedtime routine. After a book, I’d turn off the lights and wait quietly for her question: “Mama, can I have a Grandma Kate story?”

We’ve talked about how my parents first met. My mom struck up a conversation with my dad at a party because she thought he looked lonely. I’ve shared stories from my mom’s childhood, like how she loved to fall asleep on the couch and how she always worried that her older brother was going to erase her homework. There have been tales of dramatic injuries, like the day my sister was in a scary sledding accident and my mom handled the situation so calmly, the doctors mistakenly assumed she was a nurse. My mother had a great sense of humor, so I’ve also made sure to share some of the funny things she did over the years, like making us kids a silly breakfast on April Fool’s Day.

Through Artifacts

Several possessions that originated with my mother now reside with me, and each has its own story. At first, I kept these artifacts hidden away in my closet, but slowly, they’ve found a new place in my daughters’ lives. The striped blue purse my mom carried at my wedding is now one of my oldest daughter’s favorite places to stash treasures, and an ancient stuffed purple bear—something my mom gave to me long ago—now sleeps faithfully in my youngest daughter’s room. I like the way these physical items provide a connection to my mom. They serve as a reminder that, although she isn’t here now, she will always be a part of our family’s evolving story.

Through Me

As the years pass, it’s becoming more apparent that I’ve adopted plenty of my mom’s mannerisms and habits. I remember the way my mom used to wake us up. She’d hover over our beds and sing in a grating voice, “Wake up, wake up, you sleepyhead! When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along, a-LONG!” Now I do the same thing when I’m trying to rouse my reluctant kids from bed, and they’re as irritated by my horrible rendition of Bing Crosby’s song as I know I was by my mom’s. I think my mom would also approve of my daily coffee habit, as I can scarcely recall a time during my childhood when she didn’t have a mug of freshly brewed Folgers in her hand.

My mom loved all animals, so pets were a major part of my childhood. We had so many furry, scaly and feathery inhabitants that our house often felt like a mini zoo! For now, our family just has two guinea pigs and some low maintenance fish, but I’ve definitely inherited my mom’s enthusiasm for pets, so I’m betting more cute critters are in our future.

Even though they can’t see her, hold her hand or hear her voice, I know my daughters are starting to form their own picture of my mother in their minds. I will continue to share everything I can about her. And I know that someday, my kids will understand the important role their grandmother played in the family that loves them so much.

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Take a Girls’ Trip to Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville This Mother’s Day Season

It’sgreat for the family, and it’s great for alone time with your spouse, but do you realize how terrific the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville can be for a girls’ trip?

My cousin and I set out for just that early last summer, and the destination did not disappoint. Other than a quick trip to Opry Mills (outlet next door), we didn’t leave the property and had the time of our lives, enjoying being together and creating great memories.

The Relache Spa is right in the center of the resort, and you can opt for one or two treatments or a whole day of luxury. From soothing massages to body wraps for firming and even manicures, you’ll get world-class pampering and relaxation at Relache. On my visit, I got a facial that included a massage on my neck and my head. Talk about relaxing!

One of the highlights of our trip was SoundWaves, the indoor/outdoor water feature. Since we had no husbands or kids with us, we parked under an umbrella in front of the giant wave pool. We enjoyed the wave pool, the outdoor all-adults pool, and watching all the people and kids on the numerous water slides. But if you were to have less desirable weather on your trip, you can go inside and enjoy slides, the lazy river, and so much more. There’s a restaurant inside, as well as lockers, showers, changing areas, a gift shop, and even a game room right outside. Keep in mind you must purchase your tickets to SoundWaves–it is NOT part of your room fee.

I’ve been many times, but I never tire of the Delta Riverboat Ride in the middle of the resort. The host tells you all about the resort, changes they are making, history, fun activities at the resort, etc., and it’s a great view of all the beautiful structures as well as interesting plants that line the river bank. When you book your tickets on the Riverboat, you will travel down a scenic river winding through a 4.5-acre indoor garden.

