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.
Outdoor Fun for Families in Huntsville That’s Free/Cheap
Tuesdays on the Trail
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 only to Land Trust members. 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.
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!
“Clap for Classics!” sessions are a 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.
River Kids – SOLD OUT
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. Kids ages 9-18 can have a fun time learning how to kayak safely on the Flint River at Hays Nature Preserve with Alabama 4H & Operation Green Team, starting with a mandatory hour safety class on land. Then we head to the water for the rest! AConfirmed registration is required and limited. Must call 256.564.8077 to register. Wear water clothes and secure shoes that can get wet. All equipment will be provided. Participants must be able to swim to participate. Must attend safety class, so please don’t be late. As with all children’s programs, parents are required to stay on property.
Play Days at Hays
Play Days at Hays sessions are FREE and promise to be fun and educational as children, with an adult, explore and learn about the great outdoors! Most sessions are best for children ages 5-12 years, but all are welcome. For all these events, children should wear old comfortable shoes and play clothes that can get a bit dirty. Don’t forget a bottle of water. Your preferred insect repellent, especially on the lower legs, will help fend off unwanted insect bites. Children must be accompanied by an adult during the sessions.
Backpack Explorers at Burritt
Location: Burritt on the Mountain (map)
Date(s): Daily through September 1
Phone: (256) 536-2882
Cost: FREE with membership or general admission ($8 children, $12 adults, FREE for 2 and under)
More Info: Website
Just in time to celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial, Burritt on the Mountain debuts its new and original discovery program for children and adults! Designed for children ages 4-12, kids and families can explore Burritt’s Nature Trails, Historic Park, Barnyard Animals, and Dr. Burritt’s Marvelous Mansion. Choose one of 5 cool adventure backpacks, complete with everything you’ll need for an exciting scavenger hunt, designed for fun and surprises. Each backpack comes with a special something that you can take with you! And visitors, both with and without children, will enjoy Time Travel Trivia, a series of unique and fascinating facts posted throughout our site that will help you travel through 200 years of Alabama history.
City Lights & Stars at Burritt
Burritt on the Mountain’s City Lights and Stars is in its 26th 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 beautiful new cantilevered deck, “The View,” where 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 31 – KUSH
June 21 – Huntsville’s In the Mood
July 5 – Kaleidoscope
July 26 – Henri’s Notions
August 16 – Microwave Dave & The Nukes
September 13 – The Flashbacks Show Band
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; 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, 12-6PM (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. 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
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
A Downtown Huntsville tradition, Friday Night Art Walk returns for 2019 on 2nd Fridays on the second Fridays of May, June, July, and August from 5 to 8 pm. Come walk around all four sides of the historic Downtown Square, check out art and artisan goods from over 60 local vendors, and enjoy live music, an open entertainment district, and world-class people and puppy watching!
Greene Street Market
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.