Month: July 2010

Montgomery, Alabama

A- Overview:
Located on the Alabama River in the center of the state, Montgomery is a thriving city with an impressive amount of history and distinctly southern style of living. The city is filled with culture and history, but the passage of time is gracefully slow and easy, in the southern style.

Montgomery is a cosmopolitan city. From its famous Shakespeare festival to its symphony orchestra to the F. Scott Fitzgerald Museum, there are activities of substance that are culturally significant. Visitors should check with the Arts Council before coming so they can plan ahead as to which of the many activities they will try to attend.

In the 1860s, Montgomery was part of the Confederacy and the first Confederate White House still stands. Montgomery is justifiably proud of its history, and the many aspects of that history have united to form a strong cultural identity. Montgomery’s Confederate Trail Itinerary covers a fascinating route from the State Capitol, past many buildings connected with that time in history, ending at the Confederate prison and cemetery.

Montgomery’s is one of a few state capitol buildings designated a National Historic Landmark. Known as the birthplace of the Confederacy and of the Civil Rights movement, The Alabama State Capitol is where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America and where the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights March ended with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering a moving speech from the bottom of its steps. The historic Senate and House of Representatives Chambers, the old Supreme Court Chambers and several official offices have all been restored to their Civil War-era and turn-of-the-century appearances.

The Hank Williams Memorial honors the country singer, who is perhaps best known for his ballad, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” The memorial is downtown in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex . Weekdays, the W.A. Gayle Planetarium on Forest Ave., presents sky shows and science programs.

Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in Montgomery from 1954 to 1960, and there is a monument to the Civil Rights movement. Completed in 1989, the Civil Rights Memorial stands in the front plaza of the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., as a monument to those who died in the struggle for racial equality. The memorial features the top of a circular marble table covered with a thin sheet of flowing water and is inscribed with dates of key events and names of people involved in the civil rights movement

In Old Alabama Town, costumed interpreters guide visitors through life in the 19th and early 20th centuries in a fascinating 4-block “town.” There is the opportunity to over 40 buildings from schoolhouses to cotton gins and experience life as an Alabamian in the state’s infancy.

Maxwell Air Force Base, where the Wright Brothers’ Flight School once stood, is the site of the Air University, the Air Force’s center of professional military education. Trolleys travel through the downtown area, providing transportation to Montgomery government buildings, historical sites, the Riverfront Amphitheatre and Riverwalk Stadium, home to the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits. The trolleys run continually from 9-6, Monday through Saturday for ease of transportation in reaching the city attractions.

Montgomery offers several parks in which to enjoy a family picnic. Chief among these is Blount Cultural Park, with its 300 acres of hills, lakes, and culture. Then take a walk to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts or the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Shakespeare Gardens.

The highlight of the year in Montgomery is Jubilee CityFest which takes place during Memorial Day Weekend. CityFest appeals to a diverse crowd by offering the best of just about every genre of music including pop, country, alternative, zydeco, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, oldies and classic rock. Other Jubilee CityFest attractions include KidsFest, ArtFest, Symphony Pops Concert, Jubilee Run, “Thunder Over The River” fireworks and a Sunrise Celebration Service. It is easy to see why Montgomery is such a popular vacation destination at any time of year!

B- City Information:
Population: 201,568

Elevation: 250 feet above sea level

Land Area: 155.4 square miles

Location: Located in the central part of Alabama at the intersection of Interstates 65 and 85

Time Zone: Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Montgomery, it’s 1pm in New York City and 10am in Los Angeles). Montgomery observes Daylight Saving Time from April – October

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
46.4
50.2
57.6
64.0
72.0
78.6
81.5
80.9
76.0
65.2
56.0
48.8

High temperature (°F)
57.4
62.1
70.2
77.1
84.2
90.2
92.4
91.9
87.4
78.5
68.5
60.1

Low temperature (°F)
35.3
38.3
45.1
50.9
59.8
67.0
70.6
69.8
64.6
52.1
43.4
37.5

Precipitation (in)
5.0
5.3
6.0
4.3
4.0
4.2
4.8
3.5
3.8
2.6
4.2
4.8

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
11
9
10
8
8
9
12
9
8
6
8
10

Wind speed (mph)
7.7
8.2
8.3
7.3
6.1
5.8
5.7
5.2
5.9
5.7
6.5
7.1

Morning humidity (%)
82
80
82
86
88
88
90
91
89
89
87
84

Afternoon humidity (%)
64
60
57
57
60
60
64
64
62
58
60
64

Sunshine (%)
47
52
59
65
63
62
61
63
62
64
55
49

Local Seasons:

As both a major business city as well as a tourist destination, Montgomery has something of interest taking place virtually every day of the year. With a moderate climate year-round, anytime is a good time for a visit. Summer temperatures peak in the mid 90’s F during the day, with the evenings dropping to a more comfortable 70 F. It is often cloudy and rainy during this time so be prepared. Spring and fall bring cooler temperatures and more sunshine. This is an ideal time to take advantage of the many outdoor activities available. Winters are mild with little or no snow.

How to Get There:

By Air

Montgomery Regional Airport

4445 Selma Highway
Montgomery, AL 36108

334-281-5040

The airport is conveniently located 15 minutes from downtown on U.S. Hwy. 80 W. It is served by a few of the regional airlines as well as charter services.

By Car

Montgomery is easy to reach as two interstate highways, I-65 and I-85, intersect within the City. Additional highways serving Montgomery are U.S. 31, 80, 82, 231 and 331, and are all connected by a four-lane perimeter road encompassing the City.

By Train

Amtrak

950 West South Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36105

800-USA-RAIL

By Bus

Greyhound

950 W South Blvd.
Montgomery, AL 36105

334-286-0953

How to Get Around:

When visiting the downtown area, the Lightning Route Trolley System transports visitors to attractions throughout the area for a small fee. Rental cars are also available.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day: Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Robert E. Lee’s Birthday: 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day: 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Confederate Memorial Day: 4th Monday in April

Memorial Day: last Mon. in May

Jefferson Davis’s birthday: 1st Monday in June

Independence Day: July 4

Labor Day: 1st Mon. in Sept.

