Looking for a fun family getaway? Then look no further than Huntsville, Alabama! The girls and I visited Huntsville for the weekend and we had so much fun that girls didn’t want to leave! In this post, I am going to provide you with all of the details you may need to plan your own Huntsville adventure as well as our exact itinerary!
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Best Time of Year to Visit Huntsville
One of the best things about Huntsville is that you can find something to do no matter the time of year! We visited in early May, and the weather was just warm enough to feel like the beginning of Spring without being sweltering.
If you visit in the Spring, you can catch the flowers start to bloom at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, and you can even catch a Huntsville Havoc hockey game! If you visit during the Summer, you can catch an awesome outdoor performance or get a breathtaking hike in. If you visit during the Fall, you can catch the Fall wildflowers and stroll through one of the many festivals throughout the city. Worried about the winter chill? No worries, the weather dips down to the 50s with some frost, but you can warm up with some yummy local hot chocolate while admiring all of the beautiful holiday light displays!
How to get to Huntsville
We love a good road trip around here, and Huntsville is only 3.5 hours from Atlanta, which makes it perfect for traveling families! Huntsville is also two hours south of Nashville, three and a half hours from Memphis, and only an hour and a half from Birmingham, Alabama.
Where to Stay in Huntsville?
While in Huntsville, we stayed at the Drury Inn & Suites at the Space & Rocket Center, which had an awesome view of the Space & Rocket Center!
The Drury Inn & Suites Huntsville is located right off the I-565 highway and offers free HOT breakfast, but my personal favorite amenity was the 5:30 Kickback which offered snacks and drinks (cocktails included). They also have an indoor pool and hot tub, which has a lift for guests with physical disabilities.
We stayed in the Queen Deluxe Room, and I was shocked at how spacious it was! The bed felt like sleeping on a cloud, which was a welcome comfort after our adventures exploring the city. The room also featured a desk (perfect for working and homeschool), great WiFi, a microwave, and a refrigerator.
What is there for Kids to do in Huntsville?
I am so glad you asked! There are times that you visit a destination and have to get really creative about what to do with the kiddos that adults will also enjoy. Much to my excitement, Huntsville was not one of these cities. Not only was there so much to do that we didn’t even get close to scratching the surface during our 3 days but neither myself nor the girls wanted to leave!
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Huntsville is home to the largest space museum in the WORLD, hence the reason Huntsville is known as the “Rocket City.” The girls had so much fun at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center that even after 5 hours, they were not ready to leave!
Be sure to head over to our U.S. Space & Rocket Center blog post to get all the details about our visit and how to plan a visit of your own.
Earlyworks Children’s Museum
Earlyworks Children’s Museum is a unique interactive children’s museum that focuses on American history. If you have been around here for any length of time, you will know that we love children’s museums. If no other reason than the fact that I don’t have to say the sentence, “don’t touch that,” which is a parenting dream. Earlyworks has a done a fantastic job of keeping safety at the forefront with abundant hand sanitizing stations throughout the museum and dedicated toy drops when your child is finished playing with something so that it can be sanitized.
While at Earlyworks, we explored a log cabin, where the girls were able to dress up and play “house.” Bug loved pretending to churn butter, while Roo enjoyed pretending to fetch water. It was hilarious to watch them dressed up and discovering the “old-timey” toys and household items. As you make your way through the museum, Bug’s favorite area was Biscuit’s Backyard because of the water table, barn area, and secret hideout treehouse. From there, we made our way through the museum, exploring a keelboat, milking a cow, working at the Happy Pup Salon, and playing pinball.
Huntsville Botanical Gardens
Often, I tell parents that Botanical Gardens are my secret parenting hack; they look at me like I have lost it! Botanical Gardens have so much open space that allows kiddos to get out all of that extra energy, but they are the perfect learning experience as well. The Huntsville Botanical Gardens is absolutely breathtaking and serene at the same time. The gardens span 112 acres, so I would recommend pacing yourself and have a loose plan so that you can see everything you desire.
While visiting, we had the pleasure of seeing a performance of “Tinker Bell” by the Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater. It was perfect because we were able to bring a blanket and snacks. I am always nervous about taking the girls to a “formal” performance because they often have a hard time sitting still, but that worry wasn’t needed for this performance.
Once we finished watching the performance, we explored the Botanical Gardens, and it was magical. Here are our 3 favorite areas of the Huntsville Botanical Gardens:
- Purdy Butterfly House: The Butterfly House is located within the Children’s Garden (which is amazing) and is over 9,000 sq. ft. and a nature oasis. The Butterfly House is home to butterflies, but also tadpoles, frogs, quail, turtles, and more. We spent over an hour in the Butterfly House admiring the waterfall, pond, and butterflies fluttering about.
