Indoor Adventures Abound On The Gulf Coast

Even though most days on the Gulf Coast are sunny, an afternoon rain show is not uncommon. And, while your beach condo or house is a perfect spot to relax and wait until the sun emerges once again, your family may want to get out a bit and explore some of the area’s fantastic indoor activities.

From arcades to museums and movies to shopping, there are plenty of adventure-filled indoor activities to explore on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast.

Arcades

Looking for a fun rainy day activity? An arcade can fill the bill for vacationers of all ages.

Arena The Next Level
Play in more than 10,000 square feet of fun on the upper level at The Wharf in Orange Beach.

Get competitive with your friends during a round of laser tag. Or, play Bazooka Ball, which is a combination of laser tag and paintball. While safe for younger players, the game provides an adrenaline rush for seasoned players too.

Fat Daddy’s Arcade
Open daily at 10 a.m., Fat Daddy’s Arcade is located in Orange Beach and offers more than 100 arcade games, interactive rides, a photo booth, food and more.

Interactive games include Guitar Hero, Jumping Jackpot, Big Buck Hunter Open Season, Terminator Salvation and The Fast and the Furious. Other games include coin pusher games, prize claws, Barber Cut, Deal or No Deal and more. There are even more traditional arcade games like Skee Ball, Hoops, Pac Man and Air Hockey.

Shrimpy’s Mini Golf & Arcade
Located at 204 East 2nd Ave., in Gulf Shores, Shrimpy’s Mini Golf and Arcade is a colorful spot to play. And, right next door is a seafood restaurant, making for a perfect evening of fun.

The Track Recreation Center
In Gulf Shores, just north of Gulf Shores on Ala. Hwy. 59 is The Track Recreation Center, where a large arcade is a perfect spot for a rainy afternoon of fun. In addition to fun arcade games, there are also interactive thrill rides inside as well.

Waterville USA
Waterville USA is more than just water slides and wet and wild fun. An on-site arcade and the House of Bounce stand ready to welcome the entire family.

The House of Bounce is a 2,500-square-foot indoor playground that dares the family to tackle the obstacle course, dare the giant drop slide and play in the inflatable play area. Parents can hang out in the arena as the kids bounce to their hearts’ content.

Browse & Learn At Museums

The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is blessed with numerous museums and learning centers that help tell the story of the area.

Baldwin County Heritage Museum
Located in Elberta, only a few miles from the Gulf Coast Beaches, the Baldwin County Heritage Museumcontains exhibits that were collected from the daily lives of the men and women who built Baldwin County.

The museum’s exhibits are located within 20,000 square feet of space and allow visitors to reconnect with the early history of Baldwin County.

The museum also features special exhibits and events, and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Gulf State Park Nature Center
Gulf State Park’s Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals that are native go the Gulf Coast region.

Weekly programs include guided nature walks, beach walks, pier walks and a nature time.

The center, located within the state park campground area, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum
Originally a schoolhouse when it was built in 1910, the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum has been a museum since 1995.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, but group tours may be booked at other times.

The museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia related to Orange Beach’s Native American and fishing heritage. Families of early fishermen have donated supplies and collectibles that show the challenges and achievements of the early days of the area.

National Museum of Naval Aviation
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Museum of Naval Aviation is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida.

The museum contains more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. Historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft are displayed both inside the museum’s nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and also on the 37-acre grounds.

A 325-seat giant screen theater presents a variety of films, including “The Magic of Flight,” offering a “Fly with the Blues” experience that tells the story of human potential and the importance of training and importance.

Admission and parking are free. Visitors to the museum 16 years of age and older must have a valid photo ID and all bags are subject to search.

Fort Morgan Historic Site
Located 23 miles west of Ala. Hwy. 59 on scenic Fort Morgan Road, the museum at the Fort Morgan Historic Site is filled with displays of artifacts portraying the artillery, uniforms and history of the area for more than 200 years.