Columbus Day: 2nd Monday in October

Thanksgiving Day: 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
General Richard Montgomery Riverboat
334-834-9862
This gracious, old-fashioned riverboat still plies the river just as similar boats did in the past. Visitors will enjoy a little history and a great ride in the “Montgomery”.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
454 Dexter Ave
334-263-3970
Guests can visit the beautiful Baptist church where Martin Luther King, Jr. ministered from 1954 to 1960. The church offers some information on King, and his life and ministry.

Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
334-263-1440
The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Bldg
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

Family Fun

Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
334-263-1440

The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Building
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
PO Box 1069
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
PO Box 60011
334-263-1440
The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Bldg
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events & Entertainment

January

Alabama Junior Miss Pageant

Held in January

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-244-9066

Call for additional information

Every January, Montgomery College-Bound high school girls compete for scholarships and gain personal development.

Hank Williams Anniversary Memorial

Held on January 1

Location: Oakwood Cemetery Annex

334-262-3600

Call for additional information

Admission Free

Every year on January 1st, fans of the late Hank Williams gather for a Memorial Service at his gravesite in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex near downtown Montgomery and the Hank Williams Museum.

Annual History Symposium

Held in January

Location: Museum of Fine Arts

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every January for the annual history symposium. This event is sponsored by the Landmarks Foundation, in cooperation with the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

February

Black History Month at Old Alabama Town

Held every Thursday in February

Location: Old Alabama Town

888-240-1850

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town as they celebrate Black History Month with special guided tours every Thursday in February.

March

Celebration of the Season

Held in March

Location: Davis Theatre

334-241-2800

Call for additional information

Join the Alabama Dance Theatre in March for their annual Celebration of the Season performance. Each year the dancers perform a different production.

SE Livestock Rodeo Exposition

Held in March

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-265-1867

Call for additional information

One of the largest rodeos east of the Mississippi features livestock shows, cattle events, rodeo performances, wagon train, and PRCA with top cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation.

May

Jubilee City Fest

Held over Memorial Day Weekend

Location: Montgomery

334-834-7220

Call for additional information

Taking place each year during Memorial Day Weekend, Jubilee City Fest appeals to a diverse crowd by offering the best entertainment available. Whatever genre of music is your preference; there is something for everyone including pop, country, alternative, zydeco, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, oldies and classic rock. Other Jubilee City Fest attractions include Kids Fest, Artiest, Symphony Pops Concert, Jubilee Run, “Thunder Over The River” fireworks and the Sunrise Celebration Service.

July

July 4th Celebration

Held on July 4

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join the crowd at Old Alabama Town every July as they celebrate America’s independence. A special patriotic ceremony is held in front of Lucas Tavern. Boy Scouts post the colors of the flag, lead the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem and a children’s’ flag parade follows. Tour Montgomery’s historic village and have fun as visitors return to the adventurous pioneer days.

September

AJBF River Jam

Held in mid September

Location: Downtown Montgomery

334-263-2523

Call for additional information

Sponsored by the Alabama Jazz and Blues Federation, River Jam takes place downtown on an autumn night in September and gives Montgomerians a chance to hear top notch jazz, blues and zydeco bands and artists.

Alabama Highland Games

Held in September

Location: Blount Cultural Park

334-272-2174

Call for additional information

Events include live Scottish performances, a parade, an individual athletic competition and piping & drumming competitions.

Ballet and the Beast

Held in September

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-409-0522

Call for additional information

Enjoy entertainment under the stars as The Montgomery Ballet and the Montgomery Zoo present their annual September performance of Ballet & the Beasts. Stroll the grounds of the City’s magnificent Zoo before taking a seat to enjoy the performance. After sunset, The Montgomery Ballet takes the stage to offer an exciting and enchanting evening.

Broadway under the Stars

Held in September

Location: Blount Cultural Park

334-240-4004

Call for additional information

Admission Free

Join the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra every September as they bring Broadway show tunes and pop classics to the Blount Cultural Park.

Storytelling Festival

Held in September

Location: Kiwanis Park

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every September for the Storytelling Festival. Each year they bring in noted storytellers from around the state.

October

Alabama National Fair

Held in October

Location: Alabama Agricultural Center and Fairgrounds

334-272-6831

Call for additional information

The Fair brings high quality entertainment and provides concerts and stage shows. In addition to the concerts, there are many exhibits, food concessions and over 60 awesome rides in the carnival on the midway. The Fair is held at the Alabama Agricultural Center and Fairgrounds and is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery.

Festival in the Riverfront Park

Held the first Saturday in October

Location: Riverfront Park

334-241-2300

Call for additional information

Activities include over 100 exhibitors, a 5K run and 1 mile family fun run/walk, a young artist’s gallery for the kids, special performances for children, and lots of food.

Junior League’s Annual Holiday Market

Held in October

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-288-8816

Call for additional information

Join the Junior League of Montgomery every October as they host Holiday Market and start the holiday shopping early. This three-day shopping extravaganza features a wide variety of specialty shops and attracts a large crowd of shoppers from Montgomery and the surrounding areas. Special events include the preview party and silent auction, live entertainment, children performances and pictures with Santa.

Montgomery Zoo Boo

Held in mid – late October

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-240-4900

Call for additional information

Join the Montgomery Zoo two weeks prior to Halloween as it transforms into ghosts and goblins complete with a haunted hayride and train ride.

Tavern Fest

Held in October

Location: Lucas Tavern

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every October as the celebrate Tavern Fest. Events include music and dancing. This event is centered around the 1818 Lucas Tavern located in the heart of downtown Montgomery. The historic landmark is the idea setting for a fall festival where attendees taste specialty brews, sample craft beers, listen to great music and dance in the streets.

November

ASU Turkey Day Classic

Held in late November

Location: Multiple Locations

334-229-4280

Call for additional information

Join Alabama State University as they host the Turkey Day Classic at Crampton Bowl against their biggest rival Tuskegee University. The day kicks off with a Turkey Day Classic Parade down Dexter Avenue.

Train & Doll Exhibit

Held November – December

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

This exhibit features trains & dolls from all over the world and from every time period.

December

Annual Glenn Miller Concert

Held in December

Location: Davis Theatre

334-953-2014

Call for additional information

Get ready to open the holiday season with the Annual Glenn Miller Holiday Concert.

Montgomery Holiday Lights

Held in December

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-240-4900

Call for additional information

Join the Montgomery Zoo every December as the Zoo transforms into a Wintery Wonderland. Thousands of holiday lights illuminate the zoo in shapes of animals and Christmas themes. Hop aboard the train for a magical ride through the festive zoo.

