Huntsville is a city at the foot of a mountain, well-known for its modern and high-tech advancements.
Though it was originally famed for its railroad industry and the cotton trade, it’s now known for aerospace and military technology.
It’s why the city has earned the nickname Rocket City, after all!
Despite its modernity, Huntsville is also highly historic.
It was the first city in its state to be English-speaking and was a key player in the American Civil War.
Now, thanks in part to that storied past, the city is amazingly diverse, with over 100 dialects and languages spoken within it.
Basically, there’s no shortage of things to enjoy in and around the city.
Natural parks and preserves, space-related attractions, rich museums, art centers, and more make up its many different attractions.
With its versatility and wide-reaching legacies, there truly is something for everyone in Rocket City.
Here are our picks for the 31 best and fun things to do in Huntsville, Alabama.
1. U.S. Space and Rocket Center
There is no doubt that among the most fun things to see in all of Huntsville is the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
It’s the world’s biggest space museum and has a huge selection of exhibits perfect for exploration this weekend.
Set up in 1965, it is dedicated to displaying virtually anything and everything related to space and its science.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is home to a range of interactive and hands-on galleries.
There are constantly changing traveling exhibits, exciting simulators, historic and informational artifacts, and a variety of educational programs.
You can also visit the IMAX Space Dome Theater to learn and be entertained by various space-themed showings and screenings.
Lectures, virtual reality experiences, and even deep water dives provide lots of ways to experience everything this place has to offer.
A guided tour will grant you even more knowledge about the space program, the wide universe, and astronaut stories!
Among the cool things to do at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is to see the actual rockets and aircraft available to see on-site!
One of them is the Pathfinder and its MPTA-ET.
It’s visible from outside the center but you can only see it up close and personal from within the grounds.
The Pathfinder is one of the only official three Orbiter Vehicle test articles.
It was built in 1977 and was crucial in ground testing of various kinds, making it central to aviation history.
It is also displayed with its MPTA-ET or Main Propulsion Test Article External Tank.
The tank is orange in color and was the first of its kind to ever be created.
On its body, you’ll see two casings for Shuttle Rocket Boosters, which you can only see in four places in the world!
A lesser-known artifact in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is the MPTA-098, which is a propulsion engine.
Its full name is the Main Propulsion Test Article 098.
It is among the three only listed test articles for the Space Shuttle that remain now.
The MPTA-098 experienced two significant failures but would go on to achieve amazing successes.
These successes were instrumental in the journey towards the success of the Space Shuttle program by NASA.
Address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
2. Burritt on the Mountain
Burritt on the Mountain is situated on the Monte Sano Mountain slopes, where it overlooks much of the bustle of Huntsville.
It is an estate that once belonged to the eclectic Dr. William Henry Burritt.
He willed it to the city upon his passing, turning it into one of the top Huntsville attractions!
It now contains his original mansion, several restored homes from the 19th century, an animal barnyard, and nature trails.
Now and then, it even hosts activities, festivals, camps, and concerts!
With 167 acres of land to its name, Burritt on the Mountain has stories to tell.
Dr. Burritt was a homeopathic doctor who wished to live in a woodland environment with nice cool air.
His elegant home and its grounds have been open as an open-air museum since 1955.
You’ll get to wander through Burritt Mansion, furnished as it was in the 1930s.
The mansion holds many artifacts belonging to Dr. Burritt, including his personal belongings.
It also presents several exhibits with information on the local people’s history.
At Burritt on the Mountain, you’ll get to learn all about 19th-century life, too.
The Historic Park showcases that century in a way that feels alive and real.
You’ll learn about the era’s clothing, farm life, and much more.
You can even participate in workshops for pottery, wood-burning, paper quilling, jewelry making, basket making, painting, blacksmithing, glassworking, knitting, and more!
Address: 3101 Burritt Dr SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
3. Huntsville Botanical Garden
Huntsville Botanical Garden spans 112 acres and is a gorgeous oasis.
