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Mobile, originally known as Fort Louis de la Mobile, is a thriving city with a population of just under 200,000 people. The third largest city in Alabama, it was the birthplace of American Mardi Gras back in 1703. Long before New Orleans adopted the holiday, Mobile was already celebrating it. Despite its French heritage the name of the city is actually homage to the Native American tribe residing in the area at the time of the city's establishment.
Aside from being a popular Mardi Gras destination, Mobile is also famous for its jubilee, a natural phenomenon that causes all marine life to rise up to the water surface in summer evenings. The phenomenon, which is extremely rare, may be caused by lack of oxygen or by changes in underwater currents. The jubilee is an impressive sight to those walking by the bay after sunset.
Mobile is located in an area prone to hurricanes, which means that large storms are frequent and usually cause serious damage to the city every year. Hurricane Katrina hit the city only slightly, and other hurricanes have passed by or touch the city sideways. The worst damage caused to the area occurred in 1979, when Hurricane Frederic torn down half the city. The hurricane caused enough destruction that it took the government five years to get Mobile back to its original glory.
Mobile has mild winters and hot summers, and it's a prime tourist destination year round. Aside from Mardi Gras, which lasts a month, visitors to the city can enjoy the USS Alabama Battleship and the Submarine USS Druim, or board one of the new cruisers lining up on Mobile Bay. Old Southern mansions and formal gardens abound in the city, and the historian at heart can find many options to explore the city's past. At night, the Bay becomes alive with restaurants, cafes, and boat rides, and both riders and those enjoying a seaside walk can be found alongside the bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top attractions to visit in Mobile, Alabama?
Mobile, Alabama, is rich in history and culture, offering a variety of attractions. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a must-visit, where you can explore the WWII-era battleship and submarine. The Mobile Carnival Museum showcases the city's Mardi Gras history, and the Mobile Museum of Art features an extensive collection of fine arts. For nature lovers, the Bellingrath Gardens and Home provides 65 acres of year-round floral pageantry.
Are there any unique historical sites to see in Mobile?
Mobile is steeped in history, with several unique sites to explore. The Historic Fort Conde, a reconstructed 18th-century fort, offers interactive exhibits and live demonstrations. The Richards DAR House Museum is a beautifully preserved Italianate-style home from the 1860s, providing insight into the city's antebellum past. Additionally, the Oakleigh Historic Complex gives a glimpse into Southern life through its grand historic mansion and surrounding buildings.
What family-friendly activities can be found in Mobile?
Families visiting Mobile have plenty of options for fun and educational experiences. The GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is interactive and engaging for all ages, with exhibits on maritime history and science. The Mobile Zoo, though smaller than some, offers an intimate wildlife experience. Langan Park, with its playgrounds, picnic areas, and the Mobile Botanical Gardens, is perfect for a family day out.
Where can I experience the local arts and culture scene in Mobile?
The Saenger Theatre, a historic venue, hosts concerts, plays, and other performances, making it a cornerstone of Mobile's arts scene. Art lovers should visit the Mobile Museum of Art, which houses a diverse collection of over 10,000 works. For a taste of local culture, the Crescent Theater screens independent films and hosts community events. Additionally, the monthly LoDa ArtWalk showcases local artists and musicians in downtown Mobile.
What outdoor activities are available in Mobile, Alabama?
Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Mobile. The Five Rivers Delta Resource Center offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and boat tours in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Hiking and bird-watching can be enjoyed at the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island, accessible via a short ferry ride. For fishing and water sports, head to Mobile Bay or one of the nearby beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.