5 Amazing Weeks in Montgomery, Alabama
I can not believe it's been a year since our time in Montgomery. They say the days are long, but the years are short and this year went by in the blink of an eye. While this trip happened a while back, it is worth it for me to share my experiences because they were so positive and we really did have such a good time.
Jimmy and I were a dual military couple who didn’t have any children for the first 4 years we were married. I believe we were referred to as DINKs (double income, no kids). We were able to deploy, save money, pay off cars/student loans, but mainly we were afforded some insane opportunities to travel. Between the two of us, we covered more than 30 countries between leisure and military travel.
After our daughter was born and I left the military to stay home. I was afraid that I would be stuck in our town forever, but when Jimmy returned home from his fourth deployment and our daughter was just 4.5 months old. Less than a week after her arrived home we were told that he would be leaving for a 5 week TDY (Temporary Duty) to Montgomery, Alabama the following Monday. I couldn’t handle the thought of him missing anymore of her little life and I immediately jumped on my computer and found a place we could all three stay, told him we were going too and that was that.
The next week, we packed up two cars, put the baby in and headed out for our 3.5-hour drive to our new temporary home. As we pulled in, I was flooded with relief.
Ya'll -- this apartment & complex had EVERYTHING. It was 2 bedroom, 2 bath, decent sized kitchen, laundry room, small office area, giant walk-in closet & fully furnished. The complex had a pool, a set of running/walking trails, a dog park, a kids park, a movie room, a meeting room, and it was gated. OH and it was less than a mile from a Starbucks/Publix and less than 2 miles from a Starbucks/Target.....I really really loved staying there. If you are destined to have to go to Montgomery and need temporary housing for your family look HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we found our building and figured out our keys, we unpacked, set up our new apartment and made some plans to see everything Montgomery had to offer. I researched the Mom groups, the local YMCA, the library activities, local parks, museums, etc. By the end of our first night, I had a plan and had written out what our first week would consist of as well as a list of museums, hours, and costs.
During our first week, Charletta and I visited Blount Cultural Park, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Mooseum, The Alabama State Capitol, and the Rosa Parks Museum. Jimmy was able to meet us for lunch some of the days; it was so great to have him home. Our first weekend we ventured out as a family and took on Old Alabama Town on Saturday and then to the Bamboo Forest in Prattville, Alabama on Sunday. We also made a mandatory pit stop at the Bass Pro Shop, which Charletta slept through.
Our Second week we visited the First White House of the Confederacy, the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, and went to The Women’s Expo (which had SO much food and free stuff!). It was great timing since we were there for October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I loved it. I was even able to have my wedding rings cleaned and re-rhodium plated FOR FREE by a local jeweler. It's the little things that get me excited.
Our second weekend we took a family trip to the Montgomery Zoo, which ended up being really awesome. They have pygmy hippos. Enough Said.
The third and fourth weeks were a bit slower paced. We spent a lot of time in our apartment’s complex enjoying the convenient playground and the running trails. We did go back and re-visit Blount Cultural Park and we also took a trip over to the Fire Department where we were able to meet some firemen and tour the trucks. At the time, I was training for a 10K and doing a yoga challenge on Instagram, so we had a lot of fun spending time on those. Our third weekend we took a mini-road trip to Atlanta and the fourth weekend we ventured out to Dream Field Farms and explored the pumpkin patch and ate delicious funnel cakes.
Once our last week arrived, we spent the week enjoying Alabama. We re-visited parks, took lots of Starbucks trips, said goodbye to all the awesome friends we had made, and packed up. That Friday, I finished loading up the car, put the baby in and headed home. I did the whole 3.5 hours by myself and we made it without incident.
Quick review of our tours:
- The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has the most amazing children’s area called “Art Works.” I couldn’t believe how big the learning center was and how many interactive activities they had that entertained both parents and children. I highly recommend this…and it’s FREE.
- The Mooseum has a great interactive children’s room where the kids can see a full sized cow, dress up like a real Bull Rider, explore a kitchen to see how to cook with beef and they can learn about the cattle industry. Oh, and the Mooseum is FREE, so that’s awesome too.
- Unfortunately, the Alabama State Capitol’s children’s room was under construction when we went, but I have heard it is awesome. The Capitol has a free museum for adults too. We did the tour of that, but it was super-fast since Charletta wasn’t interested.
- If you decide to do the Rosa Parks museum, only do the museum side and skip the children's side. We only did the children's side and it was a giant waste of money. It consisted of watching a video while sitting on a bus....that's it.
- Dream Field Farms had so many places to take awesome photos, the entire place was kid friendly and their snack bar was awesome. I highly recommend them for any family.
- Old Alabama Town is a huge complex of old timey, original buildings saved from the beginnings of Montgomery. Children will LOVE this place. You do have to pay, but its so huge and takes a decent amount of time to get through. The kids will be tired and nap very well after this tour.
- The Bamboo Forest in Prattville is a MUST SEE. If you have never been to a Bamboo Forest, go. I will tell you that the entire trail is only .5 miles, but the view are amazing. If you have a camera, take it.
- W.A. Gayle Planetarium is great for children. It isn't ideal for babies. They offer shows in the evenings or you can book a daytime tour if you call and your group is large enough. You do have to pay to get in, but it isn't a lot. I really enjoyed the planetarium, but just know that the "museum" piece is very small, so you are only really going there to see the show.
Overall, our time in Alabama was amazing. The city of Montgomery has so much history. If you ever find yourself staying in the area, be sure to check out their museums, eat lots of BBQ and just enjoy the atmosphere. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have the ability to travel with your spouse when they are going somewhere for work….do it. You will not regret it.
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