Home of the 1st Mardi Gras in the US
Mobile knows it can't compete with the New Orleans Mardi Gras, but if you're looking for something a bit less crazy and where the celebration began, Mobile is the place. 1703 was the 1st time Mardi Gras was celebrated in the US and the oldest "mystic" societies are still here. 2 weeks before Fat Tuesday, there are balls, parades and lots of other parties...the celebration doesn't die down until Ash Wednesday.
The Estuarium at Dauphin Island
The Sea Lab has an Estuarium down on Dauphin Island that's open to the public for a very reasonable price. I LOVE this place. Bobby is very familiar with the Mobile area and I wanted to take him to something that I didn't think he had been to but would REALLY enjoy. I was right! No matter how often I go, I love this place. It's not just any old aquarium but it's only things that can be found locally from the Delta to the gulf. Turtles, fish, alligators, eels, jellyfish...exhibits on birds and invasive plants as well. It's SO well set up and informative. Though I put it off the beaten path, it's much more a must see activity. Truly a wonderful place. When you first go in, there's a short video showing you the area and its importance as a natural and environmental resource. It seems at times, people from this area lose site of its importance and forget what a special, fragile and unique ecosystem they live in. To see more of the estuarium, check out my travelogue.
Take the DIP (Dauphin Island Parkway) to 193 into Dauphin Is. From the T intersection, take a left down to the SeaLab
When I lived in Biloxi, MS, we made several trips to Dauphin Island where there are great beaches, bird sanctuaries, a lighthouse, a nice town with a fishing pier, and historic Fort Gaines. In the early 1700s, this tiny island village was the capital of all French Territory in North America, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the present Canadian border.
Construction on Fort Gaines began here in the mid-1800s, after some hard lessons learned in the War of 1812, but it was to be completely redesigned before completion in 1853. Fort Gaines earned some fame due to its role on the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, when Admiral Farragut spoke his famous words: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Fort Gaines along with Fort Morgan, had fallen into Confederate hands when the war began, and the entrance to the bay was mined with "torpedoes." Farragut led his fleet through the minefield, defeated the small Confederate fleet, and allowed the army to capture the forts, shutting down one of the Confederacy's last major ports.
Mobile Museum of Art
My Dad and Stepmother have given a large part of their art glass collection to the Mobile Museum and they have it displayed inside very nicely. I am sure they have moved stuff around since the opening of the exhibit, so look around for it, if you like art glass from around the world.
Mobile Botanical Gardens
Mobile Botanical Gardens
Mobile Botanical Gardens located on 100 acres is open year round from dawn to dusk, offering nature's splendor for walking or picnicking while enjoying the landscaped areas and nature trails.