The museum and gift shop are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center & IMAX Dome Theater
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, located in Mobile, features exhibits that explore science, math and technology in an effort to provoke innovative and critical thinking that leads to discovery.

The center features a variety of permanent as well as special exhibits. Permanent exhibits are housed in three galleries: Hands On Hall, Wharf of Wonder and My BodyWorks. There are also live demonstrations held in the ChemLab and BioLab.

Special exhibits have included solving a murder mystery at the Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery exhibit, the Da Vinci: Machines & Robotics exhibit and more.

The J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theater shows films on a variety of topics, such as great white sharks, mummies, the Hubble telescope, airplanes, Greece, Everest, space and more.

The Exploreum is open daily, and admission prices depend on age.

Gulf Shores Museum
Housed in a World War II-era home on land donated by one of the founders of Meyer Vacation Rentals,Claude O’Connor, the Gulf Shores Museum first opened in 1982 as a library and later as a youth center. Today, it tells the story of Gulf Shores with a variety of artifacts that appear in permanent exhibits. Seasonal programs and events are also offered.

The museum is located on 19th Avenue in Gulf Shores, near the public library and city government buildings.

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Named Alabama’s 2015 Attraction of the Year, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park offers self-guided tours of the USS Alabama, USS Drum submarine, the Aircraft Pavilion, park memorials, military equipment and a recreational area.

The USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship, was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. She was retired in 1962 and in 1964 taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship the following year. She was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986.

The park is open 364 days a year.

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Located in Fairhope, the Weeks Bay Reserve encompasses more than 6,000 acres of land and water in and around Weeks Bay and along Mobile Bay.

The Reserve has a free educational interpretive center and two boardwalks. One boardwalk is behind the Reserve Interpretive Center and leads to Weeks Bay; the pitcher plant bog boardwalk connects to Fish River.

The Reserve is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Get Adventurous

A little teamwork and an adventurous spirit go a long way for these next rainy day options.

Breakout Orange Beach
Not your average outing, Breakout Orange Beach invites visitors to solve mysteries. With different rooms that follow unique storylines, you and your friends have 60 minutes to escape your adventure of choice by cracking codes, solving puzzles and following clues.

Themes at this uniquely adventurous spot include “Kidnapping,” “Operation: Casino,” and “Hostage.” Escape themes are periodically changed.

Breakout Orange Beach is located on the second story of The Wharf at Orange Beach, so when you’ve “escaped,” there are plenty of restaurants, shops and other attractions to explore.

Gulf Coast Escape Room
Escaping is also the key at the Gulf Coast Escape Room, located at the Bayou Village shopping center next door to Matt’s Ice Cream shop.

Visitors have 60 minutes to solve puzzles, find clues and escape a themed room. Players are advised to communicate and cooperate with one another to maximize the experience created by this sophisticated code-cracking adventure game.

Themes at this experience include “Zombie Autopsy,” “The Doll Room,” and “Stop the Oil Spill.”

For either of these venues, reserve tickets in advance online for the experience of your choice.

Catch A Movie

Two movie theaters are located in close proximity to Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key: Carmike Cinemas Wharf 15 in Orange Beach and Cobb Pinnacle 14 Theatres in Gulf Shores.

The Wharf 15 is located at 23151 Wharf Lane in Orange Beach. Call (251) 981-4444 for show times.

The Cobb Pinnacle 14 is located at 3780 Gulf Shores Parkway. For movie times, call (251) 923-0100.

Explore The Arts

There are lots of opportunities on the Gulf Coast to peruse beautiful works of art and also to make your own.

Blue Girl Beading Company
A “bead boutique,” Blue Girl Beading Company is located at 2200 East 2nd Street in Gulf Shores.

Owner and designer Tara Gifford teaches visitors how to design their own jewelry using wire, metal work and intricate stitching. Drop by to design your own piece, or register for a class. Classes are taught for a fee, which also includes materials.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach
Love the arts? There is plenty to see at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. A gallery and gift shop showcase watercolorists, potters, painters, photographers, sculptors and textile artists. Artwork is frequently changed so there is always something new to see!

