It’s the start of a new decade and we here at Rocket City Mom are super excited. Will 2020 be your family’s year to “rock” the Rocket City? We think so and it’s definitely going to be easier if you mark your calendar now for these 20 MUST DO family-friendly events. Honestly picking only 20 was a tough assignment and we encourage you to check our family-friendly event calendar often for ALL THE THINGS but this list should help you get your year started off right.
See something we missed? Leave your own picks in the comments. Now, go forth and have fun!
Drop-In & Create at HMA
Select Saturdays starting Jan. 11, 2020
This completely free program offered at the Huntsville Museum of Art is one of our favorite local finds. Young visitors (ages 3-12) are offered fun, interactive art making activities while parents and guardians are encouraged to assist and then explore the museum.
Free from Slavery at Burritt
Saturday, February 22, 2020
This incredibly moving day of events will celebrate African American history through a sharing of stories and interactive experiences including the Underground Railroad, Buffalo Soldiers, and Rosenwald schools. While most of the programming is targeted to children, adults will also enjoy and might learn something themselves!
HSO Free Family Concert
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Free, fun, and educational. What more could you ask for? Each year Huntsville Symphony Orchestra treats the community to a free family concert. This year's performance will feature Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Huntsville St. Patrick's Day Parade
Saturday, March 14, 2020
There are a several parades in Huntsville every year including a super fun Mardi Gras parade in February, a great Pride parade in June, our famous Veterans' Day parade in November, and a reinvigorated Christmas parade in December. Frankly, if you can, we encourage you to attend them all. I mean, who doesn't love a parade? But if you only go to one, let it be the 43rd Annual Ellen McAnnelly Memorial St. Patrick's Day Parade. Huntsville might not be known for its Irish population but our community sure does put on a good show!
North Alabama Railroad Excursion
Late March - Early December 2020
While most families with young kids know about this museum's "special" rides (Peter Cottontail Express, Punkin' Pickin' Excursion, Santa Train, North Star Limited) we here at Rocket City Mom appreciate all the rides equally because...trains! Kids + Trains = fun. Check the North Alabama Railroad Museum Facebook page starting in early spring for details on the 2020 ride list.
Attend a Rocket City Trash Panda Game
April 15-September 3, 2020
Baseball is back in the Rocket City and we're pretty excited. Opening day is April 15 so make plans to come on down and check out the new digs, the new mascot (Sprocket), and have tons of fun enjoying America's favorite past time.
Earth Day at Hays
Saturday, April 18, 2020
This year is the 50th Anniversary of this celebration at Hays Nature Preserve so expect even more great activities and fun for families. Birding hikes and a yoga session in the AM, our favorite eco-magician Steve Trash will make an appearance, and of course, there will be tons of earth friendly exhibitors, informative displays, and interactive fun.
Panoply Arts Festival Huntsville
April 24-26, 2020
Panoply Arts Festival is held in Big Spring Park each spring and over the years has become one of the Southeast's premier arts weekends. Kids 12 and under get in FREE and there are lots of opportunities for creating art as well as appreciating it.
The Butterfly House at the Huntsville Botanical Garden
May - September, 2020
This is the nation's largest open-air butterfly house and its location next to the Children's Garden is absolutely perfect. While we believe any time is a good time to visit the Huntsville Botanical Garden and discover all its secrets, if you're looking for the more than 1,500 butterflies that call this place home then we recommend visiting from May - September. We promise that everyone in the family will be captivated by a visit. Also, get those cameras ready.
Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic
May 23-24, 2020
This annual festival occurs every Memorial Day weekend in Decatur, AL and is the oldest hot air balloon race in the South. Don't miss your chance to see the air full of color. The best part? Admission and parking are FREE! Photo credit: ©Kevin Stephenson
Concerts in the Park
Mondays, June 1- August 3, 2020
This annual series of free concerts held in Big Spring Park are the perfect way to wind down after a long summer day. Mom and Dad can enjoy the music by the Huntsville Museum of Art outdoor stage while the kids run out the wiggles just outside of the crowd. Food trucks and local vendors are a nice addition and leashed pets are also welcome.
Family Fun Fest at the Von Braun Center
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Kick off your summer with this festival that's fun for the whole family. With plenty of entertainment, lots of family related vendors, and tons of hands on activities we highly recommend you add this to your to-do list. Bonus #1 - it's indoors. Bonus #2 - Admission to this year's event will be free with a donation for Free2Teach.
Ditto Landing Marina Day
Saturday, June 13, 2020
With free admission, free parking, live music, food vendors, and lots of family fun, what more could you ask for? How about a BBQ competition AND free fishing!
Athens Kiddie Carnival
Weekends in Late June - August
It's a true hidden gem of North Alabama and if you've got little ones (between the ages of 1 and about 8 or 9) then you really need to add this to your local summer bucket list. The Athens Kiddie Carnival is run by the Athens, AL, Lions Club and has filled summer evenings with laughter and fun for more almost 60 years. *Just announced for 2020 they have expanded to 7 weekends from 6! #EvenMoreFun
International Festival of North Alabama
September 2020 (TBA)
This one day international festival celebrates the diversity of Huntsville and the surrounding area and promotes the international community. Featuring "a wealth of global performances and music, international comfort foods, over 30 country cultural displays, FREE children's activities, and more!" Date is TBA but it's normally late September so keep an eye out.
Madison Street Festival
Saturday, October 3, 2020
There's nothing small about this small town festival. The Madison Street Festival includes a parade and all day festival and is overflowing with family fun. Everyone will be there (including Rocket City Mom) so come on down.
Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll
Sunday, October 18, 2020
While a historic stroll through a cemetery doesn't initially sound that kid-friendly, trust us when we say, it really is. The kids will have a blast at this annual fall event and probably learn a few things too. Re-enactors make the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll an event that you'll want to be sure you see every year. History comes to life with more than 75 costumed characters ready to share their life history and there's music and a scavenger hunt for kids. You *might* even see a familiar face if you go. #hinthint
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Any time in 2020
It's not called the Rocket City for nothing! A list of Huntsville events and activities wouldn't be complete without this attraction. We are especially fond of the Planetarium but honestly, there are tons of fun things for kids of all ages here so be sure to make at least one visit in 2020.
Under the Christmas Tree
November 6-8, 2020
This annual shopping event and Randolph School fundraiser is the true kick-off of the shopping season for Huntsville natives. With more than 150 area vendors in one place and kids activities like Elf Workshops, Breakfast with Santa, American Girl Christmas Parties, and Camp Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities for the kids to have fun while parents shop.
Santa's Village at Historic Huntsville Depot
November 27-December 23, 2020
Christmas in Huntsville wouldn't be complete without a visit with the big guy himself at his magical village. We recommend arriving as early in the evening as you can when the line is at its shortest. Buying tickets in advance is also a time saver.
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.