- Matthews Nature Trail: This trail felt like a secret bonus within the gardens. We have been itching to go on a hike for the past couple of weeks, so what a beautiful surprise to get a nice hike while at the gardens. It was a nice easy for kiddos, but my favorite part was the smell of flowers that wafted into the trail from the gardens. It was an experience that I cannot accurately describe. You have to visit and see for yourself!
- Damson Aquatic Garden: Not only is this garden serene and beautiful, but it is also prime viewing for lily pad action! We saw so many different varieties of dragonflies, frogs/toads, and water lilies.
Rocket City Trash Panda Baseball Game
The Rocket City Trash Pandas are the hometown minor league baseball team! It was the girl’s first-ever baseball game, and it was awesome. We sat in the Berm area, which is a grassy area with perfect views of the game. I loved this area because the girls were able to run around in the grass, and they also got to be on the lookout for foul balls for souvenirs.
Toyota Field also has a Kid Zone past Section 13 with a playground if your littles get bored.
*Important Note: Toyota Field has a CLEAR bag policy in place, so if you carry a purse, be sure to either have a clear purse or put all the essentials in your pocket.
Burritt on the Mountain
Burritt on the Mountain is a beautiful park on Round Top Mountain that overlooks Huntsville, but it is much more than a park! Burritt on the Mountain sits on 167 acres, and you can explore the Burritt Mansion and see what farm life was like back in the 1800s. The historical park at Burritt has six 19th century homes complete with authentic actors who can answer questions about what life was like and also give tours.
While visiting Burritt on the Mountain, we also had a GeoQuest! Adventure. This is perfect for all ages, as they have different quests with varying difficulty levels. The GeoQuest kept the girls entertained, but they also learned exciting facts about the animals and area as they completed the quest.
We were pleasantly surprised to connect quite a bit of Black History to our Worldschool lessons while touring the Burritt on the Mountain. The Rosenwald School tour helped us learn more about the mission of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald to educate Black students in the early 1900s. While touring Burritt Mansion, we learned about the Scottsboro Boys and saw a page from the Negro Motorist’s Green Book.
Purple Cup Secret Art Trail
I turned this into a game of seek-and-find to keep the girls engaged, and it was so much fun! Huntsville has so many talented artists, and they have stamped their mark all over the city, sometimes in the most obscure places. Both Roo & Bug took their jobs of finding murals very seriously, and even after we ventured off the Purple Cup Secret Art Trail, they were still spotting really cool art pieces and murals around the city.
Where to eat in Huntsville with Kids?
The Pizza & Gelato – Sam & Greg’s
Looking for mouthwatering pizza and in-house made gelato to polish it off? Then you need to head over to Sam & Greg’s Pizzeria/Gelateria! We ordered a medium Meat Lover’s, and it was divine. After lunch, the girls salivated over the strawberry gelato, so of course, I had to give in. Definitely a must-stop in Huntsville!
Yummy Sandwiches – Melt Huntsville
MELT has something for the entire family, even the pickiest eaters. Roo was able to get a grilled cheese, Bug was able to get a cheeseburger, and I was able to get a Chicken Bacon Ranch that was out of this world!
Something for Everyone – Stovehouse
We ate at Bark & Barrell BBQ, and it was delicious! I had the pulled pork plate, Roo had the Lil Tator (1/2 baked potato with brisket, butter, and cheese), and Bug had the Tot-chos (kettle chips with brisket, queso, and sour cream)
A quick recap of our itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Huntsville
– Lunch at Sam & Greg’s Pizzeria
– Check into Drury Inn & Suites Space & Rocket Center
– Rocket City Trash Pandas Baseball Game
– U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville
– Lunch at Stovehouse: Bark & Barrell BBQ
– Burritt on the Mountain – GeoQuest
– Huntsville Botanical Garden
– Earlyworks Children’s Museum
– Downtown Huntsville Purple Cup Secret Art Trail
– Explore Downtown Huntsville
– Dinner at MELT
Autism Family Travel Tips for your trip to Huntsville
- If you are looking for a quiet space while visiting the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, make your way over to the Damson Aquatic Gardens, upstairs of the Butterfly House, or the observatory in Tweetsville. We used all of these areas as a reprieve from sensory stimulation, and it allowed a moment to regroup before continuing exploring.
- When booking your ticket for the Rocket City Trash Pandas Baseball game, be sure to book your tickets in the Berm area. If your child has a favorite blanket, bring it with you as the area is blanket seating only.
- Bring your noise-reducing headphones on your trip. You may need them at the Trash Pandas Baseball Game or different inside activities.