Also on site is a hot shop, where you may visit to see glass blowing in progress. There are also glass blowing lessons, group demonstrations, glass fusing and lamp work done on site.

The Clay Studio features the work of ceramics artist May Blame-Cantrell. You might also enjoy creating your own pottery Monday through Friday.

Make reservations for the Hot Shop or Clay Studio in advance by calling (251) 981-2787.

More Fun Stuff

Looking to let the family blow off some steam during a rain shower? The below activities are pretty high energy!

The Factory
Open jump sessions are held throughout the day at The Factory, where participants are invited to play now and grow up later.

The park features 12,000 square feet of connected trampolines – more than 50! The famous angled wall trampolines and a series of launching decks from different heights create even more fun.

The Factory also offers air dodgeball, a basketball goal to dunk on, and foam pits to soar into.

A flight simulator allows you to experience air-to-air combat, stunt flying and interactive roller coaster rides. Combined with patented, fully interactive, 360-degree pitch and roll technology, kids and adults will find this indoor attraction very exciting!

Gulf Bowl Family Entertainment
Need to keep everyone busy for a few hours? Bring them to Foley to play at Gulf Bowl Family Entertainment, which is more than just a bowling alley.

Call ahead – (251) 943-4575 — to reserve a lane.

Come early to eat at Captain’s Choice, which serves everything from fried pickles to oysters Rockefeller. A full bar is also available, featuring specialty drinks as well as premium or import draft beer.

Combine your bowling excursion with a game of laser tag at the multi-level laser tag arena on site. Or, enjoy playing arcade games and winning prizes.

Shop

When the rain showers come, many visitors gravitate toward shopping. After all, you don’t want to return home empty handed!

Pelican Place at Craft Farms
Located just north of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway bridge in Gulf Shores and anchored by Target, Cobb Theatres, Books A Million, Bed Bath & Beyond, Publix and a Courtyard by Marriott, Pelican Place at Craft Farms is a lifestyle center featuring a streetscape intersected by a pedestrian restaurant plaza and splash fountain.

Several restaurants and boutique-styled shops are located at Pelican Place. It’s a great place to explore, enjoy an ice cream, watch a movie and browse the shops.

Tanger Outlets
Looking for great deals on your favorite designer or brand name clothing? Check out Tanger Outlets in Foley. Shops are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

At Tanger, you’ll find accessories and jewelry, apparel, children’s apparel, food, footwear, housewares and home furnishings, and specialty goods.

Some of the popular stores include American Eagle, Charlotte Russe Outlet, Coach, Golf 4 Less, New York & Company, Nike Factory Store, Old Navy Outlet, Under Armour, Levi’s Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren, Claire’s, Michael Kors, Journeys, T.J. Maxx, Le Creuset, Bath & Body Works, and Yankee Candle.

The Wharf in Orange Beach
The Wharf in Orange Beach is a diverse entertainment destination featuring a 112-foot-tall Ferris wheel, a music and lights show, uniquely coastal shops, restaurants, an amphitheater and a marina.

Restaurants featuring everything from burgers and pub food to steaks and fresh Gulf seafood.

The Wharf Putt-Putt is an 18-hole mini golf course open seven days a week. The Arena offers indoor fun for kids with arcade games, Bazooka Ball, Mission Impossible and Laser Tag. New at The Wharf is Breakout Orange Beach, where you and your friends and family work together to escape a themed room.

Also on site is a 15-screen movie theater, and a 10,000-seat amphitheater that headlines artists such as Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Twenty One Pilots and more.

The marina at The Wharf is located on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and offers everything from boat slip rentals to excursions to see dolphins play or watch the sun set. Charter a fishing boat, rent a boat for a day, tour the bayous and marshlands on a nature tour or relax on a cruise.

50 Years Of Making Your Memories Our Business

Meyer Vacation Rentals has been helping families create forever memories at cool pools across the Gulf Coast since 1967.

