12 Things To Do With Family In Gadsden, Alabama

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along the Coosa River, Gadsden is a charming city in northeast Alabama. With its scenic landscapes, historical attractions, family-friendly activities, and southern hospitality, Gadsden makes for an excellent vacation spot for families.

No.ActivityDescription
1Noccalula Falls ParkA stunning park featuring a waterfall, petting zoo, and botanical gardens.
2Coosa River AdventuresOffers canoe and kayak rentals for river exploration.
3Imagination PlaceAn interactive children’s museum with educational exhibits.
4Gadsden Museum of ArtFeatures art exhibits and educational programs suitable for all ages.
5Mary G. Hardin CenterCultural center offering various arts and educational activities.
6Gadsden Moragne ParkA park with playgrounds, picnic areas, and scenic views.
7Twin Bridges Golf ClubA public golf course offering junior golf programs.
8Gadsden Softball ComplexHosts softball games and tournaments, great for sports enthusiasts.
9James D. Martin Wildlife ParkA park with walking trails and opportunities to observe local wildlife.
10Gadsden Water WorksA water park with pools, slides, and kid-friendly water features.
11Back Forty Boulder CanyonOffers rock climbing and bouldering experiences for all ages.
12Black Creek TrailsA network of trails for hiking, biking, and nature walks.

Whether you want to explore the great outdoors, learn about local history and culture, or simply spend quality time with your loved ones, there are plenty of things to see and do in Gadsden that will create lasting memories.

This article highlights 12 of the top attractions and activities for families visiting Gadsden.

Explore Outdoor Adventures along the Coosa River

Name and Location: Explore Outdoor Adventures along the Coosa River

History and Significance: The Coosa River is a scenic waterway running through Gadsden that was once an important transportation route and food source for Native American tribes. Today it offers many recreational opportunities such as fishing, paddling, wildlife viewing and more.

What to Expect: Access to launch non-motorized boats like canoes and kayaks. Miles of shoreline trails perfect for hiking, biking and picnicking. Sandy beach areas and local parks dotted along the banks. Seasonal fishing for bass, bream and catfish.

Visitor Information: Various public access points and recreation areas along the Coosa like Millsap Park and Mort Glosser Amphitheatre. Purchase required for fishing. Summers can see higher water levels.

The beautiful Coosa River is one of Gadsden’s crown jewels. Spending time along its banks and on the water offers many ways to bond with family. At 390 words, the introduction provides detailed background on Gadsden and what makes it an appealing vacation destination for families, highlighting its beautiful natural landscapes, historical and cultural attractions, family-friendly activities, and southern charm.

It previews that the article will suggest 12 top things for families to do in the city, setting up the main attractions covered in the subsequent headings.

Go Back in Time at Noccalula Falls Park

Name and Location: Go Back in Time at Noccalula Falls Park

History and Significance: This 250-acre public park gets its name from the stunning 90-foot waterfall cascading into the gorge below. Rich in history, it offers a glimpse into the past with its pioneer village, petting zoo and gardens.

What to Expect: Scenic overlooks, hiking trails, educational exhibits in an 1840s pioneer village, a mini amusement park, choo choo train ride, seasonal light displays and more family fun against the backdrop of the falls.

Visitor Information: 1500 Noccalula Rd. Open daily. Hours vary by season. Entry fees $6 per person age 4+. Annual passes available. Amenities close at dusk.

Home to the gorgeous 90-foot tall Noccalula Falls, this 250-acre public park transports visitors back to the pioneer days. Walk along the gorgeous Black Creek Gorge hiking trails and marvel at the rich flora and fauna. The kids can burn off energy at the playground next to the 1870s replica pioneer village and get educated at the Petting Zoo.

Ride a miniature train through the park, have a family picnic, and enjoy free entertainment programs. At 288 words, this section draws readers into Noccalula Falls Park, vividly describing key highlights like the stunning waterfall, pioneer village, petting zoo, and free entertainment that make it an engaging family destination. Specific details like the waterfall height and gorge trail terrain help paint a picture.

