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2018 Free (and Cheap) Outdoor Summer Activities for Families in Huntsville and North Alabama

2018 Free (and Cheap) Outdoor Summer Activities for Families in Huntsville and North Alabama

The days of children being shoved out the door each day and left to entertain themselves all summer are long gone (yes, I am that old), but that doesn’t mean that today’s kids don’t have plenty of opportunities to spend quality time enjoying nature. Here we’ve listed some of the best ways to enjoy the beauty and wonder of an Alabama summer.

[themify_box style=”lavender rounded” ]For even more FREE family-fun this summer, check out our full 2018 Summer Fun Guide. Filled with  information on free summer movies, summer concerts, indoor children’s activities, pools and splashpads, festivals, fairs, carnivals and more! Your children will not be bored this summer! [/themify_box]

Outdoor Fun for Families in Huntsville That’s Free/Cheap

Tuesdays on the Trail


Location: Varies
Date(s): Tuesdays, June-July
Phone: 256.534.5263
More Info: Schedule of Events
Cost: Most events are FREE for Land Trust members and $5 for non-members

This award-winning environmental education series is offered by the Land Trust of North Alabama on Tuesdays in June and July. Each program is a fun “snapshot” that promotes learning about the unique geology and wildlife of North Alabama and inspires the next generation of land stewards to continue to protect our natural heritage.

NOTE: Space is limited. Most events are for ages 6+ unless otherwise noted. Programs may be canceled or rescheduled due to rain. Reservations are required and must be made by calling 256.534.5263.

Wacky Wednesdays at the Garden

wackywednesdaysLocation: 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue (map)
Dates(s): Wednesdays, June – July (except July 4) between 11:30AM-1:30PM
Phone: 256.830.4447
More Info: Website
Cost: FREE with Membership or Admission

A summer of wonder and enchantment awaits; prepare to be inspired by nature! Wacky Wednesdays will include fluttering fairies, trolls and gnomes, and a different wacky adventure each week in the Enchanted Forest!  Teeny tiny things will abound in the creative play area, creative crafts for little hands, story time and a snack included in every Gardens of Myth Wacky Wednesday.  Wear your fairy wings and bring your imagination! Picnic tables are available in the Enchanted Forest so plan on enjoying a relaxing lunch in the shade and remember you’ll be close to the Gardens of Myth trail, the Garden Railway, the Outdoor Build area and the Hammocks too!

June 6 – Fairy Houses
June 13 – Fire Breathing Dragon
June 20 – Fairy Ribbon Wands
June 27 – Gnomes
July 5 – No Wacky Wednesday
July 11 – Water Balloon Painting
July 18 – Troll Pencil Topper
July 25 – Tie Dye T-Shirts

Seeds to Sprouts and Clap for Classics! In the Garden

Location: Anderson Education Center Classroom at the Huntsville Botanical Garden (map)
Dates(s): Select Fridays from 10-11AM
Phone: 256.830.4447 ext. 253
More Info: Website
Cost: $8 for the first child, $5 for each additional sibling in the same family (Adults are free with membership or regular admission)

Come and enjoy exciting stories for the season, crafts, learning activities, and walks (weather permitting) in the garden with your little Sprout! Each class is geared towards children 2-5 and offers a different adventure to get your little one experiencing nature and all it has to offer. Pre-registration is not required, but encouraged. Remember to take advantage of our Frequent “Sprouters” Program and earn a free class for every three paid classes that you attend. Pick up your card at the next class!

New for this year are called “Clap for Classics!” sessions, a music class for children ages 2-5 and their parents. During each class children and their parents will explore where nature and music intersect by listening to classical music that was inspired by nature, followed by will singing, dancing, and playing instruments as they learn foundational musical concepts – all within a Botanical Garden theme.

June 1Clap for Classics! Summer music in the Garden kickoff
June 15 – Seeds to Sprouts: Dragons
June 22Clap for Classics! Trains in the garden
June 29 – Seeds to Sprouts: Bigfoot
July 6 -Seeds to Sprouts: Unicorns
July 13Clap for Classics! Fairy Tales in the garden, part 1
July 20Clap for Classics! Fairy Tales in the garden, part 2.
July 27 – Seeds to Sprouts: Trolls

Play Days at Hays

Location: Hays Nature Preserve (map)
Date(s): June, Tuesdays 10AM-1PM (no reservations needed) and Thursdays, 9:30AM-11AM (reservations required)
Phone: 256-564-8077
More Info: Schedule
Cost: FREE

Hays Nature Preserve is another true Huntsville treasure and a great place to go fishing, hiking, or just exploring nature with the kids. But on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer, add free fun and activities to the list of reasons to visit. Led by Operation Green Team, Play Days at Hays is always free and anticipates serving 10,000+ children this year! You won’t regret it! Tuesdays are drop-in style from 10am-1pm with a different theme each week, and no reservations are necessary.  Thursdays take place from 9:30-11:00am with a different topic, and reservations are required to ensure that there are enough supplies for each child. Activities are geared for kindergartners to sixth graders; though with the help of an adult, a younger child could participate! For all these events, children should wear old comfortable shoes and play clothes that can get a bit dirty. Bring a bottle of water and put on your preferred insect repellent, especially on the lower legs; it’ll fend off unwanted insect bites. Children must be accompanied by an adult during the sessions.