These fun indoor activities are near Meyer’s condos and beach houses in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan,Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

Stay On Top Of Gulf Coast News With Meyer Vacation Rentals

 

Sea Star

Stay on top of the latest headlines and issues affecting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Fairhope, Perdido Key and the surrounding areas on Meyer Vacation Rentals’ News Page.

Here are a few recent headlines and news snippets from around the area:

 

Orange Beach Tops List For 2016 Vacations

TripAdvisor reviewers have named Orange Beach No. 2 on its top 10 list for travelers’ choice destinations on the rise. (MORE)

 

Poseidon’s Playground Gets A Little More Fun

A pyramid, a rocket and a steel structure were deployed at Poseidon’s Playground, an artificial reef located in Orange Beach, giving divers more unique statues to explore. (MORE)

 

2016 Hangout Fest Tickets On Sale

Want to attend Hangout Fest 2016? Buy your tickets and reserve your preferred accommodations before both run out. (MORE)

 

Shorts & Flip Flops For The Christmas Tree Lighting At The Wharf

It was a festive—and warm—scene at The Wharf in December as people enjoyed the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Bands played, children sang and wrote letters to Santa, and more. (MORE)

 

Dune Restoration Underway At State Park

The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project team has begun work to restore the equivalent of more than 50 football fields of dunes flattened in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan. (MORE)

 

Stay tuned to our News Page for regular updates on local news.

Hangout Fest 2014 in Video

Hangout Fest 2014 was absolute perfection. For everyone who came, thanks for visiting our beautiful beaches and sharing a magical weekend with us. If you didn’t make it, there’s still next year! And we stopped dancing and singing just long enough to take a few videos for you. Enjoy! We’ve got Gary Clark Jr, Trombone Shorty, Jack Johnson, Outkast, Portugal. The Man, Capital Cities and The Lonely Biscuits lined up for your viewing and listening pleasure.

Reserve Your Condo or Beach House for Hangout Fest 2015

Are you hooked on Hangout Fest? If you’re coming back next year, reserve your condo or beach house now for the best selection. Get within biking distance, or even better, walking distance. Your best bet will be to find something in Gulf Shores. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach is the next closest town, and many of the condos and beach houses there are withing biking distance. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, expand your search to include everything from Fort Morgan to Perdido Key (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the towns in between). Hangout Fest has shuttle lines that service these areas, so you’ll still be able to travel to and from the festival with ease, and best of all, you’re still on the beach! If you look beneath the map on the individual property descriptions, it should list how many miles away the rental is from Hwy. 59. This is also the exact distance that you will be from the center of the festival.

Army Band in Gulf Shores and Foley

Patriotic music moves us. Marches inspire us. And the sound of a military band excites us.

Army Band, free performance, concert, gulf shores, foley, alabama June 2012

Two opportunities to enjoy the 151st Army Band patriotic concert: Tuesday in Gulf Shores and Friday in Foley.

This week, you have two opportunities to experience all of the above!

The 151st Army Band’s Concert Ensemble will be performing Tuesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. in Gulf Shores. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and snacks, and choose your spot in the lawn behind the Erie Meyer Civic Center, 1930 W. 2nd St. This is a free event, so bring your family and friends—the more the merrier!

Can’t make it Tuesday? You’ll also find the military musicians playing Friday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Park in Foley (corner of Hwy. 59 and 98). Their appearance, preceded at 6 p.m. by the Alabama Baton Corps, is part of the free weekly Music and a Movie event that also includes a farmer’s market (3–6 p.m.), so be prepared to shop and then stay for the evening to view Forever Young on the large inflatable screen.

It’s not too late to join us at the beach for this weekend! Take a look at what is still available for your arrival this Friday, June 22, then start packing for a fun-filled, sunny getaway on the beautiful white sands of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan or Orange Beach (Alabama) or Perdido Key (Florida)!

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Twitter and Facebook.

