If you haven’t visited downtown Huntsville in a while with your kids, you might be surprised.[sws_pullquote_right]”Downtown Huntsville is filled with unique and interesting places for families of all sizes. From museums to greenways to fun-filled dining, Downtown Huntsville is a great space for families to explore.” – Chad Emerson, President & CEO, Downtown Huntsville, Inc. [/sws_pullquote_right] Sure, there are lots of breweries and clubs, and some of the fanciest restaurants are located in that area, but there are also some hidden family-friendly gems if you know where to look. Get ready to rediscover the heart of Huntsville with your family in tow!
It’s no secret that Big Spring Park is one of Huntsville’s most popular parks – it’s the home of Panoply, the Tinsel Trail, Concerts In the Park, and a long list of other special events. But when was the last time you packed a picnic and spent an afternoon feeding the ducks there? Between the eastern grotto, the gorgeous red bridge, and the elegant Tom Thrasher Fountain by the Embassy Suites there are several great spots!
If a traditional playground is more your speed, Bud Cramer Park is just a few blocks away. Located on Meridian Street, south of National Children’s Advocacy Center, it’s perfect for burning off some energy with the 10-and-under crowd. There’s a new paved greenway that connects A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard across the street from this park to the Historic Huntsville Depot and Veterans Park. It’s about a half mile long and passes right by the Huntsville Dog Park & Skate park.
Some Kid-Friendly Culture
The Huntsville Museum of Art has Big Spring Park for a backyard, and a whole wing of kid-friendly activities to explore. Their free Drop In & Create program is great for kids 3 and up, and the Stender Interactive Gallery is a welcome place for little art lovers to explore.
Also on the edge of the park is the Huntsville Public Library, the best place in town to read a story, make a craft, or watch a puppet show.
Your family can step back in time when you visit Harrison Brothers Hardware store on the downtown Huntsville square. They specialize in retro and vintage toys, and also has some great gifts and souvenirs. Sales are still rung up on the 1907 National Cash Register first used by Robert and Daniel Harrison, the brothers that founded the historic store.
History & H2O
Another favorite spot for the young and young-at-heart is the Earlyworks Family of Museums downtown. Kids and their families can learn all about local history in a hands-on environment at THREE different museums: Alabama Constitution Village, Earlyworks Children’s Museum, and the Huntsville Depot Museum. Not only that, but members receive a discount when they visit other ACM Reciprocal Network museums in the country.
During the summer months, grab your bathing suit and cool off in the pop jets of the Bicentennial Fountain located behind the Earlyworks Children’s Museum. You’ll be in good company – it’s a popular spot for local kids and has a covered arbor, beautiful landscaping and a variety of sitting areas.
Kid-Friendly Lunch Spots
With all that exploring, of course you’ll need a place to grab some lunch or a snack that welcomes kids. Parents have a range of prices to choose from, as well as cuisine choices!
- Pane e Vino – pizza, pasta, & salads; located inside the Art Museum; patio dining; kid’s menu
- Cozy Cow – sandwiches, wraps, coffee, & ice cream; great park view!
- Taco Mama – tacos, nachos, burritos & more; patio dining; kid’s menu
- Sam & Greg’s – pizza, calzones, gelato, great beer selection; kid’s menu; patio dining
The whole downtown area is experiencing some serious revitalization thanks to the efforts of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. They are hosting fun events year-round, including live music, pop-up parks, food truck rallies, Art Walks, and so much more. Be sure to follow them on Facebook to keep up with all their great programs for families!
So what are you waiting for? You’ve got a whole day planned out for you & your kids in Downtown Huntsville. Go have fun & report back on your adventures!
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.