Huntsville, Alabama is best known for being Rocket City, USA, but there is much more to the sprawling, northern Alabama city than outer space. Home to history and the future of the United States, Huntsville is a great place for families to visit. Check out the best things to do in Huntsville Alabama with kids the next time you visit!
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
First things first, the US Space and Rocket Center is an absolute must on your things to do in Huntsville Alabama with kids list. There is a reason this amazing facility is what Huntsville is known for. Not only is it educational and informative, but kids can really get hands-on with their learning.
If the weather cooperates, there is an outdoor space called Rocket Park where kids burn off some energy too. Don’t skip out on the Planetarium either! Enjoy guided, visual tours through the solar system with your family or experience “Cocktails and Cosmos” for a more grown-up planetary experience.
Obviously, one of the big draws for visitors is space camp, but you do not have to be a space camp participant in order to visit the interactive exhibits and grounds.
Admission to the US Space and Rocket Center is $25 for adults and $17 for kids ages 5-12. Children 4 and under are free. While there are several activities included in admission, make sure to check their website for fun things that might cost extra while you’re there.
U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
Next on the list is an ode to the US military. The U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum boasts an awe-inspiring display of memorabilia, weapons, and vehicles from the American Revolution to the present day. The museum has over 30 historical military vehicles from World War I to the present on display, including the oldest surviving jeep, the Ford Pygmy. It is one of the premier military museums in the country.
Admission is free for members of the US military as well as Active Duty and Reservists, National Guardsman (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and First Responders. Admission is also free for up to five family members with valid ID.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
Need a place for kids to run free? Check out the Huntsville Botanical Garden. With over 112 acres of land to work with, the gardens boast beautiful flowers and fantastic walking trails. However, the real gem of the gardens is the children’s garden. Each area has different activities from bird watching to splash ponds and even interactive STEM activities. The Purdy Butterfly House is also located in the children’s garden, and it is the largest open-air butterfly house in the country.
Entrance fees are $14 for adults and $9 for children. If you feel you’d be a frequent visitor, a membership might be more cost-effective!
Monte Sano State Park
While not a National Park, Monte Sano State Park is one of the best places to get out in nature for the whole family! From camping to nature trails to picnic areas, there is no shortage of outdoor fun at Monte Sano State Park.
Located at the base of Monte Sano mountain, the state park boasts 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails. For those not inclined to camp, one of the 14 well-equipped cabins at the park is a perfect place to spend the weekend.
Admission to the park is as follows:
- Adult Fee Ages 12+ $5.00
- Ages 4-11 $2.00
- Seniors 62+ $2.00
- Active Military $2.00
- Kids 3 and under are free
Annual Park Pass are available at the park office for the cost of:
- Individual $100.00
- Family $150.00
- Senior $50.00
Huntsville Museum of Art
Typically, art museums are not often friendly to families, especially ones with younger children. However, Huntsville Museum of Art has several classes, camps, and programs for children from preschool age through high school. Not only that, the Stender Interactive Gallery offers a hands-on experience that is a great way to introduce children to visual arts.
Additionally, the ART lab and A Walk Through Time exhibit introduce families to historical art in a family-friendly way. If art is your thing, consider a guided tour by one of the docents during your visit. They are free tours included in the price of admission.
Huntsville Museum of Art has a permanent collection as well as traveling exhibits.
The cost of admission is:
- $12 Adults
- $5 Children (Ages 6-11)
- $5 Students
- $10 Seniors (Ages 60+)
- $10 Military & Educators
- Members & Children under 6 are FREE
Do note that the museum is closed on Mondays as you are making your plans to visit Huntsville!
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
Lowe Mill is a former textile mill that has become the south’s largest private art facility. Not only are there visual arts, but there are performing arts as well. Located at the mill are over 152 working studios, 7 galleries, 200 artists and makers, and 4 performance venues.
Live music is performed for free by local artists and is required to be family-friendly. There are art classes, sewing classes, and even free cigar box guitar lessons for children and adults alike. Check out their calendar for special events throughout the year.
Big Spring International Park
Located in downtown Huntsville, Big Spring Park is one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s been recently remodeled to encourage more visitors to take full advantage of its beautiful outdoor spaces. Enjoy a picnic and free play or plan a visit around an event.
Big Spring Park plays host to Concerts in the Park, Panoply Arts Festival, Food Truck, Trailer Rallies, and more!
Hays Nature Preserve
One could say the great outdoors is a central theme of things to do in Huntsville Alabama with kids, and one would be right. We have the Land Trust of North Alabama to thank for preserving and maintaining much of the areas surrounding the city of Huntsville.
Hays Nature Preserve has a fantastic outdoor children’s playground, made of all-natural materials. Bonus for families: the playground is in the woods so there is lots of shade!
As with other areas, there are plenty of hiking trails and biking trails if one is so inclined to use them. If you have your own kayak, there is also a place to put in at the Flint River if you’re interested! Bring your own food and enjoy a meal with your family at one of the preserve’s many picnic tables in the public park.
Weeden House Museum
A historical site that might be best for older children, Weeden House Museum is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Huntsville. Built in 1819, the Weeden family purchased the home in 1845 and resided in it from 1845-1956, with the exception of a few years during the Civil War when it was occupied by Federal officers.
