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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Mobile’s Top Tourist Attractions

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Mobile, located at the mouth of Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, is a historic town with charming old homes, beautiful squares and a vibrant cultural scene. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is located in this port city, which is one of the most popular attractions on this stretch of coast.

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You can spend the day exploring historic neighborhoods, visiting museums, Fort Conde, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center or just strolling along the beaches and towns of Mobile Bay. Mobile is known for hosting the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebrations, which it continues to celebrate in a vibrant fashion every year.

1. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

The USS Alabama was a BB-60 battleship that was nicknamed “the Mighty A” and launched in 1942. It was decommissioned in WWII and became the center of Mobile’s new veterans’ memorial park in 1965. You can tour the decks, turrets and mess of the USS Alabama.

You can also visit the USS Drum, an historic submarine. You will also find an impressive collection aircraft, including WWII-era craft such as the Red-Tail P-51 bomber and Boeing B-52 bomber. There is also a Cold-War A-12 Black Bird spy airplane.

You can also find other historic military equipment, such as tanks and weapons from the Vietnam, Korean and Desert Storm conflicts. The Battleship Memorial Park honors Alabama veterans who served during WW II and Operation Desert Storm.

Address: 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, Alabama

2. Fort Conde

The fort was built by the French in Mobile Bay 1702 to protect their colony. It was rebuilt in 1723 following a flood and served as the main defense point of the area until 1820. All of the buildings from the fort had been demolished by 1823 to make way for downtown Mobile. This includes present-day Theater Street and Government Boulevard. The historic fort area today covers approximately one-third the original area. It was rebuilt using a scale of 4/5 to include as many features as possible.

The fort was opened in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. It gives visitors a glimpse into life during the 18th century. Fun, family-friendly activities include a colonial-themed photography gallery, a shooting gallery and a photo set featuring colonial costumes. Stop at the Trading Post to get a free copy of the self-guided walking tour through the museum and grounds.

Address: 150 South Royal Street, Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.colonialmobile.com

3. Mobile Museum of Art

Mobile’s Langan Park houses the Mobile Museum of Art. The large building houses more than ten thousand pieces of art that span over 2,000 years. Due to its sheer size, the permanent collection is displayed on a rotating basis. It includes American, African, and contemporary art. A large collection of Native American art and artifacts is also available, including baskets and beadwork, textiles and several early photographs as well as hand-colored lithographs and hand-colored photos. The permanent collection is supplemented by temporary exhibits that are constantly changing.

Address: 4850 Museum Drive Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.mobilemuseumofart.com

4. History Museum of Mobile

Mobile’s History Museum of Mobile houses artifacts, exhibits, and other items that tell the story of Mobile’s fascinating past. The main exhibits go back to the Native Americans that first settled the area. Visitors will be able to learn more about the Colonial Period, slavery, the Civil War, Mobile’s role in supporting WWII war effort, and key events in Civil Rights Movement through educational displays and artifacts. The Civil War cannon of 5,000 pounds, once found on the decks at CSS Alabama, is the centerpiece of this exhibit.

The Mary Jane Slayton Gallery houses another interesting collection, which includes a variety decorative arts and artifacts of Old Mobile’s high society. These include china, sculptures and fine crystal. A unique collection of miniature homes, depicting some of Mobile’s most exquisite mansions in detail, is also housed at the museum.

The Phoenix Fire Museum is also managed by the history museum. It is located on Claiborne Street in the 19th century firehouse that was once used by Phoenix Volunteer Fire Company No. 6. The museum also includes a gallery that provides historical information and several restored examples of horse-drawn fire engine engines as well as some of the first motorized fire-fighting cars in the city.

Address: 111 South Royal Street, Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.museumofmobile.com

5. Bellingrath Gardens & Home

The 16-acre Bellingrath estate is located just outside Mobile. It is known for its beautiful gardens and historic mansion. Visitors can find over 400 varieties and colors of the state flower camellia in January and February. March is also a popular month for the 250,000 azaleas that bloom in the garden. Cascading Chrysanthemums are another special sight, which bloom in November.

