Next time you're enjoying Gulf Coast beaches, pay a visit to the new sensory garden, recently opened by the City of Gulf Shores at the corner of West Second Street and West 19th Avenue.

The garden is designed to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to experience the garden through each of the five senses.

According to Planet Natural, a sensory garden is designed to stimulate the senses with the use of plants and materials that engage one’s sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.

The gardens are popular and provide benefit to both children and adults, especially those with sensory processing issues.

For children who are hyper-active to stimuli, the sensory garden is designed to provide a relaxing environment. Alternatively, for those who tend to be under-reactive to stimuli, the garden is a great place to stimulate the senses.

The garden is an educational tool that encourages interaction with the environment. Benches are provided, and there are individual sections focused on each of the senses.

Once you have finished exploring the sensory garden, walk to Kids Park, which features slides, bridges, swings and more.

A dog park is just across the street from the sensory garden, and is a great spot for vacationers who bring their dogs with them. See dog-friendly vacation rentals.

Another option for recreation while visiting this city-operated campus is the Bodenhamer Recreation Center, which welcomes vacationers who wish to purchase access for a nominal fee.

The ADA-accessible Bodenhamer Center features an AquaClimb wall, fitness towel service, floor and water aerobics classes, a full-service fitness room, a game area, an indoor heated pool with lap lanes, an indoor walking track, locker rooms, an outdoor wading pool, racquetball courts, a regulation-sized gym, and tennis courts.

The Bodenhamer Center also offers a variety of fitness classes such as Zumba, water arthritis, yoga and pilates. Vacationers may purchase a daily pass and drop into any classes.

Families on a budget may choose from a variety of budget-friendly vacation rentals, which feature a variety of views: condos and houses.