Found near the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, it is one of the most fun places to visit in this city.
This is especially true if you love nature!
Mostly run by volunteers, it is exceptionally beautiful and open all throughout the year.
With countless activities and attractions to its name, the Huntsville Botanical Garden offers so many different things to enjoy.
You can visit the Purdy Butterfly House, which is the biggest in all America and features quails, turtles, tadpoles, and insects.
You can head to the nature center to learn more about the environment and its flora and fauna.
You can bring your children to the Children’s Garden.
It features a dino dig site, a bog splash pool, a labyrinth suited for kids, and even a space station node.
It also has gardens within it, like the Rainbow Garden and Storybook Garden!
Of course, the botanical garden also boasts all the standard botanical fare.
This includes flora collections of dogwoods, vegetables, herbs, azaleas, and ferns.
And of course, different types of gardens, like a water garden, a Japanese garden, and nature trails, and a model train garden.
In addition to all of that, this site is also the host of many different local festivals, such as the Scarecrow Trail, the Galaxy of Lights, and Huntsville Blooms.
So check out what’s going on this weekend; maybe you’ll catch a cool event!
Address: 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
4. Huntsville Museum of Art
The Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama is a beautiful institution filled with small but wonderfully curated collections of art.
Its best collections are from the Southeast of America.
With a total of seven galleries and regularly scheduled temporary exhibitions, the Huntsville Museum of Art has much to offer.
You’ll spot works from Frank Stella, John Sloan, and Andy Warhol among others.
The American Women’s Sellars art collection is especially interesting, as are the American Studio Glass exhibits.
International works of note are Buccellati silver animal figurines and early 20th-century French father and son works of Ponchin legacy.
If you’re bringing children with you, this museum has a fair few things that will keep them engaged.
The Art Lab provides education on the basics of art, including texture, colors, lines, and shapes.
The Stender Family Interactive Education Galleries are packed with hands-on exhibits on visual arts.
Finally, the Walk Through Time gallery, great for all ages, provides a look at art evolution.
This gallery spans from Paleolithic paintings in caves, to Mospotamian works, then to Egyptian and Greecian art.
Then, it moves on to the movements of the Italian Renaissance, followed by French Impressionism, and finally, America’s Abstract Expressionism.
Address: 300 Church St SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
5. Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is the biggest art center that is privately owned in all of America.
It is set in a renovated historic factory warehouse that was once a textile mill.
Today, it’s a space for a thriving artist community that creates works for a wide range of genres.
As far as tourist attractions go, it’s fashionable and vibrant, with a blend of history and modernity.
With six galleries of fine arts, more than 200 artists, and 148 studios, Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is truly a haven for the artistically inclined.
There are even workshops, classes, performance and theater spaces, and more to further enrich the center.
This is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the artistic culture of Huntsville – and all of North Alabama!
Address: 2211 Seminole Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
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6. Bridge Street Town Center
Bridge Street Town Center is the ideal hotspot for shopping, dining, and recreation in Huntsville.
With more than 70 upscale restaurants and stores, it’s a bustling location set on a park-like backdrop.
It boasts a movie theater with 14 screens, occasional live musical performances, and rides on trains and carousels.
At Bridge Street Town Center, outdoor activities, such as jogging, are encouraged around an impressive 5-acre lake.
Fitness popups further cater to that scene.
Summer brings with it remote control boats, fountains to cool off in, and lively events of all kinds.
You can also bring your pets here in this animal-friendly space!
Address: 365 The Bridge St #106, Huntsville, AL 35806, United States
7. Alabama Constitution Hall Park
Alabama Constitution Hall Park, sometimes called the Constitution Village, is definitely in the top 10 things to do in Huntsville.
Located in the oldest portion of the city’s downtown area, it is a historic commemoration of the 1819 Constitutional Convention.
During this convention, Alabama was admitted to the Union, being the 22nd state to achieve this.
Alabama Constitution Hall Park lets you step back in time to the 1800s.
The park contains eight different buildings reconstructed to perfection from the era.
