Bike Your Way Through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

The cooler air of fall has arrived and many residents and visitors are looking for outdoor activities on theAlabama Gulf Coast. Biking is a popular land-based adventure that offers exercise and site seeing at the same time.  Get in touch with Mother Nature and have fun biking along the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach trails.

Alabama State Parks are celebrating a milestone this year – its 75th anniversary. Celebrate by hopping on a bike and exploring miles of trails including the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail where hikers and riders can see marshes, sand dunes, swamps and creeks. The Backcountry Trails consist of 13.5 miles, six trails and seven distinct ecosystems.

The trails run from Orange Beach to Gulf Shores in the wilderness part of the State Park. There you will find a biking friendly culture and peaceful natural surroundings that will keep you coming back for more.  Biking is a great way to escape the big city lights and hustle and bustle so you can clear your thoughts and appreciate your surroundings. If you are visiting Fort Morgan Road, Coyote Crossing is a 6 mile trail that is an extension of the Backcountry Trail.

Many visitors to the Gulf Coast do not want to have to haul a bicycle from home to the beach. We completely understand and so does Infinity Bicycles. Located in Orange Beach, they offer rentals and are conveniently located less than a mile from one of the entrances to the park. They also offer group rides every Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The early morning ride is theRoad Ride and is 30-35 miles in and around Orange Beach. The Leisure Ride is later and more casual through the Backcountry Trail.

Biking is an adventure and regardless of the temperature outside, you should always pack enough water and keep safe by wearing a helmet.  There are so many great trails located on the Alabama Coast that you should avoid the busy highways and take advantage of the nature trails. Ride safe and please leave us a comment on your biking tips.

Sail Away with Wild Hearts

If you looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend time with your family on the water instead of in the water, then Sail Wild Hearts is for you. You can’t imagine a more perfect day to go sailing. The sun was shining and there was a late summer breeze. Sail Wild Hearts owner, Ted Scarritt, was more than thrilled to have us on a sail. The dock is located in the heart of Orange Beach about a mile from Turquoise Place, a Spectrum Resorts’ property.



Colby Turner, Revenue and Marketing Director 

Growing up in the area, I’ve spent plenty of time cruising the Gulf and the back bays in center consoles, pontoon boats and jet-skis, but hitting the open water on a sail boat was a new experience for me.  First, I was surprised at just how fast the boat was able to move with only the wind pushing us along.  It also made for a much quieter and relaxing boat ride being able to hear the breeze and the water instead of the constant scream of a boat motor.

The boat is stunning in and of itself.  At 53 feet long, Sail Wild Hearts is easily the largest boat that I’ve been on, and the open deck provides a ton of room for everyone to make their way around the boat comfortably.  The crew was very hospitable and took the time to explain some of the finer points of sailing a boat so large.  If you’re looking to get out of the sun, the cabin area is also very spacious with plenty of seating.  You’ll also find two restrooms and even a bar below deck.


Veronica Petkov, Public Relations

I have had the pleasure on sailing Wild Hearts before and each trip brings something completely different.  Even the dock walk is a time to take it all in and enjoy the natural settings.

Wild Hearts was immaculately clean and there were cold drinks and snacks waiting. We started to set sail immediately and when passing the islands, I had memories of me on Robinson Island wishing I was on Wild Hearts when it passed by. Imagine the sweet sound of Mother Nature’s cool breezes, the sight of pure-white beaches and the Gulf of Mexico.

Being on the water is completely relaxing for me, especially knowing that the next couple hours are a ‘Calgon Take Me Away” moment. It was nice to see the Alabama Gulf Coast from a different perspective. The gulf view has another meaning when out in the Gulf looking in. The sail was perfect because of the friendly and professional crew and the quite sounds you can only hear without a motor.

Thank you for sailing away with us on Sail Wild Hearts. For additional information on other must do area activities, click the link below. We are looking forward to you reading about our next trip to Lulu’s at 5’Oclock Somewhere in Gulf Shores. Comment below and tell us at Spectrum Resorts where you ike to go.


Take a Step Back in Time at the National Naval Aviation Museum

Visiting the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida was like taking a step back in time.  As soon as we drove onto the navy base, there was an overwhelming patriotic feeling that came over us. Service men and women risk their lives every day and the museum is one of many ways they are honored. Admission to the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum is free, so it makes for a great family outing or group excursion.