Montgomery Holiday Parade

Held the first Saturday in December

Location: Court Square

334-240-4738

Call for additional information

The Holiday Parade begins at 5:30 pm. Immediately following the parade, the Mayor lights the city’s Christmas tree at Court Square Fountain. Floats in the parade include local school groups, local dance/gymnastic groups, civic organizations and local high school & college bands.

Train & Doll Exhibit

Held November – December

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

This exhibit features trains & dolls from all over the world and from every time period.

Entertainment:

Alabama Dance Theatre

1018 Madison Avenue

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-241-2590

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Alabama Dance Theatre is an eclectic dance company performing classical and contemporary works. ADT performs two major productions each year at the Davis Theatre: “Mistletoe”, a holiday favorite and “A Celebration of the Season”, an annual spring performance.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

1 Festival Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117

800-841-4ASF

Call for performance schedule and additional information

This internationally acclaimed theatre is one of the ten largest Shakespeare Festivals in the world, presenting world-class contemporary and classic productions and educational programs throughout the entire year. Alabama’s Shakespeare Festival is one of the American theatres invited to fly the flag of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company.

Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts

251 Montgomery Street

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-241-9567

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Completely restored 1930s fine arts palace and affiliated with Troy State University Montgomery, the subscriber series is comprised of touring productions from Broadway shows to concerts.

Faulkner University Dinner Theatre

5345 Atlanta Highway

Montgomery, AL 36109

334-386-7190

Call for additional information

Enjoy Broadway-style family entertainment in an elegant setting.

Montgomery Ballet

6009 E. Shirley Lane

Montgomery, AL 36117

334-409-0522

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Montgomery’s professional ballet company and school featuring classic performances throughout the year.

Montgomery Symphony

301 N. Hull Street

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-240-4004

Call for performance schedule and additional information

The Montgomery Symphony performs ten concerts each season and mounts a variety of educational programs.

The Capri Theatre

1045 E. Fairview Ave.

Montgomery, AL 36106

334-262-4858

Call for performance schedule and additional information

The Capri Theatre was built in 1941 as The Clover and was Montgomery’s first neighborhood theatre. It was remodeled and renamed The Capri in 1963. Today it shows independent films and award-winning classics.

Sports:

Montgomery Biscuits

Double A Baseball

Games played at Riverwalk Stadium

Season runs April – August

334-323-2255

Take in an exciting game of Double A baseball at the official home for the Montgomery Biscuits. Bring a picnic and blanket and view the game from the stadium’s picnic area. Every seat provides visitors with a wonderful view of the game courtesy of a state-of-the-art LED screen that’s capable of even showing instant replays. Children can frolic in the stadium’s playground and in the off season there are plenty of activities going on at this fun-filled stadium.

Montgomery Motorsports Park

2600 N. Belt Drive
Montgomery, AL 36110

Drag Racing

334-260-9660

Call for schedule and additional information

A NHRA sanctioned dragway that offers year-round drag racing including “Street Wars” on Friday evenings, which gives everyone a chance to be a race-car driver.

Victoryland Greyhound Racing

I-85 at Exit 22
Shorter, Alabama 36075

Dog Racing

334-727-0540

Call for schedule and additional information

Enjoy the thrill of racing excitement from the climate controlled clubhouse or the front row view of the grandstand or try your luck at a game of live Bingo or one of over 1,000 video bingo machines.

Southeaster Livestock Exposition Rodeo

Held every March

Held at the Garrett Coliseum

1555 Federal Dr.

Montgomery, AL 36107

334-265-1867

Call for additional information

Every March, rodeo stars from across the country converge on the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery for one of the most exciting rodeos held.

Nassau, Bahamas

A- Overview:
The Islands of the Bahamas are among the most beautiful places on earth to visit. The water ranges from pale aqua to deep sapphire, the spectrum changing hourly as the sun shines brightly in a cloudless sky. Nassau, the country’s capital, is a bustling town on New Providence Island with shops, nightclubs, glamorous casinos, and posh hotels. Even in Nassau, though, there are quiet byways and shady lanes where you can step away from the activity of the main tourist areas. Visitors have many options. They can pause in their shopping at any time to wander past old colonial buildings that are full of fascinating island history. Nights can be spent watching a perfect sunset, dining on elegant French or local cuisine in a hotel restaurant, and then taking in a show, dancing, or visiting one of the island’s casinos.
Nassau’s sheltered harbor bustles with the familiar cruise ship hubbub and the excitement of fishing excursions coming and going, while a block away, broad, palm lined Bay Street is alive with commercial activity. The shopping in Nassau is first rate, as fine imported goods and local crafts compete for attention right next to each other. The historical sights are centered around the downtown area. This area has been renovated and rejuvenated in recent years, adding to its beauty and attractiveness. Amidst the historic landmarks, chic cigar bars, fancy restaurants, art galleries, suave clubs, and trendy coffeehouses are popping up everywhere.

No visit to Nassau would be complete without a trip to nearby Paradise Island. This strip of land off Nassau’s northern coast is truly a world class playground. Its casinos and beaches are the first choice for many tourists. The recently completed Atlantis casino and super-resort has attracted even more visitors. The water is a clear blue, and the sand on the beaches is perfectly white on Paradise Island. Inside, the casinos offer every game imaginable, as well as dozens of shows and attractions.

The Islands of the Bahamas–with exquisite golden and pink sunsets, pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and year round sunshine–couldn’t have sprung from the sea in more perfect form for 21st century vacationers. Nassau is the crown jewel of the islands. The town has become even more beautiful of late, and its amazing beaches, significant historic landmarks, and world class resort casinos continue to attract thousands upon thousands of tourists each year.

B- City Information:
Country:
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Capital:
Nassau

Time:
Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with US summer hours.

Currency:
The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. Most of the times, you can either pay in US Dollars or Bahamian Dollars.

Weather:
The Bahamas consist of more than 700 islands and cays, many of which are not inhabitated. The islands cover an area of 100,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean, located between Hispaniola and South Florida.
Bahama welcomes its visitors with an ideal climate avaeraging 80-90 degrees F in the summer and 70 – 80 degrees F during the winter month. Water temperatures in the Bahamas are never below 72 degrees F.

