A guide to Big Spring International Park in Huntsville, Ala.

Big Spring International Park is located in beautiful downtown Huntsville, Ala.. It is named for its karst spring, which provided clean drinking water in 1805 for Huntsville founder John Hunt, and which remained the primary source of Huntsville’s  water through most of the 20th century. The spring continues to feed 24 million gallons of water each day in a tumbling waterfall into a serene blue lagoon.

In addition to the park’s large expanses of grass, walking paths, and natural open air beauty, visitors to Big Spring International Park can enjoy the many gifts which have been made to the park. Dozens of flowering Yochino cherry trees, gifts from Japan, complement the park’s famous red bridge. Meet a friend by the ‘lighthouse’ for a picnic lunch, or make it a working lunch, taking advantage of the WiFi service which is available throughout the park.

The Huntsville Museum of Art is located inside Big Spring International Park. Surrounding the park are restaurants, shops, hotels and convention centers and condominiums. As is typical for karst geology, the limestone bedrock of the park is riddled with caves. Consequently, the region has drawn the interest of the National Speleological Society, which opened its headquarters in Huntsville.

Summer Monday nights are concert nights in the park. From early June until Labor Day, you can bring a blanket or lawn chair to the south end of Big Spring International Park to enjoy an easy blend of live music ranging from jazz to rock and roll. All concerts are free to the public, and run from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.. Check the Huntsville Arts Council website for more information.

Two major festivals take place in Big Spring International Park each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The Panoply Arts Festival, held on the last full weekend of April, is also known colloquially as the South’s “Most All-Embracing ARTStravaganza.” This family-friendly festival features food, fiddling, and fireworks, capping a kaleidoscope of music- and arts-related activities ranging from ethnocultural activities to visual art to playwright competitions. Slightly more edgy is Big Spring Jam, an annual musical festival which takes place on the 4th weekend of September. Besides its four stages of country, rock and Christian contemporary music, Big Spring Jam also hosts an annual 5k and Fun Run, which winds through historic downtown Huntsville before returning to the park. Together, the two festivals draw nearly half a million people to downtown Huntsville each year.

Big Spring International Park can be found at 700 Monroe Street SW, Huntsville, Alabama. Park administration can be contacted at (205) 715-6000. Events organizers can be contacted through their event website.