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By Tori Linville

 

While it’s just a car drive away to visit the movie theater and watch the latest blockbuster, there are some serious downsides that have more people staying at home. Sites like Netflix have more and more people dodging the crazy concession prices and forgoing the buckets of popcorn for a more relaxed experience. If you’re one of these people, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Check out these movies that don’t disappoint and don’t come with the couple making out two rows under you (thankfully).

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (PG-13)

 

Why start with a movie you’ve probably already seen? Because, it’s a classic. And you cannot go wrong with Ferris Bueller played by a young Matthew Broderick. Maybe this time you’ll be able to figure out just what Ferris does to get away with all his stunts. Maybe not.

 

Django Unchained (R)

 

This 2012 blockbuster was one that people just wouldn’t stop talking about. Freed from slavery, Django (Jamie Foxx) travels cross country in search of his wife. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get an Oscar from this movie either, but he does play an evil plantation owner. Graphic but gripping stuff.

 

Jumanji (PG)

 

The title should be enough to grab a popcorn bowl, but we’ll elaborate. Two children discover a magic board game, Jumanji. They meet a crazy guy who has been trapped in the game for years. He’s played by Robin Williams. Now go, watch (again, probably)!

 

In A World… (R)

 

Carol Soloman (Lake Bell) is a vocal coach, but her dad’s already made a name for himself in the industry, and she’s just getting started. Overshadowed and unappreciated, Carol’s big gig finally comes and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. As an indie rom-com, this movie ain’t half bad.

 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (PG)

 

This cute animated movie features a super smart dog, Mr. Peabody, and Sherman his human companion. The two time travel and find adventure along the way. Inspired by Rocky and Bullwinkle, there’s enough cuteness and happenings going on here for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Article sponsored by Plus One Tactical.

Find them on the web at: http://www.plusonetactical.com

By Tori Linville

 

Headphones are in and the world is blocked temporarily. In your head, you’re dancing all-out to your favorite artist. No one can stop you. Really, you’re probably doing dishes. Or yard work. So why not actually live your dream for one night? Narrowing down the best live music options in your area is always a toughie. So much music, so little time! Now there’s no need to worry because we’ve got you covered right here.

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Great music is known to find its way to Tuscaloosa and this August is no different. While there isn’t much floating around now, keep your ear to the ground and more acts will line up soon.

 

August 1: Walter Parks and Amy McCarley at The Bama Theatre – 7:30 p.m.

 

August 2: Phish at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.

 

August 20: Alabama Shakes with Drive-By Truckers – 8 p.m.

 

Birmingham

 

Birmingham’s centers and arenas always attract big names. Country, alternative and pop have all made a name for themselves in the Birmingham area.

 

August 8: Outdoor Concert Party feat. Corey Smith at Tin Roof – 6:30 p.m.

 

August 9: Christina Perri at Iron City – 8 p.m.

 

August 10: My Morning Jacket at the Legacy Arena in the BJCC – 7 p.m.

 

August 14: Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and Chase Bryant at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.

 

Mobile

 

With a music scene that’s been growing rapidly over the years, Mobile isn’t short of a variety of acts to hear around the city. New and upcoming acts are spread all around and artists from rap to rock to EDM find different venues to showcase their talent.

 

August 5: Raekwon/Ghostface Killah at Vinyl Music Hall – 8 p.m.

 

August 13: SoMo at Vinyl Music Hall – 7 p.m.

 

August 29: The Molly Ringwalds at the Soul Kitchen Music Hall – 11 p.m.

 

Article sponsored by Warrior Ranch.

Find them on the web: http://www.warriorranchtrainingcenter.com

By Tori Linville

 

Tourist attractions: love them or hate them, they’re usually places that garner lines of visitors but offer overflowing entertainment. Most of the time, they represent the places they call home. Take a look at some of the tourist attractions around Alabama and see why they’re worth the trip.

