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Category Archives for "Family Fun"

Spring Valley Beach in Blountsville Boats “Southeast’s Biggest Pool”

In addition to Decatur’s Point Mallard Park, this week we’re looking at another place to beat the heat and keep the kids busy close to the Rocket City. Blountsville’s 25-acre Spring Valley Beach sits just off Highway 231, about an hour south of Huntsville.

Per their website, SVB is the only waterpark in the Southeast to allow visitors to bring their own food and grills. They also offer free sunblock and free parking! Nifty. SVB has several waterslides for the thril

seekers, such as “Sidewinder” and “Blackout”, which promises a pitch black tunnel filled with twists and turns. There’s also a gentler, family style curvy slide, and four traditional slides into the big pool.

Featured on Travel Channel on a list of extreme waterparks, Spring Valley Beach also offers a kids zone and pavilions for event usage. Rentals run from $30 to $125, dependent on size.

SVB offers standard snack bar fare like nachos and hot dogs, but they also allow picnic items, grills, and beverages, although alcohol is prohibited.

One extra cool little detail: they don’t close for rain. They wait it out!

Per their website, SVB is the only waterpark in the Southeast to allow visitors to bring their own food and grills. They also offer free sunblock and free parking! Nifty.

SVB has several waterslides for the thrill seekers, such as “Sidewinder” and “Blackout”, which promises a pitch black tunnel filled with twists and turns. There’s also a gentler, family style curvy slide, and four traditional slides into the big pool.

Featured on Travel Channel on a list of extreme waterparks, Spring Valley Beach also offers a kids zone and pavilions for event usage. Rentals run from $30 to $125, dependent on size. SVB offers standard snack bar fare like nachos and hot dogs, but they also allow picnic items, grills, and beverages, although alcohol is prohibited.

One extra cool little detail: they don’t close for rain. They wait it out!


By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

Point Mallard Park, A Dearly Cherished Piece of My Youth

The temp in my car just now was 81, and Target had their planters and potting mix out. Newcomers to the Huntsville area may already be wondering: Where can we swim? This week I’m looking at a couple of north Alabama water amusement parks, both easily accessible from the Rocket City.

My birthplace of Decatur is home to Point Mallard Park, most famous for its wave pool, which it claims is the first of its kind in the

country. For as good chunk of my life, very few things excited me like a visit to Point Mallard. The tiptoeing out of the locker rooms onto the sun-fiery pebble pathways, the smell of suntan oil, and the much anticipated horn sounding to signal the intermittent wave sessions, which were, to us kids, nothing short of a chaotic blast . . . I always looked forward to it.

My birthplace of Decatur is home to Point Mallard Park, most famous for its wave pool, which it claims is the first of its kind in the country. For as good chunk of my life, very few things excited me like a visit to Point Mallard. The tiptoeing out of the locker rooms onto the sun-fiery pebble pathways, the smell of

suntan oil, and the much anticipated horn sounding to signal the intermittent wave sessions, which were, to us kids, nothing short of a chaotic blast . . . I always looked forward to it.

My birthplace of Decatur is home to Point Mallard Park, most famous for its wave pool, which it claims is the first of its kind in the country. For as good chunk of my life, very few things excited me like a visit to Point Mallard. The tiptoeing out of the locker rooms onto the sun-fiery pebble pathways, the smell of suntan oil, and the much anticipated horn sounding to signal the intermittent wave sessions, which were, to us kids, nothing short of a chaotic blast . . . I always looked forward to it.

A lot else besides swimming happens at Point Mallard, by the way. I remember going for my mom’s company picnic, and for the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, an annual Memorial Day weekend festival of balloon races, crafts, fireworks, and other activities.

The park features a campground, 18-hole golf course, ice skating complex, batting cages, a bike trail, pavilions for rent, and a 75-seat amphitheatre built by Eagle Scouts.

Still, the water park will always be the headliner at Point Mallard, which has an enormous regular swimming pool, multiple rides, a kid-friendly area, and snack bar. They’ve also added a lazy river since my last visit, circa 2007.


By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

St. Patrick’s Day in Rocket City

While the origin of St. Patrick’s Day is Irish, Rocket City has embraced this holiday whole heartedly.  One long standing St. Patrick’s Day event is the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The parade has been held annually for 41 years!