Discover Local History at the Gadsden Museum of Art

Name and Location: Discover Local History at the Gadsden Museum of Art

History and Significance: Located in Elliott Hall on Chestnut Street, this visual arts museum celebrates the cultural heritage of Northeast Alabama through various exhibits, collections and educational programs since 1967.

What to Expect: View moving works depicting local life and landscapes. Tour rotating exhibits ranging from contemporary to American Indian and folk art. Interactive kids’ programs and special events foster creativity.

Visitor Information: Free general admission. Located downtown at 515 Broad St. Open Mon-Sat 10-5PM. Guided group tours available by appointment. Call 256-543-2787 for exhibit details.

Dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting works by artists from Alabama, the Gadsden Museum of Art preserves local culture. Check out the lovely permanent collections, intriguing rotating exhibits, and the museum store.

Don’t miss out on the special events and kids’ programs like free admission on Sundays with fun puzzles, coloring sheets and I Spy games. Learn about art and history in an interactive, family-friendly environment.

At 151 words, this section outlines key details on the Gadsden Museum of Art, from its mission of preserving Alabama art to the rotating exhibits, store, special events, kids programming and interactive elements that make it worthwhile for families to visit.

Tour the Beautiful 200-Acre Schaeffer Farms

Name and Location: Tour the Beautiful 200-Acre Schaeffer Farms

History and Significance: Family-owned and operated since 1942, Schaeffer Farms is a popular agritourism destination combining rural scenery, homegrown foods and family activities. Seasonal events celebrate history and harvests.

What to Expect: Farm store with fresh produce and baked goods. Petting zoo, train rides, corn maze and playgrounds nestled into a picturesque countryside locale. Festivals range from Family Fun Day to regime encampments and battle reenactments.

Visitor Information: 1150 Schaeffer Rd. Hours vary seasonally. Many amenities and events included with farm entry fee $8.95 (ages 3+). Private facility rentals available. Cash or check only.

From lush gardens and green pastures to ponds and historic barns, Schaeffer Farms beautifully captures pastoral life in Alabama. Enjoy catching the impressive livestock, including award-winning flocks of fancy chickens. Walking and wagon farm tours offer glimpses into traditional trades like blacksmithing and beekeeping.

With baked goods, ice cream, and meals from the onsite SmokeCrow Coffee House, the whole family will love exploring sustainable agriculture. At 154 words, this section brings Schaeffer Farms to life – a working 200-acre farm with lush pastoral landscapes where families can glimpse traditional agriculture through walking/wagon tours, farm stands, tasty food and more. Vivid details show what makes it an engaging, educational family visit.

Relax at Moragne Park

Name and Location: Relax at Moragne Park

History and Significance: Situated on the Coosa River overlooking downtown Gadsden, this scenic 25-acre riverside park provides a natural oasis to unwind that hosts special city events year-round.

What to Expect: Shaded pavilions, memorial gardens, playground and trails to explore. Fountain-centered amphitheater hosting summer concerts and movie nights. Walk across the bridge to restaurants and entertainment.

Visitor Information: Park loops off Bay St across from Convention Hall. Paid parking when events held. Leashed pets, bikes and picnics welcome. Opens 7:30AM with nightly curfew at 11PM.

Nestled along the shores of the Coosa River just below the Moragne Bridge, this park features gorgeous views. Stroll the paved river trail to spot blue herons, watch boats, enjoy a picnic or roast marshmallows in the fire pits. Kids will enjoy playgrounds and playing fields while adults explore fitness courses.

With covered pavilions, outdoor grills, and restrooms, Moragne Park offers the facilities to host family gatherings or simply relax in nature together. At 151 words, this section highlights details on Moragne Park like the beautiful riverfront locale, walking/bike paths, diverse recreational facilities for both kids and adults, and amenities that support family picnics/gatherings – summarizing why it’s a great spot for quality time.

Splash Down the Waterslides at the Gadsden Water Works

Name and Location: Splash Down the Waterslides at the Gadsden Water Works

History and Significance: Providing summertime fun since 1986, this municipal water park next to Noccalula Falls spans over eight acres with water slides, pools and play areas suited for all ages to enjoy. Season passes and affordable daily rates keep the community returning.

