There’s a lot to love about our area, one being its close and convenient proximity to so many other neat places. Here are a few we love. Take a day trip with your teen to check them out, and take advantage of the drive time. Turn off the radio and talk. Remember: It’s the journey, not the destination, that counts. Enjoy the ride!
The outdoor oasis of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, offers acres of floral beauty in bloom, woodland glens, a vegetable garden, ponds and more, all of which can be explored via a network of paved trails perfect for walking or biking. The Gardens’ Day Butterfly Center is the place for a personal encounter with over 1,000 colorful butterflies representing 50 tropical species, while the new TreeTop Adventure Ziplining course provides a natural high. www.callawaygardens.com
Marvel at the massive exhibits and displays of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The mammoth Saturn V rocket, which launched Apollo 11 and the subsequent Apollo missions, is suspended from the ceiling and interactive exhibits explain things like gimbal, G-forces and other laws of physics. You can explore a replica of the space station, have an astronaut experience in the Apollo Capsule in a simulator and even take a journey to Mars. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is also the home of Space Camp. If you’ve got a teen interested in science and aeronautics, grab some info on this world-renowned program while you’re there. www.rocketcenter.com
Grab your bikes and head up to Anniston to ride the Chief Ladiga Trail that traverses some of North Alabama’s most scenic splendor. A program called Rails to Trails has transformed abandoned rail lines into the 33-mile long paved trail that’s perfect for all cycling levels. www.chiefladigatrail.com