Rainy season is between May and September, but showers generally come and go very quickly.

Average Temperatures:

Month Temp (F) Humidity (%) Rain/month (inches)
January 62/77 78 (%) 1.86
April 66/82 74 (%) 2.12
July 75/90 77 (%) 6.21
October 71/86 80 2.23

Custom Regulations:

Upon entering The Bahamas, everyone must fill out and sign an Immigration form, keeping a portion of the card in hand until departing. Adults are allowed to bring a maximum of 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco, one quart of spirits, and a variety of personal effects. Purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars are permitted by all arriving passengers.

When departing, all visitors (over 6 years old)are required to pay a $15.00 departure tax ($18.00 from Grand Bahama); Departures to the US must go through US Customs pre-clearance. you may bring home up to US$600 worth of duty-free merchandise. The next $l,000 is taxed at 10%. Gifts valued up to $50 may be mailed home duty-free. One litre of wine, liqueur or liquor and five cartons of cigarettes can be taken duty-free.

Banking Hours:
Banks in Nassauare opened from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday
and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Please note that banking hours vary throughout the Islands.

Electricity:
Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. American appliances are fully compatible.

Tipping:
Waiters and Tab drivers receive 15% according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag. Some establishments include the gratuity in their bills.

Getting Around:
Driving in the Bahamas is influenced by the British, so cars drive on the left. Visitors can drive using their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. Pedestrians please be careful and remember to look to your right before crossing streets.

Taxi’s are located at the international airports, major hotels and downtown Nassau.
Meter Cabs: Davis Street, Nassau – 242-323-5111
Bahamas Taxi Cab Union: Nassau Street – 242-323-4555

Buses run throughout the day normally until dusk every 30 minutes.. Buses to the Cable beach area leave from Navy Lion Road North depot. Buses to the Eastern area leave from Frederick Street North depot. Buses to the malls leave from Marlbourgh Street East.

Medical Services:
Princess Margaret Hospital – 242-322-2861
Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre – 242-324-6881
Doctor’s Hospital – 242-322-8411
C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower
Top of Elizabeth Ave. hill, south of Shirley St
Fort Fincastle is located atop the Queen’s Staircase. The structure was completed in 1793 and it served as a lookout post for looters trying to sneak in through the harbor. It later served as a lighthouse. The fort’s 126-ft-tall water tower is recorded as being the highest point on the island
Fort Charlotte
Fort Charlotte is the largest fort in the Bahamas. It was built in 1788 and features a traditional moat and dungeons. It also boasts one of the best views of Nassau.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore exhibits both above and below the surface.

Botanical Gardens
Tel: (242) 323-5975
Chippingham
off West Bay St
Enjoy lushfull gardens with more than 600 tropical species.

Paintings by Amos Ferguson
2nd floor of the Pompey Museum
Bay Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, a permanent Art Exhibition spotlights paintings of internationally acclaimed Bahamian artist Amos Ferguson. Ferguson’s “primitive” paintings are grouped by four main themes: history, religion, nature and folklore. Museum Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.; 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on alternate Sats. Closed on Sun. and holidays. Location: 2nd floor of the Pompey Museum, Bay Street, Nassau. Donation.

Junkanoo Expo
(242) 356-2731
Open daily 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
A new attraction at Nassau’s waterfront. The first Museum of it’s kind showcasing large, colorful, intricately deigned artistic creations from recently passed Junkanoo parades, held annually on December 26th and New Year’s Day. The Expo complex also includes a souvenir boutique, with Junkanoo paintings and a variety of Junkanoo craft.

Bahamas Historical Society Museum Pompey Museum
Elizabeth Avenue and Shirley Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
An ongoing exhibition, displaying A RESERVOIR OF HISTORY, comprising a collection and preservation of historic, anthropological and archaeological Bahamian artifacts. Hours: Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m; Sat. 10:00 a.m.- Noon. Closed Sun. and holidays. Tours available. Admission fee.

Balcony House
(242) 322-2193, The original design of this wooden house was a transplant of late 18th century southeast American architecture. The present design and furnishings, recently restored between 1992 and 1993, have sought to recapture the ambience of this historic period. Admission: Free, however donations are welcome. Tours are provided. Hours: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily, except Thursdays. Closed Thur. & holidays.

Changing of the Guards Ceremony
Government House Grounds
Baillou Hill Road
five minutes from downtown Nassau
(242) 322-2020
A fortnightly tradition of pomp and pageantry marking the changing of the Guard at Government House, the residence of the Governor General, personal representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The internationally renowned Royal Bahamas Police Force Band proudly performs. Time: 10:00 a.m.

The Retreat
(242) 393-1317
Here at the 11-acre home of The Bahamas National Trust, environmentalists and nature lovers can enjoy and tour this natural haven of native flora. Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon. – Fri. Tours: Commence at 11:45 a.m., for half an hour, Tue., Wed. & Thur.

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Exuma Islands
This park, inaugurated in 1958, is the first of its kind anywhere on the planet. It comprises 176 square miles of outstanding anchorages and a stunning marine environment. It was the Caribbean’s first marine fishery reserve. Many a worldly yachtsperson will tell you that the Exumas are the world’s most picturesque yachting grounds.

Inagua National Park
Great Inagua Island
This park on Great Inagua island is internationally famous as the site of the world’s largest colony of wild West Indian flamingos. In Bahamian dialect these birds are called “fillymingos” and/or “flamingas”.

Island World Adventures Ltd
Tel: (242) 394-8960/61, evenings 357-7782
Private charter and offshore excursions throughout The Bahamas. Daily excursions to Exuma Island. Explore and snorkel around private islands, feed stingrays, sharks, barracudas and experience the beauty of the Bahama waters.

Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Sunshine Tours
Tel: (242) 363-4051
Sightseeing and glass bottom boat excursions. Enjoy a great underwater adventure!

Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

Cable Beach
Cable Beach is a famous beach on the island of New Providence where you’ll find a wide range of activities, and every service will be at your fingertips. Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment–if you can think of it, you’ll probably find it there.

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides without getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
PO Box SS-5244
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides with out getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore an array of exhibits both above and below the surface.