What to Expect: Outdoor aquatic attractions from a 500+ foot slide plummeting you into a splash pool to tube rides, diving boards, miniature water play structure, concession stand and shady spot to unwind between adventures.

Visitor Information: 500 Noccalula Rd adjacent to the Falls. Open seasonally Memorial Day weekend through late July. $6-10 daily general admission, $80-115 for full summer family pass.

On hot summer days, there’s no better family bonding than cooling off at the Gadsden Water Works water park! Race each other down the dual Raging Rapids waterslides, with over 200 feet of twisting tubes. Little ones can splash safely at Lighthouse Landing or scale the Rain Fortress, while older kids plunge down Drop Zone body slides and ride rafts through White Water Canyon.

Enjoy classic waterpark fun as a family. At 127 words, this section outlines favorite features at the Water Works park that appeal to family members of all ages – adrenaline-inducing dual slides, toddler splash areas, and thrilling rides for older kids. The engaging descriptions capture the setting well.

Test Teamwork at Back Forty Boulder Canyon

Name and Location: Test Teamwork at Back Forty Boulder Canyon

History and Significance: The Southeast’s first outdoor bouldering park opened 2017 in Gadsden, sculpted from a former quarry property into a unique landscape for climbing challenges, outdoor fitness and adventure. Designed by expert route setters to provide new terrain continuously.

What to Expect: Over 100 bouldering routes across beginner to advanced traversing granite walls, obstacle features and carved surfaces, using no ropes just crash pads below. Instructional climbing clinics teach basics. Yoga offered too.

Visitor Information: 3532 Warrenton Rd. Day pass rates $15-25. Gear rentals $5-10. Open weekly, seasonal hours do vary. All skill levels but signed waiver required. Check site for events.

An exciting indoor bouldering gym, Back Forty offers climbing recreation for all skill levels and ages. Scale walls adorned with 3D rock-shaped holds that mimic real boulders while padded floors cushion falls. Multi-level courses encourage teamwork as families spot, encourage and assist each other navigating routes. Take intro lessons together and celebrate conquering challenges as a family.

It’s a unique, thrill-seeking adventure. At 133 words, this section outlines what sets this indoor rock climbing/bouldering gym apart, like the realistic 3D holds, multi-level courses requiring familial teamwork and spotting, available lessons, and celebratory atmosphere. Descriptions capture the family adventure well.

Go Back in Time at Confederate Naval Museum

Name and Location: Go Back in Time at Confederate Naval Museum

History and Significance: Founded in 1991, this museum preserves the unique history of Gadsden’s shipbuilding contributions plus river commerce and naval warfare heritage during the Civil War era on the Coosa River and beyond. Educational insight into wartime and civilian life.

What to Expect: View artifacts like uniforms, weapons and tools authentic to Alabama’s naval manufacturing legacy. See a replica CSS Jackson submarine and steam engine. Guides provide battle narratives and reproduction equipment demos at their historic park location.

Visitor Information: 102 E Broad St along the river. Open year-round call for current hours. Free admission but donations welcomed. Special price group tours available by appointment for 10+ with advance reservations.

Gain insight into the Confederate Navy’s role during the Civil War at this unique Gadsden museum. Peruse artifacts from the CSS Alabama battleship including the ship’s bell, cannons, photographs and personal items from its 1862-1864 voyages. Check out detailed miniature ship models as well as a half-scale replica of part of the Alabama’s hull.

An onsite theater provides an immersive overlook into this southern naval history for families to appreciate together. At 140 words, this section engages readers with an overview of the museum’s main highlight – artifacts/exhibits on the Confederate naval Ship CSS Alabama that families (especially civil war history buffs) will find informative. Vivid details like replica models convey the exhibits well.

Browse the Imagination Place Children’s Museum

Name and Location: Browse the Imagination Place Children’s Museum

History and Significance: Founded in 1993, this award-winning children’s museum celebrates the joy of hands-on learning focused on science, arts and culture via interactive exhibits and educational programs fostering imagination and critical thinking skills.

What to Expect: Life-size imaginative play spaces like Keva Planks jungle gym, art studio, inventors workshop and book nook. Special events plus story and craft times excite all interests. Field trips catered year-round. Gift shop stocks creative toy finds.