This includes a post office, working blacksmith, print shop, cabinet maker, and library.
These buildings, made from wood, let you learn about how they may have looked and functioned back in the day.
You’ll even get to see a working printing press and view John Coffee’s Land Surveying office’s genuine survey artifacts!
It’s a fun way to visit the past of Huntsville.
Address: 109 Gates Ave SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
8. Harmony Park Safari
Looking for nice places to visit?
Harmony Park Safari is one of the city’s best points of interest for animal lovers.
It is a wildlife refuge and nature preserve as much as it is a park open to the public.
The safari offers a self-navigated ride spanning two miles, letting you get up close and personal with all sorts of animals.
This includes many endangered or exotic fauna!
Free-wandering animals, both native to Alabama and from all across the planet, can be seen at Harmony Park Safari.
You’ll spot zebras, camels, llamas, tortoises, kangaroos, buffalos, ostriches, and much more.
You can also buy buckets of food to bring with you so that you can feed any animals that come up to your vehicle for treats!
Don’t forget to visit the reptile house, too.
Address: 431 Clouds Cove Rd SE, Huntsville, AL 35803, United States
9. EarlyWorks Children’s Museum
EarlyWorks Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum and is among the most fun Huntsville attractions for families.
It’s designed with kids up to 10 years old in mind, providing interactive experiences that engage and excite.
With play at the forefront of its exhibits, it’s a great way to encourage children to learn through interesting activities.
At EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, kids will get to do all sorts of things.
They can dress up in different costumes to take on various roles and occupations.
They can clamber onto a keelboat measuring 46 feet and find out what 19th-century river travel was like.
They can view the inner machinations of toys.
They can play with building blocks, listen to stories told by a beloved talking tree, and view gorgeous murals of American history.
If you’re looking for places to go in Alabama with your kids, don’t miss this!
Address: 404 Madison St SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
10. U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
Are you a history buff wondering what to do in Huntsville, Alabama?
The U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum is one of the best options!
It’s one of America’s most respected and outstanding museums dedicated to military history.
The museum sits on Huntsville’s southern side and is easy to get to.
Inside the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, you’ll find tableaus, memorabilia, gear, weapons, and uniforms related to the military.
In the process, you’ll learn about the World Wars, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Civil War, and other major conflicts.
The collection of artifacts and equipment dates as far back as the American Revolution and as recently as the present day.
The vehicles in the outside exhibit of the museum are its shining star, with aircraft, tanks, and watercraft galore.
There are 30 historic vehicles in total that you can peruse.
There’s also a Ford Pygmy that is the world’s oldest surviving jeep from World War II!
Aside from being a space for education, the outdoor area also provides space for events and picnics.
Address: 2060 Airport Rd SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
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11. Historic Huntsville Depot Museum
The Historic Huntsville Depot Museum, as its name suggests, is a storied site in Alabama.
In the past, it was an important location for Union soldiers, serving as a prison, hospital, and living quarters.
Of course, as a depot, it was also a passenger station, operational from 1869 to 1968.
The Historic Huntsville Depot and Museum is a family-friendly site that features all sorts of exhibits and programs.
Children of age 10 and above will love being a conductor on a train or hopping into a vintage fire truck!
Children below that age will equally enjoy Little Toots, a play area that mixes imaginative play with fine motor skills.
There’s a lot of fun for all ages to be had, too, with the displayed artifacts and the occasional programs and activities!
Address: 320 Church St NW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
12. Weeden House Museum and Garden
The Weeden House Museum and Garden was built in 1819 and is a very historic home.
It was the home of well-known painter and poet Maria Howard Weeden.
Sometime after, it also became the home of US Supreme Court Justice John McKinley.
And, of course, during the Civil War, it served as the quarters of many federal officers.
The Weeden House Museum and Garden is the oldest house of its kind that is open to the public in Alabama.
It provides a unique way to learn more about 19th-century life and into the world of Weeden herself.
