Summer might be coming to a close, but North Alabama hasn't been informed! With the summer heat still upon us, there is no better time than now to get out and experience some chill spots in North Alabama!
After you spend some time exploring (and enjoying the AC!) at Unclaimed Baggage Center, check out some of these awesome sights and fun stops to help you cool off this summer:
1. Have a blast at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
What’s cooler than space? Practically nothing. So of course Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center made our list! Children and adults alike can appreciate learning more about the history of space exploration through the museum’s hands-on exhibits and incredible artifacts. See the National Historic Landmark Saturn V Moon Rocket – one of only three on display in the world — and take in a movie at the IMAX theater. For an added bonus, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center has outdoor dog kennels available, as well as free stroller and wheelchair checkout to make your trip even better!
2. Make a splash at America’s first (maybe?) wave pool
There’s some debate on who developed the first wave pool in the United States, but from what we read, it’s between Big Surf in Tempe, Arizona and Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama. Who knew Decatur had that claim to fame! Point Mallard Park offers a lot of fun summer activities including a water park with the famous wave pool, as well as a lazy river, speed slides and a children’s area for the little ones.
3. Get in your best Jurassic Park experience at Harmony Park Safari
Harmony Park in Huntsville is about as close as you can get to Jurassic Park in real life. Drive your car (with the AC on, you know) through this federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic and endangered animals. The two-mile route includes zebras, zebus, antelope, buffalo, a camel, ostriches, pythons and crocodiles—oh my!
4. Have a famous banana split at Payne's Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain
There’s no better way to beat the heat in the summer than with some ice cream! But instead of just any old ice cream shop, we recommend Payne's Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain in Scottsboro. This adorable 1950s-style diner has oodles of old-school charm with its red leather seats and black and while tile floors. We won’t judge you if you feel like wearing a poodle skirt.
5. Go for a swim at Fort Payne’s Little River Canyon Falls
Little River Canyon is one of North Alabama’s best kept secrets—and it is SO worth the drive! Located near the Little River Canyon Visitor Center off Highway 35 next to the bridge in Gaylesville, Alabama (which is the boundary between Fort Payne and Gaylesville), there is a parking lot with access to a paved path with stairs or a handicap ramp that leads to an overlook near the beautiful Little River Falls. Enjoy the view from there or hike one of the many different trails before rewarding yourself with a dip in the water. Follow a short, steeper path marked “River Access” to reach the rocks and swimming areas at the top of the waterfall. There are no rails or boundaries to keep you from going over the waterfall though, so be sure to keep a close eye on little ones if you choose to swim there!
6. Learn about Alabama’s music history at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Take a chill tour through our state’s rich musical history in Tuscumbia’s Alabama Music Hall of Fame. This museum honors all kinds of music in Alabama, including jazz, blues, rock, country, bluegrass and more. Don’t miss the Alabama (the country band, not the state) tour bus, which you can walk through at the end of your tour.
7. Take a night tour to see the glow worms at Dismals Canyon
Sometimes the only way to escape the heat is to wait for the sun to go down! Have some evening summer fun at Dismals Canyon, located in northwest Alabama about 30 miles west of the Sipsey Wilderness near Russellville, Alabama. Dismals Canyon offers night tours for visitors to see the “Dismalites,” tiny bioluminescent glowworms that require a select habitat to survive and are unique to only a few places on Earth. Cool, right? Don’t forget your flashlight!