The Luminosity Light Show is running now through September 30in the middle of the resort with no tickets needed. “The Show showcases light’s journey from stars to the sun, through fireflies, lightning storms and moonlit gardens, culminating in vibrant beach scenes, dazzling roller coasters, and fireworks. Celebrating the diverse forms and interconnectedness of light, it’s a spectacle not to be missed,” according to the Resort.

If you didn’t know, there is plenty of shopping right inside the resort, from clothing to toys, jewelry, memorabilia and souvenirs of Nashville, as well as several “fast food” eateries, cinnamon rolls, ice cream, and more. You can spend several hours browsing the stores–and we did.

Though we didn’t do it on the last girls’ trip, a great excursion that is close by is the General Jackson Showboat, a paddlewheel riverboat that is one of the largest in the country. It takes you on a trip to downtown Nashville and back. It docks right behind Opry Mills and beside the Gaylord Opryland Resort. They offer midday lunch and evening dinner cruises, along with a world-class live musical show (check, and you’ll get some of

28 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024

the best views of the Nashville skyline. The concierge at the hotel can help you book your visit! And there are tons of things to do outside the resort.

We enjoyed our room at the hotel and being close to everything. Some rooms include a coffee maker and fridge, so if this is necessary or important to you, be sure to ask when making your reservations. Throughout the spring and summer, you will see all sorts of packages and deals on their website. But remember to check what ELSE is going on in Nashville when you decide to book if you are bothered by crowds.

Now, about food–a girl’s gotta eat, right? The Gaylord Opryland Resort does not disappoint when it comes to food, and you don’t have to leave the resort to get a great meal. Some locations may require reservations in busy times, so it is best to call ahead when you can.

The hands-down best place here, in my opinion, is the Old Hickory Steak House. It is right in the middle of all the resort activities, and you can choose to dine on the patio and be in the middle of all the activities with a bird’s eye view or dine indoors. From steaks and seafood to chicken, salads, and that delicious lobster bisque, this restaurant doesn’t disappoint. Get a reservation, and look ahead at the menu. This is a “special” treat night out!

Other restaurants in the resort include Cascades American Cafe on the main floor near the entrance, where you can get an amazing buffet breakfast that will likely last you through lunch. This is always a highlight of a trip there for me. But Cascades also serves lunch and dinner.

I also love Jack Daniels for good barbecue or a steak in a more casual environment. Sometimes they’ll even have live music.

The resort also offers Italian and Mexican fare at Ravello and Solario Cantina respectively, both excellent choices, but you will certainly benefit

from a reservation. There are other small eateries scattered throughout the resort, and a final great choice is Findley’s Irish Pub, located in the Magnolia section with Jack Daniels and the sports grill, Fuse.

For more information about reservations and a trip to the Gaylord Opryland Resort, visit bnago-gaylord-opryland-resort-and-convention-center. | 29

Have a Great Father’s Day in the Magic City

Top 10 Places to Take Dad

June 16

Photos courtesy of Barber Motor Sports and

Tiredof giving Dad the same old tie for Father’s Day? It’s time to step up the gift-giving game and treat him to something truly unforgettable. This year, consider the gift of adventure—experiences that he’ll cherish for years to come.

Whether he’s an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or an avid sports fan, there’s an adventure out there waiting for him. From thrilling outdoor excursions to a relaxing day at the ballpark, we’ve curated a list of unique and memorable adventures all around the Magic City that are sure to make this Father’s Day one to remember. So why settle for a gift that will collect dust in the closet when you can give Dad the gift of an unforgettable experience? Dive into our list of adventure-filled Father’s Day gifts and start planning the perfect day for Dad!


