12 Things To Do With Family In Madison, Alabama

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled along the Tennessee River, Madison is a charming city in Alabama that offers plenty of fun activities for families. With a great blend of outdoor adventures, educational experiences, kid-friendly attractions, and delicious restaurants, Madison has something to delight travelers of all ages.

ActivityDescription
Monte Sano State ParkOffers hiking trails, scenic views, and playgrounds.
Camping Along the Tennessee RiverFamily camping with activities like kayaking and marshmallow roasting.
Dublin Park Splash PadA water playground with various fun water features.
Paddling on the Tennessee RiverKayaking or paddleboarding with scenic river views.
Greenway TrailOver 15 miles of trails for walking or biking through natural settings.
Sci-Quest Hands-On Science CenterInteractive exhibits where children can learn about science through play.
Madison Adventure GolfAn 18-hole mini-golf course with creative obstacles and themes.
Madison Safari ParkA zoo with a range of exotic animals that families can interact with.
Rockin’ Jump MadisonAn indoor trampoline park with various areas for active fun.
Rocket City Trash Pandas Baseball GameFamily-friendly baseball games with engaging entertainment.
Alabama Constitution Hall ParkA historic park with guided tours and educational displays.
EarlyWorks MuseumA children’s museum focused on 1850s Alabama life with interactive exhibits.

Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or an extended vacation, there are many ways to bond with your family while exploring this vibrant riverfront community in the northern part of Alabama.

Hike at Monte Sano State Park

Name and Location: Monte Sano State Park occupies over 2,000 acres atop Monte Sano mountain east of downtown Huntsville, Alabama providing panoramic valley views.

History and Significance: Originally a coal mining site, this mountaintop became a health resort until the 1930s. Civilian Conservation Corps developments created lodges and recreational infrastructure during the Great Depression that have made it a popular regional park destination.

What to Expect: Visitors can hike scenic wooded trails, camp overnight, have picnics, and participate in nature programs while gazing at gorgeous vistas of Huntsville below through the lush tree canopy.

Visitor Information: Park open daily. Nominal day use and overnight camping fees. Some amenities seasonal.

Covering over 2,000 acres in the heart of Madison, Monte Sano State Park features beautiful wooded trails perfect for family hikes.

Spend a morning stretching your legs on the quick 1-mile Waterline Interpretive Trail that follows along a peaceful creek, or venture out on the more challenging 3-mile Three Springs Trail that leads you to limestone sinkholes and scenic overlooks. The park also has plenty of large grassy areas and playgrounds where the kids can run around when they need a break from hiking.

Camp Along the Tennessee River

Name and Location: Various parks and campgrounds provide Tennessee River shoreline camping spots near Huntsville, Alabama such as Ditto Landing, Chickasaw, Joe Wheeler and Lake Guntersville State Parks.

History and Significance: The tranquil wooded banks of North Alabama’s beautiful Tennessee River system have drawn outdoor enthusiasts for over a century to immerse themselves in pristine natural landscapes only minutes from metropolitan amenities.

What to Expect: Riverside campsites, ranging from basic tent grounds to full RV hook-up sites, offer outdoor recreationists access for boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking and wildlife viewing along the waterway.

Visitor Information: Advance reservations recommended for popular dates. Fees, seasonal rules and check-in times vary by management.

Enjoy quality time together camping as a family along the banks of the majestic Tennessee River. Joe Wheeler State Park has waterfront campsites plus complimentary activities like interpretive reptile programs, arts and crafts, and hayrides that will make camping exciting for kids.

You’ll also find spacious campsites on the river’s edge at Madison County Nature Trail and Madison County public access sites. Pitch a tent, cook over the fire, go canoeing or kayaking, and roast marshmallows under the stars for precious bonding moments.

Splash Around at Dublin Park Splash Pad

Name and Location: Dublin Park’s Splash Pad is located at 8600 Henry Drive within Dublin Memorial Park in Northeast Madison, Alabama.

History and Significance: As part of park upgrades funded by the city of Madison in recent years, the splash pad water play area provides free family-oriented water fun within convenient city neighborhoods.

