Woohoo! Out With the Old & In With the New
NEW YEAR’S EVE - Start off the holiday weekend on Saturday, December 31 with a Noon Year’s Eve celebration at LuLu’s at Homeport Marina designed especially to delight the little ones: clowns, face painters, sand castle contests, bubble wrap and even the appearance of some exotic animals from the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The fun begins at 10 a.m., and the countdown to noon is followed immediately by a musical performance by Suite Caroline.
The Wharf plans to host a family celebration day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with face painters, giant sand piles, bounce houses and contests. At 7 p.m. the block party begins with bands on two stages and a street party with food and drinks. To ring in the new year, watch the marlin drop at midnight followed by fireworks.
Join the adults (age 21+) at The Hangout where Kristy Lee presents Fire & Ice Unleashed New Year’s Eve to end the year with a bang! The cover is only $20 for this rockin’ event and the performance will be spectacular. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the champagne flows at midnight at this must-see/must-hear music event.
NEW YEAR’S DAY – There are not one but TWO Polar Bear Dips planned for New Year’s Day. The traditional one at Flora-Bama will happen in the gulf waters at noon, and all of the brave participants will receive a helping of black-eyed peas for good luck in 2012.
New for the first day of 2012 is a non-traditional Gulf Shores Kiwanis Club Slip & Slide Polar Bear Dip at Gulf Shores Public Beach in front of The Hangout. At high noon participants can choose a direct splash in the gulf or get a little assistance via a 33-foot, two-lane slip and slide that will directly deposit them into the Gulf of Mexico. All participants will then be treated to a FREE buffet at The Hangout. Costumes are encouraged at this family-friendly event, and there will even be prizes awarded for the best costumes and the best teams. A special cash award and trophy will be earned by the Snowbird Club with the most participants in this chilling happening. Bring the whole family to The Hangout to enjoy the food, live music and bowl games playing on the 20+ TVs, as a new year begins at the beach.
ROOMS FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Ring out the old and ring in the new at your favorite condo or beach house in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key or Fort Morgan. Our holiday gift to you is 2 FREE NIGHTS when you provide promo code 11HOL:
CONDOS: Buy 2 nights, get 2 nights free.
HOUSES: Buy 5 nights, get 2 nights free.
(valid for vacation stays 12/8/11-1/7/12)
What to do when you coast awhile: Are you a planner or spontaneous? Either way, we’ve got you covered with entertainment options listed on our Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Calendar of Events and Gulf Shores Music Calendar. We are your beach and concert connection.
Off the Beaten Path – Eat, Play, Shop in Foley
EAT – You are probably thinking there is a typo about 70 restaurants in Foley. Although it seems unlikely, it is true! Just take a look at the Foley Dining Guide. Of course there are the national chains such as O’Charley’s, Applebee’s, Chick-Fil-A, IHOP, Cracker Barrel and RubyTuesday. And there are also some local favorites. For seafood Wolf Bay Lodge is legendary, Shrimp Basket has one of their popular restaurants conveniently located on Hwy. 59 and Tin Top Restaurant is well worth the drive down picturesque County Road 10. A great choice for barbeque is Down South BBQ in two locations. And there are a number of Mexican, Greek/Italian and Asian restaurants from which to choose. You have to experience the “throwed rolls” and abundant portions at Lambert’s Café during at least one visit to the coast, and the buffet at The Gift Horse offers a grand taste of the South.
PLAY – Glenlakes Golf Club, located on County Road 20 (turn east at Lambert’s Cafe), features 27 holes of spectacular golf on two distinct courses. The Vista/Dunes is a Devlin-Von Hagge layout that resembles Scottish links with its strategic mounding, extensive bunkering and undulating fairways and greens. The Lakes course is a resort-style nine-hole experience for players of all levels, with water on six of the nine holes providing a challenge.
Discounted golf is available year-round by purchasing an annual Player’s Club card for $29.99. At current rates, with a Player’s Club card, your 18 holes of golf, including cart, would only cost $45 before noon (saving $20), $35 from noon to 2 p.m. (saving $10) and only $20 after 2 p.m. (saving $10). Of course rates will vary by the season, but it’s easy to see that the card quickly pays for itself.
SHOP – Prepare to spend time but save money at Tanger Outlet Center where 120 stores offer nearly everything you can imagine. There are shops featuring accessories, apparel and footwear, and you’ll also find housewares and home furnishings. The specialty stores offer a variety of items such as art, knives, tools, fragrances and cosmetics. And there are even food stores including Harry and David, The Fudgery and Starbucks. Hours of entertainment for the little ones is possible in the Family Fun Park, located in the middle of the shopping action, featuring a playground, carousel, rock climbing wall and interactive water fountain.
In uptown Foley you can park your car and walk from shop to shop in the historic district, where you’ll find an old-fashioned soda fountain at Stacey’s Drug Store and Olde Tyme Soda Fountain, and plenty of quaint antiques shops such as The Gift Horse Antique Centre, Hollis Old Crush Antique Mall, Old Armory Mall and The Green Ant. Round out your many options with jewelry at Manning Jewelry, art at the Performing Arts Center and apparel at a variety of consignment stores. These and more shopping excursions await you just beyond the beach.
On the Horizon - Green Zoo and Oceans Park
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo became famous and known as “The Little Zoo That Could” because of an Animal Planet series that chronicled the evacuation and recovery efforts following Hurricane Ivan. Now the zoo plans to not only relocate to safer, higher ground just north of the island, but the entire facility will be reimaged and reinvented to become the world’s first environmentally sustainable zoo built from the ground up. Take a look at a 25-minute video describing the evolution of this zoo and the ambitious “green” plans for the Amazing Green Zoo. Although the relocation have been delayed from the original schedule, the current plan is to open before year’s end in 2012.
Plans are also underway to build Oceans Park, an indoor water park, adjacent to the Amazing Green Zoo, and both could conceivably open at the same time next year. Easy access to both facilities is possible from Hwy. 59 north of the Intracoastal Waterway at County Road 6 East. In fact, the Oceans Park façade will look like a giant wave visible from Hwy. 59 and will be illuminated at night, according to the designer. If all goes as planned, visitors can ride the waves in the park’s wave pool, explore a sunken ship in a 30-foot-deep tank, swim in a 6-foot-deep lagoon with colorful coral, interact with marine life or take diving lessons. Waterslides, a kids water park, fountain, restaurant and swim-up bar are on the drawing board for this entertainment park designed to complement the zoo.
We will continue to update you as plans progress for both the Amazing Green Zoo and Oceans Park.