If Dad enjoys the outdoors, tee up a special day for him at Pursell Farms. Just a short drive from Birmingham and nestled amidst the beauty of the countryside, Pursell Farms is often referred to as the quintessential man cave thanks to its wide array of offerings. Outdoor adventure abounds with horseback riding, off-road UTV rides, fly fishing, and shooting sports thanks to its Orvis Shooting Grounds. If Dad is in need of a more tranquil retreat, there’s also an on-site spa, the Spring House Spa. Pursell Farms is also renowned for its golf course, FarmLinks, an award-winning course ideal for a player at any level. “The golf course at FarmLinks at Pursell Farms is the perfect gift for the dad who plays a lot of golf and for the weekend-er alike because FarmLinks was designed to challenge the best while offering enough forgiveness to give even the golfing novice an enjoyable around,” shares Tim Spanjer, director of marketing for Pursell Farms.

Want to give Dad more than just one day to enjoy all Pursell Farms has to offer? Set up a weekend stay for him at one of its many accommodations,


Look no further than TopGolf for a way the whole family can enjoy Dad’s favorite sport together. The destination offers a unique twist on traditional golf, making it a fun version of the sport the whole family can enjoy. “Nothing beats seeing how much fun families have at Topgolf, and that’s especially true on Father’s Day as we often see generations – grandfathers, fathers and children – celebrating with us, and bringing people together to cut loose and have some fun is what we’re all about,” shares Amanda Gleason, senior manager of communications for TopGolf. With TopGolf’s state-of-the-art technology, Dad can showcase his swing skills on the driving range, compete in a friendly game with the family, and savor a meal from the comfort of his very own private bay.


For dads that like to get hands-on and are more DIY, help him unleash his creativity and craft his own masterpiece at a local DIY workshop. Local brick and mortars like Board & Brush ( and Hammer & Stain ( offer various workshops that are unique opportunities for family bonding with Dad and the whole family. Plus, at the end of the session, they’ll each have a one-ofa-kind creation to take home as a keepsake of their special day together.


Rev up Father’s Day with a trip to Barber Motorsports Park. The 880-acre racing facility houses a 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course that hosts a variety of adrenaline-packed events. But beyond hitting the track for a race, the facility also boasts the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which features the world’s largest motorcycle and Lotus racecar collections. More than 60 Lotus racecars are on display, creating a fun-filled day for any speed enthusiast.


There’s nothing more classic for Father’s Day than hitting the ballpark for America’s favorite pastime. Regions Field offers a picturesque backdrop for taking in a game of the Birmingham Barons. From the crack of the bat to the camaraderie of the crowd, Dad is sure to enjoy a day at the ballpark, as will the whole family.

30 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024


Nothing will make Father’s Day as thrilling as taking Dad for a competition of axe throwing. Civil Axe Throwing offers the perfect blend of excitement and camaraderie, giving Dad the opportunity to show off his axe-throwing skills in a safe and supervised environment while enjoying quality time together.


Score a hole-in-one with Dad this year with a visit to The Backyard in Leeds for a round of mini golf. The Backyard offers the perfect blend of outdoor fun and family bonding, and when the game is complete, the whole family can keep the fun flowing with some food and perhaps some live music. Bonus: even four-legged family members can come along for the fun at The Backyard.


The 11,861-acre Oak Mountain State Park is a hidden gem just outside of Birmingham, and for the family that loves all things outdoors, it’s the prime selection for Father’s Day weekend. Alabama’s largest state park offers opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and even water sports. After a day of adventure, retire to one of the park’s campground sites, or if you’re not quite ready to camp out, there are also fully equipped cabins.


Sweeten the Father’s Day celebration by treating Dad to a delightful ice cream outing. With an array of charming ice cream parlors scattered throughout the city—from Big Spoon Creamery and Mountain Brook Creamery to Bendy’s, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and Sunshine Creamery--there’s no shortage of sweet options to indulge Dad’s sweet tooth. Whether he prefers classic flavors or daring concoctions, the city’s ice cream scene has something to satisfy each and every craving.