Pirates Of Nassau Museum
Marlborough& George Streets
242-356-3759
Ahoy Matey! Embark on this pirate ship and come face to face with Captain Teach. Captain Teach and his fearsome crew will guide the whole family through an interactive and historical age of piracy. The thrilling atmosphere is contagious, and it is here where visitors have the opportunity to become pirates for a day!

E- Events & Entertainment:
Bird Walk
The first Saturday in every month at 8:00 a.m.
Rand Nature Centre
Grand Bahama Island
(242) 352-5438
Birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy a walk through this bird sanctuary.

Central Bank Art Exhibition
Each month, during January – April
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, Mon. – Fri.
Central Bank Gallery
Trinity Place & Frederick Street
Downtown Nassau
(242) 327-7562
view varied artwork displayed by different Bahamian artists

Native “King & Knights” Show
Nassau Beach Hotel, Cable Beach
Show Times: Tue.-Sat.: 8:30 p.m. (& 10:30 p.m. depending upon attendance)
Sun. & Mon.: 8:30 p.m. show only
(242) 327-5321
For exciting indigenous entertainment in Nassau, visit our native King & Knights Show, offering fire-dancing and limbo-dancing.

New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade
January 1
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
starting at 1:00 a.m.
(242) 394-0445
Junkanoo, a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual) takes place. Prize-giving is at 8:00 a.m. The parade is a repeat of the Boxing Day Parade, held December 26 past. On this occasion, costumes and themes are different from Boxing Day.

Annual New Year’s Sailing Regatta
January 1-2
Montagu Bay
(242) 394-0445
Thirty to 40 locally built sailing sloops, ranging from 17′ to 28′, converge off Montagu Bay in a battle for championship. A continuation from the Christmas Regatta held December 25 & 26, 1997. Organised by the Bahamas Boat Owners Association. A spectator boat is available for a close-up view of races.

The Polar Bear Swim
January 1, from 12:30 p.m
Beach behind Rock ‘N’ Roll Cafe
Cable Beach
(242) 322-6504
Each New Year’s, a fun time, with beach party and a customary (snowbirds) swim in the sea amongst giant ice cubes (Brrrr!).

Dundas Repertory Season
January 26 – May 30
(242) 393-3728
Plays, executed by Bahamian artists, are held at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, Mackey Street, Nassau.

Spring Breack Season
February 28 – April 10
(242) 322-7500, ext. 4350
A season of festivities for vacationing college and high school students. Exciting beach parties, sports meets and musical entertainment are some of the highlights of a packed Spring Break calendar. For further details, contact the Social Hostess or front desk of your hotel. Activities are also arranged on Grand Bahama Island and the other major Islands Of The Bahamas.

Cricket Season
March – November
Haynes Oval
West Bay Street
(242) 325-6396 or (242) 326-4720 (evening)
Cricket matches are played every Sat. & Sun. during Cricket Season at Nassau. Games begin at 12:00 Noon.

Rugby Season
end of September – end of April
(242) 328-7888 or (242) 326-8000
Winton Rugby Field
off Prince Charles Drive, Nassau
Rugby matches are played during the Rugby Season. Don’t miss out on a game loved by the Bahamians.

Boxing Day
December 27 (Official date is December 26)
A public holiday. The day is a traditional English holiday started centuries ago when leftover Christmas goodies were boxed by nobility and landlords and given to servants and tenants.

Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade
December 27 (Tentative)
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
(242) 394-0445
During the early morning hours (starting at 1:00 a.m.)
Junkanoo is a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual). Revellers, dressed in colorful costumes of crepe paper, parade through the streets to the sounds of cowbells, goatskin drums, whistles and many other homemade instruments. Prize-giving is at 8 a.m. The parade is repeated on New Year’s Day, January 1.

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

A- Overview:
The three islands and the 60 cays that comprise the US Virgin Islands include some of the most magnificent coast on earth. The area is host to nearly two million vacationers each year. Most of the islands, cays and jutting rocks that make up the territory are clustered around the 30 square mile island of St Thomas which lies 1000 miles south of Miami, 75 miles east of Puerto Rico and just southwest of the British Virgin Islands.

St. Thomas has a year round temperature averaging 78°F. The ever-present trade winds keep the air from being unbearably hot. In addition, the region reports lower humidity levels than many of the other places in the Caribbean, making it a vacation paradise in both summer and winter. On nearly any day of the year, there are many hours of sunshine. Rain showers do come, but they’re usually a welcome relief and pass quickly.

St. Thomas is the busiest cruise ship harbor in the West Indies. The cruise from the US to St. Thomas is as enjoyable as the time spent at this idyllic destination. Busy Charlotte Amalie ( uh-MAL-ya: named for the wife of King Christian V in 1691), at the heart of the island is the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it remains the shopping hub of the Caribbean. The beaches on this island are renowned for their white sand and calm, turquoise waters. National Geographic rated the island as one of the top destinations in the world for sailing, scuba diving, and fishing.

Charlotte Amalie, with its white houses and bright red roofs glistening in the sun, is one of the most beautiful towns in the Caribbean. The town is also filled with historic sights like Fort Christian, an intriguing 17th-century building constructed by the Danes. The town’s architecture reflects the island’s culturally diverse past. A walk through town reveals its international heritage. You will pass Dutch doors, Danish red-tile roofs, French iron grillwork, and Spanish-style patios.

Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas, is the only town on the island. Its seaside promenade is called Waterfront Highway or simply, the Waterfront. From there, it is easy to follow any of the streets or alleyways into town to Main Street or Dronningens Gade. Principal links between Main Street and the Waterfront include Raadets Gade, Tolbod Gade, Store Tvaer Gade, and Strand Gade. The capital is known for its delightful shops and patios, winding streets, and Old World Continental flavor.

The Father of the Impressionists, Camille Pissarro, was born on St Thomas in 1830. Though he spent most of his life in Paris he’s still thought of fondly as a native son. The Dronningens Gade house where he was born is open to the public. The epicenter of Virgin Islands art is the Tillet Gardens Arts Center, a complex of studios, classrooms and galleries in a lovely setting northeast of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.

Main Street is home to all the major shops. The western end (near the intersection with Strand Gade) is known as Market Square, once the site of the biggest slave market auctions in the Caribbean Basin. Today, it’s an open-air cluster of stalls where native farmers and gardeners gather daily (except Sunday) to peddle their produce. Go early in the morning to see the market at its best.

