Grunge Geek Getaway Guide: Alabama

After a ridiculous sequence of events better left unspoken, you suddenly find yourself in the Heart of Dixie. Whether you're crawling out from the shadow of Mount Cheaha after a rough night, or you've woken up in the restroom at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium after an especially riveting performance by the Montgomery Biscuits, you've got a few days to kill before you can make your escape from the 22nd state. As a card-carrying geek, what can you do?

Game Galaxy Arcade - Huntsville

If you're a true video game geek, your fingers constantly crave the feel of a big, fat arcade button. While places like Fat Daddy's Arcade in Orange Beach may cater to kids, Huntsville's Game Galaxy Arcade, nestled in the Madison Square Mall, appeals to the nostalgic gamer. Over forty games line the walls, from eras dating back to the original Donkey Kong and Street Fighter II, all the way to Dance Dance Revolution. There are even a few classic pinball machines thrown into the mix, and you can also buy vintage console games while you're there. Price of admission maxes out at ten bucks for a full day, so you won't have to worry about those twenty-five cent microtransactions building up. You can't say that about Bubble Witch Saga.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center - Huntsville

Once you get bored with simulating a plumber jumping over barrels, you can venture out to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, also in Huntsville. Not only does the Center maintain countless relics of our ventures into space, but it's also the home of Space Camp, which is the ultimate geeky destination for smart kids, as well as adults who are now dead inside because they never got to go to Space Camp. Anyone who's ever worked for NASA gets in free, so bring your astronaut ID card or a moon rock as proof. The complex includes a few theaters which show everything from documentaries to Star Wars, two restaurants, a G-Force Accelerator (not recommended for use after the restaurants), and a trove of important tech history and artifacts, perfect for anyone with his or her head in the stars.

Cathedral Caverns State Park - Woodville

If your science interests are more terrestrial, Woodville's Cathedral Caverns State Park may be more your speed, and comic nerds will appreciate that the area was originally called "Bat Cave" in the 1950s. While you won't currently find a giant robotic dinosaur or a brooding superhero inside, the Caverns offer a guided tour through underground geological wonders, including a stalagmite forest that includes one of the largest stalagmites in the world. If you're not a rock geek, that's the kind of pointy thing that sticks up from the ground, not the one that hangs from the ceiling. The Caverns aren't decked out with IMAX theaters or geology-themed restaurants, but when you have the mysteries of nature, who needs 'em? It's okay to geek out quietly sometimes.

The Boll Weevil Monument - Enterprise

It's not much more than a statue in the middle of an intersection in the City of Enterprise, Alabama, but the Boll Weevil Monument's weird tale is so unusual and integral to United States history that history geeks are obligated to love it. When the beetle invaded Alabama in 1915, it decimated cotton crops, forcing farmers to diversify their farms, which resulted in greater prosperity than if the farmers just grew cotton.The town erected the Italian statue as a monument to resilience, but an actual weevil wasn't added until 30 years later. The actual statue stands nearby, indoors, because of repeated vandalism, so the figure in the intersection isn't even the real deal. History is weird, people diversify crops, and you should check out the Boll Weevil Monument. Both of them.

First White House Of The Confederacy - Montgomery

If you squint your eyes and look at it in the right light, history isn't boring at all. Geeks for American history will want to see the First White House of the Confederacy, which is the place Jefferson Davis called home when the South decided to play make believe for a while and elect their own, separate, even better President. It's an irrefutable fact that there's no cooler President than Abraham Lincoln, but the people have always enjoyed making up their own facts. Housing artifacts from the Civil War, a gift shop, and an army of proper Southern ladies running the historical home, the other White House is a place that history geeks will find pretty important.

McWane Science Center - Birmingham, Sci-Quest - Huntsville

Sometimes geeks defy the odds and make little geeks. If you find yourself in Alabama with your young progeny, there are two science museums worth checking out, and at least one of them has that giant, metal ball thing that you touch that gives you Dragonball Z hair. They don't make science museums for adults, because age is cruel in so many ways, so the next best thing is watching your kids geek out about science stuff. The McWane Science Center and Sci-Quest both host an enormous amount of non-threatening science activities for kids, which is a lot more productive than letting them poke screwdrivers into whatever the heck happens behind a fridge. There are better ways to learn about electricity, and you'll find them here. Try to hide your youthful glee, just a little.

Play On Con - Birmingham

If you find yourself in Alabama on the right weekend, you may find one of many comic and anime conventions that are hosted within the state's borders, but Play On Con's history of interesting panels and events set it above the others. A "Cardboard Mech Challenge," a video game trivia game show, a geocaching race, an RC helicopter challenge, and a wounds and gore cosplay workshop round this event out even better than that big Comic Con in San Diego, all without some studio blasting the promo for the latest depressing Adam Sandler comedy in your face. He's a live-action turtle in this one? Sounds great, guys. You can check out the Southern Fandom Resource Guide for an ongoing schedule of geeky events, including Annicon, Kami Con, or the Doctor Who-centric Con Kasterborous.