Huntsville Stories and Tips

A Weekend Trip to Huntsville, AL

Friday: Visit the Huntsville Visitor Center at 500 Church St. Website: www.huntsville.org.

Here you can get discount tickets to the local attractions through the passport program. Ask the attendants for coupons to the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Art (or Early Works if you have children; see below), Burritt on the Mountain, Alabama Constitution Village, and Historic Huntsville Depot. You should also purchase a ticket to the US Space and Rocket Center with the IMAX theatre for $18, saving $1 over the regular price.

Be sure to pick up a map of Huntsville for finding the other attractions and a brochure of the walking tour for downtown Huntsville.

Also, the people here have up-to-date guides on the shows and cultural events that are going on. You can call from here to place reservations for the shows that you want to see. They usually book several days in advance, so it would be better to book tickets before you arrive.

The attendants here will also be able to suggest and give you menus to the local restaurants.

Depending on which of the local events you plan to attend, you will have to go there. If there are no events that you wish to see, you might want to take in a nice dinner before going to your hotel for the night.


Saturday:
You can find a good place to park as you will be within walking distance for the first couple of attractions. Remember to feed the meter periodically throughout the day if you park in the public parking area.

Begin at the Alabama Constitutional Village at 9am, as this was the birthplace for the state of Alabama. Use the coupon that you got at the visitor center to get 30% off admission ($4).

Next, you spend an hour walking around the historic area in downtown Huntsville (no cost). Many of the homes here date back 200 years. Be sure to stop by the Harrison Brothers hardware store, which has been open since the 1800s.

Walk to the Historic Huntsville Depot, where you will see the impact that trains have had on this area in particular, as it was a central point from the east to the west. Use the coupon that you got at the visitor center to get 30% off admission ($4).

Drive to Burritt on the Mountain. Use the coupon that you got at the visitor center to get 30% off admission ($3.50). You should spend a couple of hours here, visiting the museum, talking to the attendants about life in the 1800s and how the average people lived, and viewing the scenery. As time and interest permit, there are hiking trails that wind the mountain side that you might enjoy.

Next, head to the Veterans Memorial Museum. Use the coupon that you got at the visitor center to get 30% off admission ($3.50). The tour takes about an hour and a half based on how many questions your group has and how much time you spend going back through the exhibits.

This concludes the historical portion of the trip. Head back downtown. If you are travelling with children, you can visit the EarlyWorks Museum ($5 with the coupon from the visitor center). Without children, you should visit Huntsville Museum of Art ($5 with the coupon from the visitor center).

If you have tickets to a night event, you can walk to the Von Braun center. If not, some of the best restaurants are located within blocks of the museums downtown.


Sunday:
The only place that opens early on Sunday is the US Space and Rocket Center, which opens at 9am. You should start your day here. Be sure to bring the ticket that you purchased at the visitor center ($18), as you have already paid for admission to the museum. Get the 11am show when you enter the museum. Take a moment to watch the film at the Time for Courage theater, which shows news features about the space program. Next, check the schedule for the three rides and the show. Visit the two that are currently playing. Take the 10pm tour of the museum. After the tour, go to the IMAX show at 11am. Visit the alternating two attractions and Rocket Park. By 1pm, you should have seen everything in the park.

Next, proceed to Hunstville Botanical Garden (which is only a block away). Use the discount coupon from the visitor center to get 30% off of admission ($5.50).

You need to leave the botanical garden by 3pm to be at the Cathedral Caverns before the last tour at 4pm. This tour lasts an hour ($8).

Total cost of the trip is $51.50, plus food, gas, and lodging. Also, any additional activities at night depend on what activity you take; typical cost of the theaters is $15.

I recommend a weekend trip to Huntsville for anyone interested in space exploration and for families with children. Also, this trip is a nice getaway weekend for those who have never been here before.

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