When you look out on the glistening waters off the coast of Orange Beach, what do you see? In all likelihood, you probably have a view of swaying waves, and maybe evensome pelicans flying overhead. While this sort of scene is surely picturesque, you may be thinking it's time for "anchors aweigh" and to have a little adventure.
You may not know it today, judging by the quaint atmosphere of the Gulf Shores area, but this portion of Alabama was once home to some serious military action. With expansive views of the water, the U.S. military decided that nearby Mobile, Ala., would serve as the perfect resting place of the USS Alabama Battleship and other naval crafts.
See naval history firsthand
It is one thing to read about military events in your high school history books. However, having the chance to see and even walk through barges that were actually used in battle can bring these happenings to life.
If this sounds like an exciting option for you and your children, then you should round up the family, make your way outside the confines of your Orange Beach vacation rental and head to Mobile's Battleship Memorial Park.
When you reach this destination, you probably won't know where to start. GulfShores.com outlined all of the attractions that this site has to offer, of which there are many. These include 25 aircrafts, the Submarine USS Drum, and the Battleship USS Alabama. You and your family may want to devise some tactics before even exiting your car, identifying all of your points of attack so that you can be sure you don't miss out on anything.
Strategize your sightseeing
?At the top of your list should be the USS Alabama Battleship. According to the ship's site, the size of this craft alone - 680 feet long and 44,500 tons in weight - will make your family's jaws drop. This barge housed a crew of 2,500 people became a part of the Pacific Fleet during World War II, in service for 37 months. After seeing some combat time in Leyte, Okinawa, the Gilbert Islands and Tokyo Bay, this ship received nine battle stars.
Now this retired battleship rests in Memorial Park, allowing Alabama travelers to explore all of its components. You and your children can walk along its dozen decks, in addition to partaking in some more involved activities. For instance, you can experience how it felt to be locked in the battleship's jail or even see what the inside of the gun turrets look like.
Have you and your family had enough of all the above water action? Well, then you should mosey on over to the USS Drum Submarine. GulfShores.com provided some background information about this craft, revealing that it was awarded 12 Campaign stars after going on 13 patrols and sinking 15 Japanese ships during WWII. Today, you can take a look at where the 72 crewmen lived their daily lives on the submarine, as well as where all of the combat action went down.