Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Kids need adventure—they crave it and are inspired by the learning opportunities. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are known for vacation and recreation, but the area also offers a variety of educational travel adventures and field trips for children. From museums and wildlife to historical sites and ecosystems, the best kind of learning is through a journey.
Fun and Learning at the Beach
Beaches are excellent for exploration and school field trips. Gulf Shores is unique because it offers opportunities to learn about wildlife, marine biology, beach environments, habits, and more. Whether it's a classroom or a group of homeschoolers, start your adventure at the beach. While there, you can discuss how the sugar-white sand was created, how it is made of quartz, and why that's important to the overall ecosystem.
There are many opportunities to turn your time on Alabama's Gulf Coast into an educational experience while also having fun. Some of the best places to begin your field trip include the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Welcome Centers, Gulf State Park, Lagoon Pass Beach, or one of the public access areas. After that, your class can learn about how Gulf Shores and Orange Beach works to preserve the pristine waters, and what marine life lives within it. Focus on dolphins (a highlight in the area) or turtles. Seabirds and habitats are often visible during a good beach walk. Whatever angle you choose, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer several fun and educational field trip ideas.
29 listings found.
51233 State Highway 225
The Baldwin County Bicentennial Park is a 367-acre area in North Baldwin County that offers a unique family experience of flora, fauna, wetlands, various exhibits and a working farm that provides extended hands-on opportunities to learn about the county’s history. The park is dedicated to preserving the county’s rich cultural heritage and leaving a historical legacy for future generations. Come explore The General Store, Montpelier Methodist Church,19th Century blacksmithing and working farm, Native American Village, Veterans Memorial Park, and have a picnic under the pavilion and then hike the Davida Hastie Nature Trail.
12295 State Hwy.180 W.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last remaining undisturbed coastal habitats. It was established in 1980 to protect neotropical migratory songbird habitats and threatened and endangered species. The Refuge also provides crucial habitat for the Alabama beach mouse. There are four trails of various lengths and terrain. Jeff Friend, one of our most popular trails, was recently renovated to become more accessible with an improved boardwalk and new trail surface. All of these trails are open year-round during daylight hours.
1204 Gulf Shores Parkway
At the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, get up-close-and-personal with more than 500 animals including encounters with sloths, kangaroos and lemurs. Every member of your family will enjoy strolling between the different exhibits and learning more about what the animals eat, where the animals live and how the animals sound and interact with you. There is a small additional fee for the animal encounters.
• Limited parking
• Public restrooms
• Group rates
• Birthday parties welcome
Beautiful beaches, authentic downtowns, wildlife preserves, historic sites and fresh-off-the-boat seafood are all yours to enjoy along Alabama’s Coastal Connection. Experience the link between the traditions of the Deep South and laid-back island lifestyle and connect with the waters, ways and wildlife of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. View our website to see sample itineraries of the area. We hope they’ll give you some ideas about everything we offer on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
11300 Highway 98
This public research and education facility encompasses over 9,000 acres of protected estuarine habitats bordering Weeks Bay and Fish and Magnolia Rivers. The Reserve has an interpretive center with indoor displays and live animals as well as extensive forested boardwalk nature trails, a native pitcher plant bog and boat ramp. Scheduled guided group tours are available. The Reserve is part of a national network of coastal reserves established as living laboratories for long-term scientific research and estuarine education into places "where rivers meet the sea.”
4159 County Rd 6
Wild Native offers the coastal eco-tour, Gulf Shores sunset cruises, kayaking excursions and much more. Learn about our local wildlife, ecology, history and characters of coastal Alabama on these fun adventures. We offer multiple locations with both coastal and delta access, and we encourage you to come and enjoy our world, whether for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks! We think you’ll like our bayous, bays and beaches as much as we do. We also offer kayak and canoe rentals so you can plan your own adventure.
