Plan a family trip to Huntsville where you can explore fascinating museums, play in the parks, and dine at excellent restaurants on your day trip or weekend getaway. 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, AL. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center
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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.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-837-3400
2. The EarlyWorks Family of Museums
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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.
404 Madison St SE, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-564-8100
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3.North Alabama Railroad Museum
© North Alabama Railroad Museum
The North Alabama Railroad Museum was established to preserve the fascinating story of the railroad and the vital part it played in Alabama’s history. The museum was established around the original Chase Depot building, which is one of the smallest union depots in the country. The museum is run by an enthusiastic team of volunteers and is not always manned – visitors are welcome to pick up a map and enjoy a self-guided tour of the premises. If you would like to enjoy a ride on one of the vintage trains you will need to visit on one of the scheduled Train Ride days – you can find details on their website.
North Alabama Railroad Museum, 694 Chase Road NE, Huntsville, AL 35811,
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4. Burritt on the Mountain, Huntsville, Alabama
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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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5.Cotton Row Restaurant, Huntsville, Alabama
© 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
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6. Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama
© 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.
300 Church Street, Huntsville, Alabama, Phone: 256-535-4350
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7. Huntsville Botanical Garden
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Huntsville Botanical Garden is a 112-acre lush green oasis located in Huntsville near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. This free, very popular garden is open all four seasons and has several exceptionally beautiful attractions, such as the largest butterfly house in the States and a fascinating nature center. Stroll through the nature trails among the romantic aquatic garden surrounded by blooming bushes and plants, enjoy the garden's famous collection of flowering dogwoods, and get the kids to go wild in the 2-acre children's garden full of water, dinosaurs, mazes, rainbows, outer space, and much more. Some of the most popular Huntsville festivals, such as Huntsville Blooms, Scarecrow Trail, and Galaxy of Lights are held in the Botanical Garden. There are also frequent events, classes, school activities, and various programs for public.
4747 Bob Wallace Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35805, Phone: 256-830-4447
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8.The Madison County Nature Trail
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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.
9.Von Braun Astronomical Society, Huntsville, AL
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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
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10. Weeden House Museum and Garden
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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
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11.Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, Alabama
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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
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12.U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
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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
13.Harmony Park Safari
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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
14.Big Spring Park
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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
15.Von Braun Center, Huntsville, AL
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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
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16.Bridge Street Town Centre, Huntsville, Alabama
© 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
17.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
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© Cotton Row
Built in 1821 and once housing a cotton exchange, a historic three-story brick building on the corner of the Courthouse Square today houses Cotton Row, an elegant restaurant where renowned chef James Boyce weaves his magic. Rough brick walls and rustic woods combine wonderfully with crisp white tablecloths to create an elegant ambiance for upscale meals. Chef Boyce offers his own version of modern American cuisine, using fresh seasonal ingredients to create masterpieces such as Herb Rubbed Grilled Rack of New Zealand Elk served with sweet potato purée, beech mushrooms, braised green cabbage, and cassis-zinfandel glaze. For special occasions, there are a few private rooms including a wine cellar full of antique pieces of furniture brought from various European castles.
100 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801, Phone: 256-382-9500
19.Stars and Strikes Huntsville
© Stars and Strikes
Stars and Strikes in Huntsville is a popular entertainment venue, offering high-tech bowling for all ages and fun for the whole family. The facility boasts 24 lanes including 8 VIP lanes in a separate area called the Main Street Lounge. Non-bowlers and children have loads of other activities to keep them busy including a large games arcade, a 2-storey laser tag arena, bumper cars and Escapology escape rooms. The 7/10 Grille restaurant serves gourmet food that everyone will enjoy. There are also large screens so that you can watch the game as you enjoy your meal. The venue is ideal for parties (for all ages) and for team-building events.
Stars and Strikes, 930 Old Monrovia Rd NW, Huntsville, AL 35806, 678-965-5707
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20.The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex
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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
21.Altitude Trampoline Park
Combining excellent exercise with loads of fun, the Altitude Trampoline Park offers hours of fun for adults and children. The Main Court contains wall-to-wall trampolines where jumpers of all ages can perfect their skills. Then there is the Gymnastics Tumble Tract where you can work on your flips and cartwheels with a save, soft landing area. Other fun activities include perfecting your balance on the Balance Beam, playing Extreme Dodge ball or hurtling along a zip line which terminates in a foam pit. Younger children will love the Kids Court where they can safely jump and play away from the older children.
