Space Center tops Alabama's paid attractions

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Tourism Department says the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville was Alabama's most visited paid attraction in 2013.

The center recorded more than 580,000 visitors. The Birmingham Zoo was second with more than 574,000 visitors and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was third with nearly 531,000 visitors. The USS Alabama Battleship Park finished fourth with more than 371,000 visitors and the McWane Science Center in Birmingham was fifth with nearly 317,000 visitors.

The Tourism Department says Alabama's Gulf Coast beaches were the top natural destination in 2013 with 5.5 million visitors. The Birmingham Botanical Garden topped the free attractions with 350,000 in attendance. Mobile's Mardi Gras was the most attended event with almost 800,000 people.