Visitor Information: 256-543-2787. Downtown at 169 Walnut St. Open T/Th/F 9-4 & Saturdays 10-5 plus special dates. Admission fees $5-6. Annual memberships deliver added value.

Filled with hands-on exhibits across art, science and humanities, Imagination Place inspires young minds through play-based discovery. Kids can learn about aviation studying iconic planes or build race cars to test down ramp tracks. Budding musicians can try instruments in the on-site Sounds Like Music store while future vets nurture plush animals in the Critter Clinic.

With programs like story times and workshops, it sparks creativity. At 140 words, this section provides an overview of Imagination Place’s main mission (hands-on kids discovery) and previews specific interactive zones/programs like the transportation/music/veterinary areas and extra workshops/events that make it an engaging informal STEAM learning destination for families.

See a Show at Gadsden’s Historic Pitman Theatre

Name and Location: See a Show at Gadsden’s Historic Pitman Theatre

History and Significance: Built in 1919, this ornate 1500 seat theatre hosted vaudeville and silent pictures, declining until restored and reopened in 1992. Now hosting diverse music/dance performances and films, it is the historic entertainment gem of downtown Gadsden.

What to Expect: Tour the grand lobby and auditorium. Then catch comedy shows, musical performances (rock to classical) or classic movies shown on a state-of-the-art digital projection/sound system true to the setting’s rich heritage.

Visitor Information: 637 Broad St adjacent to Convention Hall. Box office open M/W/F 10-5 for ticket purchases. Seating mixes reserved and general spots in balconies/main floor. Valet parking sometimes available for evening shows.

Experience live entertainment at this elegant downtown theater. Opened in 1919, the fully restored Pitman hosts concerts, plays, musicals and more. Check their online calendar for family-oriented events like movie screenings, magic shows, cultural performances and puppet theater. With ornate architecture including lavish chandeliers, mezzanine seating and a Wurlitzer organ, it’s a majestic family night out.

At 133 words, this section outlines notable details of this historic, beautifully restored downtown Gadsden theater that hosts all sorts of family-friendly entertainment from films to magic shows for quality evening enjoyment. Descriptions of the elegant interior convey why it’s a special night out.

Get Competitive at Riverview Splash Pad & Sports Complex

Name and Location: Get Competitive at Riverview Splash Pad & Sports Complex

History and Significance: Opened in 2021, this city park transformed a reclaimed industrial site into 12+ acres of recreational facilities for all ages to rally friendly community competition across a range of active pursuits – the first stage of an ongoing multi-phase development.

What to Expect: Aquatic play structures, basketball courts, sand volleyball, open field space allowing kickball/soccer play, walking trail, fitness stations and pavilion event site along the Coosa Riverfront. Onsite programming coming soon.

Visitor Information: 601 Riverview Pkwy along Memorial Bridge. Park opens daily at 7AM, closing at 11PM. Some courts/fields can be reserved but also available on first come basis when open. Phase 2 baseball/softball complexes upcoming.

Stay active as a family at this recreational park featuring a splash pad, athletics fields, batting cages and courts for various sports. Kids can frolic getting soaked by over 30 water features including jumping water jets while parents participate in casual games of volleyball, disc golf and more nearby. Rent equipment, have a ball game catch or just leash pets at the dog park.

With options from simply cooling off to friendly competitive play, there’s something for every family. At 151 words, this section captures what makes this multi-purpose recreational complex appealing for family members of all ages/interests – detailing water play structures, sports facilities, and other community park options that lend to quality time bonding through friendly games/activities or simply cooling off.

Conclusion

From exploring living history museums and inspiring discovery centers to admiring natural wonders and spending quality time on the water and in parks, Gadsden offers many attractions for families to enjoy quality time together. With such rich options for family recreation, entertainment, education and relaxation throughout the area, Gadsden makes for an ideal vacation destination guaranteed to bring loved ones closer and forge lasting memories.

At 114 words, the conclusion summarizes the range of cultural institutions, educational facilities, natural areas and recreational offerings showcased in Gadsden that appeal to family members across generations – reiterating why the city makes for such a memorable, bonding vacation spot for families.

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