Summer bucket list: 19 things to do in north Alabama

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TENNESSEE VALLEY, Ala. (WHNT)- Summers in the South are no cup of iced tea.  The kids are out of school, and in this summer heat it seems like the only option for entertainment is heading to the pool. Unfortunately, going to the pool every day can get old quickly, but being trapped in the house with screaming kids will turn your hair gray.

This summer WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to show you all the hidden gems in the Tennessee Valley.  These include fun and educational adventures that will help moms keep their cool!

1. Insanity ComplexMadison, AL. This fun-filled complex offers a skate park, mini golf, arcade games, a rock climbing wall, a yogurt shop, laser tag and much more. Hours include: Mon.-Thurs. 11:00am-10:00pm, Fri.-Sat. 11:00am-12:00am

2. Harmony Park Safari – Huntsville, AL. Harmony Park is a federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic & endangered animals.  Remain in your car on a two-mile route to see zebras, zebus, antelope, buffalo, a camel, ostriches, pythons & crocodiles. The Safari is open daily 10:00am-Sunset. Admission: $9.00 per person Call (877)-726-4625 for more information. Safari is located at 431 Clouds Cove Road SE, Huntsville, AL 35803.

3. The Children’s Museum of the Shoals – Florence, AL. The museum features a variety of educational exhibits which build on the unique heritage and culture of the Tennessee Valley. The museum includes hands-on activities like a giant keyboard, digging for dinosaur bones, and maneuvering a steamboat down the river. Summer hours are Tuesday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person ages 3 years and older. Children 2 and younger are admitted free.  Starting August 10 the museum will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

4. Alabama Veterans Museum – Athens, AL. The museum’s collection contains impressive displays of artifacts from the Revolutionary War until present day. Visitors can walk among the actual uniforms, medals, photos, and weapons. Hours Include: Mon.-Sat. 9:00am-3:00pm Admission: Free

5. Lookout Mountain – Chattanooga, TN. Though just over the border in Tennessee, you will be able to see the Tennessee Valley from a unique perspective. There are three top rated, world-famous natural attractions that showcase the natural beauty of Lookout Mountain and views of the Chattanooga Valley. Incline Railway, Rock City, and Ruby Falls combo tickets are available.

6. Tennessee Valley Museum of Art – Tuscumbia, AL. Exhibits include shell and stone carvings, pottery, projectile points, among others interpret the mastery of the earliest people of our area.  Hours Include:  Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm-3:00pm Admission: $5.00 for adults, $3 for students

7. Helen Keller Birthplace “Ivy Green” – Tuscumbia, AL.  Since 1954 Helen Keller’s birthplace has been a permanent shrine to the “miracle” that occurred in a blind and deaf 7-year old girl’s life. The small cottage is full of history about Helen Keller’s life. It is located adjacent from the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art. Hours Include: Mon.-Sat. 8:30am-4:00pm  Admission: $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children

8. The Guntersville Museum – Guntersville, AL.  The Museum offers visitors a chance to explore everything from Native American artifacts to interesting local personalities. Hours Include: Tues.-Fri. 10:00am-4:00pm, Sat.-Sun. 1:00pm-4:00pm Admission: Free

9. Hays Nature Preserve – Huntsville, AL. – The Hays Nature Preserve features over 10 miles of trails that wind through bottomlands, swamps, and sloughs, that are suitable for hiking or mountain biking. Horses are also welcome on the northern trails. Come explore the  hardwood forest, walk the fields, and discover the wetlands. Wildlife abounds with deer, rabbits, raccoons, and resident and migratory birds. The park is open Saturday and Sunday and all holidays from dawn till dusk.

10. Belle Chevre Tours – Elkmont, AL. Belle Chevre is a creamery in the heart of Elkmont that makes make goat cheese. In the tours visitors will learn the ins and outs of how America’s best goat cheese is made. There is also a tasting seminar at the tasting bar. Hours Include: Tuesday-Friday 9:00am-2:00pm, Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm Admission: $12 per person.

11. Cathedral Caverns State Park – Woodville, AL.  Cathedral Caverns is a beautiful display of formations Mother Nature has created over time. The cave maintains a comfortable 60-degree temperature year round which will be a nice way to get out of this summer heat.  In addition to cave tours, Cathedral Caverns State Park also features gemstone mining. Hours Include: Monday-Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm Admission: $15 for adults, $6 for children

12. Sci-Quest – Huntsville, AL. The interactive hands-on science learning center is fun for kids and kids at heart. Sci-Quest’s new location, 1435 Paramount Drive in Huntsville, even features new exhibits. So, if you’ve been before but haven’t seen the new location, you’re in for a treat. Click here for more information about hours and ticket prices.

13. Alabama Music Hall of Fame – Tuscumbia, AL. This museum allows its visitors to get a closer look at Alabama music greats like Nat King Cole, Hank Williams, Lionel Richie and many others at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  Hours Include: Tuesday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm Admission: $10.00 for adults, $7.00 for children.

14. 1818 Farms and Moorseville Guided Tours – Mooresville, AL. Mooresville is a small village that originated in 1805. It is a one of a kind experience everyone in the Tennessee Valley should visit. 1818 Farms is located in Moorseville. The farm has animals including Babydoll Southdown sheep, a Nubian goat, cats, hens, a pot-bellied pig, mini pigs, and two Great Pyrenees guardian dogs. Tour times vary so make sure to call ahead of time – (256_ 714-3220. Admission: $5 per person.  Located at 24889 Lauderdale Street, Mooresville AL 35649.

15. Florence Indian Mound – Florence, AL. The mound rises from history to 43 feet high, the largest trove of ancient tools, pottery, jewelry, and pipes in Alabama. Hours Include: Tuesday- Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm For more information call (256) 760-6427.

16. Earlyworks – Huntsville, AL. EarlyWorks was designed for children to touch, climb, pull, and explore the south’s largest hands-on history museum. The museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

17. Cook Museum of Natural Science – Decatur, AL. – At the Cook Museum of Natural Science, you will experience nature close-up through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities. From an immersive cave experience to a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, your entire family will be engaged. Get ready to be amazed, excited, and inspired! The museum is located at 133 Fourth Avenue NE, Decatur, AL 35601. For more information call (256) 351-4505. Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Courtesy: Cook Museum of Natural Science

18. Blue and Gray Museum- Decatur, AL. The museum contains one of the country’s largest private collections of Civil War-era relics. Hours Include Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm Admission $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children.

19. Burritt Museum – Huntsville, AL. – The exhibit “From Cotton to the Cosmos” opens April 1, 2015 in the Burritt Mansion, and will be on display through September 7, 2015, and is included in general admission.

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