Elevate Dad’s spirits with a day at Dread River Distillery. Dread River offers a unique experience for whisky enthusiasts and curious minds alike, and he can check out the distillery’s offerings in the Tasting Room or the full-service restaurant. For the dads that want to take a journey through the art of distillation, they even offer distillery tours, where patrons can learn about the carefully crafted spirits and gain insights into the intricate process behind each batch. | 31
32 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024 | 33

2 3 4 5

1 Cryotherapy Ice Jade Roller Gua Sha Facial Tools Face Massager

This essential beauty set is a facial skin massager roller for face, body, eyes, and neck to cool, tighten, and relax. $8.99,

2 Lavender Scented Soy Candle for Mom from Daughter or Son - Mom’s Last Nerve

This funny saying on a lovely lavender scented candle says “I love you,” even if I get on your last nerve. $9.99,

3 Weighted Heat Pad for Neck and Shoulder

Primarily designed for the neck and shoulders and back, this weighted heating pad can also be flexibly applied to the arms, waist, abdomen, legs, and more.


4 Tumbler for Dad

The unique leakproof tumbler gets your special message to Dad. It makes a fantastic choice for Father’s Day, birthday gifts for dad.


5 Super Universal Socket Tools

This universal socket grip is equipped with power drill adapter, easy connect with most electric drills, electric screwdrivers and manual ratchet set. This is a great addition to your toolbox. $9.48,

34 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024
1 | 35

Calendar May-June 2024

There are some great charity events this month that your family might enjoy, as well as some great indoor, “beat the heat” shows and events to check out! As always, check ahead for days, hours and ticket pricing. And we have MANY events that don’t make our highlights, so be sure to visit directory/events. You can even add your own upcoming event here. Happy Summer!



2024 Birmingham Pop Tab Party

11am-3pm, McDonald’s at the Riverchase Galleria. Gather up the pop tabs you’ve been collecting and turn them in at one of our annual Pop Tab Parties. Make sure your pop tabs are in Ziploc bags, a box or a container with a large opening. This makes the unloading process super-fast.

Brittle Bones Wednesday Noon, City Walk Birmingham. Beginner friendly skateboad session.

Huff-Daland Crop Duster Exhibit 10am-4pm, Southern Museum of Flight.The display is set in Monroe, Louisiana during the 1920s when the Delta Air Corporation utilized these Huff-Daland aircraft as crop dusters. $7.


Noon, Railroad Park. Get Healthy on the Railroad sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register. You will be required to sign-in each time you participate in this class.


Support Group for Patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

6:30pm, Levite Jewish Community Center. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation will continue to provide free monthly support groups for individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and their family members. FREE.


Noon, Railroad Park. Get Healthy on the Railroad sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama This inclusive class is structured for participants at all experience levels. FREE


Line Dancing

Noon, Railroad Park. Get Healthy on the Railroad sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Line Dancing. FREE


3rd Annual Steps Against Melanoma Run/Walk

8am, Veterans Park. All proceeds benefitting AIM at Melanoma Foundation. support. FREE.

Art in the Village

9am-5pm, Mountain Brook City Hall. This celebrates area artists offering a large variety of high-quality fine art paintings and drawings. Shop the works of more than 50 Mountain Brook Art Association artists both inside and outside Mountain Brook City Hall, many award winning and regionally known. FREE.

The Birmingham Folk Festival 11am-7pm. Avondale Park. Family-friendly, live music event in Avondale Park, featuring bluegrass, hip-hop, blues, gospel, folk, Americana, West African Drumming, Mariachi, Brass-Band, singer-songwriters, and art and poetry from all over Birmingham and beyond. FREE.

Donor Dash for Life 5k

8-11am, Veterans Park - Hoover. Proceeds support donation awareness programs throughout Alabama. Come celebrate the donors, recipients, living donors, caregivers and all advocates for organ, eye and tissue donation.

Play Like a Girl!

10am-2pm. Grab some friends, start your team, and get ready to play like a girl! Spectators can attend for FREE


Homeschool STEM: Codey Rocky Driving 10am, Birmingham Public Library. For 2nd-7th grade.


Magic City Pop-Up Plaza

3pm, Railroad Park, Join us on the Plaza for a diverse showing of food trucks and retail vendors from the Greater Birmingham Area.


