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Travel Logs December 2012

Compulsive Traveler

Mobile, Alabama: The Azalea City

By Sandra Scott

Mobile is America’s birthplace of Mardi Gras. Tour the museum and view the jeweled crowns, elaborate gowns, and elegant robes along with scepters and other paraphernalia that is part of the celebration.

t_scottdecMobile is a great, accessible city with a lot to see and experience. Located on the Mobile River it is one of the largest cities on the Gulf Coast. It was the first capital of French Louisiana and, over the years, flew the flags of France, Britain, Spain, the Confederacy and the United States.

  1. Museum of Mobile: Housed in Old City Hall, a National Historic Landmark, the museum is the ideal place to start exploring the area. Take note of the historic murals in the lobby. Learn about Mobile’s 300-year history from the first inhabitants to the present. From “Old Days to New Ways” the museum makes history come alive with many hands-on and interactive exhibits.
  2. The Arts: The Center for Living Art’s Space 301 is a downtown gallery featuring contemporary fine art along with educational and public programs. Don’t miss their unique visual 360 art projection. The Mobile Museum of Art is the largest art museum along the Gulf Coast and hosts special exhibits from world-famous collections. Visitors can enjoy the symphony, opera, ballet, live music and plays during the prime cultural season.
  3. Dauphin Street: Explore historic and scenic Dauphin Street with some of Mobile’s most unique specialty shops, boutiques, and galleries. There is everything from soup (at the Spot of Tea) to nuts (at the A&M Peanut Company). Make time to visit the Portier House, the Mobile Police Museum and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
  4. Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center: The interactive Body Works is the most advanced health gallery in the nation. Interactive exhibits allow you to see how you measure up. Flex your muscles, test your reflexes and spring into action to see for yourself. Exploreum is home to Imax Theater and a gift shop where visitors can purchase unique, fun, and educational gifts suitable for all ages.
  5. Explore the Delta: Where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakeley rivers flow into Mobile Bay, visit the 5 Rivers Delta Center where there is a learning facility and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. It is the second largest river delta system in the U.S. Canoe, kayak, or take a guided pontoon boat ride; or simply soak up the natural beauty.
  6. Walk on the wild side: A trip to Alabama would not be complete without an up close and personal interaction with a gator. The best gator experience is at Alligator Alley. Start your guided adventure with a walk on the elevated viewing platform, where you can see over 450 alligators ranging from hatchlings to mature adults. Some of them are rescue gators. You can help feed the critters and even hold one.
  7. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial: Visit one of America’s most unique military attractions. Even though the Alabama saw her share of action in several theaters, no American life was lost due to enemy action giving the ship the nickname “Lucky A.” Experience life the way it was over seven decades ago on one of America's most decorated battleships.
  8. Fort Gaines: Established in 1821, the historic fort is located on Dauphin Island and is best known for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay which took place during the Civil War — its encounter with Admiral David Farragut and his famous command, “Damn the torpedoes — full speed ahead.” Make a point to visit the operational blacksmith shop where the smithy shares a story or two while forging away.
  9. Let the good times roll: Mobile is America’s birthplace of Mardi Gras. Tour the museum and view the jeweled crowns, elaborate gowns, and elegant robes along with scepters and other paraphernalia that is part of the celebration. Learn how the costumes and floats are constructed. View videos of past parades, balls and coronations. Mardi Gras in Mobile is very family-friendly.
  10. A secret garden: For a sublime experience head to the Bellingrath Gardens and Home. What started as a fishing camp grew into beautiful gardens similar to those the Bellingraths saw on their European trips. The camp was replaced by a 15-room home in 1935 which is open to the public and contains the original furnishings which Mr. Bellingrath collected without regard to cost.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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