This year’s parade is sponsored by Straight to Ale and is expected to be one of the biggest to date. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday, March 17th, so the parade will take place on St. Patrick’s Day

This isn’t always the case and should add to the Irish excitement. The parade is held on a Saturday to create a fun family event that will help families celebrate and learn about Irish culture and history. One thing great about the parade is throwing candy is not allowed, so don’t let being hit with a flying Starlight mint deter you from enjoying the celebration.  Marchers are allow to hand out items, but must go to the spectators.  The parade will begin at 11:30 am.  The parade is FREE to observe & march! Line up begins at 10:30 am.  To march, visit http://www.huntsvillestpatricksday.com for more info.

This year’s parade is sponsored by Straight to Ale and is expected to be one of the biggest to date. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday, March 17th, so the parade will take place on St. Patrick’s Day

This isn’t always the case and should add to the Irish excitement. The parade is held on a Saturday to create a fun family event that will help

families celebrate and learn about Irish culture and history. One thing great about the parade is throwing candy is not allowed, so don’t let being hit with a flying Starlight mint deter you from enjoying the celebration.  Marchers are allow to hand out items, but must go to the spectators.  The parade will begin at 11:30 am.  The parade is FREE to observe & march! Line up begins at 10:30 am.  To march, visit http://www.huntsvillestpatricksday.com for more info.

This year’s parade is sponsored by Straight to Ale and is expected to be one of the biggest to date. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday, March 17th, so the parade will take place on St. Patrick’s Day

This isn’t always the case and should add to the Irish excitement. The parade is held on a Saturday to create a fun family event that will help families celebrate and learn about Irish culture and history. One thing great about the parade is throwing candy is not allowed, so don’t let being hit with a flying Starlight mint deter you from enjoying the celebration.  Marchers are allow to hand out items, but must go to the spectators.  The parade will begin at 11:30 am.  The parade is FREE to observe & march! Line up begins at 10:30 am.  To march, visit http://www.huntsvillestpatricksday.com for more info.

If you aren’t interested in a parade, there other fun activities around St. Patrick’s Day that will provide an Irish celebration.

Straight to Ale  will be hosting the Brock McGuire Band on Wednesday, March 15th at 7 PM. The Brock McGuire Band is an Irish band that has been named “Traditional Irish Band of the Decade” by the Irish American News.   Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased through their Facebook Event.

The United Cerebral Palsy Organization is hosting an Irish EveningAn Irish Evening will be held Friday, March 16th from 6-9 PM at the Depot Round

House in downtown Huntsville.  The event will feature Irish and international food and beverage samples from local vendors.  The admission is $25.  Each adult ticket includes the entry of one child 12 and under.  The event will feature live music and dancing and should be a fun family event!  All proceeds from the event will go to UCP client services for over 1,000 families in North Alabama.

Not looking for an official St. Patrick’s Day event?  Check out one of Rocket City’s many Breweries   Be sure to be safe, use a designated driver, or call Huntsville Cab Company for a safe ride home.

The United Cerebral Palsy Organization is hosting an Irish EveningAn Irish Evening will be held Friday, March 16th from 6-9 PM at the Depot Round House in downtown Huntsville.   The event will feature Irish and international food and beverage samples from local vendors.  The admission is $25.  Each adult ticket includes the entry of one child 12 and under.  The event will feature live music and dancing and should be a

fun family event!  All proceeds from the event will go to UCP client services for over 1,000 families in North Alabama.

Not looking for an official St. Patrick’s Day event?  Check out one of Rocket City’s many Breweries   Be sure to be safe, use a designated driver, or call Huntsville Cab Company for a safe ride home.

The United Cerebral Palsy Organization is hosting an Irish EveningAn Irish Evening will be held Friday, March 16th from 6-9 PM at the Depot Round House in downtown Huntsville.   The event will feature Irish and international food and beverage samples from local vendors.  The admission is $25.  Each adult ticket includes the entry of one child 12 and under.  The event will feature live music and dancing and should be a fun family event!  All proceeds from the event will go to UCP client services for over 1,000 families in North Alabama

Not looking for an official St. Patrick’s Day event?  Check out one of Rocket City’s many Breweries   Be sure to be safe, use a designated driver, or call Huntsville Cab Company for a safe ride home.


