Alabama: Orange Beach & Gulf Shores, Family Vacation Ideas – Dolphin Spotting, Awesome Water Slides, and Beach Time.
Known for sugar-white sand, pristine beaches edged by emerald blue water, and soothing Southern hospitality, Alabama’s Gulf Coast puts the “easy” in any family vacation plan. Enjoy waterslides, mini golf, surfing and go carts. Play golf, tennis and go dolphin spotting or deep sea fishing. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is a place where you can relax, unwind, and make beach memories with your family. Look for water, water everywhere.
The 20-acre Waterville USA location in Gulf Shores must be experienced to be believed. A waterpark and an amusement park - it’s all about fun in and around the water. For tykes they have a merry-go-round, bungee trampoline, mini train, mini golf, and a mini water world with frog, duck, and pelican water slides. Relax along the lazy river, and get a lift in the extra large bounce house. You will find a 25,000 sq. ft. wave pool, 60-ft. high speed water body slide, a three-person tubing ride, a turbo body slide with bumps all the way to the splash zone, and a thrilling 460-ft. dark, water tubing adventure.. Those looking for more hardcore thrills there’s the Cannon Ball, a wooden roller coaster which zings riders at speeds up to 50MPH. Bonus points:
This is the home of the FlowRider an endless wave simulator that allows surfers or boarders to maximize practice time in controlled water over an inclined-trampoline surface. The wave never ends. After the park closes guests may join “night rider” ses
sions complete with music under the stars. Need to know. During the spring and fall only the amusement park is open. (Waterville USA 906 Gulf Shore Parkway, gulf Shore AL 36542. (251) 948-2106 or www.watervilleusa.com
Try go carting and bungee jumping.
The Track is an action – packed family fun recreation center. It is the perfect place for kids to be kids and adults to be kids too. Entertainment options include two junior level go kart tracks, The Kiddie Karts and The Rookie Karts, and the super challenging Wild Woody, a three – tiered go kart / roller coaster hybrid. The complex offers themed miniature golf, blaster boats for splashing and bumper cars for bumping. Test your courage from the top of the bungee jumping tower, or enjoy the thrill of a skydiving effect on The SkyFlyer. For tykes in the family, you will find a mini train, carousel, spin tops, Ferris wheel, swinging boats and mini airplanes. (Gulf Shores Track 3200 Gulf Shores Pkwy Gulf Shores, AL 36542. (251) 968-8111 or www.gulfshorestrack.com
Spot dolphins and feed seagulls.
Join Captain Bill on the 65-ft. American Star for a family friendly dolphin spotting nature cruise. The two-hour bay cruise navigates past Robinson Island and Walker Island at an easy going pace ideal for wildlife viewing. Once underway, children are invited to take the helm along with Captain Bill. Everyone can feed the birds and enjoy entertaining music during the trip. Depending on the time of year, the American Star cruises up to four trips daily including a sunset cruise. Bonus points:
The American Star is also available for private family reunions, weddings, receptions, or birthdays. (American Star Nature Encounters Hudson Marina Orange Bch, AL. (251) 981-1157 (251) 447-6274 or www.american-star.net
) Listen to the dolphins speak.
Cruise the smooth water of the Wolf Bay; disappear into secret estuaries for a close-up view of nature; listen to island music; hear local tales of pirates, fishes, and pelicans; listen to dolphins with the area's only underwater hydrophone. See birds of prey, alligators, native plants, wild flowers, and enjoy the sea breeze. Take a two-hour cruise on a 40-ft. pontoon boat with a glass bottom. Bonus points:
This is a perfect addition to a day out at Dauphin Island Estuarium - the aquarium of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Mobile Bay. (L.A. Watersports Dolphin & Nature Cruises25991 W. Perdido Ave. Orange Beach, AL 36561. (251)550-8000.)
Cruise the waves and cast a line.
Zeke's Landing Marina is one mile West of Perdido Pass Bridge, Orange Beach and it is the docking spot for Zeke’s Lady is a newly rebuilt 58-foot party boat available for daily walk-on trips (4-6 hours), private trips (up to 12 hours), and cruises. Captain Butch Tucker runs the Zeke’s Lady and shares his vast Gulf of Mexico bottom fishing experience with passengers. (Zeke's Landing Orange Beach, AL 36561 Toll-free 1-800-793-4044, (251) 981-4044 www.zekeslanding.com
) Golf every day.
Relax and unwind with a complimentary round of golf at Glenlakes Golf Club, widely regarded as one of the Gulf Coast's premier golf facilities with 27 holes designed to challenge. The 18-hole links-style Vista/Dunes course and the 9-hole resort-style Lakes course provide a golf experience second to none. Players of all abilities will enjoy memorable golf. Generous fairways allow for players of all levels, but water on six of the nine holes brings shot making strategy into the mix. Multiple tee positions allow for repeat play at an affordable price. (Glenlakes Golf Club 9530 Clubhouse Drive Foley, AL 36535. (251) 955-1220 or www.glenlakesgolf.com
) Rent a DVD and just chill out.
Several of the partners offer free DVD rentals for guests. So if slowing down and being a couch potato makes sense then it is easy to do. Rent the best that Hollywood has to offer with the latest releases available at Movies & Games! Enjoy unlimited access to award winning films, family favorites and the most current hits every day of your stay. It’s the perfect way to unwind together after a day of rich experiences. Format choices include Xbox, Playstation 2 and Game Cube. ( www.moviesngames.us