US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL. ($30/adult). We rarely consider it worth spending that much to visit somewhere but this was so worth it. The sheer size of the rockets will blow you away. There’s a full size Saturn rocket, an original moon lander, full size space shuttle fuel tank and thrusters as well as space suits and tons of information on history and how everything was developed. They also have a number of add on experiences like Zero G, flight simulators, space travel simulators and a Planetarium. Oh, to be a kid and go to space camp here!
Natural Bridge Park, Haleyville, AL. ($3.50/adult). This bridge was formed 200 million years ago when the sea washed the sandstone away leaving iron ore veins holding the bridge. They have 27 varieties of Ferns and a number of Canadian Hemlocks that can be traced back to the Ice Age. The main attraction is about 100 yards down the trail. There’s also a 1 mile trail that loops around past other caves and water falls and trickles. This place is beautiful and very peaceful.
Dismals Canyon, Phil Campbell, AL ($12/adult). Although this Canyon is privately owned it’s registered with the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. The walk is about 1.5 miles around the bottom of the canyon past waterfalls, a pretty stream and moss covered boulders. The water is a cloudy aqua color from the minerals it carries. They believe this canyon was inhabited by Paleo Indians 10,000 years ago. One of the canyon features was Burr’s Hideout, a place an outlaw used to avoid the law. This is a fabulous place to explore, especially on the shoulder season when there are very few other people there.
Past twilight the canyon lights up with tiny bioluminescent creatures we call Dismalites. These “glowworms” require a select habitat to survive and are unique to only a few places on Earth. They are “close cousins” of the rare glowworms found in Australia and New Zealand. They do offer night tours on weekends but we were there during the week. We were told they fill up very quickly. We’re definitely planning to come back and do the night tour.