By: Brooke Hyde

Brooke Hyde is an IT professional and mompreneur who likes using technology to improve businesses. She currently works for a defense contract in Huntsville, and runs her small business The Automated Mompreneur. When she is not working with technology to help government and momprenuers be more efficient, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs in the family you-pick vineyard, Hyde's Harvest Vineyard.

Homeschool Co-Op – Play Create Discover & Learn

Residents in Huntsville are so fortunate that our community is highly-supportive of homeschool families. There is a wealth of resources in the Rocket City that offers so much for these families who choose home-based learning for their kids.

That’s where Play, Create, Discover, & Learn comes in.

What is Play Create Discover & Learn?

According to their website found here, Play Create Discover & Learn is “an

inclusive cooperative education center that facilitates a creative, collaborative community for Northern Alabama families.”

How fun is that?  That description alone is enough to make me want to go back to school!

What is Play Create Discover & Learn?

According to their website found here, Play Create Discover & Learn is “an inclusive cooperative education center that facilitates a creative, collaborative community for Northern Alabama families.”

How fun is that?  That description alone is enough to make me want to go back to school!

The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was established in 2015 to support the Rocket City’s homeschool community. They offer classes for different ages in STEM, arts, humanities, community service, and clubs. 

Learn by Doing

Play Create Discover & Learn supports a hands-on, social approach to learning. Their site says, “We want kids to gain confidence, respect, and a desire to help in their

communities.” Children learn well in collaborative groups, where they can learn from each other as well as from their teachers.  It’s the “students as teachers” idea, with the adults acting as facilitators to learning.

Play Create Discover & Learn supports a hands-on, social approach to learning. Their site says, “We want kids to gain confidence, respect, and a desire to help in their communities.” Children learn well in collaborative groups, where they can learn from each other as well as from their teachers.  It’s the “students as teachers” idea, with the adults acting as facilitators to learning.

Play Create Discover and Learn promotes discovery learning taught by volunteer parents.  As long as space is available and your child meets the age requirements, your child can join in and learn that learning can be fun!

Parent volunteers will receive a discount on membership fees.  Go here for class fees. Be sure to scroll down to see links for online resources, here. Visit here for class descriptions and age requirements. The homeschool co-op’s field trips are always fun, educational, and social events that is one of the best features of homeschooling.

Get Together

Once you get started as a homeschool family, a world full of possibilities opens up for you and your child. You don’t have to go it alone.Contact Play Create Discover & Learn to get your family connected with other homeschool families and enjoy years of learning together!

Play Create Discover & Learn is housed at 115 McCormick Drive in Huntsville.

Contact: (256) 919-2991 or visit them at www.playcreatediscover.net, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.


By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Stephanie L. Robertson is a writer and editor who maintains a southern lifestyle blog at www.SweetgumLife.com [http://www.sweetgumlife.com/. A busy Christian wife and mom, Stephanie and her husband of 19 years live in the Huntsville area with their teenage daughter. Stephanie has a self-published short suspense story on Amazon and is working on adding a novel. When not immersed in mom/wife life, she enjoys home décor, photography, Pinterest projects, coffee with family and friends, and immersing herself in a good suspense novel.

Huntsville Aquatic Center

Swimming has often been touted as one of the best forms of exercise. It’s really not surprising when you think about it. Swimming requires the use of the whole body so you are getting at least some exercise to each part of your body that would otherwise require a specific exercise. livestrong.com has an excellent article on the benefits of swimming. Plus… it’s just really fun.

The Huntsville Aquatic Center, formerly known as the Brahan Spring Park Natatorium, has had some big changes. The facility offers two new pools; a 50 meter Olympic-sized

competition pool and a smaller therapy pool. Theses pools and facilities were built around the existing 50 meter pool that is now known as the “legacy pool”. Each pool offers something different for the swimmer.

The Huntsville Aquatic Center, formerly known as the Brahan Spring Park Natatorium, has had some big changes. The facility offers two new pools; a 50 meter Olympic-sized competition pool and a smaller therapy pool. Theses pools and facilities were built around the existing 50 meter pool that is now known as the “legacy pool”. Each pool offers something different for the swimmer.

The facility offers swimming lessons, public swimming, water aerobics, as well as other classes. The instructional pool is also used for warm water therapy, a water bench, and wheelchair ramp for handicapped access so that everyone, regardless of age and health, can enjoy the facilities.

