There are 81 days of summer vacation in Baldwin County. Today is day number five. How many times have your kids complained they were bored so far? We can help.
We’ve compiled a list of 81 free …
There are 81 days of summer vacation in Baldwin County. Today is day number five. How many times have your kids complained they were bored so far? We can help.
We’ve compiled a list of 81 free and low cost things to do in Baldwin County to help you fill every day of your summer break. Hike, create, explore and learn. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the road. You may be surprised how much you learn too.
1. Sign up for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Shining Star Camp – At $30 a child, this is the least expensive camp with the most awesome activities that you will ever attend. Camps are held at four locations throughout the summer. Visit sheriff.baldwincountyal.gov
2. 5 Rivers StoryTime – The 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month is StoryTime at the center in Spanish Fort for children under age 7. Crafts too! 10 – 11 a.m., free
3. Have an ice cream at Mr. Gene’s Beans in Fairhope. The iconic sweet shop is a great place to stop on a hot summer day.
4. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – This beautiful hidden gem is a great place for a short, shady walk along the recently refurbished Jeff Friend Trail.
5. Visit the Old Daphne Methodist Church Museum – This tiny museum holds a lot of history, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1 – 4 p.m.
6. Visit a splash pad – Several cities in Baldwin County have splash pads at their kids’ parks. They include: Bay Minette, Fairhope and Summerdale.
7. Gulf State Park naturalists lead a program nearly every day - bog walks, astronomy, turtles and more. Cost is $2 per vehicle to enter the park. Find their weekly schedule at http://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park-activities
8. Sea, Sand and Stars – Some Baldwin county students are lucky enough to visit this phenomenal facility on a field trip. If not, you can come with your child during the summer. Open the weeks of June 11, 18, 25 and July 9, 16 and 23, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., $5 per person. www.seasandandstars.com
9. Blakeley State Park – The last stand of the Civil War happened here and now you can walk in the footsteps of history, or just take a really pretty hike. There is a Junior Ranger Activity booklet for kids and June 16 there will be a falconry demonstration. www.blakeleypark.com
10. Butterflies Observe & Explore Day – 10 a.m. at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley, designed for children 10 and under, crafts, story time, free.
11. Visit the Fairhope Museum of History – The museum offers interactive projects for children. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
12. Visit the Splinter Hill Bog Preserve – Located in North Baldwin County, this longleaf pine forest and bog habitat spans 627 acres and contains one of the largest pitcher plant bogs in the world and 12 carnivorous plant species. Located on County Road 47 in Perdido.
13. Visit Baldwin County’s newest history museum, The Stockton Heritage Museum. This quaint collection can teach you and your kiddos the very beginnings of Baldwin County history. Located in downtown Stockton and open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
14. Pick up dinner at a farmer’s market – With fresh produce being grown practically in your backyard, who needs to go to the supermarket? Markets are located in Gulf Shores, Foley, Fairhope, Daphne and Spanish Fort.
15. Go bowling for free – The kids bowl free program gives every child under 15 two free games of bowling every week of the summer at a participating bowling alley. www.kidsbowlfree.com
16. Kids’ Night at The Wharf – A free summer celebration with music, prizes and games. Small fee for activities like face painting.
17. Storytime – Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort hosts story time every Saturday at 11 a.m.
18. Hike at Gulf State Park – The park has miles of trails to choose from but Gulf Oak Ridge, along the north side of the park, is completely shaded by trees and may be easiest for children under the summer sun. Visit the park headquarters for a trail map and get going!
19. Visit the Baldwin County Heritage Museum – the largest of the county’s museums, this giant step back in time takes visitors through the entire county and out to a reconstructed village outside.
20. Hit the beach! What is the use of living on the Gulf Coast if you don’t spend at least a few summer days on the sugar white sands of Gulf Shores?
21. Attend the Battle of the Bay – Want to know what Fort Morgan looked, and sounded like during the Civil War? On Aug. 4 you can hear the cannons thunder and the troops rise to the occasion during the re-enactment of the Battle of Mobile Bay.
22. Oscar Johnson Park – This Silverhill playground on Highway 104 is a hidden gem. Play on the equipment, picnic under the shelter or take beautiful summer photos in the covered bridge.
23. Watch fireworks every Monday night at The Wharf – the free show begins at 8:45 p.m., May 28 – Aug. 6.
24. Go blueberry picking – Baldwin County has no shortage of blueberry farms and typically the sweet berries are ready to pick until almost July 4. Weeks Bay Plantation in Fairhope hosts Harvest Nights through June 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. Pick, enjoy live music and food trucks.
25. Visit the Gulf Shores Museum – Originally a beach house this museum can show you the history of hurricanes, former fishing villages and how Gulf Shores became a vacation hot spot.
