2016 Free (and Cheap) Outdoor Summer Fun for Families in Huntsville

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.

For even more FREE family-fun this summer, check out our full 2016 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!

Tuesdays on the Trail

Location: Varies
Date(s): Tuesdays, June-July
Phone: 256.534.5263
Schedule of Events
Cost: FREE

TuesdaysonTrailThis 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 and events are free unless noted. Programs may be cancelled or rescheduled due to rain. Reservations are required (except for Sauta Cave gray bat program) 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
Phone: 256.830.4447
Website
Cost: FREE with Membership or Admission

The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a special place any time of year but with numerous water features and this year’s Houses, Huts & Habitats exhibition, it’s the perfect place to spend some time this summer. So we’d recommend a visit whenever you are looking for something fun but if you visit on Wednesdays around Noon, and you head over to the Children’s Garden, you’ll get to experience something truly special. Each week centers around a different theme (previous year’s themes included bubbles, dinosaurs, making your own tie-dye shirt,etc.) and several stations are set up throughout the Children’s Garden for little ones to experience many hands-on activities related to that week’s theme.

Play Days at Hays

operation green teamLocation: Hays Nature Preserve (map)
Date(s):Tues/Thurs in June
Phone: 256-427-5116
More Info: Schedule
Cost: FREE


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

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, Thursdays, and Saturdays 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 but does tend to fill up so get your reservations in as soon as they announce their dates. You won’t regret it!

The Whimsical and Woolly Woods at Burritt

Location: 3101 Burritt Drive (map)
Date(s): Tuesdays-Sunday, March 12-September 10
Cost: Free with Membership or admission
More Info: Website

The Whimsical Woods are back with more whimsy than ever! By popular demand, Burritt on the Mountain has brought our very first original, educational, summer game back and added a colorful twist. Once again the Historic Park features stories from 19th century children’s literature and for a lively touch we’ve added yarn bombing, a popular world-wide craze where unexpected items are covered in decorative yarn. Read our Rocket City Mom Parent Review and see why this event is worth the price of admission this summer.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If your children really enjoy their first visit, consider purchasing a family pass to use throughout the rest of the summer and the whole year!

Bridgestreet Carousel

Location: Bridgestreet (Carousel located behind H&M)
RCM Cost: $2 per ride, or $35 per pass
Date(s): Mon-Sat, 12-8PM & Sun, 12-6PM*
More Info: Website


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

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.

*Schedule is subject to change and is always weather permitting.

3rd Friday Downtown Decatur

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

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!

The Market on Bank

Location: Bank Street, Decatur (map)
Date(s): 1st Saturdays May – October, 10:00AM – 2:00PM
Cost: FREE
Website

The “sister” experience to Decatur’s super successful 3rd Friday, this family-oriented event will feature exclusive local shopping and dining opportunities, music, entertainment, and art available only during these First Saturdays. Stroll down historic Bank Street while enjoying a makers market featuring talented craftsman and artisans.


Advertisement. Content Continues Below.

Friday Night Art Walks

Location: Downtown Huntsville (map)
Date(s): 2nd Fridays May – August, 5:00PM – 8:00PM
Cost: FREE
Website

Friday Night Art Walk return for 2016 on 2nd Fridays all summer around the Square Downtown. There are over 40 vendors with a wide variety of art forms. The event takes place during open entertainment district hours, so feel free to stroll with your favorite beverage while shopping and enjoying local art.

Fridays After Five in Athens

Location: Downtown Athens (map)
Date(s): 2nd Fridays July – October, 5:00PM – 8:00PM
Cost: FREE
Website

When the work week ends this Friday, downtown Athens will be alive with shopping, dining, art, music, and more. Visit local merchants while enjoying live music and recreational activities, including a golf corn hole putting game, a putting green and horse shoes.

sponsoredguidesummer smart play space and rocket center