2017 Free (and Cheap) Outdoor Summer Fun for Families in Huntsville and North AL

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 2017 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 (except July 5) between 12PM-1PM
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 Dinosaur Uproar Alive 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, 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.

June 7 – Dinosaur Headbands
June 14 – Dinosaur Fossils
June 21 – Dinosaur Mask
June 28 – Painted Dinosaurs
July 5  – NO Wacky Wednesday
July 12 – Tissue Paper Dinosaur
July 19 – Dinosaur Puppets
July 26 – Tie Dyed T’shirts

Play Days at Hays

operation green teamLocation: Hays Nature Preserve (map)
Date(s): June, Tuesdays 10AM-2PM (no reservations needed) and Thursdays, 9:30AM-11AM (reservations required)
Phone: 256-427-5116
More Info: Schedule (TBA in mid-May)
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-2pm 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. Private groups are also invited to make reservations for visits to Hays, but private events and Thursdays do tend to fill up quickly – so get your reservations in ASAP!


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Summer Under the Stars at Burritt2017 Summer Under the Stars Image

Location:3101 Burritt Drive (map)
Date(s): Select Fridays May-August
Phone: 256-427-5116
More Info: Website

This summer, you can spend some time at Burritt on the Mountain and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and incredible entertainment at our Summer Under the Stars programming! City Lights and Stars brings the music, while Stories Under the Stars celebrates the true tales told by your community members. Each of these events is designed to bring incredible community programming together with the best view of the city to provide relaxing, fun events for you to enjoy. Beer and wine will be available for purchase as well as provisions from local food trucks. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic!

City Lights & Stars

City Lights and Stars returns for its 24th season on May 12th and runs through August 11th with an incredible line up of musicians and food trucks. Concerts will go on rain or shine; no outside alcohol or dogs allowed. This concert series is sponsored by Redstone Federal Credit Union.

Time: 7:30PM (gates open at 6:30PM)
Cost
: In advance: $10 (members), $12 (non-members); At the gate: $15 (adults), $5 (children 12 & under)

May 13 – Mambo Gris Gris, Food Trucks: I Love Bacon and Brain Freeze
May 26 – Smokey’s Farmland Band, Food Trucks: Beast Mode and Ice Works
June 9 – In the Mood, Food Trucks Manic Organic and Ice Works
June 30 – Eric Essix, Food Truck: O’Taste & See BBQ
July 21 – KUSH, Food Trucks: Fire & Spice and Brain Freeze
August 11 – Mo’ Sol, Food Trucks: Highway Kabobery and Brain Freeze

Stories Under the Stars

Stories Under the Stars, in conjunction with WLRH and Out Loud HSV, celebrates members of our community by providing a stage to share true stories fitting the theme of each event. Sign up for our wildcard spot for a chance to take the stage yourself! This series is sponsored by Investors Resource, Raymond James in Madison.


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Time: 6:30PM (gates open at 5:30PM)
Cost
: $10

May 18 – Blast From the Past
June 15 – It Only Takes a Spark
July 27 – When Disaster Strikes

Treasure Hunt at Burritt

Location: 3101 Burritt Drive (map)
Date(s): Tuesdays-Sunday, March 11-September 3
Cost: Free with Membership or admission
More Info: Website

Stake your claim on all the fun! Hunt for treasure at this exciting, interactive adventure that comes to life on March 11 through September 3. Experience the Alabama Gold Rush of 1829 as you “arrive” on the stagecoach, shop in the General Store for provisions, build a cabin out of child-size faux logs, pan for gold in the sluice, get hands-on experience with daily chores, and much, much more. Clues are given along the way so you can find “gold nuggets” along with tons of fun. This adventure, geared for children ages 3 to 11, will provide hours of family fun and learning while presenting the rough and tumble life of a prospector and the early history of Alabama.

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, 12-7PM*
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.

*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!


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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 2017 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!

Fridays After Five in Athens

Location: Downtown Athens (map)
Date(s): 2nd Fridays June – September, 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.

 

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