Are you looking for a way to pass the long winter days, or are you like me and just bored with being inside?
Have no fear there are some easy winter road trips a short drive from the Tennessee Valley that promise to provide you with a wonderland of entertainment.
For those of you that want to keep the warm inside and the cold out:
1. Barber Vintage Motor Sports Museum
The Barber Vintage Motor Sports Museum located in Birmingham, about 90 minutes south of Huntsville, is a world-class auto museum attracting visitors worldwide.
The museum is home to the Guinness World Record-certified World’s Largest Motorcycle Collection with 1,398 motorcycles. It also boasts one of the world’s largest Lotus car collections.
But the museum is not just for auto enthusiasts, as there are art displays at every turn that prove just as fascinating as the vehicles. My favorites are the snap-apart model-car kits – made from life-size cars.
Location: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Birmingham
Admission: $15 adults, $10 children 4-12, free for children 3 & under
2. Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, about 90 minutes northeast of Huntsville, offers one of the best aquarium experiences in the United States. It even has a guest satisfaction award to prove it.
The two buildings of the aquarium make up vastly different exhibits. The River Journey – my favorite – offers a unique river otter exhibit, many animals encountered in the freshwaters of the world, and the building itself traces the route of a freshwater river from its beginning to its end.
The second building is the Ocean Journey, which features penguins, a butterfly filled indoor rain forest, many species from the world’s oceans, and a plethora of interactive exhibits.
Location: 1 Broad Street, Chattanooga
Admission: $26.95 adults, $16.95 children 3 – 12, free for under 3
For those of you that think it is only a little brisk outside:
3. Cloudmont Ski Resort
How about some snow skiing?
Cloudmont Ski Resort is a hidden Alabama gem an hour west of Huntsville atop Lookout Mountain. The resort, open since 1970, uses state-of-the-art machinery to create and maintain snow throughout the winter.
This unique destination features several ski runs from 1,000 to 1,800 feet, catering to both beginners and experts. There are no worries if you just want to pop in to Cloudmont gear-free, as they offer rentals of every kind of ski and/or snowboard equipment that you may need, along with instructors to teach you how to use it.
Location: 721 County Road 614, Mentone
Admission: Adult $34 – $55, student $31 – $50, children under 12 $28 – $42
4. Joe Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
If spending time outdoors is more your cup of tea, there is no better time than winter to visit Joe Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge right here in the Tennessee Valley.
Established in 1938, Wheeler was formed as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and waterfowl. During the winter, Wheeler is filled with 300 species of birds and waterfowl that have flown south for the winter. The migratory population during the winter months, make Wheeler a perfect destination for hiking and photography, if you can stand the cold, that is.
Location: The the refuge is located between Decatur and Huntsville in the Tennessee River Valley