Mobile is an interesting city. It is also surprising. Mobile has been under six flags in its history. It is known as the Azalea City and is the Azalea Capital of the World. It is home to the Mardi gras (sixty-two years before it was celebrated in New Orleans). It is more family style in Mobile.
“Damn the Torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Such was Admiral David Farragut’s popular paraphrased quote during the Civil War Battle of Mobile. But today’s visitors to Mobile Bay will not have the same problem with torpedoes as the Admiral had in 1864. Instead there will be a barrage of attractions waiting in the port city of Mobile from the historical to the natural.
Visitors will have opportunity to see historic forts dating to the Civil War. Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island and the downtown Fort Conde are both open for tours. Fort Conde is part of the nearby Museum of Mobile, which tells the story of Mobile with permanent and changing exhibit galleries.
One of the most popular attractions of the Mobile area is Bellingrath Gardens. It is the sixty-five acre estate of Walter Bellingrath, who made his fortune with a Coca Cola franchise, among other ventures. It all started as a fishing camp and, with the assistance of his wife, the gardens became the showplace it is today. The gardens have something blooming all year and the Bellingrath Home is equally beautiful.
There is a wide range of other popular attractions. Because Mobile was the beginning of the Mardi gras, there is a museum celebrating that fact. The Mobile Carnival Museum focuses on the colorful history of the mystic societies that began the traditions associated with the Mardi gras through costumes and floats of the past.
The USS Alabama is permanently docked at the Battleship Memorial Park and offers an interesting tour. The huge battleship dominates the landscape, but there is also an aircraft museum and the submarine USS Drum to explore.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is a great place to take the family with interactive displays, an I-Max theater, and state-of-the-art exhibits. “My BodyWorks” is a section that features more than fifty interactive medical exhibits built for fun and to educate. The 5 Rivers Delta Center gives another perspective to the Mobile area with its nature center and opportunity to take an ecotour cruise one of the largest river delta systems in the US.
One of the newest museums along the Gulf Coast is located on the Mobile, Alabama Riverfront. Gulf Quest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, which opened in September 2015, is an unusual museum in several ways. It is the only one dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico's rich maritime traditions and history. The 120,000 square foot space is shaped like a ship headed into Mobile Bay. And there are ninety interactive exhibits for adults and children.
The museum has five levels, or decks, each loaded with creative displays. There are four theaters that explore the Gulf's maritime history and Mobile's shipbuilding contribution during World War II. An interesting Ocean Planet Theater shows satellite data projected onto "Earth." On the top "Deck 5" visitors can "Take the Helm" with a simulator and navigate through the Port of Mobile.
With all there is to do and see in Mobile, visit and find out why it is an interesting and also surprising.
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