 

Birmingham

 

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

 

There’s no way to visit Birmingham without understanding its illustrious past. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute allows just that. The institute focuses on telling Birmingham’s story and “teaches that silence and indifference to the suffering of others can only perpetuate social problems and divisions,” according to the BCRI’s website. Tickets start at $12 and the institute is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 

McWane Science Center

 

Focused on expanding children’s minds through science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the science center gives families a chance to explore all things science in downtown Birmingham. The museum has more than nine permanent exhibits ranging from a weather lab to a shark and ray touch tank. General admission tickets start at $13. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

 

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

 

Showcasing the largest collection of its kind, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum boasts more than 1,200 motorcycles and racecars. The sheer magnitude of the collection draws crowds of all kinds. Whether it’s the vintage motorcycles or the Lotus car collection, the display of more than 600 vehicles is enough to keep any visitor busy. Focused on most things motorcycles, with some cars thrown in the mix, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum tours are only $10. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

 

 

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Paul W. Bryant Museum

 

The obvious answer for Alabama tourism would be Bryant-Denny Stadium. Outside of football season, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is the second best place to find an Alabama football fix. The museum offers decades of Alabama football history, a hall of honor and more. To enjoy the museum’s benefits year-round, the museum extends membership packages in all shapes and sizes. Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, the museum honors the range of Alabama sports that come from the University.

 

The Waysider

 

Labelled a landmark of Tuscaloosa, a visit to the Waysider is an early morning must for Tuscaloosa visitors and natives alike. The restaurant is known for early hours and lines out the door, but it’s worth the wait. It’s famous biscuits made from scratch draw crowds, despite the hours. The Waysider is open from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 5:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. The “breakfast like grandma used to make,” coined by Southern Living is a Tuscaloosa must.

 

Kentuck Art Center

 

Offering a cultural view of the Tuscaloosa area, the Kentuck Art Center offers year-round classes, exhibitions and more. Though most known for the Kentuck Arts Festival, the art center keeps community and the arts alive with its Art Nights. Though the main building is under renovations, the art center’s T.E.M.P. Gallery offers though-provoking installations regularly. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, the Kentuck Art Center supplies a cup of culture to each and every visitor.

 

Emerald Coast

 

Amusement USA

 

The name itself says it all. Located in HarborWalk Village in Destin, the amusement destination offers something fun for everyone. Hamster balls, bungee trampolines and a chance to try and walk on water can all be found at Amusement USA. Trying out an aqua sphere or mechanical surfboard are warm ups for the beach that awaits. Grabbing a cotton candy and riding the waves in Amusement USA is just one of the many things to do on the Emerald Coast.

 

Fudpucker’s

 

Did you really step foot on the Emerald Coast if you didn’t visit Fudpuckers? Voted the Best Family-Friendly Restaurant by locals in 2014, Fudpucker’s is the perfect place for children and adults alike. Offering live alligators, Fat Daddy’s Arcades and more, the restaurant is perfect for children to explore. The newest addition in Fort Walton Beach rents watercraft to customers and will even cook your catch for you. Like the saying goes, “ya ain’t been pucked till ya been fudpucked.”

 

Okaloosa County Geocache Trail

 

Though it isn’t the beach, Okaloosa County’s Geocaching Trail offers it’s own type of excitement. Geocaching – treasure hunting with the use of GPS-enabled devices to find hidden caches – is growing in Okaloosa County. The trail presents a challenge to participants by requiring a minimum of 20 geocaches within the county’s many parks. Adding to the adventure that is the Emerald Coast, those who conquer Okaloosa geocaching trail can receive a trackable coin as one of the many rewards.

 

 

Article sponsored by Nancy and Co. and Nationwide.  

Find Nancy and Co. on the web: http://www.nancyandco.com

Find Nationwide on the web: http://www.nationwide.com

By Tori Linville

 

The temperature for July easily stretches toward the hundreds and sometimes, outdoor fun just isn’t worth the sweat stains. To save you some body stress and worry, we’ve listed July’s top movies to watch for. Instead of applying the sticky sunblock, apply to some butter to your popcorn, sit back and relax.

 

 

Magic Mike XXL (R) – July 1

 

Creating a different kind of heat is the sequel to Magic Mike, “Magic Mike XXL.” The second installment of the Magic Mike line sees Mike three years after he left his stripper job while he was in serious demand. “Magic Mike XXL” follows Mike and the Kings of Tampa as they visit Myrtle Beach for a last hurrah. In other words, hunky Channing Tatum and other hunks with abs go to beach and look even hunkier than thought possible. Hunks all around, people.

