My family and I recently traveled to Huntsville, Alabama for a long weekend away. From our home in Louisville, Kentucky it is just under 5 hours and it took a half of a tank of gas to get there. That is the perfect distance from our home to really feel like we are getting away and not so far that we break the bank paying for the gas to get there! We left Friday morning and arrived in Huntsville right about 12:30 and we hit the ground running! We didn’t want to miss any of the major attractions.
The first spot we hit while we were in town was the Alabama Constitution Village. This property is a replica village of 1819. Travel back and walk in the footsteps of the brave men who wrote Alabama’s constitution. My kids were particularly interested in the cabinet shop where our extremely knowledgeable guide did a demonstration about all of the different woodworking tools used in the 1800s. My oldest had so much fun helping in the print shop making a printed page, he really appreciated how much hard work went into producing just one small sheet of paper! The boys were in for a shock when they took a look at the ‘necessary house’ and realized that they have things pretty good, considering they don’t have to get up and go outside to use the restroom!
Just across the street from the Constitution Village is EarlyWorks Children’s Museum. The goal of EarlyWorks is to introduce children to history in a fun and engaging way. The exhibits absolutely encourage hands on learning and are very interactive. My kids loved the story telling tree and my younger dude had a lot of fun in Biscuit’s backyard. Biscuit’s backyard is an area of the museum for younger kiddos that has lot of hands on learning opportunities disguised as play.
Less than a mile from the Constitution Village and EarlyWorks is the Train Depot. The train depot was my youngest son’s favorite stop of the whole trip. Just inside the the gates are old train cars that kids can climb on and explore (that part is free!), there is a children’s play area, and a tour is offered inside of the depot. Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic and very knowledgeable. The tour typically lasts an hour, but we requested the medium length tour because we were the only ones there at the time and we have a 4 year old that doesn’t do anything for an hour!
We also visited the Huntsville Museum of Art, full disclosure here, we didn’t stay long. The exhibits were beautiful and my husband and I mentioned several times that we would love to have longer to visit the museum but….I have a 4 year old. I thought that I was going to have a heart attack, due to his over exuberance about all things in general. However, I absolutely loved the Tim Taunton exhibit that I got to see on our way through! This is a great place for a visit if you have older art loving children.
On Saturday, our first stop was the Botanical Garden. We had warning that their ‘bootanica’ event would be happening so when we packed for our trip we threw in my kiddos Halloween costumes. They thought that it was great fun to dress up in another state.
The bootanica event had different stations set up in the children’s garden and was included with the price of admission. My kids were able to get their faces painted, decorate pumpkins, make several crafts and generally get in the Halloween spirit.
The botanical garden on its own, which we explored before bootanica started, was amazing. My husband and I remarked several different times that if we were locals we would have a membership just so that we could use the hammock area and read!
After the botanical garden we headed for Burritt on the Mountain. The land for this museum was willed to Huntsville to create the first museum in the city. On the property are several restored buildings from the 1900s as well as the preserved home of Dr. Burritt which can be toured during your visit. While we were visiting they had an international festival with a different country represented at each of the buildings on site, complete with demonstrations. My kids had a blast getting their hands dirty during a panning for gold demo. They were excited that they got to keep the ‘gems’ and ‘gold’ that they found. In the blacksmith shop they got to watch a nail being made and they each got to keep one of the nails. Hands down the best part of this visit was the view of Huntsville from the top of the mountain. It was breathtaking, we were able to see all of Huntsville from where we were standing.
Next up on our tour of Huntsville was Sci-Quest. This museum is a hands on science museum for kids, my oldest is a science lover and was totally in heaven. Almost all of the exhibits allowed the kiddos to do the experiment on their own. There was a giant operation game (like the board game) that my kids spent a good amount of time playing. My youngest loved seeing himself as a weatherman in the area that was set up like a tv station, complete with a green screen.
Due to the hour time difference my kids woke up pretty early while we were in town. After eating breakfast on Sunday we asked the very helpful man at the front desk of our hotel for suggestions for a local park to go visit. I am so glad we did! He told us about Dublin park, mentioning that it was a little out of the way, but that didn’t really matter to us, so off we went! Let me tell you this park was absolutely incredible, the playground for the kids was called Kids Kingdom. According to a sign located inside of the playground, 200 elementary school children were asked what their idea of the perfect playground would be. Their answers were tallied and Kids Kingdom was born. Ya’ll my kids would have stayed there all day if we had let them. When I asked them if they liked the park my 6 year old said “we don’t like it we love it!”
Our last stop of our trip was the Space and Rocket Center, which we had visited the last time we were in town. It was still just as special! Now, we didn’t stay for the entire day because we visited on the way out of town and we needed to hit the road. If this is your first time through the space and rocket center then you should plan to spend the better part of a day there. There are lots of interactive exhibits as well as displays of replica rockets and actual pieces that have been to space. There are several rides on site and a play area called the energy depletion zone. My kids would have stayed in the energy depletion zone all day! Just a side note, if you have a ‘reader’ at museums be prepared to spend lots of time waiting for them to be ready to move on to the next area!
We loved spending time in Hunstville and think that you will too!
*The admission to these locations were provided for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions are my own*