Family Weekend Getaway; Huntsville, Alabama

By Meghan Stritar April 5, 2018

Destination: Huntsville, Alabama

Mission Date: Friday, March 24th- Sunday, March 26th

Crew Members Aboard: Mom, Dad, 7yo girl and 5yo girl

We are a go for launch in... (cue backstory which brought us to Huntsville)


Buy a new house and youngest crew members ask for the playroom to be decorated with a Space Theme.  It is complete with a large mural of the planets, star curtains, glow in the dark stars,  and even astronaut light switches. You can probably guess the wonderful imaginary play that happens in there. 


Enter their "American Girl Doll" phase. Both girls were gifted AG dolls from a family friend. They love them so much that their dad refurbished a storage chest into a huge dollhouse full of bedrooms, closets, and horse stable. 


Those worlds collide. Earlier this year American Girl released their "Girl of the Year". To all of our surprise, it was a girl aspiring to be an astronaut and attends Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Quick research told me that Huntsville is only 6 hours away from Indianapolis- the perfect weekend getaway. I reached out to the Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau to discover other wonderful things to do in their city and they agreed to host my family so I can share with our readers the unique things to do there. 


Mission Date: Friday, March 24th- Sunday, March 26th
Captain's Log:

First stop: The Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau welcoming center where we were greeted by super friendly and helpful staff. Young crew members were very active after the long drive but found things to keep entertained while parents found local parks, restaurants, and discounts. 

Second stop: Our landing pad for two nights, the Homewood Suites by Hilton. Fully equipped with kitchen, full bath, dining table, living room, office desk and double queen beds. Bonuses: Hot breakfast every morning and kid-friendly staff. Young crew members often wanted to visit with front desk receptionists to share with them their adventures of the day. This hotel was also less than one block from our new favorite restaurant, Taco Mama, and a Publix grocery store. Other shopping and restaurants close by too. 

Saturday, March 25th. 6:00 a.m. 

The entire crew woke up early from the excitement of the planned day at the US Space and Rocket Center, full of hands-on experiences. Here are crew members favorite parts. 

Dad: "The sheer size of the Saturn V rocket was breathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice."

Mom (that's me): I really enjoyed that every single section of the center had activities for all ages, and they didn't leave out the little ones. There are playgrounds just for them in different sections and moveable activities to keep them interested. I also appreciated that the food in the cafeteria was reasonably priced and none of the activities at the center cost extra money. Our girls did the 4D ride and rock climbing. There are bigger thrill rides also- all included in the entrance fee. 

7 year old: "Going inside the International Space Station was my favorite and flipping all the buttons they use. I want to do that one day" (sidenote: You don't actually go inside the ISS, but a ground exhibit just like it!)

5 year old: "I really loved all of the playgrounds where I could play with other kids and pretend to be an astronaut."

Total Destination time at Space Center: 6.75 hours. 

Other notable attractions:
Although our mission was the US Space & Rocket Center the crew was happy to have discovered a few other unique attractions in this area on Earth. The Huntsville Botanical Gardens is very kid-friendly with a free wagon to use, dinosaur dig area, rocket splash pad, and butterfly gardens. 

The most laughs were had at Harmony Park Safari, a drive-through park with free-range animals that you can feed including bison, emu, deer, and many cow varieties. There is also a walk-through reptile house with extensive species- be forewarned, when I report extensive I really mean it. Big, HUGE, snakes. 

Look us up on Instagram for more pictures and videos of our mission: @MacKidHendricks 

We will definitely be headed back for a weekend soon or as a stopover point while driving to southern Alabama beaches or Florida. For more ideas including local places to eat, parks, nightlife, and attractions head to Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau- they are your local, free experts ready to help plan your next family mission.