Veronica Petkov, Public Relations

We were greeted immediately upon entering the state-of-the-art museum by very polite and well dressed volunteers. Our group chose to walk through on our own but on my next visit, I will take the tour. The 350,000 square feet exhibit is on 37-acres and it took us over 2 hours to do a complete walkthrough.

The first plane that caught my attention was the first plane to make the flight over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1919. Albert Cushing Read (1887-1967) was the pilot-in-command for the NC-4 aircraft during the historic trans-Atlantic flight. It was the “Mightiest Aeroplane of the Day.”

The Museum showcases over 150 restored planes representing the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. In addition to the planes, the museum is home to flight simulators, Blue Angels X4D Experience and my favorite, the Virtual Flight Deck. The Flight Deck exhibit was a brief look into the operations “on board” an aircraft carrier.  That is the closest I will ever be to experiencing the wind, smell and rumble of an aircraft catapult.


Colby Turner, Revenue and Marketing Director

Growing up in the area, the Naval Aviation Museum is something that I visited often with my family when I was younger.  I was always intrigued by the amazing collection that the museum had put together, but it has been many years since I have been to museum and I honestly didn’t know how much I would enjoy it as an adult.  Well, I can absolutely say that even as an adult visiting the Naval Aviation Museum is an awe inspiring day trip.

I wouldn’t consider myself a history buff by any stretch of the imagination, so I was surprised by how the history grabbed me on this trip.  The museum’s collection of airplanes and naval artifacts is staggering with over 150 aircraft stored from floor to ceiling.  I was most interested in the Curtiss NC-4 which was the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.  The NC-4’s trip took 19 days to complete and started in New York State and ended in Lisbon Portugal.

The Naval Aviation Museum has also worked hard to add interactive attractions.  The IMAX theatre offers three films with a showing every hour beginning at 10:00am and ending at 4:00pm.  I was talked into taking a literal spin on the flight simulator which puts you and another person in the cockpit of a fighter jet on a training mission.  I also enjoyed the virtual aircraft carrier simulation which walks you through the enormous efforts it takes to operate an aircraft carrier as well as a simulation of the conditions experienced by the crew on the flight deck.

All in all, it was a very interesting trip and I was surprised by just how much I still enjoyed the museum as an adult.  Any travelers looking for a fun day trip off of the beach will not be disappointed with a trip to the Naval Aviation Museum.

We hope you find this information useful. Plese leave us a comment if you have tips or suggestions on the National Naval Aviation Museum. Click the link below to read about additional day trips along the Alabama Gulf Coast.


Liven Up Your Beach Vacation with a Skate Park, Alligators and Laser Tag

There are several activities in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that the entire family will find entertaining.  From putt-putt golf and go-karts to arcades and water parks there is something for everyone.  Sometimes, though, the more adventurous family members can get bored with the same activities year in and year out and want something a little different.  No worries, the Gulf Coast has the bases covered there as well.  Here are three activities you can find near the coast that everyone can enjoy but are more interesting for those looking for something a little out of the box.

Hit the Rails at the Gulf Shores Skate Park                 

Not many people know that there is a skateboard park located in Gulf Shores.  Located on West 3rd Street, the park is open Monday – Saturday from 12pm to 8pm and from 1pm to 8pm on Sundays during the spring and summer season.  During fall and winter, the hours change to 3:30pm – 8pm Monday – Friday and from 1pm – 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.  The “street oriented” park features half pipes, quarter pipes, rails and more.  The skate park is located next to the Gulf Shores Kids Park and the Bodenhamer Center which offers family friendly activities and facilities like indoor and outdoor pools, a game center, basketball courts, dry sauna, fitness center and more.

Hold an Alligator at Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley opened in 2004 and is now home to over 450 alligators.  All of the residents at Alligator Alley were transferred to the farm after being found in areas with a heavy human population.  Take a guided tour of the facility where you can see the feeding crew enter the alligator’s habitat to feed them, and even
get the chance to hold a baby alligator.  Alligator Alley is also the home to the world famous Captain Crunch.  Crunch is known for holding the world record for measured bite strength coming in at almost 3,000 pounds!  Alligator Alley is open seven days a week from 10am – 5pm.  Admission is $10 per person for adults, $8 per person for children age four to twelve and children three and under get in free.