Admission for the aquatic center is incredibly reasonable at only $4 for general admission. The facility also offers a “3 Month Swim Pass” with the family rate being $140, single $70, and a 30-Visit punch card is $90. It is important to note that you must be at least 19 years of age to purchase a swim pass.

The hours are a little tricky so be sure to check out this link for their hours, listed under Huntsville Aquatics Center: https://www.huntsvilleal.gov/environment/parks-recreation/recreation/aquatics/


By: Josh Holland

Josh Holland is a writer who currently studies writing and literature at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Previously, Josh attended the University of North Alabama in Florence where he also studied writing. While attending UNA, Josh had articles published in both SET Magazine and The Flor-Ala. Josh was also published in the UNA Lights and Shadows Literary Arts Magazine, which focuses on fiction. Josh has experience as a video editor, and often writes scripts for online, text-based video content.

Stephens Gap, Jackson County’s Hidden Gem

Continuing our series of pieces on easy, outdoorsy day trips from the Huntsville area, this week I’m having a mixed bag of feelings on sharing Stephens Gap. Somewhat like a teenager who thinks their favorite band is cooler the fewer people that know them, there can be a twinge of guilt letting people in on a place like this, and I suppose I could rationalize it by wondering if someone wound up going and leaving garbage on the trail because they heard about someplace from me.

But, it’s a bummer to feel that way and much nicer to excitedly urge the sure footed among you to check out the natural wonder of Jackson

County’s Stephens Gap cave. Protected by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, and located a little over half an hour from Huntsville, Stephens Gap is one of the most stunning caves in north America.

But, it’s a bummer to feel that way and much nicer to excitedly urge the sure footed among you to check out the natural wonder of Jackson County’s Stephens Gap cave. Protected by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, and located a little over half an hour from Huntsville, Stephens Gap is one of the most stunning caves in north America.

Before I go any further, ya gotta know that an 18 year old man died in this cave a few years back. For glory and photo ops, the adventurous love to rappel down to a tall formation known as “The Pedestal”, from which a deadly fall is all too easy. You need a permit to visit the cave, but they’re free and can be obtained here: scci.org/preserves/stephens-gap-callahan-cave-preserve/

After you get your permit, you’ll receive detailed directions to the trailhead parking lot. The out-and-back hike to the cave is two miles, round trip. It’s rocky and a bit on the wilder side, but to my memory the change of elevation isn’t too bad and overall it’s a light-to-moderate hike.

The day my wife and a friend of ours went, the only other visitors were setting up to rappel down into the 140 ft. pit. We took advantage of the short walk-in (well, it’s a scree, so you’re scramblin’) passage to get what amounts to the most spectacular view of a cave I’ve had, for the least cost, with the least other people around to spoil the experience (see, there’s that thing).

The permit is basically the Conservancy’s way of assuring no plausible deniability that you were warned not to attempt any sort of amateur hot dogging in a place so potentially unforgiving of careless mistakes. But really, if you’re in decent shape and have your wits about you, do take a few hours and go see one of Alabama’s most dramatic natural wonders, and a true underground jewel, under an hour from the Rocket City.


By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

Tiger Rock Huntsville Provides World Class Martial Art Training for the Entire Family

Are you looking for a family friendly activity that can get your family active and teach life changing skills? Tiger Rock Huntsville is a great place to increase your activity level as well as gain self-confidence and learn self-defense techniques.

My son started Tiger Rock Martial Arts about a year ago, he immediately loved the structured classes and the ability to train with his friends that were higher belt levels than himself. After bringing, Dirk to class for a few months, my husband, Luke began classes as well. After watching my son and

husband excel in Tiger Rock training, I decided to give it a try myself. In January, Tiger Rock Huntsville offered a parents-train-for-free month.  It was the perfect time for me to try it.  I was tired of boring workouts on a treadmill and ready for something new.  I’ve found Tiger Rock Martial Arts classes to be a great physical activity that is non-repetitive and confidence building. The Tiger Rock training system has a 15-step belt program that teaches important blocking, striking, and kicking techniques that are defensive in nature.