You’ll find an eclectic mix of cuisines on St. Thomas, including American, Italian, Mexican, and Asian. Local Caribbean dishes include seafood specialties like “ole wife” and yellowtail, which are usually prepared with a spicy Creole mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes. A popular native side dishes is fungi (pronounced foon-gee), made with okra and cornmeal. Most local restaurants serve johnnycake, a popular fried, unleavened bread.

Because of St. Thomas’s thriving commercial activity, the atmosphere is one of vitality and zest for living. Varied nightlife and a resort atmosphere make St. Thomas the liveliest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Those seeking seclusion can easily find it, however, at a hotel in more remote sections of the island. Hotels on the north side of St. Thomas look out at the Atlantic; those on the south side front the calmer Caribbean Sea.

The landscape includes dense subtropical forests, arid stretches dominated by succulents and coastal mangrove swamps. Indigenous trees include kapok, whose silky seedpod fiber was used as stuffing in pillows and lifejackets; calabash and the teylerpalm, whose delicate fronds make good brooms and were once used to construct fish traps. Madagascan flame trees brighten the vista along with bougainvillea, jasmine and frangipani.

The images gleaned from picture postcards assault the senses in their reality as your ship approaches St. Thomas: stretches of beach flair into the distance, and white sails skim across water so blue and clear it defies description. Red roofed houses color the green hillsides as do the orange of the flamboyant trees, the red of the hibiscus, the magenta of the bougainvillea, and the blue stone ruins of old sugar mills. Towns of pastel-tone villas, decorated with filigree wrought-iron terraces, line narrow streets that climb from the harbor. Yes, this is paradise!

B- City Information:
Population:
St Thomas 54,000

Capital city:
Charlotte Amalie

People:
African descent (75%), US mainland expatriates (13%), Puerto Rican (5%), Danish, French

Language:
English, plus some Creole, Spanish and French

Religion:
Baptist (42%), Catholic (42%), Episcopalian (17%)

Government:
Unincorporated territory of the US

Major industries:
Tourism, oil refining

Major trading partners:
USA, Puerto Rico

Time Zone:
Atlantic Time Zone. Daylight saving time not observed. Otherwise, it is the same as Eastern Standard Time.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January – March 86F 67F
April – June 89F 70F
July – September 90F 73F
October – December 88F 69F

Health risks:
Sunburn: Be sure to apply sunblock or sunscreen often.

Electricity:
110-120V, 60Hz US appliances will work with no adapter.

Weights & measures:
Imperial

Telephones:
From North America, dial 1 + 340 + the seven-digit local number. Elsewhere, dial your country’s international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 340 + the seven-digit local number.

When to Go:
The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the weather in North America and Europe than it does with the reliably balmy Virgin Islands’ weather. It’s therefore best to visit outside this period, when you can expect room rates to be almost half those charged during the busier months. An additional draw is that the calmer weather between April and August tends to keep the waters clearer for diving.
Public Holidays:
1 January – New Year’s Day
Third Monday in January – Martin Luther King Jr Day
Third Monday in February – Presidents’ Day
Late March or April – Easter
Last Monday in May – Memorial Day
3 July – Emancipation Day
4 July – Independence Day
First Monday in September – Labor Day
Second Monday in October – Columbus Day, Virgin Islands Friendship Day
11 November – Veterans’ Day
Fourth Thursday in November – Thanksgiving
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day

Currency:
US dollar (US$)

Banks:
Several major U.S. banks are represented on St. Thomas. Hours vary, but most are open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2:30pm, Friday from 9am to 2pm, and 3:30 to 5pm.

Business Hours:
Typical business and store hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm. Some shops open Sunday for cruise-ship arrivals. Bars are usually open daily from 11am to midnight or 1am, although some hot spots stay open later.

Dentist:
The Virgin Island Dental Association ( 340/775-9110) is a member of the American Dental Association and is also linked with various specialists. Call for information or an appointment.

Doctor:
Doctors-on-Duty, Vitraco Park ( 340/776-7966) in Charlotte Amalie, is a reliable medical facility.

Drugstores:
For over-the-counter and prescription medications, go to Drug Farm, 2-4 9th St. 340/776-7098, or Havensight Pharmacy, Havensight Mall, Building #4 340/776-1235).

Electricity:
110 to 115 volts, 60 cycles, as on the U.S. mainland.

Emergencies:
Police, 911; ambulance, 922; fire, 921.

Hospitals:
The St. Thomas Hospital is at 48 Sugar Estate ( 340/776-8311), Charlotte Amalie.

Hotlines:
Call the police at 911 in case of emergency. If you have or witness a boating mishap, call the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue ( 787/729-6800, ext. 140), which operates out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Scuba divers should note the number of a decompression chamber ( 340/776-8311) at the Roy Schneider Community Hospital on St. Thomas.

Laundry and Dry Cleaning:
The major hotels provide laundry service, but it’s more expensive than a laundromat. For dry cleaning go to One-Hour Martinizing, Barbel Plaza ( 340/774-5452), in Charlotte Amalie. A good full-service Laundromat is 4-Star Laundromat, 68 Kronprindsens Gade ( 340/774-8689), in Charlotte Amalie.

Liquor Laws:
Persons must be at least 21 years of age to patronize bars or purchase liquor in St. Thomas.

Newspapers and Magazines:
Copies of U.S. mainland newspapers, such as The New York Times, USA Today, and The Miami Herald, arrive daily in St. Thomas and are sold at hotels and newsstands. The latest copies of Time and Newsweek are also for sale. St. Thomas Daily News covers local, national, and international events. Virgin Islands Playground and St. Thomas This Week, both of which are packed with visitor information, are distributed free all over the island.

Post Office:
The main post office is at 9846 Estate Thomas ( 340/774-1950), Charlotte Amalie, open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5:30pm and Saturday from 7:30am to 2:30pm.

Rest Rooms:
You’ll find public toilets at beaches and at the airport, but they are limited in town. Most visitors use the facilities of a bar or restaurant.

Telephone, Telex, and Fax:
All island phone numbers have seven digits. It is not necessary to use the 340 area code when dialing within St. Thomas. Numbers for all three islands, including St. John and St. Croix, are found in the U.S. Virgin Islands phone book. Hotels will send faxes and telexes for you, usually for a small service charge. Make long distance, international, and collect calls as you would on the U.S. mainland.