Enter a Futuristic War Zone at The Gulf Bowl

The Gulf Bowl has been a favorite hangout spot for locals since 1959.  Don’t let this bowling alley’s age fool you, the owners have made continuous improvements and additions to keep this place on the cutting edge of family entertainment.  Their newest addition may be their most fun yet, a multi-level laser tag arena that pits teams of friends and families against others in a battle for laser tag dominance.  If teamwork isn’t your thing, then cover your own back and play chaos mode where it’s every man and woman for themselves.  The Gulf Bowl also features an arcade with over 30 games and a redemption counter as well as 24 bowling lanes.  There is also an on-site restaurant, Captain’s Choice, that offers seafood as well southern favorites like fried pickles and corn fritters.

We hope you find these suggestions helpful.  Let us know if you have found any fun and unique activities that your family enjoys during your trips to the coast.  If you’re interested in learning more about activities in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, check out our blog’s activities page for more info.


The Thunder Rolls on the Coast August 22

Thunder is the last sound you want to hear when you are relaxing on Alabama’s beautiful beaches unless it’s the roaring sound coming from Thunder on the Gulf. Fans of all ages are eagerly anticipating the annual powerboat races on the liquid race course in Orange Beach. The speed, the adrenaline and the anticipation of seeing what high powered speed boat is going to win are memories in the making.

The Gulf Coast Powerboat Association announced the creation of the Flora-Bama Shootout Grand Prix Championship. This year fans can take advantage of two exciting race days by viewing two races in two different cities in the same weekend.  The 11th Annual Thunder on the Gulf is in Orange Beach on August 22 and the Inaugural ThunderRun Super Boat Grand Prix is in Pensacola on August 24. Both locations are only a short drive apart so you can cheer on racers in both Alabama and Florida.

Thunder on the Gulf is a well-known event recommended by many travel industry experts and it draws in teams and fans from around the country and world. This fun-filled event has been named by The Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for August 2014.

Festivities will begin at the famous Flora-Bama Yacht Club for a meet and greet with race teams and to celebrate Flora-Bama’s 50th anniversary. All ages are welcome to this historic party on Thursday, August 21. This year’s race is being called the “Flora-Bama Shootout” in honor of their half a century anniversary. After the Welcome Party, The Marshall Tucker Band will take the stage and bring their Thunder to the Gulf at The Wharf’s Amphitheater for the official kick off concert.

Thunder on the Gulf is a family-friendly event and can be viewed by thousands of spectators. Viewers can watch the race from any Orange Beach public beach accesses for free.  The liquid race course runs from Perdido Pass west to the boundary of Gulf State Park.  VIP Pass Packages are available for admittance into the VIP Tent at Race Central at Island House Hotel in Orange Beach and the VIP Tent at Plaza de Luna in Pensacola. Kid’s VIP passes are also available for kids age 12 and under.

For the first time ever, Thunder on the Gulf is offering an elite Platinum VIP Experience that will include access to watch the race from the 29th floor at Turquoise Place for a bird’s eye view of the race.  Included in the Experience is lunch, drink tickets, live entertainment and access to the VIP tent in Pensacola.  Click hereto reserve your VIP Passes or Platinum VIP Experience Passes.

Platinum VIP Pass Package          $160.00

VIP Pass Package                        $126.50

Kids VIP Pass                              $27.50

For a complete list of Thunder on the Gulf events, visit

If you’re looking for the perfect location to view the races, check out the Thunder on the Gulf free night special at Turquoise Place.

Thinking About Renting a Boat During Your Vacation? Here’s Where to Go

Charter fishing and dolphin cruises are great family activities for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacationers, but sometimes you want to be the captain instead of a passenger.  No worries, there are several boat rental options available, and we’ve combed through them all to let you know which are the best in the area to save you time and money on your next vacation.

Wallace Boat Rentals, Your One Stop Shop

Wallace Boat Rentals in Orange Beach offers the most convenient rental experience at the lowest prices.  They offer pontoon, fishing, and runabout rentals all starting at just $185 for four hours.  Life jackets, boating instructions and even a map of the waterways are all included in your rental.  If you’re new to boating they
will even give you a boating tutorial before you hit the water, and a boating license is not required for rentals.

If you’re looking to do some fishing, Wallace Boat Rentals has you covered there too.  Rods and reels are available with your rental for $7 each.  And if you have a dog that loves the water as much as you do, you can bring them along as well.   Reservations are recommended, but not required.  Overnight rentals are also available upon request.

Legacy Boat Club, Great for Repeat Visitors

Legacy Boat Club in Orange Beach offers a membership plan specifically designed for vacationers that is a little pricier upfront, but can help you save big over the years.  Legacy charges a one time initiation fee of $990, but once the initiation fee is paid members enjoy unlimited boat usage for only $690 per week.  This is a great option for serious boaters that vacation on the Gulf Coast every year.