What to Expect: Kids can safely play in cooling water jets, cascades and shower features within the creatively designed aquatic playground while parents relax on benches under shade sails during warm weather months.

Visitor Information: No admission or supervision. Open daily 10am-dusk April-September when weather permits.

When Madison heats up in the summer, head to Dublin Park to enjoy the colorful splash pad. This fun water playground features fountains spraying every which way, buckets that fill and dump, slides, and all kinds of spots for cooling off on a hot day. Admission is free and there is plenty of grass around the splash pad for picnicking and playing outdoor games all together.

Paddle on the River

Name and Location: The calmuck areas of the Tennessee River flowing through the north Alabama region surrounding Huntsville offer increasing paddlesport opportunities.

History and Significance: As improvements expand river access and water trails for human-powered boating, more visitors can experience the landscape’s beauty and historical significance from new vantage points along a waterway once vital for trade.

What to Expect: Via kayak and canoe, paddlers can traverse peaceful sections viewing wildlife and scenery; from cypress-lined sloughs to antiquated mining remnants on guided tours or self-launched day trips catering to all skill levels.

Visitor Information: Check river conditions and plan access points/routes wisely using park services or outfitters renting gear/transport. Follow safe boating protocols.

No visit to Madison is complete without getting out on the gorgeous Tennessee River. Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards from companies like Paddle Alabama and take the family on a paddling excursion downriver, enjoying views of the tree-lined banks along the way.

Pack a snack to enjoy on a sandbar break halfway through your peaceful paddle. If you’re looking for something speedier, hop on a jet ski tour along the river from SouthWind Watersports to enjoy the wind in your hair and beautiful vistas.

Walk or Bike on the Greenway Trail

Name and Location: Huntsville’s expanding Greenway Trail System features over 20 miles of paved pedestrian and cycle pathways throughout the metro area.

History and Significance: As the trail network continues improving connectivity to neighborhoods, parks and attractions it promotes healthy transport alternatives while fostering civic identity and appreciation for the region’s natural assets and history.

What to Expect: Users walking, running or biking the Greenway can enjoy relaxing traffic-free routes lined by interpretive heritage markers meandering through woods, meadows and wetlands – glimpsing native plants and urban wildlife.

Visitor Information: Trails open daily dawn-to-dusk. Free access but some segments unlit so recommend daytime use.

Madison’s scenic Greenway Trail system features over 15 miles of paved pedestrian and bicycle paths that wind through lush parks, along the river, and past other lovely natural settings. Pick up lunch and ride bikes together down the trail, stopping for picnics along the way.

Or challenge the whole family to walk the entire 3.5-mile trail from Hughes Road to Sullivan Street for an epic adventure everyone will feel good about completing.

Explore Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center

Name and Location: Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center is located at 102 Wynn Drive Northwest in Huntsville, Alabama.

History and Significance: Founded in 2004, this non-profit museum advances community science education through over 100 interactive exhibits and demonstrations revealing core principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in an engaging format.

What to Expect: Patrons experience immersive labs like Energy Works centered on power generation, Our Body health, Contraptions engineering constructions, Sensations physics displays, an outdoor science park and daily science shows using engaging experiments.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday with paid admission. Group rates and annual memberships available. Outreach programs offered.

Sci-Quest is a large science museum filled with fascinating interactive exhibits where kids can launch rockets, turn themselves into circuits to power light bulbs, explore concepts of energy and force by building towering structures, and so much more.

Adults will have just as much fun testing concepts and discovering new things alongside their curious kiddos. Step out onto the outdoor science park to investigate principles of solar power, gravity, and space exploration through innovative equipment.

Play Mini Golf at Madison Adventure Golf

Name and Location: Madison Adventure Golf mini golf course is located within Madison Square Mall’s outdoor shopping plaza at 5901 University Drive in Madison, Alabama.

History and Significance: An original entertainment feature when the open-air mall launched in 2022, the glow-in-the-dark 18 hole Adventure Golf course provides families a combination of playful putting challenges and whimsical theming for all skill levels to enjoy together.

