Growing up in North Huntsville, school rivalries were a big deal, and there was no bigger rivalry than J.O. Johnson High vs. S. R. Butler High. Though neither of the schools remain, their legacies are still present among Huntsville residents of all ages. It can be felt on Facebook in friendly debates on who had the better band, or even at current sports games as Huntsville parents reminisce about their time on the court and/or field. Most excitedly, J.O. Johnson High has cemented its legacy by transforming its facility into a recreation center. The Johnson Legacy Center is now open and eager to have Huntsvillians and visitors alike join in for some recreational fun!
What the Johnson Legacy Center Offers
The Johnson Center is a state-of-the-art facility that houses indoor rock climbing, volleyball courts, futsal courts (indoor soccer), workout gym with an abundance of equipment, locker rooms with showers and sauna, and private rooms used for both group exercise classes and event rentals.
Membership packages are offered in two categories: Fitness Membership or Climbing and Fitness Membership. The Fitness package includes gym access with orientation, group exercise classes, and locker room access. This package is offered on a per individual basis and is $20 initially with a $15/month fee. The Climbing option includes all of the above plus access to rock climbing and runs $40 initially with a $30/month fee.
In addition to rock climbing being offered in a membership package, private climbing instruction is offered as well. For private instruction, a 60 minute session costs $45 for members and $60 for non-members but drops in price as you bundle. For example, a 4 session bundle gets you a 10% discount and an 8 session bundle gets you 15% discount. Also note that rock climbing gear is required to enjoy the sport which runs $5 for shoes and harness. Other equipment is offered for convenience at $3 per piece.
The Center also has a personal trainer on staff that will not only get you oriented when becoming a member, but will help to create a personal workout plan for you. Sessions are offered on an hour or half-hour basis. Partner sessions are also offered. Pricing ranges from $25/half-hour to $45/hour with drop in price as you bundle.
Finally, the facility provides rental opportunities to the public. They have a smaller meeting room that is $15/hr and an extra large space that runs $30/hr. The volleyball and futsal courts can also be rented at $30 per court/per hour. While they are not yet offering birthday party packages, you are able to rent rooms for small gatherings and request access to either a court or rock climbing for your guests. The front desk is sure to be able to assist with any plans or needs that you may have regarding rentals.
*Parent Note: Rock Climbing has an age limit of 6 and up, while all other amenities are for ages 16 and up. Childcare is not offered for parents who are using the facility and children between the ages of 6 – 15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
COVID Precautions at Johnson Legacy Center
The Center is taking great care in preventing the spread of COVID in their facility. Masks are required when entering the building and are to be worn throughout. I was assured that they are following CDC guidelines regarding numbers of persons in any space and I could visibly see sanitation and cleaning stations positioned throughout the facility. Due to COVID, the sauna is not yet being offered to guests for use. The group exercise classrooms provide floor markings in order to maintain social distancing practices. The same was true for the workout gym. When possible, equipment was spaced 6 ft apart and when not available, signs were placed on machines that were not to be used. Finally, rock climbing equipment is sanitized after each use and social distancing is practiced in the room as well.
What To Expect
When arriving, the front desk receptionist will greet you and present you with a standard form to fill out. Much like any recreation facility (think trampoline parks or Let’s Play), the form covers liability and informed consent. I, as well as each of my children, had to fill out the form, sign, and have our picture taken to be placed into their system to keep track of who has visited the facility. The nice part about this is if you decide to become a member, this step has already been handled.
The Center offers a free complimentary visit to all! Yes, you can go in and try out the facility before you commit to membership. After which, each guest is given a series of cards that will grant access to the various locations in the facility.
By far, the favorite feature for our family was rock climbing. My kids had a BLAST on the rock wall! Our tour host explained that rock climbing not only builds strength, but confidence and endurance as well. He couldn’t have been more accurate. When my 8-year-old Lauryn first attempted to climb, she was fearful and gave up easily. We stayed about two hours and by the end of our visit, she was scaling the walls like Spidergirl!
My 15-year-old Jordyn was a pro and she quickly opted to try the more challenging courses on the wall. The entire facility is top-notch. The fitness equipment is state-of-the-art and the space is clean and fresh, but inviting as well. The staff was also very welcoming and encouraging to us as we are novice rock climbers and had to be coached a bit. We enjoyed the experience so much that we are looking to do a small birthday party for Lauryn in the summer.
Overall, The Johnson Legacy Center proves to be a good time and place for recreation in Huntsville. It is a perfect center to get your older children out of the house and actively moving. All information regarding pricing and amenities can be found on the Johnson Legacy Center website.
Johnson Legacy Center Details
Location: 6000 Cecil Fain Drive (map)
Phone: 256-213-4JLC (4552)
Hours of Operation:
Facility & Fitness: Monday – Friday 7AM-8PM | Saturday 8AM-2PM | Sunday 1-5PM
Rock Climbing: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10AM-8PM | Saturday 10AM-2PM | Sunday 1-5PM
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Latoya Binford was born and raised in Huntsville, AL. She wears many hats and often changes them out by the second - including wife, mom, teacher, writer, speaker, and blogger just to name a few. She's wife to Sidney, her high school sweetheart, and mom to four daughters, Jordyn, Lauryn, Carmyn, and Camylle! Her house is chaotic, loud, and dripping in girlitude. She is an alumna of AAA, Lee High School, and UAH, holding both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Communication. She has many passions, but among the top are family, food, traveling, and writing. Her many adventures can be read about on over at The Binford Way of Life.