As part of Picard Realty Rentals Haunted South series we explore the history of battle and bloodshed that leads some to believe Fort Morgan still harbors the ghosts of soldiers and prisoners.
Parks and Museums
National Naval Aviation Museum
1750 Radford Blvd, NAS Pensacola, FL 32508 • Phone: 850-452-3604
One of the Gulf Coast’s can’t miss attractions, the National Naval Aviation Museum is just down the road a ways in Pensacola. There a number of different types of aircraft on display from biplanes to Hellcats and helicopters, some with open cockpits to climb into. The museum also features flight simulators, motion based simulators, IMAX theatre, the Cubi Bar Cafe and a gift store. The legendary Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron are on hand to sign autographs on Wednesdays in the Blue Angel Atrium at 11:30am. 2013 marks the museum’s 50th anniversary so this is a great year to visit!
Bellingrath Gardens and Home
12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, AL 36582 • Phone: 850-973-2217
I try to get to Bellingrath at least twice a year when I’m in town. It’s beautiful, relaxing and soul restoring. An ideal outing for the girls or with Mom. I take mine!
Tour the Bellingrath Home, complete with its original furnishings and Mrs. Bellingrath’s extensive collection of decorative arts. Built in 1935, the 10,500 square foot home was designed by prominent architect, George B. Rogers. The style of the Home was dubbed “English Renaissance” by Rogers. Additionally, take a 45-minute cruise along the Fowl River aboard the Southern Belle.
On your self-guided walking tour, you will enjoy the 2004 Top Public Rose Garden in the U.S., as awarded by the All-America Rose Selections, experience the Bayou Boardwalk, marvel at Mirror Lake, behold the Great Lawn, view the Asian-American Gardens, stroll through the Butterfly Garden, observe formal garden terraces and more!
Mobile Carnival Museum
355 Government Street, Mobile, AL 36602 • Phone: 251-432-3324
Ever wished Mardi Gras could last all year? Well, laissez les bon temps roulez year round at the Mobile Carnival Museum. Mobile is the home of Mardi Gras, having established a parade and party tradition that predates that of New Orleans by a number of years. At the museum you can immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of carnival through the intricate designs and artistry of crowns, scepters and robes of Mardi Gras monarchs, the art of costume design and float construction and view videos of parades and balls
Foley Railroad Museum
125 E. Laurel Avenue, Foley, AL 36535 • Phone: 251-943-1818
This railroad museum and model train exhibit is a real treasure. The museum is housed in the Louisville and Nashville railroad station built in 1909 and there’s a real, full size caboose to climb on outside. Inside, the museum features an “O” gauge model train exhibit, which features a full quarter-mile of track around a 60-foot long layout. This miniature community contains a farm, a sawmill, and a coal company on one end of the layout and an oil refinery on the opposite end. There’s a line shack with working pulleys on lathes and other machinery as well as a man welding on trucks. “Thunder Road”, an old Robert Mitchum movie, is playing at the Hub Drive-In. For a look inside check out the video on the Picard Realty YouTube channel.
Fort Morgan State Historic Park
110 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 • Phone: 251-540-5257
If you have a military buff or history nut in the family, then you must put this on your to-do list for your visit to Gulf Shores. Completed in 1834, Fort Morgan was active during four wars — the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II. The fort is most famous for its role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay in which Union Admiral David Farragut cried “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” to win the battle. The fort now features a museum and an active living history program that interprets all the military periods in which the fort was occupied. They also hold an annual event commemorating the Battle of Mobile Bay.
This site is also part of our Haunted South video series. A fun day for the whole family or a spooky late afternoon ghost hunt!
Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Park
1400 Fort Pickens Road, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 • Phone: 850-916-5631
Located a couple miles west of Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens makes an excellent excursion. The Fort Pickens area has approximately ten miles of park land that includes beautiful beaches, nature trails, fishing, a campground and the historical fort. The fort was named after the Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens and was completed and ready for troops on October 4th, 1834. It is famous for being one of the few forts in the South that was never under Confederate control during the Civil War (can’t win ’em all, I guess). In addition, Fort Pickens held Chief Geronimo and his warriors prisoner from 1885 – 1887.
USS Battleship Alabama
Battleship Memorial Park, 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36601
• Phone: 251-433-2703
A hop, skip and a jump to Mobile Bay and you can walk the hallowed decks of the “Mighty A” one of the nation’s most decorated WWII battle ships. Also located in Battleship Memorial Park…from World War II to Iraqi Freedom, at one of America’s finest military parks. At Battleship Memorial Park you’ll walk the decks of a mighty battleship, go below in a World War II submarine and view cockpits of combat aircraft. You’ll also see tanks, a Vietnam River Patrol Boat, and a plane like the one flown by the Tuskegee Airmen.
Swift-Coles Historic Home
17424 Swift Coles Lane, Gulf Shores, AL 36511 • Phone: 850-580-1897
We love touring historic homes and Swift-Coles is no exception. It’s a beautifully maintained tidewater mansion lovingly furnished with antiques and full of history on the shores of the Bon Secour river. Dedicated docents give tours and tell great stories! The Swift-Coles Historic Home is open to the public for guided tours on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:00 AM. The last tour begins at 3:00 in the afternoon. Take a step back in time and enjoy the atmosphere of “River Life” in the early twentieth century!
Swift-Coles Home on Ancestry.com
Malbis Memorial Church
29300 Alabama 181, Daphne, AL 36526 • Phone: 251-626-3050
One of the jewels of Alabama is the exquisitely designed and decorated Greek Orthodox Church just up the road towards Mobile in Malbis. It is a delightful one hour drive up to see the fantastic mosaics and hand painted interior of the church that was built to honor God and one man’s dream of establishing a working community of believers in Baldwin County. Designed by Frederick C. Woods of Mobile, Alabama, this church is a copy of a stately church in Cyprus . Marble was brought from the same quarries that provided stone for the famous Parthenon. A “master painter” and his helpers were brought over from Greece to paint the murals on the walls, the panels and the ceiling of the rotunda. The church is open daily fr for visitors and holds services on Sunday.
Malbis Memorial Church – on Facebook
Watch our Haunted South video series!
watch video Holmes Medical Museum
watch video Swift Cole House Haunting
watch video Murder in Mobile
watch video Spirits of Fort Morgan
Any restaurant, shopping venue, activity or entertainment that we select are our personal favorites. These are not paid promotions and we accept no ads or favors. If you visit and enjoy one of our selections, please let them know you saw it on our web site. We like to be good neighbors and support local businesses, artists and crafts people. Thank you!