2703 Battleship Parkway
From the WWII Battleship USS ALABAMA to the Submarine USS DRUM and over 25 aircraft, the spirit of military pride is alive and well at Mobile’s Battleship Memorial Park.
One Academy Dr.
Founded in 1984, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. The ASAMA collection, located on the campus of the United States Sports Academy, is composed of more than 1,800 pieces across all media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints, posters and photography. The collection is believed to be the largest of sport art in North America and possibly the world. Visit us today and plan to spend a few hours exploring and discovering everything.
101 Bienville Blvd.
At The Estuarium on Dauphin Island, you will get a hands-on learning experience exploring the habitats of coastal Alabama. It is also the fourth largest estuary system in the United States. Enjoy the educational and informative exhibit hall and the “oh-so-cool” sting ray touch pool. Adventure onto the scenic, living marsh boardwalk and learn about the more than 100 local species of plants and animals on display. Visit with your friends and family today for an educational yet fun experience like no other.
150 S. Royal Street
Colonial Mobile sits on the site of a historic fort built in the early 1700’s and celebrates our French, Spanish, British and American heritage. Tour the interactive exhibits that highlight the history of the Fort and don’t miss the Fife and Drum band, cannon firing and live action characters representing real people who lived in Colonial Mobile. Other not to miss places are the Colonial Cafe, Trading Post, Colonial Photo Booth, Breakout Room and shooting gallery. Visit and relive the history of The Fort of Colonial Mobile today!
* All information contained in our database is supplied by the individual businesses to the AGCCVB for inclusion on our web site and in printed materials.
Best Field Trip Ideas
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have several areas dedicated to preserving the area’s unique ecosystems and natural habitats. Some are perfect for those with a local guidebook, notebook, and camera. Other locations give you a hands-on experience led by local experts. Some of the top places to plan a field trip include:
- Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – Since the 1980s, Bon Secour has protected undisturbed coastal habitats. Not only has it prevented the eradication of endangered species, but it also provides a crucial habitat for the federally endangered Alabama beach mouse. All year, you are able to explore the trails. You’ll find songbirds, migratory birds, turtles, and more. For expanded education, check out one of the Discovery packs from a welcome center.
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve – As part of a reserve where “the river meets the sea,” Weeks Bay National Estuarine has ample education options for classroom trips and family vacations. Guided group tours are available or you can start in the interpretive center before moving to the forested boardwalk nature trails.
- The Estuarium at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab – Visit Dauphin Island for a hands-on experience and to discover more about the fourth largest estuary in the United States. The stingray touch pool is a huge hit with kids!
- Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is another great option for learning. With 500 animals on display, you can learn about eating habits, where the animals come from, and even have some up-close and personal animal encounters.
Spend Some Time on the Water
Alabama's expanses of turquoise water provide an ideal interactive classroom field trip. Several local tours place an emphasis on education and teach important lessons about the area. Boat tours, cruises, and kayaking tours all offer ways to discover the ecology, wildlife, and history of the Gulf. What’s more exciting is you never know what the day will bring. Each excursion will be different and new. One day the focus may be on marine mammals, while the next you’ll encounter numerous fish species. These wide options make it easy to plan a student trip that focuses on whatever the class wants to learn about.
Museums and Historical Sites
Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and the surrounding areas have a rich and interesting history. It’s easy to explore that history through different adventures and interesting museums, making our local museums perfect for field trips. Visit nearby Mobile for the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park
to see ships, submarines, and aircraft. If you want your educational trip to stay local, try Fort Morgan and the Mobile Bay Civil War Trail.
Make Gulf Shores a Destination for Learning Through Fun
Alabama’s Gulf Coast is an excellent destination for learning, expanding your education, and having fun. Kids and adults will enjoy the adventure and opportunities that the pristine scenery, abundant wildlife, and rich history provide. If you are interested in planning a field trip or educational family vacation to Gulf Shores
or Orange Beach, request a Gulf Shores & Orange Beach vacation guide
or contact one of our Alabama welcome centers