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Huntsville’s Own “Rocket-fella” Center

Huntsville’s Own “Rocket-fella” Center

Surely you’ve heard the buzz by now. It’s coming from the direction of the Huntsville Art Museum and Big Spring Park, and promises to create the biggest holiday destination point in Madison County this year. Between the Downtown Forty-Seven second annual Tinsel Trail and the Huntsville Museum of Art’s Skating In the Park we now have our own little Rocket City winter wonderland!

A Twinkling Trail of Tinsel

If you didn’t make it downtown last year to see the Tinsel Trail now’s your chance. Over 200 trees decked out to the nines by local organizations and businesses flank the trail, and it’s a genuine show of community collaboration. Many non-profit groups were able to get corporate sponsors to underwrite the cost of their trees, and volunteers took care of arranging all the trimmings. New to the trail this year are local music and dance performers every Friday and Saturday evening in December. The best part? It’s all free and open to the public!

The Tinsel Trail is having their grand opening this Saturday, December 1st, and the festivities begin right after the Huntsville Christmas Parade. At 2PM, local singer-songwriter Cristina Lynn, accompanied by Russ Holder, will perform original songs and holiday favorites following the parade. At 4PM Santa and Mayor Battle officially light the Tinsel Trail and announce selections for the most creatively decorated trees. At 4:30PM the Army Material Command Band performs, and Santa will be taking photos with the children at 5PM.


When: December 1st – January 5th; trees are lit from dusk to 2:30AM every night
Where: Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville; entrance is located outside the gazebo in Big Spring Park. It is close to the intersection of Williams and Lowe.
How much: Free and open to the public!

A sneak peek at a few trees from this year’s Tinsel Trail!
Skating In the Park

Located directly adjacent to the Tinsel Trail is the Huntsville Museum of Art’s new outdoor ice rink. An amazing addition to the holiday ambiance, now you can experience ice skating the way New Yorkers do – at a beloved city landmark, surrounded by twinkling lights and festive music!

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My family tried it out on opening day (anything for RCM readers!) and, while a little pricey, I feel it’s definitely worth the experience. The rink itself isn’t as large as a hockey rink, but there’s ample space to skate with a large crowd. Skates are available to rent, as well as “ice walkers” for beginner skaters. My boys were first time skaters and used a walker for the first half hour and then felt brave enough to skate without it – we shared one between them. There is also a kiosk that serves hot chocolate, coffee, and snacks next to the rink.


When: November 21st – January 5th;
Monday – Thursday: noon to 10 p.m.
Friday: noon to 12 a.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday: noon to 8 p.m.
Where: Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville; behind the Art Museum
How much: $10 per person skating fee; $8 per person for groups of 15 or more; $3 skate rental fee; $5 ice walker rental fee

Four thumbs up from the six & seven year-olds!


View Comments (77)
  • Wow! I had no idea about the Tinsel Trail. Will definitely be putting it on our Christmas to-do list.

  • How cool! This is definitely on our list for this season. When I was younger, my parents let us start opening Christmas presents after Midnight Mass and I let my kids do the same. 🙂

  • My mom used to get my sister and me a set of pjs or a nightgown and a baby doll every year. She’d let us open it on Christmas Eve, that way we could sleep in it and with it that night. I’m happy that I can do the same with my lil girl.

  • Growing up, we always got to open 1 present on Christmas Eve, my baby is only 10 months now but that is definitely a tradition we will always have. Also, we must leave out 2 cookies and a glass of milk for Santa!

  • You guys rock! I moved to Huntsville 2 years ago, I’m so happy I found you!

  • I am so excited about this! What a unique and exciting thing to come to Huntsville! My family can’t wait to go!!!

  • I signed up for the newsletter, which I think I may have already done before. But anyway, there was nothing to click in the email to verify my subscription. There was a link to Wufoo, and there was a link to my own email address that brought up an email to be sent to me when I clicked it. Nothing to verify the newsletter.

  • We always sang together as a family growing up and now I love gathering my own bunch around the piano and singing Christmas songs! Even the 2 year old is getting into the spirit of it this year. 🙂

  • Thanks for all the great stories! We’ll look for you on the ice some time this winter.


  • My favorite was going to pick out a Christmas tree and I love taking my girls now!

  • Ooooooh Sweeeet! This sounds like so much fun! I would L♥ve to win! Thank you for the opportunity!!

  • This is awesome! What a wonderful addition to Huntsville for the Christmas season!

  • We used to spend an entire day baking cookies. I still do this with my girls.