26. Explore Stonehenge – That’s right, there is a life-size replica of the ancient site, located in the woods along the road leading to Barber Marina in Elberta. Loving called Bamahenge, this is as close to the real thing as you can get without a passport.
27. International Mud Day – Today you won’t just learn about mud you will play in it, and it will be glorious. 10 a.m., Graham Creek Nature Preserve, Foley.
28. Visit the Swift-Coles Historic Home – Built in 1898 this beautiful home is a lovely walk through time.
29. Find all the Turtle Tracks statues in Gulf Shores – This public art program creates and posts sea turtles throughout the city as designed by local artists. Explore the city and find them all!
30. Stacey’s Rexall Drugs & Old Tyme Soda Fountain – Step back in time when you walk through the door of this shop, established in Foley in 1929. You can still enjoy handmade milk shakes, malts, ice cream sodas and sundaes. Self-serve coffee is still 10 cents a cup.
31. Pensacola MESS Hall – This is a haven for any kid who loves science. Every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July admission includes a workshop in various scientific topics. www.pensacolamesshall.org
32. Attend a free concert at Pelican Place in Gulf Shores – The Sounds of Summer is a free concert series hosted by the Pelican Place Mall all summer long.
33. Meyer Park – This massive, wooden playground on 22nd Avenue in Gulf Shores is a favorite of kids of all ages.
34. Take a historic bus tour of Baldwin County – In honor of the state’s bicentennial the Baldwin County Department of Archives and History is offering a bus tour from 9 a.m. to noon to learn about the area’s earliest history. Call 580-2572 for ticket information.
35. Lunch and learn at Tacky Jack’s in Gulf Shores – All summer long the restaurant will host events for children to get up close and personal with creatures brought by naturalists from area parks as well as Art al Fresco days. Visit www.tackyjacks.com for a full schedule.
36. Snakes, Frogs and Turtles Observe & Explore Day, July 5, 10 a.m., Graham Creek Nature Preserve, Foley.
37. See a movie for $1 – Spanish Fort Premiere 14 theatre is hosting Summer Kids Fest, $1 shows at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For a full listing of titles visit http://www.pccmovies.com/location/12314/Premiere-Cinema-14-Spanish-Fort-Showtimes
38. Visit the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum – This former 1910 schoolhouse is home to hundreds of Native American artifacts and shows what life was like when the island was home to just a few fishing families. Open Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
39. Celebrate July 4th with music and a bang – The Baldwin Pops Band plays on July 4th at Henry George Park in Fairhope, before and during the firework display. Fireworks begin at about 9 p.m.
40. Take your photo with the shark – No summer is complete without an annual family photo standing inside the gaping mouth of the shark that greets visitors at Souvenir City in Gulf Shores.
41. Shorelines Observe and Explore Day, July 21, 10 a.m. Graham Creek Nature Preserve, Foley
42. Play disc golf – There are four disc golf courses in the county, at Volanta Sports Park in Fairhope, Daphne Central Park, Orange Beach Disc Golf Course off Canal Road and the Foley Disc Golf Course at Graham Creek Nature Preserve.
43. Foley Train Museum – Sure you’ve probably climbed all over the trains in downtown Foley but did you know there is a magical model train inside that runs on a quarter mile of track? There is and you should visit! The trains run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free.
44. Walk the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail – This 15 mile trail crosses through Gulf Shore and Orange Beach and wanders through six distinct ecosystems. The butterfly garden is a favorite with children. www.backcountrytrail.com
45. Art in the Park – Daphne Parks and Recreation will host crafts, inflatables and free concessions June 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at W.O. Lott park.
46. Watch the Blue Angels practice – The world-famous aviators can be seen practicing over the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola often throughout the summer. Practice lasts about 55 minutes and is free. For a full schedule visit http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/attractions/blue-angels/
47. Shark Week – Celebrate all things shark July 23 – 27 at Gulf State Park, displays, crafts, games, scavenger hunt. $3 per person daily wristband. www.gulfstateparksharkweek.com
48. Black Education Museum in Daphne – This museum chronicles the history of black education in Baldwin County beginning in 1882. Call for an appointment, 510-0355.
49. Slugs, bugs and snails observe and explore day, Aug. 1, 10 a.m. Graham Creek Nature Preserve, Foley
50. American Sport Art Museum and Archives in Daphne - See sports, lots of them, through an artist’s eye. This museum is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
51. Wet & Wild Wednesdays – The city of Daphne will host this free water event June 13, 20, and 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at W.O. Lott Park.