 

Minions (PG) – July 10

 

Despicable Me’s minions have finally received their own movie, and we hope it to be everything you wished for. More specifically, minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are taken up by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock). She and her husband, an inventor named Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm), have the age-old plot to take over the world. Maybe Stuart, Kevin and Bob will stop them?

 

The Gallows (R) – July 10

 

A small town tries to honor the anniversary of a tragedy that occurred during a school play 20 years before. Years ago the lead actor, a boy named Charlie, died on stage due to a prop malfunction. The resurrection of the play turns out to be a really bad idea – go figure. Creepy and dark, the movie utilizes the horror home-video aspect that adds suspense. Go watch if you dare.

 

Trainwreck (R) – July 17

 

Growing up, Amy’s father chanted to her that “monogamy isn’t realistic. Years later, Amy is doing what she likes, when she likes it, while working at a men’s magazine. Then she meets Aaron, who actually wants a relationship – which isn’t in Amy’s playbook. Amy Schumer and Bill Hader star in what the movie’s trailer dubs the film “not your mother’s romantic comedy.” Which is enough reason in itself to go see.

 

Ant-Man (PG-13) – July 17

 

Marvel is back in action after the second Avengers with “Ant-Man.” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a con-man. After being watched closely by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Scott is sprung from prison in order to become the ultimate soldier (well, kinda). Armed with a suit that can shrink to the size of an ant, but has unmeasured strength, Ant-Man comes alive. Then he has to fight this guy named Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll). Fun stuff.

 

Paper Towns (PG-13) – July 24

 

Margo Roth Spiegelman is not your average girl next door. But ever since Quentin saw her, he’s been hooked. One night, Margo needs a get-away driver and Q’s hand-me-down minivan is the vehicle that will get the job done. The two avenge Margo’s cheating boyfriend in a memory-filled night, and then Margo goes missing. Q and his friends set out for the road trip of a lifetime to find Margo and learn about themselves along the way. Based on John Green’s novel “Paper Towns,” the movie stars Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff.

 

Article sponsored by DCH.

Find them on the web: https://www.dchsystem.com

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. It’s what a body starts off with and what gives it energy. Some believe breakfast is in a league all its own, while others only save breakfast for the weekends. Which ever way you swing, we’ve listed the best breakfasts in the area to satisfy every stomach.

 

Instead of sweating in the summer heat, local museums offer an air conditioned way to stimulate the brain. Museums all throughout Alabama have many features to offer and some even serve lunch after taking in all there is to see. We’ve got a list of museums just ready and waiting for you to visit. Get to know about them here!

By Tori Linville

 

If you don’t have the vacation time saved up for a trip to some far-off destination, water parks are quick weekend mini-vacations that offer something for the whole family to enjoy. Whether it’s the lazy river or a stomach-turning slide, water parks are known for having a little something for everyone. We’ve listed a couple of Alabama’s top rated water parks for you to visit and decide for yourself.

 

Alabama Splash Adventure

 

Free unlimited soft drinks for the 2015 season is just one reason to visit Alabama Splash Adventure. This water park sits in between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham in Bessemer and offers a variety of services and freebies for visitors. The more than 15 attractions include a 5-story water ride drop and a 50 foot plunge into a splash pool. Season passes are on sale for $69.95 plus taxes.

 

·      Free parking, sunscreen, inner tubes, WiFi and life jackets

·      Snacks from Fin’s Surfside Grill, Mama Lizetti’s and Chubbies offer American and Italian foods

·      General admission for adults from 18 to 54 is $29.95

·      Seniors are $24.95

·      Children are $19.95, two years and younger are free

 

Visit alabamasplash.com to find out hours and directions for your visit.

 

Spring Valley Beach

 

Spring Valley Beach just opened and the ratings are just right for your next water park experience. In between Huntsville and Birmingham, Spring Valley Beach boasts a collection of mind-blowing slides sure to make any drop worthwhile. The Kid Zone is perfect for family fun and the Spring Valley Beach pool is the largest in the southeast. General admission rounds out at around $25 and season tickets are on sale.

 

·      Concessions offer burgers, hot dogs, etc.

·      Visitors are allowed to bring their own food, non-alcoholic drinks, picnic baskets, grills, etc.

·      Clothing must be family friendly

·      Pavilions are available for rent starting at $25

·      General admission parking is free, but parking by the pool area is $10

 

See springvalleybeach.com for more information on hours and ticket pricing.