Folk Family Fun at Burritt

Location: Burritt on the Mountain (map)
Date(s): Tues-Sat 10AM-4PM and Sun 12-4PM, through September 3rd
Phone: (256) 536-2882
Cost: FREE with membership or general admission ($8 children, $10 adults, FREE for 2 and under)
More Info: Website

Come join us for a hands-on exploration of the life and crafts of the past with Folk Family Fun! Start at the very foundations when you put together a child-sized log cabin, and build your way up to stitching “clothes” and following animal tracks. Work together to weave a basket, take time to explore the barnyard, and pick up a paintbrush to see what your creative spirit can reveal! Whether you’re good at spotting all the different plants on the trail or the puzzle of putting together a quilt, you’ll find something to spark your curiosity. Of course kids will love the return of the perennial favorite, panning for gold at our sluice! The summer will also include a weekly folk art class for rising 1st-6th graders accompanied by an adult, where they get to delve deeper into a skill and take home their work. With stations throughout the park geared for kids aged 3-11, this fun summer activity will show the whole family that the past can still teach us something new!

City Lights & Stars at Burritt

Location:3101 Burritt Drive (map)
Date(s): Select Fridays May-August
Phone: (256) 536-2882
Cost: $10-$12
More Info: Website

Burritt on the Mountain’s City Lights and Stars is in its 25th season and to celebrate we are featuring both brand new acts and acts that have graced our stage for years. All have a local connection to Huntsville and Madison County. Join us for the best season ever and support our local artists while enjoying our iconic view of the city from our brand new cantilevered deck, “The View!” Beer and wine will be available for purchase as well as provisions from local food trucks. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic!

May 11 – Mambo Gris Gris
June 1 – The Flashbacks
June 22 – Claire Lynch Trio
July 6 – Seminole Strut
July 27 – In The Mood
August 17 – Phil Weaver, Dave Anderson & Ken Watters

Bridge Street Carousel and Train Rides

Location: Bridge Street Town Center (map – Carousel located behind H&M; train boards near White House | Black Market)
Cost: Carousel is $2 per ride, or $35 per pass; Train is $3 per ride
Carousel Date(s): Mon-Sat, 12-8PM & Sun, 12-7PM (weather permitting)
Train Date(s): Thurs-Sat, 12-8PM & Sun, 12-7PM (weather permitting)
More Info: Website

Bridge Street’s majestic Venetian-themed carousel features 31 characters including a lion, tiger, bear, horse, ostrich, teacup and more! The carousel is located behind H&M overlooking the lake. Rides on the Carousel are just $2 each, but for the price of an annual carousel pass, your little one can ride as often as they like as much as they like through the end of the year. If you live close enough (or shop often enough) it’s well worth that price. And train lovers of all ages will have a blast on Bridge Street’s trackless train as they take a fun-filled, scenic ride through the promenade past shops, restaurants, Cinemark movie theater, the carousel and the lake!

3rd Friday Downtown Decatur

Location: 2nd Avenue, Downtown Decatur (map)
Date(s): 3rd Fridays April – October, 5:30PM – 9:00PM
Cost: FREE

The mother of all block parties is back and better than ever! Classic cars, artists and artisans, musicians and entertainers will pack 2nd Avenue for a street soiree that can’t be missed. Bring the whole family (even Fido) to stroll, laugh, play, dine, and shop until the sun sets and the moon rises over the River City. Look for special children’s activities at every turn!

Friday Night Art Walks

Location: Downtown Huntsville (map)
Date(s): 2nd Fridays May-August, 5-8PM
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

Friday Night Art Walk returns for 2018 on 2nd Fridays all summer around the Square Downtown. There are dozens of vendors with a wide variety of arts and crafts as well as live music. The event takes place during open entertainment district hours, so feel free to stroll with your favorite beverage while shopping and enjoying local art!

Greene Street Market with Arts on Eustis

Location: Downtown Huntsville (map)
Date(s): Thursdays from 4-8PM, May – August (hours are shortened in September & October)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Website | Facebook

The Greene Street Market at Nativity is a local favorite on Thursday evenings! Downtown Huntsville’s producer-only, open-air market, Greene Street Market serves up fresh, locally-grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. You can also meet farmers with gorgeous local produce, grass-fed beef and pork, free-range chickens and eggs; pick up freshly prepared meals, gourmet popsicles, traditionally-made relishes, cheeses, preserves and bread. There’s often live music, and it’s also where local artisans offer their works. This year from May through July (with the exception of July 5), Arts Huntsville is joining the Greene Street Market to feature eight new artists each week for viewing and shopping at Arts on Eustis. Exhibitors will rotate each week so you can discover something new each week!


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