Voices of Huntsville | A Year of Family Fun by The Huntsville Mom, Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell

Voices of Huntsville is awarded to a local resident of Huntsville, Madison County, Madison City, Decatur, and surrounding areas to share their personal perspective of our community. Our Voices of Huntsville feature shares their creative passion and unique perspective about what they absolutely love about Huntsville in a format that best speaks to their own creativity, vlog, blog, photo essay. Interested in becoming a TSG Huntsville Voice of Huntsville? Apply here!

  Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

  Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

  Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

  Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

Portrait Photography courtesy of White Rabbit Studios.

July 2022

The Huntsville Mom’s Year of Family Fun

I’m Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell, and I am The Huntsville Mom. Since becoming a mother, I have had a tugging at my heart to dedicate a page to motherhood and my experience in raising a family in the Huntsville area. The Huntsville Mom was born out of a passion for experiences, helping others, and a love for the Huntsville community. My mission is simple, I want to be a resource to other families and highlight all of the opportunities we have right at our fingertips here in The Tennessee Valley. I want to be a familiar face, a welcoming smile, and a trusted resource to visitors and local residents alike.

Huntsville, Alabama was recently named the Best Place to Live in the U.S. and that’s no surprise because it is the ideal place to raise a family. Huntsville is rich in history, art, culture, nature, innovation, and science. We have the unique pleasure of hosting businesses, technology, and innovation with friendly faces and Southern hospitality.  All year long, around the city and surrounding areas, there is something for every family and every age to enjoy!


Visit Jessica’s Family Fun Cheat Sheet here or keep on reading for an in-depth review.

January is for the Rocket City!

We have to begin the list with what Huntsville is best known as, The Rocket City! The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The Space & Rocket Center housed in Huntsville, Alabama is a landmark and cornerstone for the Huntsville community. It has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia on display anywhere in the world! Included in the space memorabilia is an authentic Saturn V Moon Rocket, filling the skyline as Huntsville’s own Eiffel Tower. The Space & Rocket Center is also home to the renowned and ever-popular Space Camp! Space Camp is a dream for many children across the world, and it is available right here in Huntsville. 

February is a Hands-On Month!

We love to visit indoor museums on colder days. Museums provide new learning and hands-on experiences for little ones, and it gets us out of the house for family fun during those cold winter months.

Early Works is an interactive children’s museum located in the heart of downtown Huntsville. We love visiting this museum because of its hands-on experiences and its newest addition– The Tinker Lab. The Tinker Lab fuses all things science, technology, engineering, and math into fun. Early Works is a great way to introduce young children to STEM at an early age. Children can watch, learn, and discover through hands-on learning! Another fun attraction for the kids is the light exhibit— a huge wall of colorful lights that twist and turn to create different hues. This museum is interactive and built especially for children featuring exhibits such as their kidstruction zone, federal house, general store, and a Talking Tree. There is water play, imaginative play, and new learning all around! 

If you are visiting in the summer, pack a swimsuit! The Bicentennial Park Splash Pad located outside is free, open to the public, and a great way to beat the heat.

Another favorite indoor museum of ours is Cook Museum of Natural Science, located in downtown Decatur, Alabama. It is a state-of-the-art natural science museum. Children can explore, interact with, and learn about nature through their interactive activities and exhibits. 

There is an immersive cave experience, live animals including baby alligators, turtles, snakes, insects, jellyfish, fresh and saltwater fish, and forest exhibits including a tree you can climb up through the inside of and a rope bridge you can cross to a squirrel’s nest high up in a tree! Their 440-gallon aquarium is home to one type of jellyfish known as a Moon Jelly.

My son loves interactive activities with anything he can touch. The kinetic sand table and the real-life meteorite from outer space were perfect for him to touch and play with. Cook’s Museum has a great variety for children to children of all ages to experience!

March is for Tulips!


One of my favorite parts about living in the Tennessee Valley is the agritourism. Agritourism activities allow members of the public to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.

Nestled in the Tennessee Valley, Hubert Family Farms provides a beautiful backdrop to over 380,000 tulips for families to enjoy. Families can make a day out of this event to picnic, play, and pick tulips! This farm provides the most scenic backdrop for family photos

Hubert Family Farms has its bulbs shipped all the way from Holland. The tulips are planted around Thanksgiving for harvesting in the Spring. You can enjoy the scenery and relax in the adjoining fields and then visit the gift shop on site that was the original farmhouse. There are rows and rows of colorful bulbs to enjoy! My family has visited each year since they opened, and we look forward to returning.

April is for Strawberries!


Strawberry picking with my children in the Spring, just before the summer weather arrives is a favorite memory of mine that I will always hold on to, and I am grateful to live in an area where it is a short drive, for such a memorable experience.

