On April 7, 1932, Walter and Bessie Bellingrath invited the public to peruse their private gardens for an afternoon. They expected only a handful of garden aficionados, but instead more than 5,000 locals flocked to see the Bellingrath's azaleas. The crowds were so massive that the Mobile police were called in to direct traffic. Two years later, the couple officially opened Bellingrath Gardens as a year-round attraction.
These days, new flower varieties are always blooming across the gardens' 65 acres, from chrysanthemums each autumn to more than 2,000 roses in the summer. Besides the flowers, the property hosts a 1,600-foot boardwalk winding through a bayou preserve and a riverfront grotto perched beside a waterfall. After exploring the grounds, stop into the 10,500-square-foot Bellingrath home, which still contains Mrs. Bellingrath's china collection and the basement hole Mr. Bellingrath dug to China.
It's easy to see that the hunting experts at Taylor Creek Shooting Preserve love their job?especially considering many of them are pointers and English setters. Along with human guides, these trained dogs lead groups into the woods for guided hunts of game birds. Alternatively, the preserve's continental pheasant shoots call hunters to assemble at 12 stations encircling a 60-foot tower, where pheasants are released into the air.
In addition to these hunting grounds, Taylor Creek Shooting Preserve sets aside 20 acres for sporting clays. Towering pines and open fields set the stage for a 12-station sporting clay course, which stays open year-round to challenge intermediate and advanced clients. The terrain also encompasses a five-stand course and a skeet field.
Sculpted through wooded acres of parkland terrain, Silver King Golf Club's 18-hole course unfolds across 6,600 yards of fairways and greens pristine from recent, extensive renovations. Cerulean waters and sand bunkers populated by displaced sunbathers loom throughout the course, offering mild penalties for errant drives and ill-measured approaches. The club keeps its golfers' pin-hunting skills sharp with a driving range and onsite golf lessons while helping players loop the links in style with a pro shop full of form-fitting shirts, sturdy shoes, and bedazzled golf gloves. As clubbers trace powerful drives into the Southern sky, the club's onsite snack bar keeps appetites at bay with cold sports drinks, soft drinks, and light fare.
As the name implies, the certified instructors at Basic Fitness take a no-frills approach to getting clients into shape. Their workouts don't have fancy names. They don't boast cutting-edge fad routines or diets. Instead, they rely on age-old effort, motivating clients through outdoor workouts that change daily. Clients can find themselves running on the beach through thigh-high water, doing pushups in a field, or holding yoga poses in an empty parking lot. The team extends its slenderizing efforts past workout sessions by devising grocery lists filled with healthy and tasty eating options.
The certified instructors at CrossFit Flowood write each "workout of the day" on a whiteboard. More often than not it will read "push-ups," "squats," "dead lifts," or other similarly functional exercise. To help newcomers get up to speed and learn the proper lifting techniques for the exercises, the staff schedules instructional CrossFit on-ramp classes. Even better, in an effort to create a community-focused atmosphere, the facility offers childcare services.
The Catfish Shack’s management team harnesses more than 40 years in restaurant experience to pack seafood, steaks, and gumbo with dense southern flavor. Entrees, including whole catfish and boneless-catfish fillets, play Marco Polo with a variety of sides, from coleslaw to mustard greens. Aged wooden tables and chairs add to the eatery's homey feeling, and a piano awaits nimble fingers and aficionados of the Silver Spoons theme song.