Sprawling at the foot of Monte Sano Mountain in North Alabama, Huntsville has been famous for developing space technology since the 1950s. In addition to its close history with U.S. space missions, there also are group opportunities in gardening and the arts.
“The number of attractions and activities available for groups makes Huntsville an extraordinary destination,” said Judy Ryals, president and CEO of Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “As the birthplace of NASA and Space Camp, along with Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment, it’s easy to see why we’re well suited to host a wide variety of themed group activities and tours.”
U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the largest space museum in the world, is home to America’s space program. Space enthusiasts, history buffs or any group with general curiosity would enjoy Alabama’s top tourism jewel. Highlights include the first American satellite, Explorer I; design modules for the International Space Station; next-generation vehicles, such as Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser; and original capsule trainers for the Mercury and Gemini programs.
A four-minute drive from U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden offers self-guided and docent-guided group tours through its year-round botanical displays.
“Nature lovers will embrace the Huntsville Botanical Garden, where a new Guest Welcome Center is currently being built,” Ryals said.
Tours can be specialized to focus on butterflies or birding. During the holiday season, groups can go on a Galaxy of Lights Tour to experience larger-than-life animated light displays and a twinkling icicle forest.
Just southwest of the heart of Huntsville, Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is the largest, privately owned arts facility in the United States. The huge, historic factory building has been redeveloped into 131 working studios for more than 200 artists and makers, six fine art galleries, a multiuse theater and performance venues. Groups can openly explore the mill and the artist spaces, as well as shop and learn about the artists’ works.
After all that exploration, the group is bound to work up an appetite. Whatever the group is hungry for, Huntsville invites visitors to eat hearty and enjoy Southern tradition.
“Nine craft breweries, over three dozen food trucks and scores of dining options, from casual to upscale, will showcase our Southern hospitality and keep groups satisfied,” Ryals said.
For more information, contact Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 256-551-2230 or visit huntsville.org/groups.