You’ll find her art, especially those of African-American residents of Huntsville, all throughout the house.
If you’re interested, you’ll need to book a tour in advance.
It’s well worth the extra step and is one of the best things to do in Huntsville.
Address: 300 Gates Ave SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
13. Big Spring International Park
One of the top things to see in the downtown area is the beautiful Big Spring International Park.
The “Big Spring” in question is the very same one that allowed John Hunt to follow its path, eventually leading to his creation of Huntsville.
The park is therefore named because it surrounds one of “Big Spring”‘s runoff lagoons.
With 12.5 acres of space to its name and a gorgeous limestone spring of historic significance, Big Spring International Park is a mix of old and new.
As you walk, you’ll spot a variety of interesting features that were gifts from other nations.
This includes cherry trees from Major General Mikio Kimata of Japan and a fog bell from Norway.
Address: 200 Church St SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
14. Hays Nature Preserve
Hays Nature Preserve is among Huntsville’s most undeveloped expanse of parklands, making for pristine relaxation for outdoor enthusiasts.
It has ten miles of trails that you can hike, ride, or bike through, each one blooming with natural beauty.
If you love nature, it’s one of the most fun places to visit!
Many different species of wildlife call the Hays Nature Preserve home.
Exploration will lead you to oxbow lakes of the Flint River, old fields, a low riparian habitat, and even a golf course.
Plus, if you’re a birdwatcher, you’re in luck, as this is a crucial part of the North Alabama Birding Trail!
Address: 7161 US-431, Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763, United States
15. Madison County Nature Trail
The Madison County Nature Trail, known also as the Green Mountain Nature Trail, takes up 72 acres of land.
It is incredibly tranquil and among the best tourist attractions in Huntsville, Alabama.
With no admission fee, it’s also among the local free things to do.
The Madison County Nature Trail has even, cool temperatures throughout the year.
For those looking for the most picturesque spot, a covered bridge at the end of the park’s 16-acre lake offers that beauty.
For hikers, there’s a 1.5-mile walking trail dotted with verdant nature to explore.
The biggest elm tree in Alabama can be spotted along the way, too!
Address: 5000 Nature Trail Rd SE, Huntsville, AL 35803, United States
16. Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
Want more fun stuff to do?
Why not catch a performance by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra tonight?
It is the oldest symphony orchestra with continual operation in Alabama!
Opening in 1955, the orchestra performs a mix of pop and classical music and has hosted numerous international guest artists.
The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra is nothing short of world-class, accompanied by impressive sound and lighting systems.
Their concerts are highly acclaimed, their educational programs have won awards, and it’s been a pillar of inspiration and culture.
Basically, you shouldn’t miss their shows!
Address: VBC, 700 Monroe St SW Suite 250, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
17. Monte Sano State Park
The name “Monte Sano” translates to “Mountain of Health”, and it’s easy to see how the beautiful location got its name.
With 2,140 acres and stunning views all around, it has 14 cabins, 89 campsites, countless pavilions, and a Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.
Monte Sano State Park also has an impressive 20 miles of hiking trails.
Bikers also get 14 miles of trail to use.
Throughout your time here, you’ll see all sorts of beautiful flora and fauna.
For less rustic adventures, try visiting the North Alabama Japanese Garden or the disc golf course within the park!
Address: 5105 Nolen Ave SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
18. Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center
Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center‘s life began as a store and hub for textile manufacturer Merrimack Manufacturing Company.
It was built in 1898 and then received an expansion in 1920.
At the time, Huntsville was a mill village, and the 25,000 square-foot structure served an important purpose for the resident’s recreation.
Now, Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center is one of this city’s entertaining points of interest.
It is a nonprofit organization that focuses on individuals with special needs.
Since 2007, it has been open to the public, offering year-round education and experiences to over 500 special needs individuals annually.
It boasts a modern performance hall, a large dance studio, and 300 seats for its audience!
Address: 3320 Triana Blvd SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
19. Von Braun Astronomical Society
The Von Braun Astronomical Society is one of the places to see within Monte Sano State Park.
