Bamahenge, the Stonehenge replica which lurks in the woods near Elberta, AL

Alabama’s Bamahenge Weathers the Storm

It all started with dinosaurs (yeah, I know, lots of things did). Wealthy Alabama businessman George Barber had commissioned artist Mark Cline to create some dinosaurs, a move guaranteed to add interest to one of Barber’s properties. In 2006, Cline was on-site, directing repairs to the giant beasts when Barber broached the subject of Stonehenge. Not exactly all in a day’s work, but Cline had previous experience building a Stonehenge replica from Styrofoam (and of course it’s known as Foamhenge). By 2012, Barber had selected the ideal spot for his own Stonehenge:  the spacious grounds of Barber Marina, on the Intracoastal Waterway inland from Orange Beach, Alabama.

The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta exhibit features local residents

Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Window on the Gulf

Dauphin Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico south of Mobile, Alabama, is home to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and its Aquarium, which offers a close-up look at life under the water. The Aquarium—30 aquariums housing more than 100 species—is open to the public and highlights the four key habitats found along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

New Orleans’ Insectarium: Bug Easy

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, located at 423 Canal Street in the heart of New Orleans, features 23,000 square feet of insect-related fun, including a chance to see thousands of everybody’s favorite bug, the butterfly. Housed in the historic old Customs House, the attraction has been voted “a top museum for you and your kids” by CNN.com. Visitors should note that since the Customs House is a federal building, anyone entering must pass through Security. Yes, like the airport.

The sand sculpture contest is part of the fun

Gulf Shores’ National Shrimp Festival—Shrimply Fun!

On October 10-13, the Alabama coastal town of Gulf Shores celebrates the 48th annual National Shrimp Festival, four days of peace, love and shrimp on the white Gulf beaches. The Festival began in 1971 as a way to keep tourists on the beach after Labor Day. That first Festival was more like a shrimp boil on the beach, with star power provided by a couple who had won a trip to Gulf Shores on the television show “The Dating Game.” All 1500 attendees were reported to have had a good time.

The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge protects beach and dune habitat

Alabama’s Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge Provides Haven

Just east of the beachfront town of Gulf Shores, Alabama, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers a safe home to some of the area’s most threatened species. The last large undeveloped parcel of land along the Alabama Gulf Coast, the 7,000-acre refuge was created in 1980 to protect the habitats of migratory songbirds and those of threatened and endangered species. The Refuge, which has been named as one of Alabama’s Ten Natural Wonders, also offers humans a chance to commune with nature along one of its scenic hiking trails.