Altitude Trampoline Park, 6275 University Dr. NW, Huntsville, AL 35806,
22.Let’s Play Huntsville
© Let’s Play Huntsville
Let’s Play solves the problem of what to do to entertain young children on a rainy day. Let’s Play offers children between the ages of 0 and 12 years a safe and stimulating soft play area where they can enjoy interacting with other children. Here they can climb, slide, shoot foam cannons and figure out how to conquer an obstacle course. All the activities at Let’s Play have been carefully designed to promote your child’s physical development, improving their balancing and catching skills, teaching them how to crawl, swing and bounce. There is a separate area for under 4’s, where they can safely enjoy age-appropriate activities including their own climbing equipment, ball pond and balloon house.
Let’s Play, 6275 University Drive, Suite 13, Huntsville, AL 35806, 256-684- 8727
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23.Cathedral Caverns State Park
The Cathedral Caverns State Park is a sprawling recreational area set around the very impressive Cathedral Caverns, which opened to the public in the 1950’s. Named for its cathedral-like interior, the cavers have an enormous entrance which beckons visitors to step inside and admire some of the most amazing rock formations in the country. You can explore this natural phenomenon on a guided Cave Tour, which you need to book in advance. Other activities in the park include hiking, trail running, camping, back-country camping and gem mining. The park hosts several fun runs and an annual half marathon in March each year.
Cathedral Caverns State Park, 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776, 256-728-8193
24.Toy Box Bistro
For a totally different dining experience you owe it to yourself to stop by the Toy Box Bistro. Here, surrounded by a vast collection of Star Wars, Star Trek and other nerdy toys too numerous to mention, visitors can enjoy a great meal and a good selection of beverages. The menu kicks off with a selection of appetizers which are great to share as you sip one of the many local beers on tap. Appetizers are followed by their signature 6-ounce burgers and delicious half-pound dogs. There is also a selection of fabulous sandwiches and other “knife-and-fork” entrees.
Toy Box Bistro, 511 Jordan Lane NW, Huntsville, Al 35805, 256-513-8469
25 Best Things to Do in Huntsville, AL
- U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Photo: Courtesy of Todd Taulman - Fotolia.com
- The EarlyWorks Family of Museums, Photo: Courtesy of Irina Schmidt - Fotolia.com
- North Alabama Railroad Museum, Photo: North Alabama Railroad Museum
- Burritt on the Mountain, Huntsville, Alabama, Photo: Courtesy of nadezhda1906 - Fotolia.com
- Cotton Row Restaurant, Huntsville, Alabama, Photo: Cotton Row Restaurant
- Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama, Photo: Huntsville Museum of Art
- Huntsville Botanical Garden, Photo: Courtesy of Masamitsu - Fotolia.com
- The Madison County Nature Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Lucky Dragon - Fotolia.com
- Von Braun Astronomical Society, Huntsville, AL, Photo: Courtesy of nasa_gallery - Fotolia.com
- Weeden House Museum and Garden, Photo: Courtesy of Maya Kruchancova - Fotolia.com
- Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, Alabama, Photo: Courtesy of Wirepec - Fotolia.com
- U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, Photo: Courtesy of andreysp03 - Fotolia.com
- Harmony Park Safari, Photo: Courtesy of joefotofl - Fotolia
- Big Spring Park, Photo: Courtesy of Robert Hainer - Fotolia.com
- Von Braun Center, Huntsville, AL, Photo: Courtesy of Mark Herreid - Fotolia.com
- Bridge Street Town Centre, Huntsville, Alabama, Photo: Bridge Street Town Centre
- Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, Photo: Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment
- Cotton Row, Photo: Cotton Row
- Stars and Strikes Huntsville, Photo: Stars and Strikes
- The Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex, Photo: Courtesy of nadezhda1906 - Fotolia.com
- Altitude Trampoline Park, Photo: galitskaya/stock.adobe.com
- Let’s Play Huntsville, Photo: Let’s Play Huntsville
- Cathedral Caverns State Park, Photo: ChuckS/stock.adobe.com
- Toy Box Bistro, Photo: Prostock-studio/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
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