My son started Tiger Rock Martial Arts about a year ago, he immediately loved the structured classes and the ability to train with his friends that were higher belt levels than himself.  After bringing, Dirk to class for a few months, my husband, Luke began classes as well. After watching my son and husband excel in Tiger Rock training, I decided to give it a try myself. In January, Tiger Rock Huntsville offered a parents-train-for-free month.  It was the perfect time for me to try it.  I was tired of boring workouts on a treadmill and ready for something new.  I’ve found Tiger Rock Martial Arts classes to be a great physical activity that is non-repetitive and confidence building. The Tiger Rock training system has a 15-step belt program that teaches important blocking, striking, and kicking techniques that are defensive in nature.

The classes at Tiger Rock Martial Arts can easily fit into your lifestyle.  Adult classes are offered at night as well as lunch time several days a week.  Children’s classes are conveniently scheduled after school and Saturday mornings.  The school also offers family classes where parents and children can attend class and train together.

Every class is taught by excellent trained instructors, who train year-

round and stay up to date on the latest training methods. During a Tiger Rock Martial Arts class, you will see that the children in class are truly excited to be there.  The owner of Tiger Rock Huntsville, Jake Simmons has been practicing martial arts since childhood and has made it his life’s work to teach taekwondo to children and adults alike.  His wife, Amanda Simmons is also a trained instructor.

The classes at Tiger Rock Martial Arts can easily fit into your lifestyle.  Adult classes are offered at night as well as lunch time several days a week.  Children’s classes are conveniently scheduled after school and Saturday mornings.  The school also offers family classes where parents and children can attend class and train together.

Every class is taught by excellent trained instructors, who train year-round and stay up to date on the latest training methods. During a Tiger Rock Martial Arts class, you will see that the children in class are truly excited to be there.  The owner of Tiger Rock Huntsville, Jake Simmons has been practicing martial arts since childhood and has made it his life’s work to teach taekwondo to children and adults alike.  His wife, Amanda Simmons is also a trained instructor.

Tiger Rock Huntsville offers a 3 lesson starter program that includes a complementary tee shirt for $38. The program can be started anytime.   Tiger Rock Huntsville is located at 7185 Hwy 72 West Suite H in Madison.  Stop by and visit and give this excellent martial arts academy a try.


By: Brooke Hyde

Brooke Hyde is an IT professional and mompreneur who likes using technology to improve businesses. She currently works for a defense contract in Huntsville, and runs her small business The Automated Mompreneur. When she is not working with technology to help government and momprenuers be more efficient, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs in the family you-pick vineyard, Hyde's Harvest Vineyard.

Spring Break Day Trips from Huntsville

As Spring Break season approaches, it’s time to think about activities to keep the kids occupied during a full week without school.  The Rocket City alone has many places to go, and Huntsville is close enough to Nashville and Birmingham for a quick day trip!

We at Rocket City Local have drummed up some ideas that are fun for all ages.  So bring on Spring Break, and let’s go!

Huntsville

I regularly write about Huntsville’s Lowe Mill because there is so much to do in one place! Is your kid always making pot-

holders on a loom?  Try Amy Shelton and Roo Kline’s Sparkle Studio.  Amy and Roo offer mixed media classes ranging from $5-$25, and your kids will have fun making crafts from plant and animal-based fiber. Check their site for free events such as Sit and Stich Friday.

If your kids want to get their geek on, try the Kids’ Comic Book Art Class by SuperPowered Studios 113 for only $25. For more Lowe Mill events (and there are plenty to choose from!), check their event calendar, here. I can’t get enough of Lowe Mill, so stay tuned for future posts!!

I regularly write about Huntsville’s Lowe Mill because there is so much to do in one place!  Is your kid always making pot-holders on a loom?  Try Amy Shelton and Roo Kline’s Sparkle Studio.  Amy and Roo offer mixed media classes ranging from $5-$25, and your kids will have fun making crafts from plant and animal-based fiber. Check their site for free events such as Sit and Stich Friday.

If your kids want to get their geek on, try the Kids’ Comic Book Art Class by SuperPowered Studios 113 for only $25. For more Lowe Mill events (and there are plenty to choose from!), check their event calendar, here. I can’t get enough of Lowe Mill, so stay tuned for future posts!!