When I created The Huntsville Mom, Brown Farms was one of the attractions first on my list to feature. Brown Farms features pick-your-own strawberries on an 18-acre farm located in New Market, Alabama. This is a great family outing because it is outdoors and there is NO admission fee! Strawberries are sold by the gallon bucket, and they are absolutely delicious! There’s also plenty more to enjoy on site such as a bounce pad, gift shop, and food. They also sell ferns, homemade ice cream and jam, snow cones, home goods, and t-shirts. 

May is for Hot Air Balloons!


There are no words to truly capture the wonder that is the Alabama Jubilee. Hot air balloons fill the sky, balloon flames are aglow, and the festivities end with fireworks in the sky!!

The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival is held each year at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, just a 30-minute drive from Huntsville.  This is an annual tradition for my family. It is the perfect day; we pack a picnic basket and bring a blanket to stay all afternoon to enjoy the hot air balloons, live entertainment, delicious food, & fireworks!

This event lets visitors mingle with balloon pilots as they inflate and launch their seven-story tall balloons. They even offer tethered rides. It is one of the few balloon events that allow the public to walk on the field.

June is for Concerts in the Park!

Pack your favorite picnic, and your lawn chairs, and come enjoy a Huntsville summer tradition that celebrates creativity, diversity, and local talent! “Concerts in the Park” is hosted by Arts Huntsville and the City of Huntsville’s Department of Parks & Recreation. This summer event is FREE to the public. Even better, parking is also free at the City of Huntsville Garage.

There is a variety for all music lovers to enjoy with genres ranging from rock, folk, and country to Latin, dance, R&B, and today’s hits. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the sounds of summer at the Huntsville Museum of Art’s outdoor stage in Big Spring International Park on Monday nights in June-August. 

Picnics and pets are welcome! This event is child friendly, and your children will love feeding the ducks, geese, and koi. A fun fact: Big Spring Park is home to the famous red bridge and cherry trees which were gifts to the city from Japan.

July is for Splashing Around!


The summertime heat in Alabama is a whole other level of HOT! There’s no better way to beat the heat than with a visit to one of Huntsville’s splash pads. We love to visit these splash pads because they are free and fun! For a mom of two, I also love the splash pads because I can easily take both children with me without fear of drowning.

Huntsville Parks and Recreation does a great job of keeping these splash pads up and running for families to enjoy on the hottest days of summer. There are three locations, and all are FREE!!! 

The Everybody Can Play Splash Pad (Located at Brahan Spring Park) offers a seating area with two picnic tables and attached bathrooms for easy access. There’s also a large pavilion available for rent! 

Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Splash Pad (Located at the Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center) includes a large pavilion and numerous shaded benches. Users of this splash pad have access to the bathrooms and locker rooms at the pool. 

Bicentennial Park (Located directly behind the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum) features a gazebo for shade, two picnic tables and benches. There are no public bathrooms for use at this location.

The Dr. Richard Showers location features a miniature waterslide, pop jets suitable for all different ages, and a large water bucket that dumps out approximately every 30 seconds!

August is for Butterflies!

Peak Butterfly Season (May through September) is the best time of year to visit The Huntsville Botanical Garden. The habitat is home to over 1,000 brightly-colored butterflies. Visitors can enjoy a stroll in the Butterfly House and view the waterfalls, ponds, streams, and lush vegetation.

The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a city gem. It is a year-round attraction that always has exhibits and learning experiences to offer. Along with water play and outdoor interactive exhibits in the summer, The Botanical Garden also houses the world-famous Purdy Butterfly House. This is the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house and is home to over 1,000 native butterflies. It is a must-see from May through September! 

Children of all ages will enjoy themed crafts and activities, and adults will have a blast experiencing the largest open-air butterfly house in the country! It is a calming experience for all.

September is for Revitalization!

One of the most exciting developments in Huntsville is the renovated and revitalized areas of the city. The rebirth of Huntsville’s urban core has created new and unique opportunities for family fun. The rehabilitation of an old textile factory turned into Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment, an old school campus is now known as Campus No. 805, an old regional mall is now the bustling MidCity District, and an old stove factory is now a mixed-use development called Stovehouse. All of these repurposed sites have made the city come alive again. Fun, food and entertainment can be found throughout the year at each of these sites. There is something for everyone and each of these has its own unique feel. 

Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment is the largest privately owned arts facility in the southern United States. With a focus on visual arts, this historic factory building has been redeveloped into 152 working studios for over 200 artists, 7 galleries, a theater, a community garden, and performance venues. Concerts, markets, and food ranging from fine chocolates to gourmet iced tea, to vegan cuisine. Lowe Mill has eclectic taste and offerings! 

Campus 805 was once a school and has since been renovated to create a unique development to preserve the legacy of the school and offer a flourishing entertainment venue for the community. It is home to ax throwing entertainment, bars, food, and Huntsville famous breweries Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer. 

