City view at night
Photo: Robert Hainer/Fotolia

Plan a family trip to Huntsville, Alabama where you can explore fascinating museums, play in the parks and dine at excellent restaurants. Tour the U.S. Space & Rocket Center where you will see rockets and watch action-packed IMAX movies, learn with hands-on exhibits at the EarlyWorks Children's Museum and spend an afternoon at Sci-Quest which lets kids find out everything about robots, reptiles and more. Here is the list of best family-friendly things to do in Huntsville, Alabama.

»U.S. Space & Rocket Center

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

For those interested in space, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is a must-see – it has one of the largest space collections in the world and is one of the top attractions in Huntsville, AL. Everything from missiles and rockets to other space memorabilia is on display at this fascinating museum. Taking a stroll through the center will be rewarding and educational for all.

There is also the IMAX Space Dome Theater, which gives showings of on-screen space-themed entertainment. Each visit you make to this museum will be different from the last, as they regularly feature traveling exhibits. Read more

U.S. Space & Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-837-3400

More Things to Do in Huntsville, AL: the Huntsville Botanical Garden which was featured in 10 Best Botanical Gardens for Families. Photo: U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Weekend Getaways & Attractions: From NYC, Ohio, TX Places to Visit, PA, CA, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago

»The EarlyWorks Family of Museums

The EarlyWorks Family of Museums

At the EarlyWorks Family of Museums visitors get a 3-in-1 experience with emphasis on fun and history. If you are with the children, take them to the EarlyWorks Children's Museum, which has plenty of hands-on exhibits for them to enjoy. The Alabama Constitution Village will transport you to 1819, allowing you to take a walk through Alabama's past. For an experience with life on the railroad, explore Huntsville Depot and Museum full of fascinating items and information from the days of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. During the summer, EarlyWorks provides additional kid-friendly attractions. If you are looking for things to do in Huntsville AL on a rainy day, this is a great place to visit. Read more

404 Madison St SE, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-564-8100

Things to see in: Pasadena, Montgomery, Astoria, Annapolis, Mackinac Island Photo: The EarlyWorks Family of Museums

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Sci-Quest is a hands-on science center made especially for young people. Kids can learn about earthquakes and safety practices, they can play with magnets or goopy slime. There are robots on display, as well as real life reptiles, both of which provide an informative and exciting experience for young people. Sci-Quest has different activities each day and week, - the atmosphere is always changing and you will discover something new with each visit. During the summer time, Sci-Quest provides excellent kid activities and programs so your child can have fun while keeping their brain sharp.

1435 Paramount Drive, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-837-0606

Alabama destinations: water parks, Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville, Gadsden, Florence and Mobile Photo: Sci-Quest

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»Burritt on the Mountain

Burritt on the Mountain

Burritt on the Mountain is a fun destination during any time of year since you will be able to take advantage of an array of attractions. Wander through Burritt Mansion and see the galleries and personal artifacts of Dr. Burritt, all the while learning about the history of the people in the region. Life in the 19th century comes to life at the Historic Park where you will learn about the diverse aspects of farm life, the clothing from that time period, and more. The establishment also plays host to special exhibits and concerts. If you are into 19th century antiquity, farm animals, and music, Burritt on the Mountain is the perfect place. The activities often change, so be sure to check what events are taking place prior to going.

3101 Burritt Drive, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-536-2882

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»Cotton Row Restaurant

Cotton Row Restaurant

Cotton Row Restaurant gets its inspiration from Huntsville's cotton traders. This restaurant provides diners with a diverse menu, and the kitchen uses fresh, seasonal items provided by local farmers. Each dish is original and carefully prepared with local produce that has been perfectly aged and ripened. Your taste buds will thank you whether you are here for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Chef James Boyce has over 20 years of experience and owns multiple award-winning restaurants. Cotton Row Restaurant is a must-try restaurant known for serving great food with Southern charm.

100 South Side Square, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-382-9500

Vacation ideas in: Mexico, Nantucket, Niagara Falls, St. Lucia Photo: Cotton Row Restaurant

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»Huntsville Museum of Art

Huntsville Museum of Art

At the Huntsville Museum of Art, you will find a collection of excellent 19th and 20th century art. Works from Africa, Asia, and Europe are all on display, but the main attraction is American art from the Southeast. You can see works from artists such as John Sloan, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, to name a few, and this is just a part of the permanent collection featured at the Huntsville Museum of Art. The museum also plays host to plenty of temporary exhibits and traveling exhibits to keep visitors enthralled. The Huntsville Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Huntsville AL for art lovers. Read more

300 Church Street?Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-535-4350

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»Grandville's Gourmet Ribs & Barbeque

Grandville's Gourmet Ribs & Barbeque

Over the last ten years, Grandville's Gourmet Ribs & Barbeque has been perfecting the amazing dry rub used on their meats. They are known for having some of the best meats that fall off the bone and are incredibly juicy. All of their meats are slow cooked for 4-16 hours, ensuring optimal tenderness and flavors. They pride themselves on using natural spices instead of artificial ingredients and deliver the food with great Southern hospitality. The owners have generations of experience behind their cooking, and serve guests for lunch or dinner.

