The Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Carolyn Blount Museum of Fine Art are situated on the southeast and northeast quadrants of the 250-acre Wynton M Blount Cultural Park. The Cultural Park features two lakes – one adjacent to the Shakespeare Festival and the other by the museum. Herons and egrets frequent both lakes, while the larger, deeper lake next to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts often has wild waterfowl present in migration and winter, along with the typical Canada Geese and Mallards. You can see Cormorants for most of the year and Belted Kingfishers at both lakes. Killdeer are present in large numbers on the banks of both lakes and on the nearby lawns, and occasionally other shorebirds are present – the most common being Spotted Sandpipers.
Paved roads wend their way through the entire park. The majority of the park is composed of extensive, open, manicured lawns. The lawns are not notably birdy, though paths and trails found here do extend into the woodier parts of the property. You can park in designated areas and bird the borders of dense shrubs and small trees that line much of the roadway. The birds here are the typical mix of species of southeastern parks and suburbs, though migrants may be present in spring and fall, particularly after the passage of a significant weather front. This is, however, always a good location for Eastern Towhees and Gray Catbirds. Loggerhead Shrikes are sometimes found in the vicinity of the scattered small hardwood trees in the park, and occasionally nest here, as well.
Be sure to take a walk through Shakespeare’s Garden, just south of the Festival building. The Garden is a quiet corner of the property, a less-visited cloister in a popular park. The trees and shrubs that line the walls here are good places to look for songbirds, and sparrows and juncos forage in the Garden in the cooler months.
In summary, the grounds of the Wynton M Blount Cultural Park are a civilized, meticulously landscaped suburban park frequented by joggers, cyclists, walkers, and picnickers. The acreage is safe and open, and access is free and unhindered. Though the site is unlikely to provide any unusual birds, 300,000 visitors come here each year, and it’s obvious that they are on to something. Buy tickets for an evening performance, arrive early and bird the park for a couple of hours. Enjoy a meal at the Black Swan Bistro inside the Festival theatre building, and delight in one of the master’s plays performed by one of the world’s foremost Shakespeare companies. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts offers an array of art exhibits and a cafe and has free admission and parking.
Directions: From I-85 in Montgomery, take exit 6 to Eastern Boulevard, bear right onto US-231 (Eastern Boulevard) and follow approximately .4 miles. Turn left onto Woodmere Boulevard, and turn right in .5 miles at the sign for the Wynton M Blount Cultural Park. Additional signage leads you throughout the park.
GPS: N 32.350691 W -86.213304
Alabama Shakespeare Festival
1 Festival Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117
Montgomery Museum of Fine Art
One Museum Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117