The Legacy fleet consists of jet boats, deck boats, pontoon boats and waverunners.  And Legacy employs a professional team of boat detailers and mechanics so the boats are always clean and ready to go when you are.  There is even an option for members to purchase the boats from the club as new models are added.

There are other rental options available in the area, but Wallace Boat Rentals and Legacy Boat Club both offer some upside over the competition.  Enjoy exploring the waterways and back bays surrounding Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and if you’re getting ready to take your summer vacation be sure to check out our post on tips for dodging traffic on your way to the beach.


What Beach Bunnies Need to Know to Plan an Easter Beach Trip

Holidays are always special on the Gulf Coast, and Easter is no exception. There’s a multitude of special Easter Sunday services, brunches, egg hunts and other festivals being planned for the weekend. So, whether you want to start a new tradition or make sure you family doesn’t miss any of its old traditions while you are on vacation, here’s a guide to some of the special activities being planned for Easter weekend.

Easter Sunday Services

Worship on the Water. 11 a.m. Honky Tonk-style worship service at the Flora-Bama.

Gulf Shores United Methodist Church. 6:30 a.m. sunrise service at the Hangout.

Gulf State Park. 6 a.m. non-denominational sunrise service at the beach pavilion.

Romar Baptist Church. 7 a.m. sunrise service on the beach featuring the Glorymen and Gladheart.

Easter Brunch/Activities  

LuLu’s at Homeport Marina. Egg hunt starts at 2 p.m., and the Easter Bunny will be on hand taking pictures.

The Hangout. Billed as “The Island’s Largest Kids Easter Egg Hunt.” Brunch begins at 8 a.m. Activities for the kids begin at 11 a.m.

The Beach Club. The Beach Club’s Easter Jazz Buffet features more than 25 items. After brunch, the
continues on the Village Lawn from noon – 2 p.m., where there will be a petting zoo, pictures with the Easter Bunny, live music by This Side of 49, train rides and an Egg Dash starting at 1 p.m. Make reservations by calling 866-966-6451.

Perdido Beach Resort offers an Easter Buffet of traditional family favorites in their grand ballroom from 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. Brunch includes a visit from the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt at 12:30 p.m. For reservations, call 251-981-9811.

Louisiana Pantry at the Wharf. Brunch on April 19 and 20 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with a special Bunny appearance at each brunch. Bring your own camera to take photos.

Easter Brunch Cruise— Alabama Cruises, 4575 South Wilson Boulevard, Orange Beach. Enjoy Easter Brunch as you cruise the waters near Perdido Pass from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 251-973-1244.

Saturday Egg Hunts/Festivals

Funny Bunny Fun Run. April 19 at 8 a.m., The Gulf, 27500 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach. No entry fee to participate in this non-competitive 1.5-mile fun run back and forth across Perdido Pass Bridge. Live music, prize for the funniest costume and Slip ‘n Slide at the Gulf Restaurant.

Bear Point Civic Association Easter Egg Hunt, April 19 at 11 a.m., Bear Point Civic Association Park, 5761 Bay La Launch Ave. Orange Beach. Hotdogs, hamburgers and drinks will be served until 1 p.m. Also includes Easter Bunny pictures, a bake sale and a raffle.

The Wharf, April 19 at 11 a.m.Free Easter egg hunt plus face painting and balloon artists on the lawn.

Flora-Bama, April 19 at 2 p.m., the Flora-Bama hosts a family friendly Easter Egg Hunt.

If you know of other events being planned for Easter weekend, please add them in the comment section below.

5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Spring Break Vacation Rental

March is finally here and that means more and more families will be heading to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for Spring Break. With so many vacation rental options available, deciding where to stay can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you and your family pick the perfect rental for your Spring Break vacation.

1. Heated Pools Warm-up Spring

Spring weather on the Alabama Coast can be a little unpredictable. The temperatures may be in the 80s one day and in the 60s the next. Even if the sun is out, the water may still be too chilly for taking a dip. That’s why finding a property that has a heated pool or even a heated lazy river is a must for a spring vacation. There are several properties along the coast that have a heated indoor pool, but if you want to be able to swim AND work on your tan, you’ll need to stay somewhere that has a heated outdoor pool as well.

