Unique Experiences in North Alabama
Most travelers zip through North Alabama along I-65 on their way to the beaches of the gulf coast. Anglers enjoy fishing the Tennessee River or Lake Guntersville. Golfers play the local Robert Trent Jones golf trail. Most travelers miss some of the best the area has to offer. If you are willing to make a detour, then you will find unique experiences in North Alabama. There is literally something for everyone.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Huntsville, Alabama calls itself Rocket City, USA. It is home of NASA’s largest faciltiy, Marshal Space Flight Center. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center highlights the history of NASA. Explore scale models of NASA control centers. The Apollo 16 capsule is on display. Rocket Park has 27 missiles and rockets from the early space program. Shuttle Park takes you through the shuttle program and has a space shuttle.
Even though our family has never been followers of the space program, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It was entertaining and educational for all of us.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
We take any chance that we get to visit botanical gardens. For a small city, the Huntsville Botanical Garden is impressive. Inside, there are multiple gardens to browse. Our favorites are the beautiful Damson Aquatic Garden, the brilliant Perennial and Bulb Garden, and the Herb Garden. Being enthusiastic, but novice birdwatchers, the bird watching trail is a thrill, too.
It is open year around and the prices are reasonable.
“The Miracle Worker” – Helen Keller Birthplace
In little Tuscumbia, Alabama, you will find a unique and inspiring experience. The play “The Miracle Worker” is staged throughout the summer at Ivy Green, the home and birthplace of Helen Keller. Witnessing the portrayal of Annie Sullivan teaching the blind and deaf Helen Keller to communicate in the exact setting where it took place is wonderful and inspiring.
FAME Studios/Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Amid the cotton fields along the Tennessee River, a local entrepreneur opened FAME Studios in the late 1950s. Soon blues and jazz hits were being recorded here. Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Wilson Picket all recorded here. Greg Almond got his first break and made his last recording here.
A group of studio musicians, known as the Swampers, broke off and formed the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in the late 60s. Such classics as the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar” were recorded here. Lynyrd Skynyrd called this studio home.
Tours of both studios are available. FAME Studios continues to record music. For such a small town, Muscle Shoals has a rich musical history of jazz, blues, soul, southern rock, and country music. Click here for a sample.
Rosenbaum House by Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the best examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian house concept is open for tours near downtown Florence. The Rosenbaum family moved into the home in 1940 and lived there until 1999. The city of Florence now owns the house and spent over $600,000 renovating it in 2002. Architecture fans will love touring this historic home in its original state with original furniture.
As you see, your family can definitely find unique experiences in North Alabama. Whether you are driving to the Gulf Coast or are touring the Natchez Trace, make sure to add a detour to Huntsville and The Shoals of Alabama to your travel plans.