With a 315-year history, Mobile, Alabama, has a lot to celebrate. The city is home to America’s first Mardi Gras, and students can find dozens of festivals, art shows and culinary cook-offs nearly every weekend.
“Our history, celebratory culture and the fact we are one of the oldest cities in the country makes Mobile a perfect destination for students,” said Tara Henley Zieman, marketing and communications manager for Visit Mobile. “With a number of state-of-art museums and attractions to choose from, Mobile is a destination that is both educational and entertaining.”
Just a few minutes from downtown, students can paddle one of the most significant river delta systems in the country. This coastal city is one of the few places in the world where jubilees occur, a rare natural phenomenon when bottom-dwelling sea life casts itself into shallow waters. Ultimately, this means there is fresh seafood and authentic cuisines waiting for students to try at many group-friendly restaurants.
A melting pot of flavors, people, cultures and traditions makes the city a leader in experiential festivities. Once called the Paris of the South, Mobile takes fun pretty seriously. Visit Mobile encourages groups to combine the fun with education at the following five attractions.
1. 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center
Climb aboard an open-air tram to be transported into the world of racing. Students can experience 31-degree banks and walk in the footsteps of legends past on a tour of Daytona International Speedway. Climb atop the podium in Gatorade Victory Lane for a photo and admire the latest DAYTONA 500 champion. In addition to an annual eight major weekends of racing, the speedway consistently hosts student-friendly concerts and car shows.
2. Gulf Coast Ducks
Quack, quack! Students can splash with Gulf Coast Ducks, a land and water tour that offers educational facts on the USS Alabama, Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile Bay and the Port of Mobile. Now departing from The Fort of Colonial Mobile and Battleship Park, Gulf Coast Ducks offers a hilarious yet informative adventure that covers more than 3,000 years of local tales. Food and drinks are welcome on board.
3. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico
An interactive museum dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico’s rich maritime history, culture and economic significance, GulfQuest is a 90,000-square-foot museum shaped like a ship. Exhibits offer an array of experiences that focus on topics including early settlements and trade routes, marine archaeology and shipwrecks, commerce and shipbuilding, and weather and marine environments. From stem to stern, GulfQuest engages and inspires students with simulators and presentations on multiple exhibit decks.
4. Mobile Carnival Museum
There is no better place to learn about Mardi Gras than the birthplace of America’s first parade. Students can immerse in the rich history and traditions of the carnival season at Mobile Carnival Museum. Visitors see the intricate designs and artistry of royal robes, crowns and scepters, as well as witness the pageantry of coronation. Tours are tailored to students’ ages and particular area of study. Reservations are required for all student groups.
5. USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park
Battleship Memorial Park helps students embark on an incredible journey into America’s military past. Each step brings visitors closer to understanding how United States veterans lived and worked. Public, parochial, private and home school programs qualify for discounted admission rates with 10 or more students. Lunch can be arranged in the Aircraft Pavilion, and overnight adventures allow students to sleep in bunks that real sailors slept in during WWII.