What to Expect: Players wind through caves, ponds, slopes, tunnels and dinosaur skeletons as special effects lighting creates a prime backdrop for friendly competition, birthday parties or a casual date night without intense pressure.

Visitor Information: $8 admission fee. Open daily 10am until late evening allowing nighttime fluorescent rounds. Reservations available.

The whole family will love playing a round together on the creative 18-hole mini golf courses at Madison Adventure Golf. Navigate silly obstacle courses, loops, ramps, fountains, and caves as you putt your way through the Jungle Run or cosmic-themed Galaxy course. After playing, cool off with hand-dipped ice cream. There’s also a large arcade filled with the latest games and ticket prizes for more all-ages entertainment.

See Amazing Animals at the Madison Safari Park

Name and Location: Madison Safari Park located at 21717 U.S. Hwy 72 E provides drive-through animal encounters on over 80 acres between Gurley and Madison.

History and Significance: Founded by the McCrary family in 1998 to conserve exotic wildlife, this educational institution promotes understanding of these beautiful and threatened creatures while breeding select endangered species.

What to Expect: From the safety of vehicles, guests slowly journey over two miles viewing roaming herds of African antelope species along with friendly giraffes, zebra, emu, wild cattle amid naturalized habitats modeled on their native environments.

Visitor Information: Hours vary seasonally. Admission fee charged per occupant with annual passes available. Special events held periodically.

Get up close to exotic animals from around the world at the Madison Safari Park. This family-owned zoo houses over 500 animals including lemurs, camels, zebras, monkeys, kangaroos that you can hand-feed, giant tortoises kids can ride on, and cute baby animals.

Be sure to catch one of the informative keeper chats and feeding demonstrations to learn fascinating facts about wildlife. Cool off watching playful otters or by letting tiny goats climb atop your lap in the indoor petting zoo.

Jump on Trampolines at Rockin’ Jump Madison

Name and Location: Rockin’ Jump Madison trampoline and adventure park is located at 6275 University Drive inside Madison Square Mall’s entertainment wing in Madison, Alabama.

History and Significance: Part of the mall’s opening in 2022, this indoor park with wall-to-wall linked trampolines offers exciting active diversions for all ages alongside a ninja warrior course and adventure elements as a local outlet of this emerging national entertainment franchise.

What to Expect: Paying jumpers access over 16,000 connected trampoline squares allowing them to bounce, play dodgeball games or experiment with skilled flips into foam pits under staff supervision ensuring a safe thrill.

Visitor Information: Open daily 10am-9pm. Admission rates based on visit duration. Parental waivers required for under 18 years old.

For high-flying family fun, soar into Rockin’ Jump Madison, an enormous indoor trampoline park featuring interconnected trampolines forming floors, walls to climb, slam dunk basketball hoops, foam pits to jump into, and an epic dodgeball court.

Bounce freely in the open jump arena, dive into a foam cube pit, play trampoline dodgeball or basketball together, and see who can complete the ninja obstacle courses or Warped Wall. Parents can even join kids for thrilling trampoline fun.

Cheer on the Rocket City Trash Pandas

Name and Location: The Rocket City Trash Pandas minor league baseball team plays home games at Toyota Field located at 500 Trash Panda Way in Madison, Alabama just off I-565.

History and Significance: North Alabama’s new professional baseball franchise joined the Double-A Southern League in 2020 with an exciting, family-friendly ballpark experience bolstering civic pride through America’s favorite pastime.

What to Expect: Fans can catch high-level competition featuring major league prospects progressing through the player development pipeline while enjoying plentiful concessions, giveaways and entertainment between innings.

Visitor Information: April-September season. Ticket costs vary. Group and season packages available.

No family visit to Madison is complete without catching an action-packed Rocket City Trash Pandas minor league baseball game at Toyota Field. Opened in 2020 right along the river, this stunning new ballpark hosts nearly 100 home games each season.

Arrive early to meet the furry mascot Sprocket and enjoy engaging entertainment, from dizzy bat races to kids running the bases after the game. The best part is that tickets start around just $10 per person, making America’s favorite pastime affordable family entertainment.

