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.
30 listings found.
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!
256 North Joachim Street
The Richards DAR House Museum is a beautiful Italian-style town home that was built in 1860 by a local riverboat captain. Carrara marble adorned mantels and massive bronze and brass chandeliers with ruby red bohemian glass all reflect the ambiance of the era. We are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We are open Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri from 11am-3:30pm, Sat from 10am-4pm and Sun from 1pm-4pm. We are closed on Tuesdays. Visit our website for more information.
1009 E. Canal Rd.
Visit the Sea Oat Studio today to pick up your next masterpiece. Whether you are looking for a gift for someone special or something unique for your home or office, we have it all. Featuring nationally recognized master potters from Gulf Shores, the Sea Oat Studio specializes in wood-fired and electric-fired stoneware pottery and sculptures. Come visit us and take home a one of a kind creation today. Your friends will ooh and aah over the beauty, and you will stare at your new artwork for hours on end too.
4776 Main Street L210
Ocean Camp offers environmental marine education camps and school field trips for children ages 5-13. Groups of 20 or less are welcome at the indoor center while groups over 25 can be accommodated at one of our Gulf Coast beaches nearby. Located at The Wharf, Ocean Camp Marine Center is open to the public with events related to environmental marine education. The marine center is a perfect learning space with aquariums and encounters with local marine life, centers for environmental learning, a media room plus games to enjoy!
25850 John M. Snook Ave.
The building that houses the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum was originally built in 1910 as a schoolhouse. It has served as a museum since 1995 and was moved to its present location in 1999. The Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia relating to our Native American and fishing heritage.
• Admission is free.
• Facility is handicap accessible with ramps and handrails.
• Plenty of parking.
• Group Tours may be booked by making reservations call 251-981-8545.
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 Parkway 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.
* 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