George B. Rogers, a local architect, designed the 15-room museum home. It was constructed in 1935. Its historic significance lies in the home’s repurposed parts, many of which were salvaged from other important buildings. A brick façade was constructed from Alva Smith Vanderbilt’s birthplace and ironwork from the Southern Hotel prior to its demolition.

The Delchamps Gallery for Boehm Porcelain was established in the garage below the mansion. The Edward Marshall Boehm collection includes many early and rare pieces. The estate hosts special events throughout the year including an Easter egg hunt every spring.

Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road in Theodore (Alabama)

Official site: www.bellingrath.org

6. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest features a variety of educational and interactive exhibits that explore the Gulf of Mexico from its natural habitats to its significance as a maritime trading center. The Junior Mariners play area is for children aged 3 and under. It features costumes, props, gear, and equipment that can be used in any way you want to transform the child-sized ship into any other vessel. Mobile Bay’s mural is a great place for kids to enjoy. It features boats and sea life that can be moved around so they can create their own scenes.

You can bring the whole family along to enjoy interactive displays such as a steamboat station and navigation game. Also, you have the opportunity to use a sextant to navigate or operate a container ship crane. You can also explore shipwrecks, coral reefs and navigate Mobile Bay using the Take the Helm presentation. There are also multimedia presentations about the history and marine life of the area.

Address: 155 South Water Street, Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.gulfquest.org

7. Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

The interactive science exhibits at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Centre and an IMAX theatre are designed to educate and entertain young minds. There are many permanent exhibits at the museum, including an interactive lab for life science where children can learn about biology and conduct experiments.

The museum also has other areas that focus on topics related to the Gulf of Mexico. These include ocean life and human interaction in nature like boating or fishing. A play-learning area is available for children aged five and under to learn safely. The IMAX theater screens science-based films throughout each day.

Address: 65 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama
Official site: www.exploreum.com

8. Richards DAR House

This Italianate townhouse is located in the De Tonti Square Historical District. It was built in 1861 for Captain Charles G. Richards (and his wife Caroline) The home was later donated to Mobile by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1973, the local chapters of Daughters of the American Revolution restored the home and made it a museum house that hosts special events and offers guided tours.

Highlights include Cornelius chandeliers throughout the home, including in the foyer and parlors. A Baccarat crystal chandelier is located in the formal dining area. There are also four seasons of lace ironwork and delicate Carrara mantels. For special events, the home can be rented.

Address: 256 N Joachim Street Mobile, Alabama

Official site: https://richardsdarhouse.com

9. Mardi Gras

Mobile is home to the oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. This traditional parade, which takes place in February, is vibrant and full of color. Onlookers fill the balconies of nearby homes and businesses with colorful balloons. Beads can be found on balconies and streets throughout the city, as well as in storefront windows. Mardi Gras masquerade ball is one of the city’s most popular social events. Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) is the day prior to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

The Mobile Carnival Museum offers tourists a chance to see Mardi Gras festivities year-round. This is one of the best things to do in Mobile. You can find out about the history and see the costumes as well as how they are made.

Address: 355 Government Street Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.mobilecarnivalmuseum.com

10. Mobile Historic Districts

Walking through Mobile’s historic districts can give visitors a glimpse into Mobile’s past. Mobile has seven Historic Districts, each with its own character and architectural history. These areas can be explored by self-guided driving tours or by walking tours.

The De Tonti Square downtown Mobile is a highlight. It features historic buildings in Victorian, Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles. Clay-brick houses and townhouses were constructed between 1850 and 1960 on brick sidewalks that still have original gas lamps. The Oakley Garden District covers over 60 blocks and is home to a variety of mansions as well as cottages that display architectural details ranging from the 1830s through the 1930s.

The Old Dauphin Road District lies west of Mobile. Older structures are simple frame cottages. Larger homes line Spring Hill Avenue and Dauphin Street. Church Street East has the largest collection of historic Mobile neighborhoods. Many colonial Spanish, English, and French structures were destroyed in a fire, then rebuilt in late 19th-century. Lower Dauphin Street Mobile’s only 19th-century commercial area has two- and three-story brick structures constructed in Victorian, Federal and Italianate styles.

11. Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Popular tourist attractions include the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which is known for its architecture and history. The church was established in 1704. It was then moved to its current site in 1711. It has grown steadily since. The cathedral has eight Roman Doric columns and a barrel vault ceiling. It also boasts two towers.

Many of its features are extraordinary, particularly the huge stained-glass windows that were installed in 1910 and 1890. Twelve of them measure eight feet by 23 feet high and depict various scenes from Mary’s life. Another source of pride is the cathedral’s organ. The most recent model was custom-made by Wicks Organ Company in 1957, after the original was destroyed in a fire.

Address: 2 South Claiborne Street, Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.mobilecathedral.org/cms

12. Oakleigh Period Museum House

Three homes make up the Oakleigh Historic Complex. Oakleigh is a Greek Revival home built for James Roper in 1833. Roper was a prominent merchant. The house was restored and furnished with antiques from the Empire, Early Victorian, and Regency periods.

The Cox–Deasey House is located next to the mansion. This cottage, which is a raised Creole structure, was typical of Mobile’s middle class city dwellers during the 1850s. The displays are from the period between WW II and today, and were created by a brick mason to serve his wife and 11 of his children.

Cook’s House is the third home. It was built in 1850 to house slaves. This three-room structure demonstrates daily life for artisans, laborers, domestic servants, and others. This article explains the interaction between owners and servants, as well as the effects of urban slavery on this city.

Address: 300 Oakleigh Place in Mobile, Alabama

Official site: www.historicoakleigh.com

13. Conde-Charlotte Museum House, Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

Conde-Charlotte Museum House was constructed in 1822 as the city’s first jail and courthouse. It was later renovated and expanded to be the Kirkbride family’s home after it was purchased in 1849.

Some rooms have been furnished to reflect a particular period or a nation, such as the Confederate Room, American Federal, 18th-century English, American Federal and French Empire. Some rooms have been authentically restored in order to show 19th-century life. This includes the oldest part, the kitchen, which was originally a jail structure. Museum also contains a collection historical artifacts such as the Chaudron silver tea set (17th century), Bohemian vase, and antique clocks. The house is complemented by a walled Spanish garden that was designed in the 18th century.

Another fine historical attraction is the Bragg–Mitchell Mansion located on Springhill Avenue. Built in 1855, this grand home features a spiral staircase and two parlors. It is one of Mobile’s most beautiful antebellum mansions. It was a mix of Greek Revival architecture and Italianate architecture. During its peak, it was the hub of lively social life in Mobile’s port.

Although the interior is filled with antiques and draperies only a few original pieces remain. The home is open for tours at no cost and are available every hour of the day. This gives you a glimpse into life in the Old South.

Address: Conde-Charlotte Museum 104 Theatre Street Mobile, Alabama

Official site: https://condecharlotte.com

14. Mobile Bay

Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico has many beautiful beaches, small towns and historical sites. The Dauphin Island bird sanctuary is located at the southwest end of Mobile Bay. It also contains Fort Gaines which played an important role in the Civil War. Visitors can then take a ferry to Pleasure Island’s western tip, where they will find Fort Morgan. The fine beaches of the Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach are located in the southeast corner of the bay.

An Audubon bird sanctuary is located on Dauphin Island, which is an important location for bird migration. There is a freshwater lake on the island that offers swimming, fishing, and relaxation. Fort Gaines is also located on Dauphin Island. This location was under control of France, Great Britain, and Spain until the United States took control in 1813. Fort Gaines, which was built in 1861, played an important role in the Battle of Mobile Bay. It was used as an artillery garrison in WWI and as a US Coast Guard station in WWII.

Another place of interest is Fairhope. It’s located high up on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. It is a great place to go on outdoor adventures such as cycling, golfing and tennis. You can also fish off Fairhope Pier. A variety of fish and crustaceans can be found in the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve close to Fairhope. This living laboratory teaches visitors about estuaries. You can enjoy guided walks and self-guided tours on the elevated boardwalks as well as more than two miles on the ground trails.

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