It’s worth a visit all on its own, though!
This non-profit organization operates an impressive planetarium and two observatories, one of which boasts the Ann Sanford Memorial Library.
The library is home to a vast collection of literature related to astronomy.
The Von Braun Astronomical Society was created by high school students of Huntsville who wanted to find a way to study astronomy.
In 1954, some scientists of Red Stone Arsenal joined their effort, resulting in the society’s growth.
Now, the Alabama location offers fun tours, numerous programs, educational lectures, and highly modern equipment to look at the stars.
Address: 5105 Nolen Ave SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
20. Cotton Row Restaurant
For foodies looking for what to do, Cotton Row Restaurant is one of the city’s best restaurants.
Inspired by the cotton traders of Huntsville, Alabama, it offers a diverse menu of American cuisine.
Its chef boasts more than two decades of award-winning experience, too!
All meals at Cotton Row Restaurant are prepared with fresh local produce.
Seasonal items allow for a regularly changing menu that is innovative and delicious.
Whether you crave seafood, steaks, pasta, charcuterie, or desserts, it’s all served with quintessential Southern charm!
Address: 100 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
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21. Von Braun Center
The Von Braun Center is the most popular among Huntsville attractions for conferences, performances, and live events.
It’s a mecca for every single premier concert, production, sporting event, and exhibit that you can think of.
If it’s big and coming to Huntsville, Alabama, it’ll probably be playing at the Von Braun Center!
With a maximum capacity of 10,000, it’s always got something going on.
There are three halls at Von Braun Center, used for all sorts of formal events.
Propst Arena is the most commonly recognized, thanks to its use in events such as concerts, ice hockey, rodeos, basketball, circuses, and more.
Next, there’s the modern Mark C. Smith Concert Hall for ballets, symphonies, and musicals of all sorts.
There’s also the gorgeous Playhouse, a more intimate type of setting for smaller, fun live events.
Address: 700 Monroe St SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
22. Railroad Station Antique Mall
Railroad Station Antique Mall is among the greatest things to see in Huntsville, Alabama for trinket shoppers.
If you like combing for antique treasures of unique and novel charm, you’ll absolutely love it here!
It has three floors and sells everything from clothes to books and from furniture to jewelry.
Railroad Station Antique Mall is also set in a rather storied structure called the Lombardo Building.
It was built in 1922 and was a grocery store first before being used for a storage and moving company.
It wasn’t until 1983 that the fortress-like structure was used for its current purpose.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is more than fitting for an antique mall!
Address: 315 Jefferson St N, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
23. Maple Hill Cemetery
Maple Hill Cemetery is the largest and oldest cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama.
When it was first opened in 1822, it had about two acres of land to its name.
Today, it boasts over 100 acres and contains more than a whopping 80,000 grave markers.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places, too, and is fittingly in the Twickenham Historic District.
One of the most unique things to do in Huntsville isn’t just to visit the cemetery, but its playground Macabrely referred to as the Dead Children’s Playground.
The small playground was actually rebuilt from its original one after the first was razed in favor of burial space.
That’s just how loved the playground was by locals!
Ghost hunters and visitors have reported various paranormal events in the Dead Children’s Playground – and the rest of the cemetery.
With a modern jungle gym, swings, and other simple equipment, the playground is worth a trip if you’re interested in haunted locations.
It feels extra eerie thanks to its setting on a low area, surrounded by rocks and trees on all but one side.
Address: 202 Maple Hill St SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
24. Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex
The Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex boasts two impressive ice rinks of Olympic size.
It is a not-for-profit facility dedicated to providing space for ice skaters in North Alabama to have fun and skate.
No matter your level of knowledge, this is one of the greatest places to visit for an experience on ice!
Opened in 1959, the Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex is named after its creator.
For a long time, it was a private corporation that made profit and was called the Ice Palace.
But after 27 years, Wilcoxon donated the complex to the city, allowing the complex to be opened to the public.