200 Oakwood Ave NE, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-585-3550

Great places to visit in Tennessee: Nashville, Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge and Knoxville. Photo: Grandville's Gourmet Ribs & Barbeque

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»The Madison County Nature Trail

The Madison County Nature Trail

Over 70 acres of pure tranquility await you at the Madison County Nature Trail. Escape from the city and spend some time in this beautiful natural setting. It’s the perfect place to bring the family and enjoy a picnic, as there are several picnic areas and a pavilion for your convenience. There’s an easy 1.5 mile walking trail in which you can spot the largest elm tree in the state. Each season provides an enjoyable experience, but summer time offers a lush green scene while vibrant fall colors come out later in the year. If you are looking for things to do in Huntsville for outdoor enthusiasts, you don’t have to go too far from the city to take advantage of all the beauty nature has to offer. More Alabama vacations.

More ideas: Leavenworth, Catskills, Billings, Martha's Vineyard, Estes Park Photo: Lucky Dragon/Fotolia

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»Von Braun Astronomical Society

Von Braun Astronomical Society

The Von Braun Astronomical Society is a non-profit volunteer organization that operates a library, two observatories, and a planetarium in Monte Sano State Park. Formed by a group of Huntsville high-school students who wanted to study astronomy, the organization expanded in 1954 when a handful of Red Stone Arsenal scientists, including Dr. Wernher von Braun, joined the effort.

Its Ann Sanford Memorial Library in the Wilhelm Angele Observatory houses a large collection of astronomy related literature, and the observatories offer regular viewing and training opportunities. The planetarium hosts programs and lectures open to the public.

Monte Sano State Park, 5105 Nolen Ave. SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, (256) 539-0316

Trip ideas: Canada Waterfalls, Maine Lighthouses, Del Mar, Smoky Mountains, Dubuque Photo: Von Braun Astronomical Society

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»Weeden House Museum and Garden

Weeden House Museum and Garden

Before it was a museum, the Weeden House Museum and Garden was once used as Dr. William Weeden's residence, and it also served as the home of former US Supreme Court Justice John McKinley. Federal officers called Weeden House their home during the Civil War.

Take a day trip and learn all about life during the 19th century and, more specifically, about Maria Howard Weeden and her family. Taking a stroll through the gardens is always a pleasant experience as they are impeccably manicured. Tours are offered and activities for children are available as well. If you are wondering what to do in Huntsville AL on a sunny day, the Weeden House Museum and Garden is a unique place to visit.

300 Gates Avenue Huntsville, AL 35801, 256-536-7718

You may also like: Things to Do in Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Maya Kruchancova/Fotolia

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»Monte Sano State Park

Monte Sano State Park

Nestled atop Monte Sano Mountain near Huntsville, Monte Sano State Park is the perfect place to enjoy the splendor of North Alabama’s mountains. Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” Monte Sano offers camping, hiking, biking, and star gazing from its 89 campsites, 14 cabins, and numerous pavilions.

The Civilian Conservation Corps museum showcases the park’s history and provides a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. A highlight is Von Braun Astronomical Society’s planetarium and observatory, which hosts special events and star gazing. The lodge is available for meetings and special events.

5105 Nolen Ave. Huntsville, AL 35801, (256) 534-3757 or (256) 534-6589 Photo: Monte Sano State Park

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»U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum

U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum

Huntsville is home to one of the country’s most outstanding military museums, the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, which exhibits collections of artifacts and military equipment dating from the Revolutionary War. Inside exhibits showcase tableaus and memorabilia including uniforms and weaponry from major US conflicts.

Outside exhibits give visitors the chance to explore over 30 historical vehicles from WWI to the present that include tanks, watercraft, and aircraft. A museum novelty is its Ford Pygmy, the oldest surviving jeep. The outdoor space is perfect for picnics or special events, and tours can be arranged.

2060A Airport Road, Huntsville AL 35801, (256) 883-3737 Photo: U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum

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»Harmony Park Safari

Harmony Park Safari

Who wouldn’t enjoy a close encounter with a llama, ostrich, buffalo, or zebra? Harmony Park Safari is a two-mile self-navigated trip through a nature preserve that is home to a variety of exotic and endangered animals. Drive your own car and be sure to buy a bucket of food for the animals that come to your window expecting a snack.

