The Birmingham Metro area is home to some of the best public education in the state of Alabama. After high school, students have their choice of a variety of junior college and university programs. Birmingham's largest college, in terms of enrollment, is the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Samford University, Birmingham Southern, Jefferson State Community College, The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Auburn University, Virginia College-Birmingham and Lawson State Community College are some of the other area colleges.
Spectator sports are a large part of Birmingham's recreational culture. The Birmingham Barons, a minor league baseball team, and the NCAA athletes of the UBlazers Samford Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Auburn Tigers provide residents with many Division I games to watch and teams to support. Every spring the Senior PGA Tour comes to Birmingham for the Regions Charity Classic. There are also two major motor-sport venues in the area, the Talladega Superspeedway and Barber Motorsports Park. Thoroughbred and greyhound racing events are held at Birmingham Race Course.
Of course, when Birmingham residents aren't watching sports, they might be participating in them. Golf is very popular, and the city is recognized for the quality and selection of its courses. Alabama's popular Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, for example, has 72 challenging holes of golf located only 10 miles from downtown Birmingham. The area also has several top spots for freshwater fishing, including Lay Lake, Lake Logan Martin, Lake Martin, Smith Lake and Bankhead Reservoir. Other popular sports and activities include mountain biking, tennis, baseball, softball, soccer, rugby, canoeing, and birding.
Birmingham also has a long list of attractions to experience and explore. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located within Birmingham's historic Civil Rights District and documents the city's role in the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century. A next stop can be the Birmingham Museum of Art, which is one of the largest municipal museums in the Southeast. The museum's collection features ancient artifacts, modern pieces and many works of art that fall somewhere in between. Families will be sure to visit the Birmingham Zoo, one of the most popular attractions in the state. The zoo contains hundreds of wild animals plus an interactive aviary, picnic areas, refreshments and gift shop. The McWane Science Center and IMAX Dome offers great entertainment and education for kids of all ages and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is one of the premier gardens in the Southeast.
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