U.S. Space & Rocket Center was Alabama’s most visited tourism attraction in 2016

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MONTGOMERY, Ala – More than 657,000 people visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville last year, ranking it first among state attractions that charge admission, state tourism officials said.  The Birmingham Zoo ranked second with 644,667 and the McWane Science Center in Birmingham was third with 388,551.

Eight of the state’s Top 10 attractions charging admission showed an increase in attendance over previous years, state tourism director Lee Sentell said.

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile placed fourth with 294,724 and the Huntsville Botanical Garden was fifth with 276,952.

Point Mallard Park in Decatur was sixth with 274,703. The Montgomery Zoo was seventh with 238,192 and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores was eighth with 175,000.  EarlyWorks Family of Museums in Huntsville was ninth with 174,000.  Vulcan Park and Museum in Birmingham was tenth with 168,352.

The Alabama Tourism Department also released the Top 10 attendance figures for other categories.  The beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast were the most visited natural destination in the state, attracting 6.3 million tourists last year. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens attracted 350,000 visitors to make it the most attended free attraction. More than 1 million people celebrated Mobile’s Mardi Gras making it the most attended event.  University of Alabama home football games played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa had the highest attendance for sports destinations with 712,747, followed by 695,498 at Auburn University.

Attendance figures were collected by the Alabama Tourism Department from local tourism organizations.

Top 10 – Admission Charged Attractions 2016 Attendance 

  1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville: 657,692
  2. Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham: 644,667
  3. McWane Science Center,Birmingham: 388,551
  4. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile: 294,724
  5. Huntsville Botanical Garden, Huntsville: 276,952
  6. Point Mallard Park, Decatur: 274,703
  7. Montgomery Zoo, Montgomery: 238,192
  8. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Gulf Shores: 175,000
  9. EarlyWorks Family of Museums, Huntsville: 174,000
  10. Vulcan Park & Museum, Birmingham: 168,352

Top 10 – Free Attractions 2016 Attendance 

  1. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham: 350,000
  2. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery: 142,919
  3. Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham: 140,000
  4. Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery: 124,032
  5. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker: 100,000
  6. Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville: 100,000
  7. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham: 95,000
  8. Jesse Owens Museum, Danville: 93,468
  9.  Aldridge Gardens, Hoover: 85,280
  10. Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery, Tuscumbia: 80,000

Top 10 – Events 2016 Attendance

  1. Mobile Mardi Gras, Mobile: 1,172,000
  2. National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores: 250,000
  3. W.C. Handy Music Festival, Florence: 200,000
  4. National Peanut Festival, Dothan: 177,000
  5. Gulf Coast Balloon Festival, Foley: 130,000
  6. National Veteran’s Day Parade, Birmingham: 120,000
  7. Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, Fairhope: 75,000
  8. World of Wheels, Birmingham: 68,000
  9. Alabaster CityFest, Alabaster: 60,000
  10. Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Selma: 45,000

Top 10 – Parks and Natural Destinations 2016 Attendance

  1. Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches, Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Fort Morgan/Dauphin Island: 6,300,000
  2. Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores: 2,325,000
  3. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Decatur: 670,500
  4. Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham: 670,000
  5. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, McCalla: 552,331
  6. Railroad Park, Birmingham: 478,511
  7. Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne: 462,703
  8. Lake Guntersville State Park, Guntersville: 325,000
  9. Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville: 245,000
  10. Wind Creek State Park, Alexander City: 245,000

Top 10 – Sports Destinations 2016 Attendance

  1. Bryant-Denny Stadium – University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa: 712,747
  2. Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn University, Auburn: 695,498
  3. Birmingham Barons Baseball, Birmingham: 418,361
  4. Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega: 388,000
  5. Barber Vintage Motorsports, Birmingham: 260,670
  6. Montgomery Biscuits Baseball, Montgomery: 230,742
  7. SEC Baseball Tournament, Hoover: 150,064
  8. Veterans Memorial Stadium – Troy University, Troy: 135,203
  9. Huntsville Havoc Hockey, Huntsville: 117,298
  10. Mobile Baybears Baseball, Mobile: 96,185