The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The scientific beauty and wonder of the four key habitats of Coastal Alabama is the focus of the Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Located on the 17-mile-long island south of Mobile, it is surrounded by the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, barrier islands and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The Estuarium showcases the plants, animals and other natural resources found in its surrounding marine habitats and provides the perfect place for experiencing first-hand the inter-connectivity of man and nature.
Fall is the perfect time to join one of the free Boardwalk Talks on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 11:15 am. A wide array of topics such as climate change, habitat restoration, sea level changes and the “jaw dropping” topic of sharks are discussed by expert researchers, graduate students and educators. The Boardwalk Talks provide a fascinating way to learn about the animals living in the estuary, the dangers they face, and how you can protect their habitat. Summer excursions programs are also a way for the public to engage with the experts and experience the habitats surrounding the island.
Included in the facility are 31 aquariums totaling more than 30,000 gallons of water and more than 100 species on display for public viewing and enjoyment. One of the most popular is the 7,000-gallon Sting Ray Touch Pool. Numerous interactive exhibits put you in the center of the above-ground and underwater action.
Plan your visit at disl.org/estuarium
Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary
Alabama’s coastal areas are also teaming with our feathered friends and Dauphin Island offers some of the best viewing opportunities around. In addition to being named one of the top four locations in North American for viewing spring migrations, the National Audubon Society has designated the Island as being “Globally Important” for bird migrations. Incredibly, of the 445 species documented in Alabama presently, 95% have been observed on the island.
To enjoy birding on the Island head to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and put your binoculars and cameras to use. Five trails of varying length will lead you to discoveries. Be sure to visit dauphinisland.org/audubon-bird-sanctuary to get your Sanctuary brochure which includes a bird sighting checklist.
Estuarium photos courtesy of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Audubon Bird Sanctuary photos from Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board.
For more nature adventures, check out our Day Trips and visit our partners’ websites.