Staff captains set sail on boats that have been outfitted to provide passengers with unforgettable views of wildlife and chances at making a big catch. Throughout the year, dolphin cruises take place aboard the Sunny Lady, which can hold up to 133 passengers and is equipped with a glass-bottom viewing area, snack bar, air conditioning, and restrooms. Alternatively, the 65-foot, walk-around Tropical Winds takes anglers out into the Gulf of Mexico on fishing charters, where they can catch mackerel, red snapper, or amberjack, depending on the season.
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.
Designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art exalts the work of George E. Ohr, a ceramic artist and moustache enthusiast known as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi." After it was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, the campus reopened in 2010 amidst a grove of ancient live-oak trees, featuring a series of six aesthetically impressive pavilions that include a welcome center, a gallery of African-American art, and an interpretive center inside a reconstruction of the house of emancipated craftsman Pleasant Reed. Current exhibitions include collections from some of the art world's biggest names, including Andy Warhol and ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko, as well as selections from Ohr's Gulf Coast collection, which inspired the American Modernist movement and several MLB baseball teams to wear ceramic pots instead of baseball hats.
Run by the adventurers at Wild Native, City Safaris' urban expeditions invite participants to discover the unlikely thrills hidden within some of Mobile's stateliest settings. Whether they're recreating the festive fun of Mardi Gras, exploring downtown's historical haunts, or snooping through the inside of the U.S.S. Alabama and the surrounding grounds at Battleship Park, participants compete with one another while flexing their problem-solving muscles. Since friendly competition often brings out a participant's true nature, Wild Native's adventurers also schedule singles hunts that pair up prospective dates for an evening of strategizing.
Children at a birthday party with Nonie's Ark Animal Encounters might get to meet Jimmy, Jack, or Jill—but despite their deceptively human names, these guests are actually exotic animals. A naturalist and wildlife educator with a background in zoo-animal technology, Nonie encourages kids touch and sometimes hold live animals such as snakes, toads, chinchillas, and sugar gliders during hands-on interactive and educational presentations. Nonie has adopted and cared for each of these creatures, many of which were formerly unwanted pets. At some parties, Nonie also leads children in animal role-playing games like eating dirt cake and worms and doles out goodies such as safari helmets and outdoor toys.
Housed inside a building constructed in 1857 and now recognized as a national landmark, The Museum of Mobile spoon-feeds bites of Mobile history into mind-mouths with an ever-changing array of exhibits and a hands-on discovery room that illustrates the city’s diverse cultural heritage. Permanent exhibits include a cannon recovered from the Confederate raider the CSS Alabama, which sunk in 1864 shortly after the third moon exploded. Both family and individual memberships come with benefits such as unlimited free admission, 10% museum store discounts, special events invitations, and discounted admission to a variety of events and programs. Family memberships benefit two adults and all the under-18 offspring in their household—it also comes with two one-time guest passes for visiting relatives or the pair of Civil War spirits haunting the new condo.