Transit Information:
Call 340/774-7457 to order a taxi 24 hours a day. Call 340/774-5100 for airport information and 340/776-6282 for information about ferry departures for St. John.

Weather:
For weather reports, call Vietema at 340/774-2244.

Arriving By Plane:
If you’re flying to St. Thomas, you will land at the Cyril E. King Airport 340/774-5100, to the west of Charlotte Amalie on Route 30. From here, you can easily find a taxi to your hotel or villa. Chances are you will be staying east of Charlotte Amalie, so keep in mind that getting through town often involves long delays and traffic jams.

Nonstop flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands from New York and Atlanta take 3 3/4 and 3 1/2 hours, respectively. Flight time from Miami is about 2 1/2 hours.

Getting Around By Car:

Driving Rules
Always drive on the left. The speed limit is 20 m.p.h. in town, 35 m.p.h. outside town. Take extra caution when driving in St. Thomas, especially at night. Many roads are narrow, curvy, and poorly lit.

Renting A Car
There is no tax on car rentals in the Virgin Islands.

Warning
St. Thomas has a high accident rate. Visitors are not used to driving on the left, the hilly terrain shelters blind curves and entrance ramps, roads are narrow and poorly lit, and drivers often get behind the wheel after too many drinks. To be on the safe side, consider getting collision-damage insurance.

Parking
Because Charlotte Amalie is a labyrinth of congested one-way streets, don’t try to drive within town looking for a spot. If you can’t find a place to park along the waterfront (free), go to the sprawling lot to the east of Fort Christian, across from the Legislature Building. Parking fees are nominal here, and you can park your car and walk northwest toward Emancipation Park, or along the waterfront until you reach the shops and attractions.

Getting Around On Foot:
This is the only way to explore the heart of Charlotte Amalie. All the major attractions and the principal stores are within easy walking distance. However, other island attractions, like Coral World or Magens Bay, require a bus or taxi.

Getting Around By Bus:
St. Thomas has the best public transportation of any island in the U.S. chain. Buses, called Vitrans, leave from street-side stops in the center of Charlotte Amalie, fanning out east and west along all the most important highways. They run between 5:30am and 10:30pm daily, and you rarely have to wait more than 30 minutes during the day.. The service is safe, efficient, and comfortable. For schedule and bus stop information, call 340/774-5678.

Getting Around By Taxi:
Taxis are the major means of transportation on St. Thomas. They’re not metered, but fares are controlled and widely posted; however, we still recommend that you negotiate a fare with the driver before you get into the car. Surcharges are added after midnight. For 24-hour radio dispatch taxi service, call 340/774-7457.

Taxi vans transport 8 to 12 passengers to multiple destinations on the island. It’s cheaper to take a van instead of a taxi if you’re going between your hotel and the airport.

Visas:
No visas are required for citizens of the US and Canada, though you’ll have to prove citizenship by way of a birth certificate, voter’s registration card or valid passport. Most other nationalities don’t need a visa either, but will need a passport for a stay of less than 90 days. Proof of onward transportation is required upon entry.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Coral World Marine Park and Underwater Observatory:
6450 Coki Point
340/775-1555
A marine complex that features a three-story underwater observation tower 100 feet offshore. It’s a 20-minute drive from Charlotte Amalie off Route 38. Inside, you’ll see sponges, fish, coral, and other aquatic creatures in their natural state through picture windows.

Marine Gardens Aquarium:
Part of Coral World Marine Park;
Daily from 9 – 5:30
Admission charged.
Saltwater tanks display everything from sea horses to sea urchins. An 80,000-gallon reef tank features exotic marine life of the Caribbean; another tank is devoted to sea predators, with circling sharks and giant moray eels. Activities include daily fish and shark feedings and exotic bird shows. The latest addition to the park is a semisubmarine that lets you enjoy the panoramic view and the “down under” feeling of a submarine without truly submerging.

Coral World’s guests can take advantage of adjacent Coki Beach for snorkel rental, scuba lessons, or swimming and relaxing. Lockers and showers are available. Also included in the marine park are the Tropical Terrace Restaurant, duty-free shops, and a nature trail.

Estate St. Peter Greathouse Botanical Gardens:
At the corner of Route 40
6A St. Peter Mountain Rd. and Barrett Hill Road
340/774-4999
Daily 9 – 4;
Admission charged.
This complex consists of 11 acres set at the foot of volcanic peaks on the northern rim of the island. They are laced with self-guided nature walks that will acquaint you with some 200 varieties of West Indian plants and trees, including an umbrella plant from Madagascar. From a panoramic deck in the gardens you can see some 20 of the Virgin Islands, including Hans Lollick, an uninhabited island between Thatched Cay and Madahl Point. The house is filled with a display of local works of art.

Paradise Point Tramway:
Across from Havensight Mall and the cruise ship dock.
340-774-9809
Daily 8:30-5
Fee charged.
Gondolas transport passengers 700 feet up a mountainside to Paradise Point. The 3.5 minute ride offers views of the harbor and Charlotte Amalie.

Charlotte Amalie:
The color and charm of the Caribbean come to life in this waterfront town, the capital of St. Thomas, where most visitors begin their visit to the island. Old warehouses, once used for storing stolen pirate goods, have been converted to shops. In fact, the main streets, called “Gade” (a reflection of their Danish heritage), now merge into a virtual shopping mall. The streets are often packed. Sandwiched among these shops are a few historic buildings, most of which can be seen on foot in about 2 hours.

King’s Wharf
The site of the Virgin Islands Legislature, which is housed in the apple-green military barracks dating from 1874.

Fort Christian
340/776-4566
Named after the Danish king Christian V, this structure was a governor’s residence, police station, court, and jail until it became a national historic landmark in 1977. A museum here illuminates the island’s history and culture. Cultural workshops and turn-of-the-century furnishings are just some of the exhibits you can expect to see. A museum shop features local crafts, maps, and prints. Fort Christian is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Emancipation Park
Where a proclamation freeing African slaves and indentured European servants was read on July 3, 1848. The park is now mostly a picnic area for local workers and visitors.

Grand Hotel
Near Emancipation Park, the Grand Hotel is a visitors center which dispenses valuable travel information about the island. When this hotel was opened in 1837, it was a grand address, but it later fell into decay, and finally closed in 1975. The former guest rooms upstairs have been turned into offices and a restaurant.