2. Rent Gulf Front for Easy Beach Access

Properties that sit directly on the Gulf of Mexico not only have the best views; they also have the most
convenient beach access. If you don’t want to have to pack the car to drive to a public beach, then a Gulf-front rental is the way to go. And if you rent with a property that provides beach chair rentals, you’ll have even less to carry. Just grab some beach toys and a cooler with snacks and a few drinks, and you’re ready to hit the sand.

3. Onsite Dining Means Less Stress

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are very popular Spring Break destinations, and the restaurants in the area typically have long waits during March and April. Look for a property that offers at least one onsite dining option. This will allow you to grab a bite without having to get out of your bathing suits or take a number and wait an hour to eat when the kids are already hungry.

4. Onsite Amenities and Activities

Look for a property that has a lot of onsite amenities and planned activities. There are some local resorts that have so many onsite amenities that you could stay for several days without having to leave the property for other entertainment. Some also have planned free planned activities for the kids, which can save you money in the long run if you do not have to hit the arcades or amusement parks every day.

5. Middle of the Action or Privacy?

Do you want to be in the middle of the action or you looking for privacy and seclusion? If you want to be near shops, restaurants and entertainment options, then choosing a property in the heart of Orange Beach or Gulf Shores is the way to go. However, if you are looking for get away from the noise and distractions in your life, then check out a resort on Fort Morgan Road.


The 5 Best Day Trips to Make on Your Family’s Beach Vacation

Just a short drive from the Alabama Gulf Coast, there are some world-class attractions that draw thousands of visitors a year. So, you might think about planning a day or two into your next family vacation to check out some of these area attractions.

Battleship USS Alabama

History buffs shouldn’t miss this chance to see a real World War II hero. Prior to being decommission in 1947, The Battleship USS Alabama had quite a storied past.

Known as the “Hero of the Pacific,” the Alabama served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. At the end of the war, she embarked 700 sailors, principally members of Navy construction battalions (or “Seabees”), as a part of her mission in Operation Magic Carpet to return American servicemen home as soon as possible. The Alabama accumulated nine U.S. Navy battle stars for her World War II service.

The Alabama was taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship in 1965. Visitors are allowed to view the inside of the main gun turrets and anti-aircraft guns. And thanks to the addition of a stairway, you can also see the powder magazine.

USS Battleship Alabama, 2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, AL. Open every day except Christmas Day. Admission: Age 12 & up: $15; Ages 6-11: $6; Active or Retired Military and under age 6: Free; Discounts for groups, senior citizen, military dependents and AAA Members.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Walter Bellingrath once said “The gardens are like a beautiful woman with a different gown for each week of the year.” Bellingrath, the first Coca-Cola bottler in Alabama, originally bought the property in 1917 as a fishing camp.

Even though Bellingrath Gardens is famous for it’s azaleas and award-winning roses, there is literally something blooming year-round in the 65-acre garden estate. Camellia blooms in winter, azaleas in spring, roses in the summer, chrysanthemums in autumn and, during the holiday season, the garden turns into a Magic Christmas in Lights.

You can also tour the Bellingrath Home, complete with its original furnishings and Mrs. Bellingrath’s extensive collection of decorative arts. Built in 1935, the 10,500- square-foot home was designed by prominent architect, George B. Rogers.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, AL. Open year-round 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. except certain holidays. Admission: Garden only: Adults, $12.50; Children (5-12), $7. Garden and Home: Adults, $20.50; Children (5-12), $12.50.

Downtown Fairhope

A popular wintering spot for artist and intellectuals (including Sherwood Anderson and Upton Sinclair) in the early 1900s, downtown Fairhope surprises you with its beauty, history and charm.

Located just off the shore of Mobile Bay, the vibrant downtown scene is complete with art galleries, boutiques, bookstores, antique shops and even restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network.

Each season of the year brings different festivals, art shows and concerts to downtown Fairhope.

National Naval Aviation Museum/ NAS Pensacola Pensacola_Naval_Museum

The National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida.  The museum, which is located at NAS Pensacola, showcases more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing the Navy, the Marine and the Coast Guard.

Once you’ve looked at the planes, don’t miss the opportunity  to simulate flying in one of the museum’s interactive exhibits. They have an IMAX theater (with the largest screen in Florida), a 3D Flight Simulators, a Blue Angel 4D experience, cockpit trainers, a virtual flight deck and a Kiddie Hawk Play area.

The 3D Flight Simulators allow you to experience horizontal rolls, longitudinal pitches and vertical climbs in a multi-sensory experience. Or check out the Blue Angels 4D experience and feel like you’re the pilot in a Blue Angel’s air show.

