The USS Alabama spent 37 months in active duty during World War II. It earned nine battle stars and never suffered significant damage from enemy fire. Following this illustrious military career, the battleship was set to be scrapped because of the prohibitive cost of maintaining a wartime fleet. But in 1964, Alabama schoolchildren put forth a fierce fundraising campaign and raised $100,000 to save the ship. Their efforts inspired a corporate sponsor to supply the $1 million balance, and the navy donated the ship. And so the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park was born.
Today, the ship rests safe and sound in the harbor—a 680-foot mammoth whose enormous mass displaces more than 44,500 tons of water. More than 13 million visitors have trod its deck, wandered through its passages, and gazed at its 29 16-inch and .38-caliber guns.
Resting alongside the ship, the WWII submarine USS Drum welcomes visitors to explore inside its labyrinthine hull, inviting them to climb through hatches and imagine what life would be like if every doorway were round. The memorial park also houses a cavalcade of military equipment, vehicles, and aircraft on display, including a T-55 Iraqi tank, a Cold War–era Lockheed A-12 Blackbird, and a World War II–era Douglas C-47D Skytrain.
In 2005, The Funplex of Gulf Breeze opened its doors to kids looking for competitive and recreational coaching in cheerleading and gymnastics. Over time, the demand grew so much that the facility expanded to its current 30,000-squre-foot venue, which serves the community with an even bigger variety of activities. Guests of honor have several options for birthday parties, including bounce-house sessions, princess-themed blowouts, private time on the gymnastics equipment, or instruction from a stuntman coach. Even adults can get in on the facility’s fun by taking Zumba dance fitness classes.
The site of the 1969 USGA Women's U.S. Open, Scenic Hills Country Club remains Florida's only course to host a USGA U.S. Open. But that's not the only thing that separates the 6,730-yard track from many of its Sunshine State counterparts. Unlike many courses that run through flat wetlands, Scenic Hills ripples over significant elevation changes—a characteristic that emerges at the first hole, a challenging, 443-yard par-four that plays downhill. The hills feed into a river and pond that, together, come into play on six holes, some of which force golfers to fly the ball directly over the hazard or bribe a frog with a backpack to swim it safely to the other side.
Alongside the course, separate greens for chipping and putting help golfers hone their scoring touch, and a driving range fosters full-swing practice. After a day at the links, golfers can enjoy a salad, sandwich, or other American-style dining at Caponi's Grille, named for 1969 U.S. Women's Open winner Donna Caponi.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,730 yards from the tips * Course rating of 73.4 from the tips * Slope rating of 130 from the tips * Five tee options