As you enter, there’s a giant bird house, reminiscent of the iconic “See Rock City” ad campaigns, only with a twist: “See Rocket City” is painted in bold white letters on its big red roof. This is the majestic entryway to Tweetsville, Huntsville Botanical Garden’s newest endeavor.
The plans for Tweetsville were recently unveiled at a kick-off ceremony hosted in the Children’s Garden. Phase 1 is scheduled to open to the public in February 2021.
The Tweetsville experience is designed to inspire children and adults alike. It will provide an opportunity where guests of all ages can observe birds, explore their natural habitat, and discover new ways to connect with nature.
Tweetsville will feature elements to further explore the role that birds play in the regional ecosystem of North Alabama.
One main piece of the birding puzzle will be the bird watch station, where guests can look out on an enclosed landscape designed to attract local and migrating bird species. The station will allow guests to observe the birds in their natural environment from behind a one-way glass. Other interactive components will include giant bird nests to teach guests about bird behaviors. There will also be model tiny homes to demonstrate how guests can attract birds in their very own backyards.
“Tweetsville is an opportunity the guests of all ages to foster a deeper understanding of how plants, animals, and people rely on each other to create a healthy environment,” said CEO Sue Wagner. “By sparking curiosity about birds in their native habitat, we can inspire guests to deepen their personal connection to the natural world and become stewards of the green spaces around them.
“Tweetsville represents an exciting future for the garden. It is a future in which guests continue to be surprised and delighted by experiences that catalyze them to take action in their own backyard to support healthy ecosystems.”
Featuring guided learning resources and areas for free play, Tweetsville will offer a hands-on educational experience that will encourage discovery. The experience also presents opportunities for public engagement through field trips, classes, youth camps, and special events.
Rendering shows the bird watch station where visitors can observe the birds in their natural environment from behind a one-way glass. (Photo/Steve Babin)
The garden has the Lewis Birding Trail, which is recognized as a birding hot spot by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. The addition of Tweetsville makes for a welcome addition.
“We are expanding our Children’s Garden by an additional 18,000 square feet and adding this whole new immersive experience for our guests,” said Annette Alexander, vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We have the butterfly house. Kids love the butterflies and the turtles. Butterflies are charismatic creatures and so are birds.
“We really feel like it’s just a natural fit, to have something like this.”
The Botanical Garden partnered with Schoel Engineering and Redmond Construction on this new endeavor. The contributions of Herb and Terry Lewis, John and Tine Purdy, Loretta Spencer, Jean Lee, Iron Mountain Solutions, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama have helped to make the completion of Phase 1 a reality.
At the kick-off presentation, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle emphasized how making an investment in the garden is making an investment in the community.
“Thank you to the donors who have donated money to make this a better place,” he said. “That donation is going to turn in to something that’s going to be very special in our community.”
For more info: hsvbg.org/Tweetsville.