Just be sure to follow park rules about keeping hands and feet inside your car and windows cracked no more than 8 inches. Your safari won’t be complete without a visit to the reptile house to get a look at its creepy crawlers.

431 Clouds Cove Rd. SE, Huntsville, AL 35803, (256) 723-3880 Photo: joefotofl - Fotolia

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»Big Spring Park

Big Spring Park

Beautiful Big Spring International Park is the gem of downtown Huntsville. The park surrounds the lagoon formed by “Big Spring,” the original water source that led John Hunt to decide to build the nearby city of Huntsville in 1805. The park consists of 12.5 acres of beautiful outdoor space that includes a fountain and canal connecting it to the grounds of the Von Braun Center.

Visitors can find intriguing gifts from other countries ranging from a fog bell given by Norway to the red bridge and cherry trees given by Japanese Major General Mikio Kimata, who attended Redstone Arsenal’s Missile School in 1964.

W. Side Sq., Huntsville, AL Photo: Robert Hainer/Fotolia

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»Von Braun Center

Von Braun Center

Von Braun Center is Hunstville’s mega entertainment and conference mecca. Housing six different venues, it is the best place to catch a premier sporting event, concert, or theater production. Propst Arena is equipped to offer a variety of events including ice hockey, basketball, rodeos, circuses, concerts, and more.

The three halls provide ample space for large conferences, exhibits, or more formal events. The Mark C. Smith Concert Hall is a state-of-the-art facility that hosts symphonies, ballets, and Broadway productions, just to name a few events. The beautiful Playhouse is a more intimate theater setting that also provides visitors a variety of entertainment.

700 Monroe Street, Huntsville, AL 35801, (256) 533-1953 | Fax (256) 551 2203 Photo: Von Braun Center

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»Bridge Street Town Centre

Bridge Street Town Centre

Spend the day shopping, catching a movie, or enjoying fine dining. You can do all that and more at Bridge Street Town Centre. Over 70 up-scale shops and restaurants, along with a 14-screen movie theater and the Westin Huntsville Hotel, are tucked into a beautiful park-like setting that also offers a variety of outdoor activities, including strolling or jogging along the 5-acre lake, enjoying carousel or train rides, or watching musical performances.

In the summer, playing with remote control boats and cooling off in the Pop Jet and Dancing Fountains are popular activities. The space is pet friendly and the winner of several beautification awards.

365 E Bridge Street, Suite 106, Huntsville, AL 35806, (256) 327-8400 Photo: Bridge Street Town Centre

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»Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment

Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment

Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment gives visitors to Huntsville the rare opportunity to experience America’s largest privately owned art center. A historic textile mill has been transformed into a thriving and vibrant community of artists working in a variety of genres. Hundreds of artists and entrepreneurs exhibit their work in the galleries, restaurants, and performance venues, and visitors are encouraged to mingle in this artistic space and peruse the center’s offerings.

Classes and workshops cater to a variety of interests, and there is a full calendar of special events, concerts, art shows, and performances. It’s a perfect place to experience North Alabama’s artistic culture.

2211 Seminole Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, (256) 533-0399 Photo: Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment

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»The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex

The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex

The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex has something fun for ice-skaters of every level. The two Olympic size rinks welcome those just learning to skate along with accomplished figure skaters and hockey players. The complex hosts skating competitions and professional hockey games as well as a variety of programs and activities for individuals and groups.

Its schedule includes pick up and organized league hockey games, and its Huntsville Skating School and Training Academy offers skating lessons at all skill levels. The rinks are open to the public regularly and can be booked for field trips, birthday parties, and broom ball games.

3185 Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville, AL 35801, (256) 883-3774 Photo: The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex

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Newport Beach, CA Tourism: Things to Do, Newport Beach Restaurants, Island Hotel Newport Beach, Orange County Museum of Art, Balboa Island, Environmental Nature Center

»McAlister's Deli

McAlister's Deli

McAlister's Deli has over 340 restaurants and has won a variety of awards for its flavorful fast food. They serve sandwiches, hearty soups, healthy salads, and spuds topped with everything you could ever want on a potato. Be sure to arrive on an empty stomach if you want to try their famous 13 layer McAlister's Club Sandwich, which is a testimony to their generous portions. They use quality ingredients and each menu item is handcrafted before leaving the kitchen.

1480 Perimeter Pkwy NW, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-425-0034 Photo: McAlister's Deli

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19 Best Things to Do in Huntsville, AL