Naval Aviation Museum, 1750 Radford Blvd., Pensacola, FL.  Admission is free to the museum, cockpit trainers and Kiddie Hawk Play area. The IMAX theater, the 3D Flight Simulators and 4D Blue Angel experience are priced separately. Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

Voted one of the  Top 15 Science Centers in the country, the Exploreum is the only science technology center serving south Alabama, south Mississippi and northwest Florida.

Exploreum visitors can experience more than 150 hands-on science adventures in three permanent galleries: Hands On Hall, the Wharf of Wonder, and My BodyWorks, the most advanced health exhibit in the nation.

The Exploreum also features large-scale, family friendly, interactive traveling exhibits, demonstrations and an IMAX theater.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, 65 Government Street, Mobile, AL. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Admission: $16 for adults, $15 for seniors and young adults (age 13-18) and $13.50 for children (2-12).

Leave a comment below if you have a favorite day trip that we didn’t cover here.


Six Must Do Activities for Your Family’s Spring Break

With the brutal winter of 2014 almost behind us, many folks are eagerly looking forward to Spring Break on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It’s great to spend your spring vacation relaxing on the sugar white sand, but Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also offer many family activities for when you’re not playing in the surf.

Get on Track

Not surprisingly, go-karts are the main attraction at The Track. The more adventurous members of you family will probably head for the Wild Woody, a three-story spiraling wooden track. However, The Track also has a classic go-kart track with single and double-seated karts so that everyone in the family can participate. There are even special tracks for drivers as young as 5-years-old (Kiddie and Rookie Karts).

After a few circles around the track, check out the River Boat Miniature Golf course and Kid’s Country with rides, a Ferris wheel and carousels for pint-sized patrons.

The older kids may want to head over to the Sky Coaster, a free-fall experience from up to 110 feet at speeds of 70 mph.

The Track uses a carnival-type ticket system for all rides and attractions. Tickets can be purchased online beforehand for a 10 percent discount. The Track— Family Recreation Center, 3200 Gulf Shores Pkwy.

One-Stop for Fun

You could spend an hour or a full day at the Wharf where there are plenty of shops, restaurants and attractions to keep you and the kids occupied.

Marking the grand entrance to the Wharf is the southeast’s tallest Ferris Wheel. You can get a great overview of Orange Beach from the top of the wheel, which is over 112-feet tall.

The Ferris Wheel just happens to be located next to the Carmike Wharf 15, which shows all the latest movie releases.

Or if you are in the mood to do something a little more active, check out Arena the Next Level, where kids of all ages can play Laser Tag or Bazooka Ball.

The Wharf, 4830 Main Street, Orange Beach.

And for Your Next Adventure

Adventure Island is built around a five-story volcano that erupts regularly with fire, sound and vibrations.

There are plenty of other main attractions at Adventure Island. You’ll find rides and games for the entire family including go-karts, paddle-boats, two 18-hole miniature golf courses, bumper boats, laser tag, a rock-climbing wall and an arcade.

Adventure Island also features several rides for the smaller set, and the Alligator Alley Arcade has more than 100 video and redemption games.

Adventure Island, located in the heart of Orange Beach across the street from Seaside Beach & Racquet. Open 9:30 a.m. – midnight. Hours vary during the off-season.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade

Featuring more than 65 of the most popular games on the market, you can find everything from skee ball and basketball free throws to Guitar Hero, racing games, interactive games, kids games and lots more at Fat Daddy’s Arcade. Many of the featured games award tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade is open daily at 10 a.m. Off-season hours may vary. Located in the heart of Orange Beach next to Bubba’s Seafood on Perdido Beach Blvd.

Zip the Gulf

One of the newest and one of the most adventurous recreation options on the Gulf Coast opened up last
year at Gulf State Park. The Hummingbird Ziplines, consisting of seven towers and six ziplines as high as 90 feet off the ground, offers a high flying adventure for the entire family. The mile-long course takes two hours to complete while offering spectacular views of the gator pond and Lake Shelby.

Hummingbird Ziplines, a zipline tour costs $79 for adults and $59 for children 12 and under. Discounts may apply for groups larger than 12.

Pet a kangaroo

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an interactive zoo with more than 500 exotic animals and a petting zoo. In spring and summer, you can even play with the babies—including tigers, kangaroos and lemurs.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, 1204 Gulf Shores Pkwy. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children ages 3-12 and free for children 2 and under.

Leave us a comment to let us know what family activities you and your family enjoy most on your Spring Break vacations!