The sun is getting up early and going to bed late this time of year which makes it the perfect time to explore the outdoors. Water attractions are always a big hit around here and for good reason (it’s just a tiny bit hot in Alabama in the summer) but they aren’t the only way to have fun outside. We’ve compiled a list of great free and cheap family-friendly activities that will help you and your family STEP AWAY FROM THE TV!
While many of these activities are free, most require some type of reservation so be sure to call ahead. For a full list of all kinds of free summer activities (inside and outside) check our 2013 Summer Fun Guide.
Tuesdays on the Trail
Schedule of Events
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 and events are free unless noted. Programs may be cancelled or rescheduled due to rain. Reservations are required (except for Sauta Cave gray bat program) and must be made by calling 256.534.5263.
Wacky Wednesdays at the Garden
4747 Bob Wallace Avenue, Huntsville
Wednesdays, June – July
FREE with Membership or Admission
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a special place any time of year but with numerous water features and this year’s Giant Garden. Little Me installation, it’s the perfect place to spend some time this summer. So we’d recommend a visit whenever you are looking for something fun but if you visit on Wednesdays around Noon, and you head over to the Children’s Garden, you’ll get to experience something truly special. Each week centers around a different theme (previous year’s themes included bubbles, dinosaurs, making your own tie-dye shirt,etc.) and several stations are set up throughout the Children’s Garden for little ones to experience many hands-on activities related to that week’s theme.
Play Days at Hays
Hays Nature Preserve
Tuesdays & Thursdays, June-July
Hays Nature Preserve is another true Huntsville treasure and a great place to go fishing, hiking, or just exploring nature with the kids. But from 9-11AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer, add free fun and activities to the list of reasons to visit. Led by Operation Green Team, Play Days at Hays is always free but does tend to fill up so get your reservations in as soon as they announce their dates. You won’t regret it!
Whimsical Woods at Burritt
3101 Burritt Drive, Huntsville
Tuesdays-Sunday, March-Labor Day
FREE with Membership or admission
This summer Burritt on the Mountain has been transformed into a game called The Whimsical Woods and when you visit you become a part of the game. Upon entrance, you’ll receive a map of places to visit including the home of The Three Bears, the Seven Dwarfs’ mining sluice and the Troll’s Bridge from Billy Goats Gruff. Complete your tasks and YOU can be a hero, too! Read our Rocket City Mom Parent Review and see why this event is worth the price of admission this summer. EDITOR’S NOTE: if your children really enjoy their first visit, consider purchasing a family pass to use throughout the rest of the summer and the whole year!
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".