52. Music in the Park at Spanish Fort Town Center Park - Free musical performance every Friday through Aug. 31, from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
53. Animal meet and greet at 5 Rivers in Spanish Fort – meet a local critter from the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, find the full schedule of meet and greets at http://www.outdooralabama.com/activities/5-rivers-alabama-delta-resource-center
54. Glow in the Park Summer Movie – June 7, 8 p.m., Fairhopers Community Park, a free family movie night. Bring chairs or blankets and a picnic.
55. Adopt your new best friend – The Baldwin County Animal Shelter in Summerdale hosts adoption fairs the first and third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon.
56. Visit your local library – Public libraries throughout Baldwin County are hosting tons of summer fun for kids. Check out schedules online or go down and visit in person.
57. Watch a movie and bowl all at the same time – Eastern Shore Lanes will host Movies on the Lanes every Monday night in June and July starting at 5:30 p.m. If you signed up for kids bowl free, those games are free!
58. Learn how to be a Gulf State Park Ranger. The park will again host its Junior Ranger Program from June 8 to July 27 for children ages 11 to 14. Cost is $5 per class. Call 948-7275 ext. 2114 to sign up.
59. Walk the Eastern Shore Trail – The trail extends 23 miles from Spanish Fort to Weeks Bay and is an easy walk over boardwalks, sidewalks and asphalt. Split the trail over several days and explore the entire Eastern Shore.
60. Play beach games at Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores. Every Thursday from 11 to noon the restaurant hosts friendly competition for kids ages 6 – 12.
61. Visit the Holmes Medical Museum in Foley – This former hospital is now a fascinating place to learn how they tended to patients in the early part of the 1900s. And, it’s said to be one of the most haunted places in the county.
62. Climb your way through the rope course at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. At $7 a person mom and dad can sit and rest why the kids spend a good hour making their way through the course.
63. Visit Fort Morgan – Every Tuesday evening in June and July the fort hosts living history tours starting at 6 p.m.
64. Eat breakfast with pirates and princesses – The Hangout in Gulf Shores will host breakfast every morning for young pirates and princesses. Come dressed in your swashbuckling or royal best and play games and win prizes.
65. Attend a real rodeo – Round our your summer adventures by attending the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo the first weekend of August in Foley.
66. Pick up litter – When you plan a family hike or walk to any of the county’s beautiful park, make a point to bring a bag to collect litter you find and help keep Baldwin County beautiful!
67. Learn about hurricanes and how to prepare for them – The city of Gulf Shores will host its annual Hurricane Preparedness Expo on June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Erie H. Meyer Civic Center.
68. Play a board game – The Spanish Fort Public Library hosts Tabletop Game Night every Tuesday from 4 – 7 p.m. through August.
69. Play and create – Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope offers weekly craft classes for children for $5 a child.
70. Attend a “drive-in movie” at The Village at The Beach Club in Gulf Shores. Create your car out of a provided box and then enjoy the show. Held every Wednesday in June at 6 p.m., free for members, $15 for non-members.
71. Stockton Bicentennial Park – A 367-acre park dedicated to preserving county history. It includes a two-mile nature trail, hands-on historical exhibits and a working farm. Open Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.
72. Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve – At the Weeks Bay Visitor Center in Fairhope there are exhibits, live animal displays and so much to learn about how these habits protect our coasts.
73. The Hot Shop – Ever wonder how they make glass bowls, paperweights and flowers? Watch artisans in action at the Coastal Arts Center’s Hot Shop in Orange Beach.
74. Handicapped-accessible playground – This playground in Bay Minette, located at the Municipal Pool Complex, complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The playground sits on rubber padding so wheelchairs can easily maneuver and there is a wheelchair swing and other various equipment.
75. Plant a small vegetable garden – Many veggies can be easily grown in a pot in the backyard. Have your kids plant and care for a tomato plant and then enjoy the fruits of their labor!
76. Gulf State Park Pier – For $2 a person you can stroll along this 1,540 foot long pier, the second longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico. Take in the view, watch anglers bring in their catch and enjoy the day.
77. The Ferris Wheel, Orange Beach – There are a lot of pricey places to take your kids this summer for entertainment, and lots of amusement park rides to be had but The Wharf’s 112-foot tall ferris wheel remains one of the least expensive rides around. At $5 a person the gondolas are also wheelchair accessible.
78. Gator Alley – Also called D’Olive Boardwalk Park, this Daphne property features a beautiful boardwalk over D’Olive Creek and a butterfly garden. And, you may just see alligators in the water below.
79. Take your photo with dinosaurs – When you visit Stonehenge (see 25) don’t turn around and go home. Keep driving towards Barber Marina and keep a keen eye on the tree line. There are life-size dinosaur statues hidden in the woods.
80. Hunt for shells and driftwood along the beach – especially at low tide after a summer storm the sea gives up lots of treasures to be found.
81. Sleep in one last time and take an extra lap around the pool. School starts tomorrow!