You know how some other beach locales promote themselves as “gone-wild” destinations for spring break? Well, if it's a wild time you're looking for, the Alabama Gulf Coast has plenty to offer:
• The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – In June, the zoo will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. It has gained national fame when Animal Planet filmed a documentary, “The Little Zoo That Could,” showcasing the staff and volunteers' efforts to evacuate the residents of the zoo as three separate hurricanes approached. The zoo is open 362 (or 363) days a year, frequently welcomes guest animals from other facilities and is home to more than 300 residents year-round.
• Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge -- The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is 7,000 acres of habitat for protect threatened and endangered species. It was established almost 30 years ago by Congress “to preserve the coastal dune ecosystem, to protect threatened and endangered species, to provide compatible recreational opportunities, and to serve as a living laboratory for students and scientists,” its Web site states.
• Dauphin Island – Steeped in history, Dauphin Island is pretty wild in itself. Once the cradle of French colonization in the New World, it was dealt a destructive blow by a hurricane in 1717. Now among its attractions is164 acres comprising the Aubodon Bird Sanctuaries. The island also is home to the Sea Lab Estuarium/ Public Aquarium
• Gulf State Park – Not many places can boast of having a fresh water lake so close to saltwater, but that's exactly what visitors will find among the 6,500 acres of Gulf State Park. And there are sure to be a few native – and very wild – specimen in there.