Sports, arts, fishing, golf, history, music, family outings and community events are all part of life in South Baldwin. You won’t have any trouble finding a favorite way to spend your days.
A mild year-round climate offers outdoor activities for every season. Many sporting and community events are traditional affairs here. In addition to events, there is a wide array of area attractions to entertain and educate.
Local museums, parks and unique entertainment venues offer something for every interest.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, 1204 Gulf Shores Pkwy., Gulf Shores, AL 251-968-5731 The zoo garnered international fame as “The Little Zoo That Could” on the Animal Planet series. On 17 acres, the zoo is home to nearly 300 animals, just moments from the beach. Open 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m.-4 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.) Admission charged. www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org
Alligator Alley, 19942 Hwy. 71, Summerdale, AL 251-946-BITE(2483) Meet Captain Crunch! Visitors can walk the boardwalks of this 20-acre park and view hundreds of alligators of up to 13 feet long. Many of the alligators have been relocated, while some are farm raised. Feeding times vary according to the season. Admission charged. www.gatoralleyfarm.com
Aaronville Park is located along South Cedar Street, in the community of Aaronville. The Aaronville pool is open during the summer months Monday – Saturday from noon until 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. The park also includes softball fields, baseball fields, and basketball courts. www.foleyrecreation.com
Baldwin County Heritage Museum, 25521 Hwy. 98 East, Elberta, AL 251-986-8375 The museum and grounds offer a place for visitors to reconnect with the early history of Baldwin County. As part of its mission to preserve the culture of the farm communities of early Baldwin County, the museum has created a home for historically significant buildings, documents and artifacts. Open Weds.–Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Closed on all national and state holidays.) Admission is free except for special events and exhibits. www.baldwincountyheritagemuseum.com
Beulah Heights Park has numerous amenities such as baseball and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, as well as playground equipment. The park is located on the east side of Foley, along South Michigan Avenue. www.foleyrecreation.com
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 State Hwy. 180, Gulf Shores, AL 251-540-7720 More than 6,500 acres, this refuge is home to distinct coastal habitats which offer food and shelter to hundreds of species of indigenous and migratory wildlife. Hiking trails, fresh and saltwater fishing and beach access are all open to the public. Admission is free. Open daily during daylight hours; office open Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. www.fws.gov/bonsecour
Elberta Town Park, State Street and Hwy. 98, Elberta, AL (251) 986-5995 This Elberta landmark is best known as the site of the Original German Sausage Festival that attracts thousands in the spring and fall of the year. It includes a gazebo that is a popular site for weddings and a children’s play area.
Evans Park is the newest addition to Foley’s open spaces. The park is located south of Foley High School on the north side of Park Avenue. www.foleyrecreation.com
Foley Archives & History Museum (Train Depot) East Laurel Ave. (Hwy. 98 East) Foley, AL 251-943-1818 A delight for train lovers, the museum includes a renovated L&N Railroad building, boxcars, a caboose and a 1941 engine. The archives are also home to artifacts documenting Foley’s agricultural history. Open Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.
Foley Alabama Railroad Museum Model Train Exhibit, East Laurel Ave. (Hwy. 98 East) Foley, AL 251-943-1818 This “O” gauge train, complete with 84 freight cars, 50 passenger coaches and a replica of the L&N Hummingbird, travels over a quarter mile of track. Open Tues., Thur., Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free. www.foleyrailroadmuseum.com
Foley Heritage Park, Bordered by John. B. Foley Park, Violet and Chicago Streets and East Laurel Ave. (Hwy. 98) Foley, AL 251-943-1545 Located near the heart of Foley, this four-acre park is enjoyed throughout the year as a favorite place to take a walk in addition to hosting city functions. The gazebo marks the spot where the town gathers. Surrounded by flowers, the park is bordered by trees planted in honor of esteemed citizens. The pavilion and/or park can be reserved for weddings and special events. www.foleyrecreation.com/parks.html
Foley Heritage Rose Trail, Foley, AL Enjoy lovely antique and heritage roses along the City of Foley’s rose trail that runs north from Heritage Park Pavilion to Section Street. The beauty and fragrance of antique roses combine in an amazing display along a scenic walk that is always open.
Foley Horse Arena is available for both state and regional events and located just off of Hwy. 59 on E. Rosetta Ave. The facility includes stalls, a seating area, a concession stand, announcers booth, and public restroom facilities. www.foleyrecreation.com/parks.html
Foley Kids Park, South Alston St., Foley, AL 251-943-1545
Constructed by hundreds of South Baldwin citizens, the park was designed by children as well as architects. It features castles, an array of play equipment, a hand tile exhibit and a picnic area.
John B. Foley Park, Hwy. 59 North, E. Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 251-943-1545 Beautiful flowers welcome visitors year-round at this park located in the very heart of Foley at the intersection of Hwy. 59 and 98. Home to the BBQ & Blues Cook-off in March, Art in the Park and Flower Extravaganza Mother’s Day weekend, Fall Festival in October and Christmas in the Park in December, it also contains the landmark “Foley Comfort Station” that has been a welcome site to travelers for many years. www.foleyrecreation.com
Fort Morgan Historical National Landmark, 110 AL Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 251-540-5257 or 7202 Completed in 1834, Fort Morgan was active during four wars but is most famous for its role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay. Union Admiral David Farragut damned the torpedoes and went full speed ahead to win the battle. Also onsite are a museum, fishing pier and bird sanctuary. Admission charged. Call for dates and hours of operation.