Tour Alabama Constitution Hall Park

Name and Location: Alabama Constitution Hall Park occupies a city block bounded by Gates, Holmes, Randolph and Clinton in downtown Huntsville, Alabama.

History and Significance: The park preserves the oldest standing structure in Huntsville, used in 1819 to draft Alabama’s first state constitution. This small frontier law office remains as a monument recognizing the birth of Alabama statehood.

What to Expect: Alongside the restored hall exhibit, visitors can stroll landscaped grounds containing a fountain and statues honoring the state’s early political figures who worked on site to frame the 1819 document.

Visitor Information: Outdoor park open daily dawn to dusk. Hall interior has special tour hours. Admission free.

Step back in time at the historic park dedicated to the birth of Alabama’s statehood. The centerpiece is Constitution Hall, an 1819 clapboard building that housed Alabama’s constitutional convention and very first state legislature.

Take a guided tour of Constitution Hall led by park staff dressed in period clothing, then walk the surrounding park grounds to explore other historical buildings populated with mannequins depicting life in early Alabama. There are also Civil War reenactments, arts and crafts fairs, and other family events held here regularly.

Visit EarlyWorks Museum

Name and Location: EarlyWorks Museum is located in downtown Huntsville, Alabama at 320 Church Street adjacent to the Von Braun Civic Center.

History and Significance: This children’s museum founded in 1990 features interactive exhibits and play spaces with hands-on learning focused on 19th century industry, culture, science and technology key to regional history. Permanent and traveling displays engage families.

What to Expect: Kids can pretend to blacksmith, print a newspaper, use a pulley system and more in themed areas like Keelboat Canal Town, Storyteller Garden, Invention Lab and Art Studio encouraging curiosity through role playing historical settings.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday for self-guided visits and programs. Admission fee charged. Field trip options.

EarlyWorks is an expansive children’s museum centered around 1850s Alabama life. Kids can pretend to grind corn, deliver mail by horseback, plow fields behind vintage tractors, and participate in all kinds of fun historical reenactments. There’s an entire antebellum town square to explore, plus rotating exhibits covering early inventions, toys, music, and more. Adults will enjoy the trip back in time too while supervising the little ones trying their hand as blacksmiths, doctors, and merchants of yore.

Places to Eat

Name and Location: The greater Huntsville area offers numerous dining options from casual local spots to upscale eateries found downtown and scattered throughout Madison and surrounding neighborhoods.

History and Significance: Known for traditional Southern comfort cuisine, the regional food scene also reflects Huntsville’s cultural blend with authentic international flare coupled with contemporary American and fusion trends thanks to a diverse professional population and ever-growing foodie movement.

What to Expect: Visitors can sample recognized gems for ribs, chicken, catfish, barbecue and regional fare like shrimp and grits but also discover Mexican, Asian, Italian, Indian, Korean, Caribbean spots alongside more cosmopolitan bistros and cafes tucked away strip malls.

Visitor Information: Huntsville visitors bureau website lists restaurants while travel sites offer reviews. Areas vary from casual to upscale – reservations advised for finer destinations.

No matter what you get up to during your Madison getaway, be sure to fuel up at some of the city’s best family-friendly restaurants. For southern comfort food and seafood beside the river, head to Creekside Grill or River and Rail Cantina. Enjoy a casual meal on the covered patio at Moe’s Original BBQ while the kids play cornhole out on the grass.

For a special dinner out with tableside guacamole and fajitas sizzling from the kitchen, Los Trojas Cantina hits the spot. And you can’t leave town without indulging in homemade ice cream, giant sundaes, or old-fashioned sodas at the counter of cidery Sweet Liberty.

Conclusion

With such an array of outdoor adventures in beautiful natural settings, hands-on museums and attractions for curious minds, historic and educational experiences, and delicious dining options, Madison truly does have something fun for every member of the family.

Hiking wooded trails, paddling the Tennessee River, bonding over backyard camping, or getting active at parks and trampoline gyms are just a few of the ways to make priceless memories together while vacationing in this scenic northern Alabama community.

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