2024 Birmingham Kidney Walk and Celebration

8:30-11am, John Carroll High School. The Alabama Kidney Foundation’s annual Kidney Walk & Celebration.

PLEASE NOTE: Calendar information should be uploaded to our website at and may appear in print if uploaded by deadline. You may also go to and simply click on the calendar icon. Information cannot be accepted over the phone. Birmingham Parent publishes a calendar 6 times a year. January events are included in the November/December issue. Deadline for the July/August 2024 PRINT calendar is June 5, 2024. Guidelines: Birmingham Parent’s calendar is intended to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fundraisers, free classes, etc., are events that may be included in our monthly calendar. We reserve the right to reject any event or listing due to rules or space restrictions. For questions regarding calendar entries, call 205-624-2405 or e-mail Be sure to check ahead with the actual venue as events are subject to change.



Baby Shark’s Big Broadwave Tour 6pm, BJCC Concert Hall,.Any child who has celebrated their first birthday must have a paid ticket. $25 - $80.


2024 RMHCA Golf Classic

11am-6pm, Greystone Golf & Country Club. Major fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB Women & Infants Center. RMHCA provides more than 26,000 nights of care to families each year.


Single Mother's Conference

5:30-7:30pm., Renew Birmingham. The threeday conference is for all of single mothers who are looking for guidance, resources, workshops and networking opportunities. This conference is for you, sign up on EVENTBRITE TODAY. If you would like to be a speaker or volunteer, call 205-201-4275.





Noon, Alabama Ballet. With a broken heart, she dies a maid and joins the spirits of other maidens who are condemned to exist in the darkness of the forest.

Vulcan’s 120th Birthday Bash

Noon-4pm. Vulcan Park. Celebrate the Big Guy’s 120th birthday.


LaMarvel City Caribbean Food and Music Festival

11 a.m.-9 p.m., DeBardeleben Park. $12. Children under 12 FREE


26th Annual Sickle Cell Walk 88 a.m. Railroad Park.


I Love America Night

6 p.m.Wald Park. Family-friendly event to celebrate the independence of our country! Enjoy FREE swimming at the Aquatic Complex, sponsor booths, children’s activities, a live concert and a spectacular Grand Finale! Visit for more info. Rain date: TBD,

Area Attractions/Events

n Aldridge Botanical Gardens 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. 205-682-8019.

n Alabama Sports Hall of Fame 2150 Richard Arrington Blvd. N., Birmingham. 205-323-6665.

n Alabama Wildlife Center 100 Terrace Dr., Pelham. 205-663-7930.

n American Village Highway 119, Montevallo. 205-665-3535.

n Barber Motorsports Park 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds. 205-298-9040.

n Birmingham Botanical Gardens 2612 Lane Park Rd., Birmingham. 205-414-3900.

n Birmingham Children’s Theatre 1001 19th St. North, Birmingham, AL, 35203, 205-458-8181.

n Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 16th St. N., Birmingham. 205-328-9696.

n Birmingham Museum of Art 205-254-2565,

n Birmingham Public Libraries

Find a library near you for fun events and enrichment.

n Birmingham Zoo 2630 Cahaba Rd., Birmingham. 205-879-0409.

n Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205-668-3435.

n Jefferson County Library Cooperative Find a library close to you for all kinds of fun events and enrichment!

n McWane Science Center • IMAX Films 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205-714-8300,

n Moss Rock Preserve Preserve Parkway, Hoover. 205-739-7141.

n Oak Mountain State Park 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. 205-620-2520.

n Ruffner Mountain Nature Center 1214 81st St. S., Birmingham. 205-833-8264,

n Shelby County Public Libraries

Find a library near you for fun events and enrichment.

n Southern Museum of Flight 4343 73rd St. N., Birmingham. 205-833-8226.

n Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla. 205-477-5711.

n Vulcan Park 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409.

As always check ahead for hours and dates of operation, ticket pricing and more.

38 | Birmingham Parent | May/June 2024

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