With the recent announcement that Huntsville may be the landing spot for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft, we thought we’d get ahead of the curve by publishing a guide to visitors arriving to our city from orbit.
In the words of Gloria Gaynor, "And so you’re back from outer space." You’ve parked your spaceplane at Huntsville International Airport, and like everyone flying through HSV, have grabbed your luggage and found a rental car with remarkable simplicity. So now what? Here are your first four stops after landing in the Rocket City.
1. Big Spring Park
Oh, sure, life in orbit has life down here beat in the floating-around category and the watching-16-sunrises-a-day category, but one thing we have down here that the space station doesn’t is lots and lots of nature. The International Space Station may have flowers now, but it doesn’t have trees. Or a pond. And, let’s face it, it’ll probably be many many years before there are cute baby ducks in orbit. Catch up on what you’ve been missing by heading to Big Spring Park, grabbing a handful of dirt and grass, and taking a huge whiff. If anybody gives you weird looks, tell ‘em you just got back from space. Other places, that’ll get you even weirder looks, but here it’ll just merit knowing nods.
2. Farm Burger
Sure, real space food is a whole lot better than the multi-color chalk they package as astronaut ice cream. But even with a customized menu of foods from around the world, we understand that eventually thermo-stabilized and re-hydrated cuisine can lose its charm. So that first meal back on Earth has to be special. You wouldn’t be the first space traveler to want a burger at the end of the mission, and Farm Burger is the exact opposite of space food – fresh, locally sourced natural ingredients. One bite and you’ll never want to see a transparent pouch of food again.
3) Old Town Beer Exchange (OTBX)
OK, bear with us on this one, because this is an area where science is still catching up with us. You’ve just spent months in a microgravity environment. You have to readjust to a normal gravity environment. What’s the best way to do that? The simple law of averages makes it obvious: High-gravity beers. OTBX offers a selection of the best of Huntsville’s local breweries, and they’ll be glad to help you catch up on the gravity you’ve been missing.
4) The U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Your trip is done, and you’re ready to head back to see friends and family who, of course, are going to be looking forward to some really cool trip souvenirs. And what did you buy them in space? Nothing, right? No worries; we’ve got you taken care of. Head over to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and buy them some Space Camp astronaut flight jackets or other space-themed merchandise. No one will be the wiser.
There you have it. Welcome back to Earth Huntsville-style!
Note: You don't have to be coming to Huntsville from space to try these tips. These are perfectly great options for non-space travelers too!