Gulf Shores 2013 – Part 1

A few months back, we were invited to go to Gulf Shores with some friends.  The plan was to share a house, and the rate for the room was too good to even think of passing up.  Plus, who doesn’t love to go to the beach with friends?  Plans were set in motion and packing started.  A small pile started gathering in a guest bedroom.  About two weeks before our trip, the pile was moved to our kitchen.  And then, the pile started to grow exponentially.  We were driving, so we planning on bringing as much as we could from home instead of buying it when we got there.  Add to that the fact that we were traveling with two children – we had a ton of crap.

We aren’t hoarders, we just look like one our our blog.

We hit the road really early the morning of July 5th.  The plan was to make it to Mobile, Alabama early enough for the kids to play and burn off some energy.  The drive was long (about 11 hours), but it was managable – thanks, in part to our new travel trays.

Just us and the highway. Lots and lots of highway.

Luckily, Luke drove most of the way so we could rest.

We made it to Mobile with minimal tears.  Rested for the night and rolled into Gulf Shores the next morning.  We went directly to our house and ran onto the beach.  It was a pretty exciting moment – the first time Luke’s been to the beach and the first time Anna actually got it.  We wanted to dip our toes in the ocean!

Our home for the week

Get me to the ocean!

Baby toes in the sand

Luke’s first time in the ocean!

Are you sure we have to leave at the end of this week??

After the excitement simmered down to a slight boil, we made our way into the house to pick rooms and unpack.  It was organized chaos, but we got it done.  The downside was that we didn’t pack anything for lunch and we hadn’t been to the grocery store yet.  So, it was decided that we would head out to The Hangover for a late lunch that turned into an early dinner.  A dunch, if you will.  We went to the grocery store to grab enough stuff for the first half of the week.  The rest of the city (or all of the other vacationers) had the same idea – it was the craziest trip to WalMart I’ve ever been on.

It’s time for dunch!!

A couple of little cuties!

 

 

The next morning, we couldn’t get to the beach fast enough.  The weather wasn’t completely agreeable for a large portion of the trip, but we made the best of it.  We’d hit the beach during the dry times and head inside when the weather turned south.  A little rain wasn’t going to dampen our trip… No pun intended.

Time for the beach!

These two were quite the pair.

The next day, we ventured out to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  We have a goal of visiting a zoo or aquarium in every state in the USA.  This was the perfect time to cross Alabama off our list.  It’s a small zoo (billed as the ‘little zoo that could’), but it completely makes up for it in experience.  We had the BEST time there.  It was really personal, intimate if you will.  We got to pet and hold kangaroos, lemurs, and a gigantic anaconda.  The kids hand fed even more animals.  We were about 5 feet from tigers and lions.  Heck, if they would have had tiger cubs when we were there, we could have held them too.  It was beyond awesome.

Mingling with the locals.

Lemurs all up in our bid-ness.

Holding a giant anaconda – ain’t nobody got time for that (unless you are at this zoo).

We spent the next day dodging the rain and playing on the beach.  When the sun was going down, we tried our hands at tie-dying (and dyed our hands in the process).  The evening was capped off with a fireworks show on the back deck.

There’s nothing quite like being three-years-old.

— To Be Continued —

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

In our quest to visit a zoo or aquarium in every state in the United States, we decided to cross Alabama off our list during our recent trip to Gulf Shores.  Turns out, that there is a little zoo that sits right on the main drag in Gulf Shores.  Don’t let the size fool you.  This zoo was awesome.  In fact, it is high on my list of favorites from all the zoos we’ve been to.  What this zoo lacks in size, it makes up for in visitor experience.  They have different animal encounters where you can actually mingle with some of the wildlife.  Most of the animals could be hand-fed food that was available for purchase as you entered.  And, the animals (even the exotic ones) were extremely close to the viewing areas. It was a really intimate feeling, something you don’t normally feel at a zoo.  Because of all these reasons, the Gulf Coast Zoo has aptly adopted the slogan ‘The Little Zoo That Could’.  They could, and they did!  We had the BEST time.

We got there right as the zoo opened – a little drizzle wasn’t going to stop us!

We immediately found the kangaroo encounter and held this little lass. May I introduce, Lolly.

One of these is my son, and one of these would make a kick-ass pet…

I mean, seriously. How cool is this?

Excuse me? Can I rest in your pouch?

Our next stop – the lemur house! These guys were hilarious!

Once you’ve bottle-fed a lemur, babies just don’t cut it anymore…

Nothing like being photobombed by a lemur!

Excuse me, do I have anything in my teeth?

Hey Mom – CHECK THIS OUT!

If this guy could have figured out how to squeeze his horns out of the fence, his whole head would have been out.

Yep, that’s a full size tiger about four feet from us. Notice the eye contact…

This guy has blue balls. Er, I mean, a blue ball.

Time to feed these little guys…

That lion was about 6 feet from us. Luke was roaring at him. Anna was more interested in her bag of Cheez-Its. Maybe we’ve been to a few too many zoos?

On the way out we were passing the reptile encounter. I bet that Alex wouldn’t hold the snake. He is deathly afraid of snakes, so he told me that there was no way in hell. He then dared me to hold the snake. Not being one to back down from a dare…
Meet Magic, a twenty-foot anaconda. She hasn’t attacked anyone – yet.

The Details:

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

1204 Gulf Shores Parkway

Gulf Shores, AL 36542

http://www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org/

Open year-round except on major holidays.

*Admission: Adults (13-54) – $10, Seniors (55+) – $8, Children (3-12) – $7, Children Under 2 are free

Tips: Bring cash for animal food and encounters.  Don’t miss the animal encounters!  Go early!