Leave behind the traditional classroom setting and come have a lesson or two in Coastal Alabama. Take to the water, visit with animals or explore the truly great outdoors. This is a summer school you and your family will love.
ESTUARIUM EXPERIENCES ON DAUPHIN ISLAND
Any time of the year a visit to The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a fun and educational experience. In the 10,000 square foot exhibit hall, you can check out 31 aquariums totaling more than 30,000 gallons of water with more than 100 species. Outside, be sure to stop by the 7,000 gallon sting ray touch pool. On the first and third Wednesday, attend the free Boardwalk Talk to hear from experts on a wide range of environmental topics. (No Talk on July 4.)
During the summer the Estuarium features excursions for a more in-depth experience. The Salt March Summer Excursion (June 28, July 12, 19, 26) explores our fascinating coastal wetlands that are so vital to the estuary system. The Beach Dune and Maritime Forest Excursion (June 21, July 3) takes a closer look at the beach dunes and the role they play. The walk continues through the maritime forest. Plan your visit and excursion.
KAYAKING IN NORTH BALDWIN COUNTY
When something is as large as the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the best way to explore it is to get small with a kayak or canoe tour in North Baldwin County.
With the Bartram Canoe Trail, canoers and kayakers can explore the rivers, streams, lakes and bayous that comprise the Delta. Overnight options are available with two land-based and four floating platform campsites.
Pop Quiz! Who is Bartram? The trail was named in honor of William Bartram who explored the North Baldwin County area between 1773 and 1778. His illustrated journals are an inspiration to those wanting to discover our natural world.
Learn more on the North Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce’s website.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE IN MOBILE
Secretly Awesome Harbor Tour. Photo from WildNative Tours.You catch a brief glimpse of Mobile’s working port as you drive by on the interstate. But wouldn’t it be cool to be up close to these massive cranes as they unload cargo from around the globe? Or to see the USS ALABAMA Battleship from the water?
You can view these landmarks and much more with WildNative Tours in Mobile. On board the pontoon boat, the captain navigates along providing unique views of Causeway restaurants, the I-10 elevated traffic, the port, Mobile’s Convention Center, and even the newest vessels being built at the Austal facility.
ENCOUNTERS AT THE ALABAMA GULF COAST ZOO
What does a sloth eat? What is a tamandua? What does a lemur’s fur feel like? Get the answers to these questions and more when you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores. With an encounter experience, you can step inside the enclosure and get up close and personal with a sloth, a tamandua, an energetic bunch of lemurs, and curious kangaroos.
New to the zoo this summer is the Gulf Coast Mining Company. This is a hands-on experience panning for gemstones and fossils. Purchase a bag of mining rough and allow the gentle stream to reveal your treasures. An informative brochure helps you determine what gemstone or fossil you have.
Talk about summer school fun! Plan your zoo adventures.
OUTDOOR FUN AT FOLEY’S GRAHAM CREEK NATURE PRESERVE
With close to 500 acres of natural habitats to explore, you can leave behind the commerical areas and quickly be surrounded by pine savannas, bottomland wetlands, tidal marshes and forests. All of this natural beauty is only two miles from the Foley Beach Express.
Throughout the year you can hike, bike, launch your canoe or kayak, play disc golf or have a picnic. Wildlife and birds are a common sight.
During the summer months the preserve features Explore Days to focus on specific topics. On June 29, get dirty with International Mud Day Observe & Explore. In July, it’s Snakes, Frogs and Turtles (July 5) and Shorelines (July 21). August offers Slugs, Bugs and Snails (August 1) and Treasure Trees (August 18).
See the full lineup of summer events online.
CARNIVOROUS PLANTS AT WEEKS BAY
Gain a new respect for seemingly benign plants when you visit the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog in South Baldwin County. In this diverse habitat you can see these beautiful plants and learn how they capture insects and small creatures to supplement the nutrients they receive from the soil.
Start your visit at the Weeks Bay Visitor Center to get acclimated to the area. Take a walk along the nature trails and look for the many water fowl and other animals who rely on this ecosystem.
The center is located on Highway 98 between Fairhope and Foley, just west of the Fish River Bridge. Find out more on their website.
There are plenty of lessons to learn in Coastal Alabama summer school. Plan your next educational adventure with our Day Trips section.