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.
28 listings found.
1750 Radford Blvd.
The National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. Share the excitement of Naval Aviation’s rich history and see more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation.
These historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the Museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on its 37-acre grounds. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll want to stay all day! Admission is free!
5200 Battleship Pkwy. E.
This 1,327-acre park is situated in the wetlands of the Mobile Delta and is a day-use, picnicking and scenic park with modern camping hook-ups for overnight visitors. Meaher’s boat ramp and fishing pier will appeal to every fisherman. The park offers a 300-foot pier with a 200-foot "T" for your fishing pleasure. Access to the pier is included in the park admission fee. Enjoy a self-guided walk on two nature trails including a boardwalk with an up-close view of the beautiful Mobile Delta.
355 Government Street
Immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of carnival. See firsthand the intricate designs and artistry of majestic crowns, scepters and robes of Mardi Gras monarchs. Discover the art of costume design and float construction. View videos of parades and balls. Witness the pomp and pageantry of past coronations. Browse historical photographs dating back to 1886. Experience a behind the mask view of the street party by climbing aboard a rocking float, and become a costumed youth rider in the Little Mystics Den.
3190 Airport Dr
We are a veteran owned and operated helicopter company located in Gulf Shores. We offer breathtaking beach tours, romantic sunset flights, skydiving and thrilling yet comfortable rides for adults and children of all ages. For the really adventurous, take the controls during a flight lesson. We also take custom requests where we will tailor the experience specifically for you whether that be a business event or surprise proposal. Our highly-skilled pilots are dedicated to making sure you have a memorable and safe experience.
34745 State Hwy. 225
Historic Blakeley State Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of the largest National Register Historic Site in the eastern United States. The park's grounds include the site of the last major battle of the Civil War, including several miles of unspoiled Confederate and Union fortifications associated with the Battle of Fort Blakeley of April 9, 1865; the site and remnants of the important early Alabama town of Blakeley; colonial era homesteads, and evidence of American Indian habitation from the Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian, and Historic periods.
23030 Wolf Bay Dr.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve is home to hundreds of plant and wildlife species. This 500-acre nature park offering passive recreation opportunities and educational programs. We have a handicap accessible boardwalk and tree grove and multiple trails for walking, hiking, dog walking and bird watching. Pine savanna habitat features wild flowers and pitcher plants. Bring your gear and hit the water from our kayak launch or play on three disc golf courses, archery park and playground. Restrooms, outdoor classroom, pavilion and Interpretive Center.
2703 Battleship Pkwy.
This hilarious yet informative adventure covers local tales, some tall, as well as exciting stories about the USS ALABAMA, Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile Bay, the Port of Mobile, and much more! This duck boat tour is sure to exceed your expectations. Be wildly entertained as our energetic tour guides bring hilarity and fun to this interactive tour. Our tours leave out of The Fort of Colonial Mobile. We offer group tours, annual and day passes, and many other options. Bring your family to explore with us!
65 Government Street
We have been voted one of Alabama’s top attractions several years in a row, and we remain a unique destination for school groups and families alike. From the young to the young at heart, the Exploreum has something for all ages. With more than 150 interactive exhibits, thought-provoking larger-than-life IMAX films, and fun, hands-on educational programming, there is always something new to experience. We have perfected the art of making science fun and memorable! Have your next birthday party or event with us.
244 W. 19th Ave.
Fly through the eye of a hurricane with “Hurricane Hunters” and our interactive display. This local history museum tells the stories of this coastal town, its people, their lives and their livelihood. You can see a variety of permanent exhibits and special exhibits. Seasonal events and films as well as adult and youth programs are offered throughout the year. The museum’s home is a beach house that dates to before World War II and was originally located on West Beach. Admission is free.
51 Bienville Blvd.
The well-preserved ramparts of Fort Gaines have guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years. Today, the fascinating historic site is open daily for tours, school groups and sightseers. It's prime location on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island commands panoramic views of the bay and the Gulf of Mexico and offers a chance to experience living history first hand. Learn about the role of Fort Gaines in the Battle of Mobile Bay, one of the Civil War's most notable naval conflicts.
* 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