I regularly write about Huntsville’s Lowe Mill because there is so much to do in one place!  Is your kid always making pot-holders on a loom?  Try Amy Shelton and Roo Kline’s Sparkle Studio.  Amy and Roo offer mixed media classes ranging

from $5-$25, and your kids will have fun making crafts from plant and animal-based fiber. Check their site for free events such as Sit and Stich Friday.

If your kids want to get their geek on, try the Kids’ Comic Book Art Class by SuperPowered Studios 113 for only $25. For more Lowe Mill events (and there are plenty to choose from!), check their event calendar, here. I can’t get enough of Lowe Mill, so stay tuned for future posts!!

Phil Campbell

On the other hand, let’s assume that the weather cooperates, and it’s perfect weather for Spring Break. (I know…don’t laugh!) Have you ever heard of Dismals Canyon?

My dad grew up on a farm in a remote area of Franklin County, Alabama.  In the summers he used to swim in the icy waters of Dismals Branch. Since then, the area has been developed for tourists on 85 acres of fascinating bluffs, primeval forests, boulders, and cliffs.  Be sure to wear warm clothes, because it can be quite cool, even in the summer.  It’s about a 1 ½-hour drive from Huntsville.

Birmingham

When I was a kid, we always tried to find Vulcan on Birmingham’s Red Mountain.  Named after the ugly Roman god, Vulcan (aka, Hephaestus), who was a talented

ironworker to the gods, Vulcan is “the world’s largest cast-iron statue.”  Vulcan was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti as a nod to the Iron City.

If you’re going to visit Bham, be sure to drop by Sloss Furnace National Landmark, “once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world.”

On a side note, my daughter’s fifth-grade class did a field trip to Sloss Furnace, followed by a tour of the Golden Flake Factory.  I highly, highly recommend it.  You’ve never tasted a Golden Flake chip until it has come right out of one of Golden Flake’s huge industrial ovens!

When I was a kid, we always tried to find Vulcan on Birmingham’s Red Mountain.  Named after the ugly Roman god, Vulcan (aka, Hephaestus), who was a talented ironworker to the gods, Vulcan is “the world’s largest cast-iron statue.”  Vulcan was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti as a nod to the Iron City.

If you’re going to visit Bham, be sure to drop by Sloss Furnace

National Landmark, “once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world.”

On a side note, my daughter’s fifth-grade class did a field trip to Sloss Furnace, followed by a tour of the Golden Flake Factory.  I highly, highly recommend it.  You’ve never tasted a Golden Flake chip until it has come right out of one of Golden Flake’s huge industrial ovens!

Nashville

To be honest, I’m a Nashville newbie, having grown up closer to Birmingham.  But I have visited the American Girl Doll store at the nearby Cool Springs Mall. Introducing Luciana Vega, the Girl of the Year 2018 doll which is special for us here in the Rocket City!  Love it, love it! 

Your teens may enjoy the Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure, a 3-hour romp through the Music City.  Their site says it’s like the Amazing Race.  Grab a group and go check it out…Looks fun!

The Parthenon is a full-sized replica of the original one in Athens, Greece.  Built around 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, the building houses Nashville’s art museum. 

To be honest, I’m a Nashville newbie, having grown up closer to Birmingham.  But I have visited the American Girl Doll store at the nearby Cool Springs Mall. Introducing Luciana Vega, the Girl of the Year 2018 doll which is special for us here in the Rocket City!  Love it, love it! 

Your teens may enjoy the Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure, a 3-hour romp through the Music City.  Their site says it’s like the Amazing Race.  Grab a group and go check it out…Looks fun!

The Parthenon is a full-sized replica of the original one in Athens, Greece.  Built around 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, the building houses Nashville’s art museum. 

There’s More!

These are just a few things to whet your Spring Break appetite…I can think of dozens more, can you? We at Rocket City Local would love to hear your Spring Break recommendations!


By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Stephanie L. Robertson is a writer and editor who maintains a southern lifestyle blog at www.SweetgumLife.com [http://www.sweetgumlife.com/]. A busy Christian wife and mom, Stephanie and her husband of 19 years live in the Huntsville area with their teenage daughter. Stephanie has a self-published short suspense story on Amazon and is working on adding a novel.  When not immersed in mom/wife life, she enjoys home décor, photography, Pinterest projects, coffee with family and friends, and immersing herself in a good suspense novel.

