A Travellerspoint blog

Spring break: Adventures can be wild, exotic

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.

Posted by Carol W 21:08 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

It's never too early to start planning spring break trips

sunny

As nice as it is to have a break from the heat, it really will be great to return to warmer weather and the activities the Alabama Gulf Coast is most recognized for – enjoying the sun, sand and surf.
With spring just weeks away, it's a perfect time to get ahead of the competition by making plans now for spring break trips.
Unlike other beach destinations that cater to college crowds, the Alabama Gulf Coast is a family oriented place to spend time exploring, sunning, swimming and enjoying quality time.
The beaches around Orange Beach and Gulf Shores literally begin to come alive around the time of spring break as sea turtles start building nests and laying eggs while flowers, trees and grasses start to bloom. Everything seems renewed and refreshed, so it's an ideal time to bring a family for renewal and refreshment.
A good thing about getting a jump on planning is being able to secure great deals on great accommodations. By booking well in advance, early birds get the best of the available offerings – not that there are any bad places to spend a week on the Alabama Gulf Coast!
To see what specials are being offered, keep an eye on www.thebeachiscalling.org. Look under the “Packages & Deals” menu. Some packages already are posted; others are sure to follow.

Posted by Carol W 21:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Snowbirds find places to flock with others of same feather

Now that our snowbird friends have had a chance to settle in, it's only natural they might want to keep in touch with those who are here from the same part of the country. Several local establishments host meetings of state clubs for snowbirds so they can catch up, plan day trips or organize other group activities.
In addition to state clubs, there also are clubs for senior snowbirds and for special-interest groups, such as those who enjoy playing bridge.
The Alabama Gulf Coast has a lot to offer snowbirds, including special memberships to local libraries and museums; activities tailored to every level of physical ability; and even part-time employment for those who want some extra “mad money” for special trips or purposes.
In return, of course, snowbirds give back so much. Philanthropy and community service are just two of those things.
To find out which state snowbird clubs meet where and when, visit www.thebeachiscalling.org. Go to the “Travel Tools” menu and look for the “For Our Snowbirds” link.

Posted by Carol W 19:33 Archived in USA Tagged seniors Comments (0)

New Year's Day traditions have Southern flavor

Southerners have some long-standing traditions tried to New Year's Day, many of them tied to food and symbols of luck.
There are turnip greens, which represent “folding” money (bills); black-eyed peas, which represent “change” (coins); fatback (pork) which represents prosperity; and cornbread, which represents a complete menu.
In some homes, Hoppin' John, a beans-and-rice dish, is a New Year's Day must.
And for some folks, it isn't New Year's Day without a Polar Bear Dip.
No, it's not something you serve with chips or crackers. For a quarter of a century, a group of people have gathered at the Flora-Bama, a local watering hole, for a bracing, early morning dip into the Gulf of Mexico on New Year's Day.
Of course, on Flora-Bama time, early morning is noon.
Other places around the world have similar celebrations in much more forbidding climes. But it's a sure bet that the backdrop for those events is not nearly as colorful or as fun as the Gulf of Mexico. And to make the day truly Southern, everyone who takes part gets a heapin' helping of black-eyed peas.

Posted by Carol W 19:31 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Welcome the new year on the Alabama Gulf Coast

In Times Square, the country watches the Big Apple drop to signify the start of the new year; in Atlanta, there's a giant peach. At the Alabama Gulf Coast, we prefer watching the waves of the Gulf of Mexico lapping against the sugary sands of our beaches while we're surrounded by family and friends.

A bonfire, a mug of cocoa and a blanket – can it get any better?

Well, some folks prefer a more lively greeting for the new year, and there are plenty of options to be found here. For instance, the Wharf's Third Annual New Year's Eve “Block Party Blowout” has offerings for the entire family. There will be festive lights and decorations, street entertainers, the countdown to midnight and a fabulous fireworks display. Best of all, it's free.

Speaking of family friendly offerings, LuLu's at Homeport in Gulf Shores is having a Noon Year's Party for children. It's from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it's free. There will be clowns and face painters on hand, plus activities for youngsters and musical entertainment. A balloon release at noon is the highlight of the day.

And for those who prefer an adults-only celebration, check out The Hangout. The New Year's Eve Ball features music by RC & the Moonpies, a five-course dinner, party favors, bottles of champagne to toast the new year and a 1 a.m. breakfast buffet. The announcements say, “Dress to impress! Reservations required!”

To find out more, visit www.thebeachiscalling.org.

Posted by Carol W 14:43 Comments (0)

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