MidCity District was built on land formerly occupied by a regional mall. MidCity houses food, entertainment, and fun in a variety of ways. This area fosters both culture and community by fostering a love and appreciation of music, arts, culinary, & technology. Everything from comedy, music, food, markets, and fitness is housed at MidCity. Families can stop by any day of the week and find entertainment.

Stovehouse reimagined an old stove factory and created a hot destination for eats, drinks, shopping, and leisure. Stovehouse is perfect for families because it features lawn games, a courtyard, and a food garden with enough variety for everyone. Live music, eats and treats, and an eclectic venue for retail shopping will leave you coming back for more!

October is for Pumpkins and History!

Hay rides, pumpkin patches, festivals, and celebrations abound during the Fall, and the weather is absolute perfection. This is my favorite time of year, so I could not pick just one attraction!

Fall is not complete without a visit to the local Pumpkin Patch. Tate Farms is well known in North Alabama for its family entertainment. Corn cribs, hay rides to pick pumpkins, a barnyard playground, bounce pads, barnyard animals, corn trains, slides, and photo ops will keep your family busy all day long. Add in a pumpkin slushie for a final taste of Fall!

Tate Farms includes 80 acres of pick-your-own pumpkin fields and 20 acres of play and entertainment. Tate Farms allows visitors an insider’s look at a working farm, North Alabama’s oldest and largest retail pumpkin farm.

Fall is jam-packed with festivals and activities in Huntsville and Madison County, and one of the most notable is the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll! One Fall must-see is The Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll. This annual tradition has become one of the largest living history strolls in America. More than 75 costumed characters detail Huntsville’s rich history, along the pathway of the cemetery. Many Huntsvillians can be seen enjoying this local tradition, children included.

This event is free and features special exhibits, an antique auto display, and scavenger hunts for kids of all ages. This is a great chance to learn more about the history of Huntsville and some of its most influential natives.

November is for Christmas at the Corner!

It is a family tradition of ours to bring home a live Christmas Tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. The smell of the pine fills our home with the familiar scent of the holiday. We always purchase our tree at a local Christmas tree farm. 

Christmas at the Corner at Heritage Corner Farm in Hazel Green, Alabama.  Although they have planted over 900 Christmas Trees, they are much more than just a Christmas tree farm—they host one of the largest family Christmas events located in North Alabama. 

Cookie decorating, petting zoo animals, and hot chocolate are sure to be at the top of your children’s lists. There is plenty more to do on-site— visit the gift shop, take a tractor-drawn sleigh bell ride to enjoy Christmas lights around the 53-acre farm and 7-acre lake, and take advantage of the photo opportunities. Create a family tradition as you select your beautiful pre-cut Fraser and Balsam Firs to enjoy all throughout the Christmas season!

December is for The Living Christmas Tree!

Every family should experience the Huntsville tradition of The Living Christmas Tree! This event is known specifically to Huntsville as it is located at one of the most famous landmarks, First Baptist Church of Huntsville, or as it is sometimes affectionately called, “Egg-beater Jesus.”

The Living Christmas Tree is a choral presentation of Christmas music that has been presented by First Baptist Church since 1984. My mother took my sisters and I to this as children, and it is a Christmas memory I always hold onto. The music selections are different each year and represent a wide variety of musical styles. Guest artists are featured alongside the choir and orchestra each year.  

Tickets for The Living Christmas Tree are free of charge and available only online.

What makes this event special is their program for children. Because young children may not be able to enjoy a full-length presentation, they offer an abbreviated version on Saturday morning at 11:00 am. This presentation is designed specifically with children in mind. The program is shorter and does not include the narrative material. The musical selections are ideal for children. The atmosphere is casual, and keeping kids quiet is not required, which offers low pressure and enjoyment for parents.

Join First Baptist for their Pancake Breakfast prior to the children’s presentation. This ticketed event welcomes families into the church to enjoy a meal together. It all makes for the perfect way to welcome the Christmas season as a family.


About Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell

I am a wife of 10 years, a mother of two, and an educator.  I am a first-generation American, and I hold dear all of the values of family, education, and the American dream that I learned from my father and family in Mexico. 

I help oversee the English Learner (EL) department for our local school district, serving as an advocate and resource for teachers, students, and families. I have a passion for education, writing, helping families, trying new things, and for creating memories.

My goal at The Huntsville Mom is to do more of what I love and to help others find inspiration and information easily in one spot. I aim to help encourage and support other women as much as I can along the way. We cannot do it all alone. It takes a village. Come, join me on Instagram at TheHuntsvilleMom and let me be a part of yours!

Jessica, thank you so much for sharing all of your fabulous suggestions for a year’s worth of Huntsville family outings as your Voice of Huntsville! There are so many things to see and do here in Huntsville, so I hope you added some of Jessica’s ideas to your family calendar! Be sure and check out our Scouted calendar for even more local events in the city we love!

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