Frederik Lutheran Church
Built between 1780 and 1793. The original Georgian-style building, financed by a free black parishioner, Jean Reeneaus, was reconstructed in 1825 and again in 1870 after it was damaged in a hurricane.

Government House
The administrative headquarters for the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s been the center of political life in the islands since it was built, around the time of the American Civil War. Visitors are allowed on the first two floors, Monday through Saturday from 8am to noon, and 1 to 5pm. Some paintings by former resident Camille Pissarro are on display, as are works by other St. Thomas artists.

Seven Arches Museum
Government Hill
340/774-9295
Visitors enjoy visiting the private home of longtime residents Philibert Fluck and Barbara Demaras. This 200 year Danish house has been completely restored and furnished with antiques. Walk through the yellow ballast arches into the Great Room, which has a great view of the Caribbean’s busiest harbor. Admission fee includes a cold tropical drink served in a beautiful walled flower garden. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 – 3, or by appointment.

Frederik Church Parsonage
Next to the Government House. Dating from 1725, and one of the oldest houses on the island. It’s the only structure in the Government Hill district to retain its simple 18th century lines.

Yellow-Brick Building
Built in 1854 in what local architects called “the style of Copenhagen.” You can go inside and browse through the many shops within.

99 Steps
These steps, which were erected in the early 1700s, take you to the summit of Government Hill, from where you’ll see the 18th-century Crown House, immediately to your right on the south side of the street. This stately private house was the home of von Scholten, the Danish ruler who issued the famous proclamation of emancipation in 1848 .

St. Thomas Reformed Church
Dating from 1844. Much of its original structure, which was designed like a Greek temple, has been preserved intact.

St. Thomas Synagogue
340/774-4312
The oldest synagogue in continuous use under the American flag and the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere; it was erected in 1833 by Sephardic Jews, and it still maintains the tradition of having sand on the floor, commemorating the exodus from Egypt. The structure was built of local stone along with ballast brick from Denmark and mortar made of molasses and sand. It’s open to visitors from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Next door, the Weibel Museum showcases 300 years of Jewish history. It keeps the same hours.

Enid M. Baa Public Library
Formerly the von Bretton House, dating from 1818.

Market Square
Officially known as Rothschild Francis Square. This was the center of a large slave-trading market before the 1848 emancipation. Today it’s an open-air fruit and vegetable market, selling, among other items, genips (to eat one, break open the skin and suck the pulp off a pit). The wrought-iron roof covered a railway station at the turn of the century. The market is open Monday through Saturday, its busiest day.

The Waterfront (Kyst Vejen)
Where you can purchase a fresh coconut. One of the vendors will whack off the top with a machete, so you can drink the sweet milk from its hull.

Fort Christian
The town’s top ranking historic attraction; a modest red structure that looks to be lacking in strength. The building dates to the 1670s when it served as a combined defense post, government house, church and community hall. When the threat of invasion dissipated, the fort became a jail and, since 1987, a museum with displays on the region’s natural heritage (including medicinal plants and bird life) and art.

Market Square
Today the covered plaza is the local food market but it was once the Caribbean’s busiest trading post for slaves.

Those craving peace and privacy are better off heading to the nearby uninhabited islets of Hassel Island and Great Outlying Neighborhoods

The most important of the outlying neighborhoods is Frenchtown. Some of the older islanders still speak a distinctive Norman-French dialect here. Since the heart of Charlotte Amalie is dangerous at night, Frenchtown, with its finer restaurants and interesting bars, has become the place to go after dark.

Another neighborhood is Frenchman’s Hill. The Huguenots built many old stone villas there, and they open onto panoramic views of the town and its harbor.

Nightlife:

Theater

Reichhold Center For The Arts
Rte. 30, across from Brewers Beach
340/693-1559.
This amphitheater has its more expensive seats covered by a roof. Schedules vary, so check the paper to see what’s on when you’re in town. Throughout the year there’s an entertaining mix of local plays, dance exhibitions, and music of all types.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Coral World Marine Park and Underwater Observatory
6450 Coki Point
340/775-1555
A marine complex that features a three-story underwater observation tower 100 feet offshore. It’s a 20-minute drive from Charlotte Amalie off Route 38. Inside, you’ll see sponges, fish, coral, and other aquatic creatures in their natural state through picture windows.

Marine Gardens Aquarium
Part of Coral World Marine Park;
Daily from 9 – 5:30
Admission charged.
Saltwater tanks display everything from sea horses to sea urchins. An 80,000-gallon reef tank features exotic marine life of the Caribbean; another tank is devoted to sea predators, with circling sharks and giant moray eels. Activities include daily fish and shark feedings and exotic bird shows. The latest addition to the park is a semisubmarine that lets you enjoy the panoramic view and the “down under” feeling of a submarine without truly submerging.

Coral World’s guests can take advantage of adjacent Coki Beach for snorkel rental, scuba lessons, or swimming and relaxing. Lockers and showers are available. Also included in the marine park are the Tropical Terrace Restaurant, duty-free shops, and a nature trail.

Estate St. Peter Greathouse Botanical Gardens
At the corner of Route 40
6A St. Peter Mountain Rd. and Barrett Hill Road
340/774-4999
Daily 9 – 4;
Admission charged.
This complex consists of 11 acres set at the foot of volcanic peaks on the northern rim of the island. They are laced with self-guided nature walks that will acquaint you with some 200 varieties of West Indian plants and trees, including an umbrella plant from Madagascar. From a panoramic deck in the gardens you can see some 20 of the Virgin Islands, including Hans Lollick, an uninhabited island between Thatched Cay and Madahl Point. The house is filled with a display of local works of art.

E- Events & Entertainment:
March

Transfer Day (31 March)
Commemorates the 1917 handover of the islands from Denmark to the US.

April

Carnival on St Thomas:
A crazy week full of masquerades, drumming, dancing, feasting and mocko jumbies (costumed stiltwalkers). Unlike other Carnivals in the Caribbean, which precede Lent, St Thomas’ takes place after Easter, usually in late April

The St Thomas Yacht Club’s International Regatta
churns up the waters every April.

July

Christmas in July:
when Santa dances on the streets of Charlotte Amalie with the tallest elves you’ve ever seen.