Hot Air Balloons & Spaceships
From a hot air balloon race to rockets in space, North Alabama had it all.
Sometimes it’s just good to leave the ground or at least pretend to anyway. At the Alabama Jubilee at Point Mallard Park in Decatur on Memorial Day weekend you can actually leave the ground in a tethered hot air balloon ride, but if you would rather keep both feet on the ground the sight of several hot air balloons glowing in night sky is quite breathtaking. If space is more your thing, then make sure you visit the world-renown U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. Here you’ll learn all about space flight and how Huntsville played a critical role in our country’s space history. There are several rides where you can experience what being in space feels like as well.
Tour Timeline: Early January
(Please note, depending on when flight arrives at Huntsville International Airport, optional afternoon and evening receptions or destination stops may be added.)
Old State Bank
- Location: 925 Bank Street Decatur, AL 35601
- Phone: 256 341-4818 256 565-3788 Cell
1. Old State Bank
The Old State Bank was one of three banks authorized by the The Alabama General Assembly in 1832. Few structures can boast as varied a past as the Bank. Since its construction, the building has weathered two depressions and a Civil War, and has served as hospital, guardhouse, bank and dance hall. Named to the National Register of Historical Places in 1972, the Classic Revival architecture of the Bank is symbolic of the period in which it was built.
2. Carnegie Visual Arts Center
The Carnegie Visual Arts Center, a not-for-profit organization, is a cultural, educational, and community-service organization providing an environment to promote learning, creation, and appreciation of the visual arts and to preserve one of the area's significant historical buildings.
3. Cook's Natural Science Museum
he Cook Museum of Natural Science is a state-of-the-art natural science museum opening in 2019 in downtown Decatur, AL. It will provide a hands-on, immersive experience where kids can explore, interact with, and learn about nature. Families will leave the Cook Museum feeling fulfilled by their time together and inspired by the things they saw and learned. The museum will feature live animals (including bees, snakes, baby alligators, and turtles, and more), a life-like walk-in cave, saltwater aquariums with jellyfish and other ocean life, exhibits with mounted wildlife showcased in a natural habitat scene, exhibits showcasing rocks and minerals, space and our solar system, forests, arctic, deserts, rivers, streams, insects, and more.
4. Daikin Festival
A free Japanese Festival featuring live music and entertainment, children's activities, hot-air balloon rides and food that takes place each year at the end of May. The festival is hosted by Daikin, a Decatur-based company, and takes place at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Decatur.
5. Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic
The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is the largest balloon race in Alabama. Features 60 balloons from around the country flying over the Memorial Day weekend. Alabama Jubilee also features: food & merchandise vendors, live music, arts & crafts show, classic car show, and tractor show.
6. Cullman County Museum
7. Ave Maria Grotto
8. Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration keep a constant prayer vigil at the Shrine, inviting people from all walks of life and faiths to see what the Lord has accomplished here. The Shrine grounds consist of : Cloistered Monastery, Upper and Lower church, near life sized Nativity scene, Lourdes Grotto, John Paul II Eucharistic Center, and the Castle which houses the Gift Shop of El Nino, conference rooms, and downstairs dining area.
9. Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center
Features the largest 2,000-year-old Woodland Indian Mound in Alabama, early settler cemetery, Black Warriors Path, 8,000 sq. ft. 122-acre park with 20-acre fishing pond, and walking paths.
10. Jesse Owens Museum
A 20-acre park, near Jesse Owens’ birthplace, honors the track great who captured four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The park both educates and entertains with a museum, broad jump pit, life-size bronze statue, 1936 torch replica, Olympic Gold Medal Tree, home replica, playground, ball fields, picnic pavilions, gift shop, and visitor’s center. Alabama Mountain.
11. Huntsville Botanical Garden
Huntsville Botanical Garden is located in the heart of Madison County, right off I-565, adjacent to the US Space & Rocket Center and offers the optimal blend – wildlife, foliage, florals, trails, specialty gardens, pavilions, a butterfly house, walkways, lakes, and more.
12. US Space & Rocket Center
Huntsville is home to the largest space museum in the world: the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Not only is America’s space program on exhibit in Huntsville, it was forged in Huntsville. We’re known as the “Rocket City” because Huntsville, Alabama is where rockets were developed that put men on the moon.
13. Burritt on the Mountain
Perched on a mountaintop, is the former home of Dr. William Henry Burritt. 19th Century farmsteads with daily living history activities and a large nature preserve traversed by trails.
14. Lowe Mill
America's largest independent art facility! With more than 200 artists in 127 incredible studios, Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment is the place to be in Huntsville if you are a lover of art, music, food and fun. With over a hundred artists working in public studio spaces, three art galleries, a theater that hosts every imaginable kind of live performance, a record store, food stands, and dozens of events, shows, classes every month, there is always something fun to do at Lowe Mill.
Covered bridges are scattered all around North Alabama and remind us of the way things used to be.