It would see enhancements and improvements in the upcoming years and is now a state-of-the-art facility!
The Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex is also home to the Huntsville Skating School and Training Academy.
This academy offers skating lessons to people of all ages and skill levels.
If you’re more interested in playing instead of learning, you can stop by for an organized league hockey game.
You can also take part in or watch skating competitions and professional games of all sorts!
Address: 3185 Leeman Ferry Rd SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
25. Straight To Ale
Straight To Ale is one of Huntsville’s tourist attractions purely for its popularity.
It offers some of the city’s finest beer and has a ten-tap tasting room with a relaxed atmosphere.
Indoor and outdoor seating, mixed with snacks like burgers, pizzas, and chicken, provides a complement to the yummy beers.
Straight To Ale prides itself on innovative brewing and bold flavors.
It was founded in 2009 and has become one of the biggest production breweries in Alabama.
Their facility is located at Campus 805 and measures an impressive 45,000 square feet.
They’ve even expanded to produce mead, cider, scratch-made food, and spirits.
Beer flavors at Straight To Ale are interesting and exciting.
You’ll find oatmeal stout with caramel and coffee named Stout At The Devil.
Or perhaps Blood Brother, a Dubbel ale with blood orange, is more up your alley.
Maybe you’ll like some of their more unique limited ales, too!
There are also classics with cool twists, like Brother Joseph’s Belgium Style Dubbel Ale, Chill Pills Pilsner, and Monkeynaut Pale Ale!
For more traditional types, see the Pathfinder West Coast IPA, Unobtanium Barrel-Aged Old Ale, and Laika Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout.
Address: 2610 Clinton Ave W, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
26. Harrison Brothers Hardware
Harrison Brothers Hardware is a shop that has been part of the local landscape of Huntsville for more than a century.
For much of that time, it was run by a family.
Now, it is operated and managed by a foundation in order to preserve its cultural and historic importance.
Opening in 1897, Harrison Brothers Hardware sold hardware like nails and hammers to the community.
It prided itself on the sale of true, American-made items – a legacy that continues today.
Though it doesn’t sell a lot of hardware anymore, it showcases and displays some old-fashioned items and souvenirs for purchase.
Of the old items that you can buy, you’ll find pottery, cast iron cookware, vintage games and toys, and gardening tools.
Of the souvenirs, you’ll see local crafts, art, edibles, and houseware.
Harrison Brothers Hardware is located near Big Spring Park and Alabama Constitution Hall Park.
So if you’re in the area and looking for what to see, pop on down to the store!
It retains its old shelves, counters, and cash registers, too, for an extra fun step back in time.
Address: 124 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
The K’REX is an impressive K’nex sculpture made in 2011 by trainers of a Space Camp crew.
Technically, it is a part of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, but it’s not within the paid admission area and is at the gift shop and entrance area.
This means that, unlike the center, it’s among the free things to do in Huntsville.
It’s worth a visit when you’re short on funds, or even if you have no interest in the paid museum.
Measuring 33 feet long, 12 feet tall, and 6 feet wide, the K’REX is truly impressive.
It uses 141,950 pieces of K’nex.
For a short while, it was the biggest K’nex sculpture in the world.
When it was overshadowed, it earned a new title as the world’s biggest K’Nex skeleton sculpture.
The specific title is honored by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL, United States
28. North Alabama Railroad Museum
The North Alabama Railroad Museum is situated near Huntsville, in Chase.
It is dedicated to the preservation of the history of railroads.
It’s one of the most fun points of interest you can get to from the city, especially if you’re a train enthusiast!
With a large number of displayed items, there is lots to learn and discover at this railroad museum.
Its centerpiece is the Chase Depot, which is America’s smallest union depot.
There is also a train that occasionally runs across tracks within the museum’s grounds, offering a vintage ride!
Address: 694 Chase Rd NE, Huntsville, AL 35811, United States
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29. The Grave of Miss Baker
Miss Baker is an incredibly loved part of aviation and space exploration history.
