The Tally on Tourism; Rockets at the Top

More than 580, 000 people visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville last year, making it the top state attraction charging admission, state tourism officials say.

The state’s top five attractions charging admission all showed an increase in attendance over previous years, spokesman Brian Jones said. Attendance figures were collected by the Alabama Tourism Department from local tourism organizations.

The top five list of attractions charging admission continues with the Birmingham Zoo, a close second, with 574, 176 visitors, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail third, with 530, 678.

The USS Alabama Battleship Park in Mobile placed fourth, with 371, 229 visitors, and the McWane Science Center in Birmingham was fifth, with 316, 918.
In other categories:

Top five sports destinations, 2013 attendance: Bryant-Denny Stadium – University of Alabama, 710, 538; Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn University, 685, 252; Birmingham Barons Baseball, 396, 820; Talladega Superspeedway, 350, 000; Barber Vintage Motorsports of Birmingham, 268, 196.

- Sponsor -

Top five natural destinations was headed by Alabama beaches, attracting 5.5 million visitors last year. Other top finishers were Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, 1, 965, 000; Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, McCalla, 541, 025; Railroad Park, Birmingham, 488, 000; and Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, 433, 500.

Top five events by attendance were: Mobile Mardi Gras, 798, 312; Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, 300, 000; Pepper Place Saturday Market in Birmingham, 285, 000; National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, 250, 000; National Peanut Festival in Dothan, 182, 500.

For more information, contact the Alabama Tourism Department or visit

Text by Dave Helms

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox