With so many people expected to attend the Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama—to peruse fine arts and unique gifts, listen to live music, enjoy seafood of all kinds and more—you might think the youngest visitors could get overlooked.

But that won’t be the case, said Jodi Donald, who has served as chairperson for the Children’s Activity Village (CAV) at the last 10 Shrimp Festivals (always held the second Thursday-Sunday in October).

“Kids need a place to play that is all their own and is connected yet set somewhat apart from the main festival area,” Jodi said. “The CAV is dedicated specifically to the kids.”

Jodi shared 6 splendid reasons kids love the Shrimp Festival and, in particular, the kid-friendly Children’s Activity Village area.
 
1. Unique Gifts Little Ones Love
“Kid-focused” is a great way to describe the vendors in the CAV, Jodi said.
For example, N2 Stitches is a mobile embroidery shop that will stitch bags, dresses, bibs and more right on site.
All Lights On You will sell toys and other items that glow in the dark.
“These and other vendors will showcase unique and handmade items for showers, birthdays and other special occasions,” Jodi said. “You would not find any of their items at just any store.”
 
2. Face Painting, WOW Bubbles, T-Shirts & More
Jodi said kids especially love having intricate designs painted onto their faces by the professional artists on hand.

“And this year, we are bringing in WOW (Walk On Water) Bubbles,” Jodi said. Children crawl inside large plastic bubbles filled with air and “walk” on water in a shallow 20-foot-by-20-foot pool. “This activity is very popular right now.”

The Marine Police will be on hand with a Jet Ski simulator that will allow kids to safely experience what it feels like to ride a Jet Ski on the water. Kids will also be able to customize a free T-shirt by coloring their own boating safety heat transfer.
 
3. Make & Take Arts & Crafts…Perfect Little Hands
The Shrimp Festival is known for showcasing a variety of arts and crafts and other unique and unusual items. But  at Children’s Activity Village, the kids can make their own free crafts to take home. “We have an arts and crafts tent with 15 stations for kids to make their own crafts. It’s very hands-on,” Jodi said, adding children are treated to free popcorn and snow cones.
 
4. Fun For Tweens & Teens
As a sponsor of the Children’s Activity Village, Coca-Cola brings interactive games the big kids can also enjoy. “They set up video games and bring interactive games like the football toss and basketball toss game for the older kids to play,” Jodi said, adding that these activities are free and open to everyone.
 
5. Singing, Dancing & Demonstrations
A stage sponsored by Baldwin EMC presents an opportunity for local youth to showcase their singing, dancing and sports talents. “We invite dance companies and choral groups to perform on the stage. We’ll also have kids demonstrating their karate and taekwondo skills,” Jodi said.

The crew from Alligator Alley will show off some of their baby gators Saturday and Sunday. During the demonstrations, kids can touch the gators and learn what they like to eat, how quickly they grow and more.
 
6. Go Ahead, Jump…Or, Dig!
Near CAV, along the western beach boardwalk, will be several active options for children of all ages to enjoy throughout the festival, such as a rock wall, a power jump apparatus and inflatable slides.

For those who would rather dig than jump or climb, a sand sculpture contest will be held Saturday on the beach at the southwest corner of the festival grounds.

Registration and building begins on the beach at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m., when winning sculptures are named.

Teams of up to four people can compete in the 5-10 years old, 11-15 years old, 16 years old and up, and family (all ages) categories. To help your child construct a sandcastle, you must enter the family category.
Prizes will be awarded in each category.
 
Let’s Get Started!
Let Meyer Vacation Rentals help you plan your your kid-friendly Shrimp Fest vacation. Book your beach condo or house with Meyer Vacation Rentals and receive a special money-saving deal. It’s a great way to enjoy time together as a family (and save a few dollars)!