The Montgomery Zoo houses more than 500 animals from five continents, including endangered species such as the Indian rhino, the slender-horned gazelle, and the jaguar. Explore more than 40 acres of landscaped, barrier-free habitats chock full of elephants and monkeys, and stop to feed otters, koi, and giraffes, who happily lap up treats from visitors as part of the zoo's Animal Encounters feature ($0.50–$2.00 for feed, not included in the Groupon). The aviary features birds flying about uncaged, taking instructions from loud-mouthed children, and the pedal-boat ride provides a 30-minute float on Crystal Lake.
Nestled on the barrier Gulf Coast, St. George Island boasts 22 miles of tranquil beaches and unblemished wildlife sanctuaries. Your relaxing stint in the sand begins at one of Tip Top Vacation Spot's furnished rental properties, outfitted for every family, couple, or couple of families looking to take bets on their children’s beach volleyball games. Rates start as low as $485 (standard fees not included) for a three-night stay in a quaint, two-bedroom villa during the low, summer season, and range upward of $3,600 for a week-long, mid-season stay at a five-bedroom house equipped to corral larger herds of vacationers.
The National Civil War Naval Museum takes modern-day visitors through the little-traveled footsteps of the sailors who fought in the Civil War, telling the story of the country's deadliest war from a naval point of view. Exhibits detail the technology and commerce that soldiers encountered, and provide a human backdrop with stories about soldiers and slaves affected by Civil War navies. Guided tours feature uniformed sailors who interpret the history of everyday life aboard a Civil War vessel or tell the story of a ship that served in the war. For a spookier outing, nighttime tours explore paranormal anomalies and analyze evidence from ghost investigations that happened in the museum.
Each fall, when the pumpkins are plump and the corn grows high, Dream Field Farms and Pumpkin Patch welcomes the public to its acres of family-friendly fun. Wander through the pumpkin patch to find the perfect canvas for carving a jack-o-lantern or place bets on the fastest looking piglet during high-stakes pig races. Elsewhere, a cow train chugs along toting passengers as little ones converse with farm animals inside the barn.
With a fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards, Bay Paddlesports gives guests a chance to glide across the coastal waters of Destin under their own steam. The coastal company rents out 12' Bote-brand paddleboards, which offer a sturdy perch on which guests can stand as they propel their vessel through the surf. Those who wish to sit back as they roam the tides can do so in one of Bay Paddlesports' Old Town–brand kayaks.
Under the right guidance, the clear blue waters around Destin's harbor become visible from every angle—the air, the surface, or deep below. Destin Snorkel leads a comprehensive roster of area adventure tours, granting guests total flexibility to join or leave their excursion at any time. Guides steer one of three boats through the bay, keeping all their participants' needed snorkeling or snuba gear onboard and unhaunted by pirate ghosts to allow frequent plunges into waters rich with seashells and wildlife. When not pausing at shallow-water dive sites, boats embark on day cruises for dolphin sightseeing tours or at night to showcase fireworks over the harbor skyline. Sea kayaks also allow visitors to venture off on their own into the waters around Crab Island and Holiday Isle.
Alternatively, FFA-certified flight instructors provide a different perspective, soaring over the coastline in beach-discovery flights. During any of the cruises and tours, guides may expound on the local ecosystem and the harbor's history, revealing whether the town's first civilians ever taught dolphins how to open their eyes above water.