What’s Walls of Jericho? Day Trips Out of the Rocket City, Pt. 2

It was probably ten years ago when I first heard of Walls of Jericho, a forested ravine where it’s said Davy Crockett once hunted, in southern Franklin County, Tennessee, 12 miles south of Winchester. A friend had rated it highly for its level of challenge and awesome natural beauty, created by the waters of Turkey Creek.

The Nature Conservancy chapters of AL and TN initiated the moves to acquire and reopen this land, which had previously been open to the public until the late 1970s, when it was closed by a private timber company. In 2006, over 21,000 acres straddling the Tennessee/Alabama border were made contiguous, and now the state of Tennessee owns the Walls as part of the Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

I’ve hiked Jericho twice, both times in relatively hot weather. At the time of my first trip out there, it struck me as one of the more arduous hikes I’d ever done. That’s probably still true.

The trail itself is a through hike running either way from a trailhead in TN and one in AL, with each leading down the steep descent into the canyon. Depending on how many cars your group takes, you can either park at one trailhead and hike down in and back up out the same side, or leave a car at one end, drive the group the handful of miles to the other head, and hike all the way through.

Going down is the easy and quick part for most. Budget a solid two hours for exploring the canyon “Walls” and having lunch. You’ll definitely need lunch, by the way. Do not attempt this one without a couple of liters of water per person, and at least a PB&J. Getting out is not trivial, and most people will likely need a few breaks on the way up to catch their breath. Speaking of which, I don’t recommend this hike for smokers or people with respiratory or heart issues.

I’ve hiked Jericho twice, both times in relatively hot weather. At the time of my first trip out there, it struck me as one of the more arduous hikes I’d ever done. That’s probably still true.

The trail itself is a through hike running either way from a trailhead in TN and one in AL, with each leading down the steep descent into the canyon. Depending on how many cars your group takes, you can either park at one trailhead and hike down in and back up out the same

side, or leave a car at one end, drive the group the handful of miles to the other head, and hike all the way through.

Going down is the easy and quick part for most. Budget a solid two hours for exploring the canyon “Walls” and having lunch. You’ll definitely need lunch, by the way. Do not attempt this one without a couple of liters of water per person, and at least a PB&J. Getting out is not trivial, and most people will likely need a few breaks on the way up to catch their breath. Speaking of which, I don’t recommend this hike for smokers or people with respiratory or heart issues.

I’ve hiked Jericho twice, both times in relatively hot weather. At the time of my first trip out there, it struck me as one of the more arduous hikes I’d ever done. That’s probably still true.

The trail itself is a through hike running either way from a trailhead in TN and one in AL, with each leading down the steep descent into the canyon. Depending on how many cars your group takes, you can either park at one trailhead and hike down in and back up out the same side, or leave a car at one end, drive the group the handful of miles to the other head, and hike all the way through.

Going down is the easy and quick part for most. Budget a solid two hours for exploring the canyon “Walls” and having lunch. You’ll definitely need lunch, by the way. Do not attempt this one without a couple of liters of water per person, and at least a PB&J. Getting out is not trivial, and most people will likely need a few breaks on the way up to catch their breath. Speaking of which, I don’t recommend this hike for smokers or people with respiratory or heart issues.

Depending on the rain levels during the weeks before you visit, water levels in the stone pools of the canyon floor will of course vary. I found it more

I found it more picturesque the time we went when it was wetter, but foot placement becomes a problem when it’s slippery, and this place is already a rolled ankle waiting to happen, so take care. If you do wanna go after a rain, check to make sure they’re open, and make good shoe decisions. Generally speaking, most folks whose radar has picked up this hike will likely not attempt it unprepared. All the same, I am warning you not to attempt this hike unprepared.

A change of socks is a good idea if you don’t have waterproof shoes. Other things to consider bringing: a packable hammock, a swimsuit, a book, and a camera. This place really is spectacular, and for all the work involved getting to it and back, you’ll wanna take some time to absorb it while you’re there. My first time, I probably spent an hour taking macro shots of tadpoles in their little cascading pools of eroded rock. In any case, it’s recommended you allow at least six hours to get in and out.

