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Four Must-See Attractions for Your Family Beach Vacation

14 Mar 2017
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No one would blame you if you never wanted to leave the grounds of the Gulf Shores Plantation, with its beautiful beaches and long list of amenities. But if you get the urge to go out and explore, there’s no better place to do it than Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Below are suggestions for four attractions the whole family will enjoy.

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Fort Morgan This coastal fortress and National Historic Landmark stands guard at the mouth of Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The fort played a significant role in the Civil War’s Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864. Museum exhibits and living history displays bring those days to life for today’s visitors. Throughout the fort, you’ll see evidence of how it was also put into service during the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo This local zoo, which has gained national recognition as “the little zoo that could,” is home to more than 500 exotic animals, including lions, tigers, bears and reptiles. It also features a petting zoo, seasonal animal encounters, and interactive animal shows during the spring and summer months.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach Located in a beautiful bayfront setting, the center’s gallery displays the work of  more than 100 local artists. (The new gallery is scheduled for completion in April 2017; a temporary gallery is currently open.) The changing exhibits represent a variety of media, including watercolors, pottery, acrylics, sculpture and textiles. The center also features two working studios - the Hot Shop glass-blowing studio and The Clay Studio pottery shop - each offering demonstrations and lessons.

Waterville, USA This 20-acre water and amusement park is a mainstay attraction in Gulf Shores. Dozens of rides offer adventure for all ages. Most popular are the Flowrider, a simulated surfing attraction where riders can stand-up surf or body board on an endless wave, and Canonball Run, an iconic wooden rollercoaster that hits speeds of 50 miles per hour. 

Bonus: There are two world-class military attractions within a short drive of Gulf Shores Plantation. The Battleship USS Alabama is the main attraction at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile and the National Museum of Naval Aviation is in nearby Pensacola, Florida. Both are one-of-a-kind attractions and well worth the drive.