#88 on our Deployment Bucket List was to ‘Spend the Day in Mobile, Alabama’. After an extensive Pinterest search on things to do in Mobile I had a short list of places for us to visit. We left home around 9:30 in the morning and didn’t make it back till nearly midnight!
Our short list lengthened when we discovered that the city of Mobile was in full swing for Mardi Gras.
We had the BEST day! The kids loved it and have asked me many times when we are going back. Here is how we spent our day in the Azalea City.
5 Fun Things to Do in Mobile, Alabama
1. See the USS Alabama
Our first stop in Mobile was Memorial Battleship Park – home of the USS Alabama (5 reasons you should visit this park). Though, the park is NOT free to visit, I definitely think it is worth the price. We could have easily spent the whole day here! Admission is generally $15 per adult, $6 per child (6-11), and children under 5 get in free. [There are military discounts as well, just be sure to ask!]
I was unsure of how my kids would react to the battleship. After all, they are typical girly-girls. They aren’t into guns, war, battleships and other ‘boy’ stuff. However, that worry flew right out the window as soon as they laid eyes on that gigantic boat. They LOVED it!
We walked up and down all the stairs and ladders to look at what felt like every nook and cranny of this massive beast. For a ship that was commissioned in 1942, it was absolutely immaculate. There were interactive features and photo ops galore. (I was very happy with the pictures that I took on board; they all turned out so clear and pretty.) The kids couldn’t complain about boredom here!
2. Check out the Submarine – the USS Drum
Technically, this could be included in number 1, since it’s at the same park as the USS Alabama, but it was so cool that I figured it deserves a number all its own! The kids enjoyed the USS Drum as much as they did battleship.
We walked through the entire craft, as the kids pressed buttons and pretended to drive the submarine. We read the informational signs posted throughout the ship and learned a lot about life under the sea. The kids were very interested in the tight living quarters and even tested out the beds in the ‘dorms’.
Commissioned in 1941, the USS Drum is the oldest American submarine open to the public. It’s insignia was drawn by Walt Disney, himself and the Drum is credited with sinking 15 Japanese ships during WWII.
If you’re at Memorial Battleship Park, make sure you walk through the submarine. You don’t want to miss it!
3. Visit the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center
If you have kids (& even if you don’t), a visit to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is a MUST when you are in Mobile. My kids loved all of the hands-on exhibits, but their favorites were the Discovery Zone and the Wharf of Wonder. They loved playing in the ball pit and putting on puppet shows. They were able to build and test their own tiny raft at one of the exhibits. Before you leave, make sure you visit the My Body Works exhibit to see the giant beating heart and learn more about your body.
There are four permanent galleries at the center: Scratch Factory, Discovery Zone, My Body Works, and the Wharf of Wonder. However, there are always travelling exhibits that stop at the Exploreum, so no two visits are ever the same. Make sure you check the Exploreum website before your visit, to see what new attractions are going to be there.
4. Visit the Moon Pie General Store
The Moon Pie General Store and its soda fountain was a huge hit with my girls. We had a little bit of time to kill and just happened to wander in.
This store is 6000 square feet of Moon Pie merchandise: Moon Pies of every flavor, unique gifts, old-timey candy, and a quirky selection of bottled sodas. I had no idea they made salted caramel or strawberry Moon Pies. There are so many flavors I never even knew existed!
In the store, there is an old-fashioned soda fountain that serves ice cream, milkshakes, and diner-style food. According to the kids, the ice cream was delicious. I just wish we would have had enough time to order ‘real’ food, because it all smelled wonderful.
5. See a Mardi Gras Parade
Unbeknownst to us at the time, our trip to Mobile was during Mardi Gras season. We were lucky enough to be there on the same day as the Daughters of Neptune parade. After a quick Google search to make sure the parade was family-friendly (it was!), we were off to stake out a good spot on the parade route.
Luckily, we found a great spot not far from the Moon Pie General Store and stayed out late catching Mardi Gras beads, toys, candy, and Moon Pies. The parade was a perfect ending to our fun-filled day in Mobile!
*Bonus* Find an Oyster Shell
While walking around Mobile, make sure you keep an eye out for painted oyster shells on the sidewalks. These unusual works of art are part of the Oyster Trail. The Oyster Trail is a public art treasure hunt throughout coastal Alabama. Trail maps can be picked up in various locations or downloaded from the Oyster Trail website if you are interested in finding all of the shells.
There are so many things to do in Mobile, that we couldn’t possibly have done them all in one day. I feel that this little day trip was the beginning of what is sure to be a long love affair with this gorgeous southern city.
You might also like: 5 Reasons to Visit Battleship Memorial Park and the USS Alabama