  • One of my favorite parts of Christmas as a kid was decorating cut-out cookies with my grandmother. Now she gets to do the same with her great-granddaughters!

  • Somehow I missed this last year, will have to add it to our list of things to do!

  • LOVE giveaways. I’ve never been to the pizza place but would love to try it out with our 2 year old.

  • Can’t wait to support such a fun community event and make memories with my kiddos!

  • Love this. We are new to the area and this sounds like a wonderful first Christmas in Huntsville activity.

  • My family purchases an ornament for each family member for the current year to place on the tree. It is always fun since the boys like different things each year so we have several different characters that make appearances on our tree.

  • Our parents always let us open one present Christmas Eve, which we always looked forward too! We knew the next morning we would get to open ALL the presents .. but even still that Christmas Eve present was SO exciting! lol!

    Then Christmas morning we would read the “Christmas Story” from the Bible before we opened any presents.

    Both of these traditions we have continued with our children 🙂

  • What a wonderful giveaway, crossing my fingers we win this one. We’d love to go try the ice skating & we’re always looking for good pizza! 🙂

  • We always made tons of cookies (140+ dz) while singing Christmas songs loudly! With our children, we’ve started the Christmas pajamas tradition and are focusing on making Christmas a special season in our lives. 🙂

    Would absolutely love to win this prize too! Thanks for all the awesome giveaways!

  • We’d make cookies with Christmas music on and then watch White Christmas. Usually followed a night of driving around to see Christmas lights.

  • Already have 2 outings planned to Tinsel Trail and ice skating. Can’t wait to go!

  • Thank you for helping me find fun things to do with my baby girl! I am a born and raised Huntsvillian and you have clued me in on things that I never knew about… 😉

  • My Husband and I can’t wait to take our little boy for his first Christmas experience!!!!!!!!

  • Can’t wait to see the Tinsel Trail. We tried to go last year, but they had closed due to the mud being too heavy that night. 🙁

  • We went last year to the Tinsel Trail and loved it…def will be a huntsville family tradition for us.

  • We love making christmas cookies/goodies every year…this year my son (2.5) is finally old enough to “help” without causing too much mayhem! Some of my earliest Christmas memories are helping my grandmother make cookies.

  • We opened one gift on Christmas eve when we were little. Now that I’m older it’s all the family events we have. Though it’s stressful with our kids it’s so fun to eat, play games and enjoy everyones company!

  • I love making cookies and ornaments while telling my young children the reason for the season!

  • Opening one gift on Christmas Eve. We didn’t have a lot of traditions in my family, so I am working on building some with my child now. One of the few things we did do every year was opening a gift on Christmas Eve, and my child loves doing that as well.

  • I am so excited about all of the new family activities available to us this year! I can’t wait to make some memories & possibly new traditions with my family!

  • i love watching all of the old christmas cartoons with my son that i watched as a kid.

  • My Dad and I always made sugar cookies together. He would cut the dough into shapes and I would decorate. I loved that time with him. Now my kids and I make cookies together. I hope they think back on this time with me as fondly as I do.

  • We are having so much fun during our first Christmas season in Huntsville. Can’t wait to check this one off the to-do list!!

  • We stayed at my Grandparents on Christmas. There were a bunch of us. Not every year, but some years we stay at my parents with our kids. 😀

  • I loved driving around & looking at the amazing Christmas lights displays. Now I get to see the same excited expression on my son’s face! He loves it just as much as I do!!!

  • I loved baking with my mom when I was younger. She would bake a ridiculous amount and make plates to take to our bank, the insurance agent, nursing home, etc. Truly a memory and tradition that has stayed with me over the years.

  • We always adopt a child for my daughter to shop for. I want to instill in her that giving is just as rewarding as receiving.

  • Always made Christmas cookies with my aunt and cousins. Making it a new tradition with my son, Sawyer who is 2, now!

  • I have never been ice skating, but always wanted to go as a child. I know my children would love it and have a blast!!!

    My favorite family tradition as a child were watching Rudolph on TV and baking cookies with my mother to place for Santa!

  • My favorite tradition was putting up the Christmas tree.
    I still love it with my own tree. So many happy memories as I get the ornaments out of the boxes.

  • One favorite tradition we have kept is getting the kids their own special ornament each Christmas-something that tells about an interest or something special about them during that year.
    But my favorite tradition is new: choosing and cutting down our own fresh tree (something that wasn’t possible in South Florida, where I grew up)

  • We have a stuffed Kermit the Frog on the top of our tree just like we did when I was growing up.

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