So if you’re looking for a challenging day hike close to Huntsville, then wake up early, grab a biscuit (I wouldn’t skip breakfast), drive the gorgeous 30-something miles of country roads out of Huntsville, and truly earn that post-hike beer on one of the area’s most demanding but rewarding hikes. Your thighs will likely wobble, but it’s totally worth it.

Depending on the rain levels during the weeks before you visit, water levels in the stone pools of the canyon floor will of course vary. I found it more picturesque the time we went when it was wetter, but foot placement becomes a problem when it’s slippery, and this place is already a rolled ankle waiting

to happen, so take care. If you do wanna go after a rain, check to make sure they’re open, and make good shoe decisions. Generally speaking, most folks whose radar has picked up this hike will likely not attempt it unprepared. All the same, I am warning you not to attempt this hike unprepared.

A change of socks is a good idea if you don’t have waterproof shoes. Other things to consider bringing: a packable hammock, a swimsuit, a book, and a camera. This place really is spectacular, and for all the work involved getting to it and back, you’ll wanna take some time to absorb it while you’re there. My first time, I probably spent an hour taking macro shots of tadpoles in their little cascading pools of eroded rock. In any case, it’s recommended you allow at least six hours to get in and out.

So if you’re looking for a challenging day hike close to Huntsville, then wake up early, grab a biscuit (I wouldn’t skip breakfast), drive the gorgeous 30-something miles of country roads out of Huntsville, and truly earn that post-hike beer on one of the area’s most demanding but rewarding hikes. Your thighs will likely wobble, but it’s totally worth it.


By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos.

Let’s Play Indoor Play Center in the Rocket City

Are your children tired of this winter weather and have built up energy that can only be expelled by extended use of play equipment? I know this is the case at my house with my boys.  School age children like my 8 year don’t experience this as often with sports and activities like Martial Arts, younger children that aren’t old enough for activities aren’t as lucky.

Many times the younger children that stay home with mom or go to daycare get lots more indoor time and not enough time to run out their excessive amount of energy! Let’s Play Huntsville can provide the perfect indoor place for your children to burn off their extreme energy in a stimulating and

and enjoyable environment. Let’s Play Huntsville’s unique play area fosters imagination play by providing a pirate ship themed play structure, a cannon area, and a spider web tower.  Your children can pretend they are pirates sailing the seas, a knight protecting the castle with cannons, or even a princess in the tower of a castle!  These areas are great for your most active children under 12. There is also a special area for babies and children under 4 that includes mini slides, sensory activities, and play equipment. 

Many times the younger children that stay home with mom or go to daycare get lots more indoor time and not enough time to run out their excessive amount of energy! Let’s Play Huntsville can provide the perfect indoor place for your children to burn off their extreme energy in a stimulating and enjoyable environment.

Let’s Play Huntsville’s unique play area fosters imagination play by providing a pirate ship themed play structure, a cannon area, and a spider web tower.  Your children can pretend they are pirates sailing the seas, a knight protecting the castle with cannons, or even a princess in the tower of a castle!  These areas are great for your most active children under 12. There is also a special area for babies and

children under 4 that includes mini slides, sensory activities, and play equipment. 

Let’s Play Huntsville is also a great place to host your child’s next birthday party. They have several party packages suited for a small party of up to 8 or a

large party of 25 children.  The staff can take care of everything for your party, all you have to do is bring a cake or cupcakes! 

Let’s Play Huntsville is also a great place to host your child’s next birthday party.  They have several party packages suited for a small party of up to 8 or a large party of 25 children.  The staff can take care of everything for your party, all you have to do is bring a cake or cupcakes!

Rocket City is lucky to have such a unique and family friendly indoor play center!  Let’s Play Huntsville  is located in WestSide Center located next to Altitude Trampoline Park and Target. 

The play center is open for Walk-in play anytime. Their hours are:
  • Monday to Thursday:  10 AM – 6PM 
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 AM – 7 PM
  • Sunday:  11AM – 6PM

Check out Let’s Play Huntsville  the next time you are looking for a fun indoor activity or location for a party in Rocket City.


By: Brooke Hyde

Brooke Hyde is an IT professional and mompreneur who likes using technology to improve businesses. She currently works for a defense contract in Huntsville, and runs her small business The Automated Mompreneur. When she is not working with technology to help government and momprenuers be more efficient, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs in the family you-pick vineyard, Hyde's Harvest Vineyard.

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