Her grave is situated outside of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, free to view without entering the museum.
But Miss Baker is not a human being.
She is a squirrel monkey.
The space race of the 20th century saw controversial testing practices performed by the United States and the Soviet Union.
One of these practices was the act of sending non-human creatures into space.
The American space program had been able to recover fruit flies sent into sub-orbital areas alive, but never anything more complex.
The animals they used kept dying.
Eventually, the space program purchased a selection of monkeys from pet stores to continue this animal testing.
Two monkeys among the bunch stood out, outperforming others in tests of endurance.
These monkeys were the squirrel monkey Miss Baker and the rhesus monkey Miss Able.
In 1959, the pair were confined in metal monitoring capsules, fitted with jackets and caps, and surgically implanted with electrodes.
They were then launched into space inside a Jupiter rocket, bringing them 300 miles into the sky.
The flight took only 16 minutes and soon after, the rocket landed safely.
This was the first time this safe landing was achieved.
Miss Baker and Miss Able were retrieved from the rocket in the Atlantic Ocean.
Both were alive, a first for the American space program.
Surgeons removed the implanted electrodes from them.
In the process, Miss Able passed away from the anesthesia.
But Miss Baker survived – and she became a star.
Miss Baker received hundreds of fan letters – not that she could read them – and lived the rest of her life in luxury.
She even “married” two other monkeys, one of which she even got a marriage ceremony for.
She lived in Florida, at the Naval Aerospace Medical Center, until she passed away in 1971.
After that, she was buried in Huntsville, Alabama, with a proper headstone next to her first “husband”‘s.
If you’re looking for unique places to go, it’s a novel and wonderful tribute to a very brave monkey.
Address: 1 Tranquility Base #3371, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
30. Eggbeater Jesus at First Baptist Church
Eggbeater Jesus at First Baptist Church is a very strange-sounding name.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Huntsville, visiting this mosaic mural is a great choice.
The mosaic, which is formally called Cosmic Christ, has become a landmark of Huntsville.
The impressive work of art was made by Gordon Smith, with some inspiration from the Apollo Space Programme.
It measures 157 feet in length and 47 feet in height and took 7 years to finish.
Even more impressively, it is made from more than 1.4 million tiles of glass!
The mosaic was made to represent the concept of Creation and Redemption, as known in the Bible.
It earned its nickname due to its appearance, where the depiction of Jesus somewhat resembles a whisk from his lower half.
The affectionate term Eggbeater Jesus has since become well-known throughout the city!
Sadly, it was not installed properly so glass tiles have fallen off over the years.
But a restoration process is underway, using more than 6 million hand-blown glass pieces from Italy.
The First Baptist Church building itself has a fair bit of history to it.
The congregation is Alabama’s oldest missionary Baptist church, dating back to 1809, and the building is from the 1960s.
If you’re religious and aren’t sure what to do this weekend, you can attend its regular and active worship services.
While inside, you’ll see gorgeous stained glass windows that represent the universe’s creation with certain space-themed elements.
Address: 600 Governors Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35801, United States
31. Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater
The Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater had a humble start.
It was made by local parents who wanted to provide a theater experience for their children.
Made in 1961, it has gone on to become one of the most fun Huntsville attractions!
The community theater is “staffed” by volunteer performers, technicians, and artists for a more localized experience.
The Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater provides chances for people of all ages, ranging from three years old all the way to adulthood.
Classes, workshops, and camps of all sorts offer many different ways to learn and experience theater.
Even better, the theater is a Governor’s Award recipient from the State of Alabama Council of the Arts!
It has also won the title of Huntsville/Madison County Nonprofit Organization of the year, being named thusly in 2017.
Address: 3312 Long Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Huntsville
Huntsville is a city with many different tales to tell.
With its mark in the development of space exploration, its historic significance, and its areas of untamed wilderness, it’s a vibrant place.
This list of local attractions should help you plan the perfect itinerary for your trip to Rocket City!