Indoors, outdoors, little kids, big kids, history buffs … find a variety of options to keep engaged at the EarlyWorks Family of Museums. The “family” comprises three facilities in downtown Huntsville. Click here for the museum Web site.
EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum at 404 Madison St. SE. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. This was the go-to place when my family first moved to Huntsville – in the middle of winter. We spent so much time here the boys knew exactly what they wanted to do each visit: haul up flags and feel the pelts aboard the keelboat, “blow up” the mine, play in the water in Biscuit’s Backyard, try on the 1800s clothing, climb aboard the wagon. A room can be booked for children’s parties.
Located across the street from EarlyWorks at 109 Gates Ave. SE, the indoor/outdoor facility is gearing up for Alabama’s Bicentennial in 2019 and will close for restoration after the holidays. It is here where delegates met to draw up the constitution for the new state of Alabama, the 22nd addition to the United States of America. On the site is the cabinet shop, a print shop, a law office, a land surveyor’s office, a post office and a sheriff’s residence. Around the site, villagers demonstrate the tasks needed to survive in the 1800s. In November/December the site comes to resemble the North Pole, with Santa, reindeer, elves and cookies.
Huntsville Depot & Museum
Huntsville Depot & Museum, at 320 Church St. NW, is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, though the grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Climb aboard parked trains cars, ride a train, visit the roundhouse in this depot built before the Civil War. The original depot building was an active station until 1968 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The third floor contains graffiti from visitors, including Union soldiers detained here during the Civil War. The facility is a unique place to book a children’s birthday party. Special events are held here, such as high school dances and the May WhistleStop Weekend and BBQ Championship.
Admission to individual museums is $12 adults, $10 seniors (55+) and youth (4-17), $5 toddler (1-3). To visit two museums is $20 adult, $15 seniors and youth, $5 toddler. An annual membership giving admittance to all three museums $60 for 1 adult/1 child; $85 for families or 2 grandparents/5 grandchildren. With the Nationwide Unlimited membership ($135), guests get half off admission to children’s museums around the nation. Those include the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Children’s Museum of the Shoals in Florence, Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Pensacola Children’s Museum in Pensacola, HealthWorks! North Mississippi in Tupelo and Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans. Find the full list of reciprocal museums here. Anyone with a military ID gets $1 off year-round and gets in free during Armed Forces Week in June.
By: Deborah Bennick
Deborah Bennick is a freelance writer and editor in Huntsville whose journalism career spans 25 years in four states. She enjoys cooking, reading, volunteering, outdoor activities, watching her kids play sports and being involved with education.