Maria Howard Weeden, one of the daughters, became famous for her artwork, which can be seen throughout the home during a guided tour. It is also fascinating to see the architecture of the time so carefully preserved as well as much of the original furniture in the home. Admission for tours is $5 per adult and $3 per child (12 and under).
Burritt on the Mountain
Part historic park, part historic museum, Burritt on the Mountain is a short drive up Monte Sano Mountain and is one of the best tourist attractions in the area. It combines historical buildings and outdoor activities with a breathtaking view of the city of Huntsville.
Farm animals are part of the educational experience in addition to employees dressed in period garb that educate visitors on life in the late 19th century. Admission is $12 per adult, $8 per child (ages 3+), and seniors (60+) and military members are $10 each.
Alabama Constitution Village
History nerds will also enjoy Alabama Constitution Village. When Alabama became a state in 1819, the state constitution was drafted and signed in what is now the downtown area of Huntsville. Constitution Hall recently became more of an open-air museum instead of an enclosed space, but one can still see the interiors of historic homes, a blacksmith shop, a historic print shop, and post office.
This historic site boasts a working printing press that was used to print Alabama’s first state constitution. Alabama Constitution Hall Park and Museum is part of the EarlyWorks family of museums.
Earlyworks Children’s Museum
Another great place for families is the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum. This indoor space is especially great for the colder months or whenever there is inclement weather. Their website states that children ages 2-9 will have the most fun, but even 10-11-year-olds will enjoy the museum if they are having fun with a younger sibling.
Children will enjoy hands-on activities in Biscuit’s Backyard, an imaginative play area, as well as listening to stories of historical Alabama from their famous Talking Tree. Pricing is $5 for toddlers, $10 for Youth (ages 4-17), $12 for Adults, and $10 for Seniors (55+).
Memberships are available and come with benefits such as discounts on birthday parties booked at the museum, discount admission for guests, special offers for events, and more.
Historic Huntsville Depot
Train lovers will make this a must-do on their Huntsville attractions list! A working passenger station until 1968, the museum has interactive exhibits for the little ones and an educational tour of the train depot for older children. Hands-on areas include the “Little Toots” interactive play area, sitting in the conductor’s seat of a train and/or driver’s seat of a vintage firetruck, and a viewing of a model train exhibit that shows the Huntsville area during the time of the Civil War.
Alternatively, older train lovers might enjoy the North Alabama Railroad Museum more. Just east of Huntsville in Chase, Alabama, this museum offers free, self-guided tours of real, working trains. For families who want to ride a train, the museum offers events such as Pumpkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza, Peter Cottontail Express, and Santa Train Trips for costs between $10-$30 depending on the event.
Harrison Brothers Hardware
One last entry into the historic side of Huntsville is Harrison Brothers Hardware. What started as a family-owned business in 1897 is now an authentic historic experience everyone can enjoy. Even though they no longer sell hardware, Harrison Brothers Hardware still retains much of its original counters, fixtures, shelving, and flooring.
The content might be considered more a general store nowadays, but that doesn’t stop sales from being rung up on the original 1907 cash register!
Kids will love this story because, while parents are browsing, they can participate in a scavenger hunt (for a prize) all over the store! It’s a lot of fun looking for the items described in the clues.
Harmony Park Safari
Harmony Park Safari is a drive-through nature preserve containing free-range exotic and endangered animals. It is a federally licensed park that contains animals such as camel, buffalo, zebras, giraffes, tortoises, and kangaroo. After the drive-through portion, visitors can park and walk through the reptile house.
They are open from 10 am to sunset daily, March through November (including holidays). Ages 2 and under are free, but admission for everyone else is $10 per person.
Madison County Nature Trail
All this talk of the outdoors and hiking may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Madison County Nature Trail is a family-friendly, easy hiking trail that the whole family can enjoy. The nature trail is free to enjoy, which makes it one of the many awesome places in Huntsville that are easy on the vacation budget.
Located at Green Mountain, you can find the Madison County Nature Trail in the southeastern part of Huntsville proper.
Finally, Huntsville has no shortage of fun places to seek out entertainment. Whether it’s taking in a film at the movie theater in the Bridge Street Town Centre or spending the evening at the Von Braun Center, each venue offers something different for every member of the family. Also consider visiting neighboring Madison, Alabama to take in a minor league baseball game with the Rocket City Trash Pandas (yes, that is their real name)!
Lastly, if you’re up for some road trips, there are two water park venues within thirty minutes to an hour of Huntsville. Spring Valley Beach, located in Blountsville, has toddler areas, kid and adult-friendly slides, and a huge pool. Point Mallard, located in Decatur, offers slides, a wave pool, kids’ areas, and a lazy river.
Admission to Point Mallard is $28 (12+), $23 (ages 3-11), $23 (ages 62+), and free for ages 2 and under. Spring Valley Beach charges by age and height. Children 3 and up who are 4 feet tall and under are $24, children over 4 feet tall and adults are $30, ages 62+ are $24, and children 2 and under are free.
Huntsville Alabama is a good place for families to visit. Make plans to stop and stay a while next time you’re in north Alabama!