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Big Spring Park, Huntsville

4.5
#5 of 6 in Parks in Huntsville
Big Spring International Park is located in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. The park is built around its namesake "Big Spring", the original water source that the city of Huntsville was built around. The park is also notable as the venue for the Panoply Arts Festival, held the last full weekend in April, Big Spring Jam, an annual music festival held on the fourth weekend in September from 1993 to 2011, and The Battle of the Buffalo, a buffalo wings competition held by the UAH Alpha Tau Omega fraternity to support cancer research.The Big SpringThe Big Spring is a large, underground karst spring. Hearing of the abundant water source and plentiful big game, John Hunt, Huntsville's founder, sought out the spring and settled near it in 1805 on the bluff above, which later became the site of the First National Bank of Huntsville. Isaac and Joseph Criner had previously reached the Big Spring and considered settlement, but due to the presence of bears and mosquitoes left to settle New Market instead. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the spring was Huntsville's water source, due to its massive flow. The Big Spring is the largest limestone spring in North Alabama, with its usual flow between 7 and 20e6USgal per day, depending on the time of the year.From 1827 to the early 1840s, what would later become the park grounds served as the site of the Fearn Canal, built from 1821 to 1824. The canal was built by the Indian Creek Navigation Company, led by local resident Dr. Thomas Fearn. It linked downtown Huntsville and the spring to the Tennessee River, allowing traders to bypass a costly wagon haul of about 11 miles South to the nearest river port, Ditto's Landing in the town of Whitesburg. The canal eventually became obsolete upon the construction of railroads.
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Big Spring Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
162 reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • October 2, 2017
    Big Spring Park was the home place of John Hunt. He built a cabin near the spring that now feeds the lake. Bring bread pieces to feed ducks , geese, and fish. Bring lawn chairs and maybe a quilt for a...  more »
  • October 2, 2017
    The nicest, best run city park I have ever been to. Hats off to the city of Huntsville for a class act! Really great events held here and extreemly well run and maintained.  more »
  • October 1, 2017
    I stayed adjacent to the park and managed to get a walk in here most days. the park features a canal and a large lake. There are multiple fountains, a considerable amount of paths for walking, and a h...  more »
Google
  • July 2, 2017
    A great place for peaceful walking around the park with your significant other. Just be careful of the poop droppings from the springs ducks. On a hot summer day, finding Solace underneath a Shady Tree is a slice of Heaven. Plenty of seating for everyone and the park offers a well-lit area during the evening hours. It was pleasant to see people from all different backgrounds enjoying the beautiful scenery that downtown Huntsville offers. During the early morning hours it is a nice place to study.
  • March 17, 2017
    Great park on a nice day. Bring the kids, or a picnic, or both! There is a ton of fish and ducks there to feed. Although they sell the special food (bring quarters), you can also bring your own. They don't encourage you to bring your own, as it allegedly kills the wildlife. Me thinks what is bad for the wildlife isn't the bread, but the big barrels of cheesy poofs people bring from Costco. Be sure to hit the bridge and look for the little water varmint that comes out from time to time. I hear its a nutria... not sure myself, but it looks like a big rat that swims and plays. It's like an otter, only its in Huntsville. A redneck otter if you will! Cons? Well, bathrooms are scarce. If the museum close by is open you can try there. I don't think there is anything like a play structure for kids either. It's just an interesting park with a big lake/pond and benches to relax and take it in.
  • June 12, 2017
    I love the new park design. They've cleaned up the water so that the fish and ducks have a better environment to live in. I am glad Huntsville was able to clean this park up and make it nice again.
  • February 13, 2017
    Great park on a nice day. Bring the kids, or a picnic, or both! There is a ton of fish and ducks there to feed. Although they sell the special food (bring quarters), you can also bring your own. They don't encourage you to bring your own, as it allegedly kills the wildlife. Me thinks what is bad for the wildlife isn't the bread, but the big barrels of cheesy poofs people bring from Costco. Be sure to hit the bridge and look for the little water varmint that comes out from time to time. I hear its a nutria... not sure myself, but it looks like a big rat that swims and plays. It's like an otter, only its in Huntsville. A redneck otter if you will! Cons? Well, bathrooms are scarce. If the museum close by is open you can try there. I don't think there is anything like a play structure for kids either. It's just an interesting park with a big lake/pond and benches to relax and take it in.
  • May 25, 2017
    Giant awesome park being renovated in sections. The new sections look amazing. Ducks and koi everywhere.

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Where to stay in Huntsville

A few independently owned bed and breakfasts and hotels can be found in the town's historical districts, but most rooms are in large, modern, chain hotels that offer both standard and extended-stay rooms. These chain hotels often have rooms for walk-in guests. The bed and breakfasts in the city center require advance reservations.
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