Alabama truly has a hidden gem and an RVer’s dream tucked away mid way between Nashville and Atlanta. Huntsville, in northern Alabama, is the home the US Space and Rocket Center as well as a thriving tech economy.
Also the home of Space Camp, this tech center dates back to the 1950’s and the early days of space exploration and included rocket pioneer Werner Von Braun and his team. Huntsville has the second largest research park in America and has been a pivitol part of space exploration from the development of the Saturn V rockets that took us to the moon to current development on the next generation shuttles and space payload systems.
As an RV’er we didn’t just love the Space Center, but we spent an inexpensive week at the adjoining RV Park . Walking distance to the Space Center and bordering public spaces used by school children at Space Camp and the community at large, it’s like camping in a vibrant city park.
The Space Center houses “artifacts” (OMG – can something younger than me really be an “artifact?) such as several Saturn rockets, moon landers, and space shuttle displays but the really cool and engaging offering are the docents.
Made up entirely of retired NASA engineers and staff members, you can strike up a conversation and spend a few minutes, or hours, hearing first hand stories of how the moon landing program developed. We were fortunate to meet Lowell Zoller, who it turns out is a big deal. Having spent my whole career in computer science, I was thrilled to listen to his stories of success and failures developing the first computer systems in space – all of which are infantile compared to the computing power used by today’s 5 year olds and most likely in your pocket!
These American heros and giants of the tech industry, who are still living in Hunstville, are not only good humored and fun to spend an afternoon with, but give visitors a first person look into a disappearing past. They are a national resource I encourage everyone to take advantage of.