 

Point Mallard Park

 

Point Mallard Park offers more than just a water park in Decatur. The year round park has a golf course, ice complex and more for visitors to enjoy. With many different attractions to enjoy within Point Mallard, it’s prime water park season in the summer. The relaxing lazy river, the speed slides and kid area are just a few of the things to visit at Point Mallard. Season passes start at $100.

 

·      Rain checks and refunds are not issued at Point Mallard

·      General admission for adults is only $20

·      Free soft drink and water refills are available for the entire season upon purchase of a $25 season cup.

·      The Hard Duck Café, Point Pizza and Icy Oasis offer food and beverages for visitors

·      No outside food or drinks are permitted

 

To plan your next party or to see water park hours, visit pointmallardpark.com.

 

Waterville USA

 

The combination amusement and water park that makes Waterville USA is hard not to be excited about. The park sits in Gulf Shores and is perfect for a day away from the beach. Water park attractions include a 60 foot drop slide named the Screamin’ Demon and other rides designed for a chillin’ or thrillin’ time. The amusement park features rollercoasters and mini golf to round out the experience at Waterville. Water park season passes start at $150.

 

·      Free parking, tubes and life jackets

·      No cash refunds are given for inclement weather and rain checks are not issued for season pass holders

·      Nascar Go-Carts, House of Bounce and Trampoline Thing can all be found at the amusement park.

·      No outside food or drink (even water) allowed

 

Check out watervilleusa.com for contact information and pricing.

 

 

When scouting for a good place to run, there’s always that checklist that comes to mind. Everyone wants something that appeals to them while their nose is to the grindstone. Check out why these spots are the ideal running trails for some exercise.

 

Birmingham

 

With an organized running community, Birmingham boasts many different routes and trails to explore. Here just two of many to choose from. Visit birminghamtrackclub.com to get involved with other runners in the community.

 

Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park provides great trail run material for any runner. Stretching for 12 miles, the trails at Red Mountain Park offer a special variety singular to the park. It has more than 10 interconnecting trails that provide hills, rocky terrain and more. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and has many stops along the trails for rest or short breaks. To get a more detailed look, visit redmountainpark.org.

 

Oak Mountain State Park

Providing yet another range of scenery for runners, Oak Mountain State Park has a collective of more than 50 miles of trails to explore. Though some trails are specific to horseback riding and biking, there’s still room enough for everyone. Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the park’s five hiking trails are labeled by color and marked accordingly. To find out more information about the trails and running opportunities within the park, visit alaprk.com/oak-mountain-state-park-hiking-trails.

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Sokol Park

While the University and downtown Tuscaloosa offer scenic routes all their own, a change of venue can be found in Sokol Park. Designed with runners in mind, Sokol Park has many well kept trails that are perfect for setting your own pace. The park’s main trail is around 4 miles, with trail loops that can provide an extension to a run. Tuscaloosa business Wagner’s Run Walk hosts a group run Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. with free water and merchandise.

 

UA Arboretum and Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Areas

This rarely mentioned area offers three scenic and different options for runners. The VA itself has paved a trail around its grounds for an estimated 2 miles of track. Arrows serve as guides and hills are short and sweet. Neighboring the VA is the UA Arboretum, home to the UA Cross Country Course and a dirt road that can also serve as a running track. The cross country course has a marked loop as well as a grass fairway with yellow arrows as guides. The dirt road serves as rocky mile-long stretch that runs from one end of the arboretum to the other.

Information taken from wagnersrunwalk.com.

 

30A/Destin

 

Rosemary Beach

The appeal here is obvious – who wouldn’t want the beach by their side for a run? The sand is another bonus, lowering the impact the run has on a runner’s joints. Opposite from the ocean are architectural feats connected by pedestrian boardwalks, such as shops and residences. With the ocean wind as motivation, Rosemary Beach offers a breathtaking 107 acre view.

 

Deer Lake State Park

Offering a quieter backdrop for a runner’s escape, South Walton’s “best kept secret” provides all of the scenery with less than half of the noise.  The beach in Deer Lake State Park is undisturbed and gives an alternate to the sandy paths throughout the area. The half-mile Blue Trail borders Deer Lake and is perfect for a short run with plenty of wildlife to see. To see what else Deer Lake State Park has to offer, visit floridastateparks.org/park/Deer-Lake.

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Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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