gulf shores area museum

The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is a treasure trove of museums and learning centers that not only tell the story of the area, but let you get up-close-and-personal with history.

Gulf Shores Area Museums Offer Great Rainy Day Activity

The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is blessed with numerous museums and learning centers that help tell the story of the area.

Baldwin County Heritage Museum

Located in Elberta, only a few miles from the Gulf Coast Beaches, the Baldwin County Heritage Museum contains exhibits that were collected from the daily lives of the men and women who built Baldwin County.

The museum’s exhibits are located within 20,000 square feet of space and allow visitors to reconnect with the early history of Baldwin County.

The museum also features special exhibits and events, and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Gulf State Park Nature Center

Gulf State Park’s Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals that are native go the Gulf Coast region.

Weekly programs include guided nature walks, beach walks, pier walks and a nature time.

The center, located within the state park campground area, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum

Originally a schoolhouse when it was built in 1910, the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum has been a museum since 1995.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, but group tours may be booked at other times.

The museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia related to Orange Beach’s Native American and fishing heritage. Families of early fishermen have donated supplies and collectibles that show the challenges and achievements of the early days of the area.

National Museum of Naval Aviation

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Museum of Naval Aviation is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida.

The museum contains more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. Historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and also on the 37-acre grounds.

A 325-seat giant screen theater presents a variety of films, including “The Magic of Flight,” offering a “Fly with the Blues” experience that tells the story of human potential and the importance of training and importance.

Admission and parking are free. Visitors to the museum 16 years of age and older must have a valid photo ID and all bags are subject to search.

Fort Morgan Historic Site

Located 23 miles west of Ala. Hwy. 59 on scenic Fort Morgan Road, the museum at the Fort Morgan Historic Site is filled with displays of artifacts portraying the artillery, uniforms and history of the area for more than 200 years.

The museum and gift shop are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center & IMAX Dome Theater

The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, located in Mobile, features exhibits that explore science, math and technology in an effort to provoke innovative and critical thinking that leads to discovery.

The center features a variety of permanent as well as special exhibits. Permanent exhibits are housed in three galleries: Hands On Hall, Wharf of Wonder and My BodyWorks. There are also live demonstrations held in the ChemLab and BioLab.

Special exhibits have included solving a murder mystery at the Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery exhibit, the Da Vinci: Machines & Robotics exhibit and more.

The J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theater shows films on a variety of topics, such as great white sharks, mummies, the Hubble telescope, airplanes, Greece, Everest, space and more.

The Exploreum is open daily, and admission prices depend on age.

Gulf Shores Museum

Housed in a World War II-era home on land donated by one of the founders of Meyer Vacation Rentals, Claude O’Connor, the Gulf Shores Museum first opened in 1982 as a library and later as a youth center. Today, it tells the story of Gulf Shores with a variety of artifacts that appear in permanent exhibits. Seasonal programs and events are also offered.

The museum is located on 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores, near the public library and city government buildings.

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Named Alabama’s 2015 Attraction of the Year, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park offers self-guided tours of the USS Alabama, USS Drum submarine, the Aircraft Pavilion, park memorials, military equipment and a recreational area.

The USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship, was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. She was retired in 1962 and in 1964 taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship the following year. She was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986.

The park is open 364 days a year.

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Located in Fairhope, the Weeks Bay Reserve encompasses more than 6,000 acres of land and water in and around Weeks Bay and along Mobile Bay.

The Reserve has a free educational interpretive center and two boardwalks. One boardwalk is behind the Reserve Interpretive Center and leads to Weeks Bay; the pitcher plant bog boardwalk connects to Fish River.

The Reserve is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Stay in a three-bedroom Gulf Shores condo and make plans to visit a few of the interesting museums in the area.
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