Fort open Nov. 1–Mar. 31 8–5, Apr. 1–Oct. 31 8–7; museum year-round 9–4:30 Admission: $2.00 Adults, ages 13 and over; $1.00 Students, ages 6-12; $1.00 Senior Citizens; Group rates for 15 or more: $1.00 Adults, $0.50 Students.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve, on Stan Mahoney Ln. east off Wolf Bay Dr., Foley, AL The preserve boasts 484 acres of natural habitats, including pitcher plant bogs and mixed forests. It offers a canoe/kayak launch, hiking trails and bird watching. For more information, call the Foley Community Development Department at 251-952-4011. Hours: daylight to dusk 7 days a week. www.grahamcreek.org
Holmes Medical Museum, 111 West Laurel Ave. (Hwy 98 West), Foley, AL 251-970-1818 (If no answer call 251-943-1818 to arrange a visit.) The only medical museum in the state of Alabama, the Holmes Museum is housed in Baldwin County’s first hospital, built in 1906. Operating room, patient rooms and pharmacy are recreated with medical antiques.
Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail, Hwy. 161, Orange Beach, AL 251-981-2610 This network of trails traverses four distinct ecosystems and covers 10 miles. Plenty of trail for wildlife viewing and exercising. Historically, many parts of the trail were utilized by the area's indigenous peoples, as well as explorers and settlers of the region. The Backcountry Trail is steeped in lore and local legend. For decades, a creature believed to be part man/part wildcat (the "Catman") has allegedly lurked along the paths and swamps of the backcountry woodlands. Open during daylight hours only, non-motorized vehicles are allowed. No camping is allowed. www.backcountrytrail.com
Max Griffin Park is the home of the first swimming pool in Foley, which was built in the 1950s, having had numerous maintenance upgrades through the years. The Griffin Pool is open in the summer months when public school is out Monday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. –5:00 p.m. on Sundays. www.foleyrecreation.com
Melvin Roberts Cedar Street Park & Walking Trail, North Cedar St., Foley, AL 251-943-1545 Many enjoy walks or a quiet lunch along this tranquil trail beneath beautiful oaks and gazebo. Adjoining are tennis and basketball courts, handball wall and baseball field. www.foleyrecreation.com
National Museum of Naval Aviation, Blue Angel Pkwy., Pensacola Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL 850-452-3604 The museum and grounds display more than 150 restored aircraft and 4,000 artifacts representing the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation. Among the 291,000 square feet of exhibit space in the museum are an IMAX Theatre, flight simulators and Cubi Bar Cafe. Admission is free. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.navalaviationmuseum.org
Oak Hollow Farm, Inc., 14210 Greeno Road, Barnwell, AL 251-928-4840 Take a trip back in time for a little rest, relaxation and family fun on a farm that’s been owned by the same family for generation. Horseback riding, pony rides, hay rides, hiking and fishing are among the activities to enjoy. And don’t miss the down-home cooking served up in the 6,000 square-foot barn. New in 2011 – Lodging Accommodations! www.oakhollowfarm.net
Performing Arts Center, 116 W. Laurel Ave. (Hwy. 98 West) Foley, AL 251-943-4381 This fine art and arts and crafts sales gallery features works by local artists and artisans and is home to special events and exhibits throughout the year. Open Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. www.foleyartcenter.com
Summerdale Pioneer Park, First Street, Summerdale, AL 251-989-6202 In the heart of Summerdale, Pioneer Park is the site of many gatherings throughout the year. It is connected by sidewalk to the Children’s Splash Park.
Swift-Coles Tidewater Mansion, Swift-Coles Lane, Bon Secour, AL 251-580-1897 “Step back in time at the beautiful circa 1882 home of the Charles Swift Family. It is operated as a historic site by the Baldwin county Department of Archives and History. The home is open Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The last tour begins at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5; children age 6 and under free. Saturdays, Special Events, and scheduled tours by prior arrangement.
Sweet Home Cheese Farm, 27107 Schoen Road, Elberta, AL 251-986-5663 Sweet Home Farm produces more than 15 varieties of naturally aged cheeses with no preservatives, colorings or growth hormones. This family owned and operated Grade A dairy began production in Baldwin County in 1987. Open Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Battleship Pkwy., Mobile, AL 251-433-2703 Walk the decks of the mighty battleship, go below in the Submarine Drum and explore 20 historic aircraft, all here at Battleship Park. The USS Alabama saw battle in both the Atlantic and Pacific and is the recipient of nine WWII Battle Stars. Admission charged. Open daily. Summer 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Winter, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.ussalabama.com
The Track Family Recreation Center, 3200 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 251-968-8111 Located just north of the Intercoastal Canal Waterway, The Track features Miniature Golf, Go Karts, Bumper Boats, Skycoaster and an indoor arcade. Hours vary according to season. www.gulfshorestrack.com
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 11300 Hwy. 98 West, between Foley & Fairhope, 251-928-9792 This research and educational facility sits on 6,000 acres of protected shoreline which surrounds the estuary. It features nature trails, handicapped-accessible boardwalk trails, hummingbird and butterfly gardens and a Pitcher Plant Bog. An Interpretive Center displays historical and archaeological exhibits. The reserve also has classrooms, picnic areas and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 50. Open Mon-Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun. 1p.m. – 5 p.m. Closed State & Federal holidays. Reservations and Guided Tours are available. http://weeksbay.org