Smokey Joe’s Café

The names Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller may not be familiar, but you will know many of the timeless songs they wrote during the 1950s and 1960s.

Smokey Joe's Cafe, SummerTide Theatre, University of Alabama, Gulf Shores, Meyer Vacation Rentals

Don't miss the highly entertaining Smokey Joe's Cafe! Performances by SummerTide Theatre of University of Alabama through June 29 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Among their most well-known pieces are “Stand By Me,” “Love Potion #9” and “On Broadway,” as well as novelty songs “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown.” Others you will likely recognize include “Ruby Baby,” “Poison Ivy” and “Spanish Harlem.”

Smokey Joe’s Café is a revue of the music of the prolific Lieber and Stoller writing team. Filled with rock ’n’ roll as well as rhythm and blues, you’ll also pick up on a few hints of country and even Vaudeville in the 39 songs presented by eight highly talented SummerTide Theatre performers.

Since the entire production is a collection of songs with no dialogue, you might expect to sit through a concert, politely applauding after each number. But rest assured, this is a highly entertaining show. Each song is a production within itself, thanks to clever and well-executed staging and/or choreography.

You’ll find yourself applauding enthusiastically and even cheering throughout the performance, especially following the bring-down-the-house “I’m a Woman” that highlights each of the ladies and then brings it home as they join together for a powerful final refrain.

Capitalizing on that momentum, the full ensemble immediately follows up with a high-energy “Jailhouse Rock” song and dance sequence. It’s almost impossible for audience members to keep from dancing then and many other times during the 90 minutes of entertainment.

There’s just not enough room in this blog to share all the wonderful moments of song and dance, melancholy and laughter. So do yourself a favor—get your tickets today for Smokey Joe’s Café.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings through June 29 at 8 p.m. at the George C. Meyer Performing Arts Center, 2022 W. 2nd St., Gulf Shores. Tickets may be purchased online at SummerTide.org, or by calling 251-968-6721; adults $18, children under 12 $12, groups of 10 or more $12 each.

Each June for nine years, students and recent graduates of University of Alabama have brought their gift of musical theater to Pleasure Island. Each year it has been a must-see experience, and this year’s Smokey Joe’s Café continues their string of smash hits.

If you haven’t made your summer beach plans yet, don’t miss out! Consider staying at any of our vacation rental condos or houses in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan (Alabama) or Perdido Key (Florida). But book now before your favorite property is taken!

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Twitter and Facebook.

Rockin’ Thursdays at The Wharf

Starting May 10 and running throughout the summer, Rockin’ Thursdays will bring a great variety of popular local acts to the Ferris Wheel Palm Plaza at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The Wharf, Orange Beach, Alabama, concert, shopping, dining, marina, condo, pool, Ferris wheel

The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, offers year-round entertainment and activities, including this summer's Rockin' Thursdays.

Mark your calendars now to enjoy the following acts scheduled thus far:
May 10 — The Jay Williams Band
May 17 — Lee Yankie
May 24 — Bud Smith and The Budz
May 31 — Ryan Balthrop and Friends
June 7 — Jason Justice and Hung Jury

The music begins at 5 p.m. and will keep you hoppin’ for the next three hours. The best part? It’s free! So plan to spend your Thursday evenings at The Wharf this summer—music, dining, shopping and fun!

Choose to vacation in a one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom condo at The Wharf, each with a marina view. Play all day in the pools, lazy river and waterfall, then walk to dinner and pick up a few fun items in the unique shops before taking the boardwalk to a headliner concert in the amphitheater.  Or take in a current movie showing on one of 15 Rave Theatre screens, followed by a ride on the Southeast’s largest Ferris wheel. You may find that you never want to leave!

The Wharf, Orange Beach, Alabama, condo, music, pool, waterfall, lazy river, dining, shopping, concert, movie

Play all day in the pools, lazy river and waterfall, then enjoy dining, shopping, the Ferris wheel, music and more through the evening.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

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