Spotlight on Mobile County: Culture & Recreation

Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile Museum of Art, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and more attract visitors to the area

Bellingrath Gardens.


Step on the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail for an informative tour through forgotten chapters of Mobile’s culturally diverse heritage. The narrated journey covers many of 44 African American places and people that made significant contributions to the City of Mobile. For a more general view of Mobile’s history, visit the History Museum of Mobile with more than 117,000 artifacts displaying the region’s rich cultural heritage. Drop by Colonial Fort Conde, a replica of the fort that once guarded The Port City, offering a view of colonial life and insights into regional history. Or visit Fort Gaines, built at the tip of Dauphin Island to protect the mouth of Mobile Bay against invasion.


The GulfQuest National Maritime Museum on the Gulf of Mexico lets you get your hands on history, with exhibits about early settlers, military history, trade and more, all in a massive waterfront structure designed to look like a full-sized container ship.


Visit Mobile during Mardi Gras to immerse yourself in the carnival revelry of parades, masked balls and easy-going fun. During Mardi Gras or any time, visit The Mobile Carnival Museum to check the rich history and pageantry of kings, queens, parades, moon pies and more — with a must-see display of crowns, gowns and more.


World-famous Bellingrath Gardens offers 65 acres of dazzling floral beauty at every turn, with special displays at Christmas, in spring and fall, plus the lovely 15-room Bellingrath home.  Garden lovers should also see the Mobile Botanical Gardens, honored for its spectacular WinterGarden of camellias and its comprehensive collection of azaleas and Japanese maples.


Mobile Museum of Art displays some 6,400 works of fine and decorative art from across the centuries and across the world, all in a picturesque setting along the lake in Langan Park. Downtown, visit the Alabama Contemporary Art Center, committed to the work of living artists and hosting 10 to 12 exhibitions a year.

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Interactive exhibits, giant screen films and more treat visitors to the fun of science at The Exploreum Science Center.


The Alabama Aquarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab offers a close-up look at salt and freshwater fish, turtles, jellyfish, rays and other aquatic creatures of the Alabama Gulf Coast. If fish mean fishing to you, cast a line at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, which has been going on each summer since 1929 on Dauphin Island. It generally attracts some 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators.


Climb to the bridge or head below for a look at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. You can also step aboard the USS Submarine Drum or visit an array of aircraft.


Flightworks Alabama offers an immersive aerospace exhibition and education center for aerospace enthusiasts of all levels. Visitors can view some 40 exhibits and plan a tour of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility.


Mobile offers an array of antebellum homes that showcase aspects of the city’s history. Best known is the 1833 Oakleigh House Museum in the heart of the city’s Oakleigh Garden Historic District. Also visit Richards DAR House Museum in De Tonti Square, which dates to the 1860s; Bragg Mitchell Mansion, built by Judge John Bragg in 1855; Conde-Charlotte Museum with each room decorated to represent a different era of the city’s early history.


Magnolia Grove, Mobile’s element of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, features two courses, both recently upgraded. Magnolia Grove was named one of the “Top 50 Public Courses,” by Golf World Magazine.


Mobile plays host to two football bowl games. The Lending Tree Bowl matches teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference in a post-season match. The Senior Bowl is a post-season college football all-star game showcasing the best NFL Draft prospects.


Each New Year’s Eve crowds gather in downtown Mobile to watch the giant Moon Pie — usually a Mardi Gras treat — descend the RSA Trustmark Building to mark the new year.

This article appears in the June 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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