Get Your Start: Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Known for its interactive animal encounters, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the perfect spot to start your day. Beat the heat and crowds by getting there early. During this time of the day, you can see the cheerful staff pulling wagons of breakfast for critters both big and small, plus see the animals greet their breakfast-serving friends.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been entertaining locals and visitors since 1989. Located just a short drive from the beach, they are a popular stop for all ages. Be sure to check the schedule for Encounters before your visit and spend some close up time with lemurs, kangaroos or maybe even a reptile.
Cool Down Mid-day: Waterville USA
Did you know that Waterville USA has been part of the scene in Gulf Shores for 30 years? They originally opened back in 1986 and today the park covers 20 acres with amusement park and waterpark experiences.
When you visit, set aside plenty of time because you get two parks for one admission price. On the water park side you can make a splash at 17 water slides (Yes, 17 water slides!), plus the water fun continues with a lazy river, wave pool, Shrimp Boat Village, Wa-Wa World, and Flowrider.
Over on the amusement park side you can enjoy hours of entertainment with the Nascart Go-Carts, Cannonball Run roller coaster, 36 holes of miniature golf, Trampoline Thing, Fun Depot kiddie rides, House of Bounce, and the Flowrider (which is accessible when the water park is not open). There’s also an Escape House, which provides fun for the whole family rain or shine!
Located a quarter mile from the beach on Gulf Shores Parkway, Waterville USA is open March – September, and a perfect way to cool down mid-day.
Take in the Sunset: Pink Pony Pub
Coastal sunsets are a magical time to share with friends and family. And in Gulf Shores, there’s no better place to gather to watch the sun slip into the horizon than the famous Pink Pony Pub. If you’ve only driven through Gulf Shores once, no doubt you remember seeing the Pink Pony near the main public beach. After all, it is really pink. As the owners say, it is bubble gum pink, Pepto pink, like 90% of Barbie’s wardrobe pink.
While it has grown a little since its opening in 1956, this is still a relatively small restaurant and bar. Good thing they have a roomy wooden deck for the crowds to spread out while they enjoy delicious nachos, burgers, shrimp and oysters. And what do they order to go with all that yummy food? The Pink Pony serves up an impressive drink menu that satisfies the craft beer enthusiast, the frozen drink fanatic, the cocktail devotee and certainly the no frills, just give me a cold beer folks.
You can find all those folks coming together for the most special time of day at the Pink Pony – sunset. As the sun heads to the west it is time to celebrate with a Bushwhacker, maybe a Strawberry Daiquiri or the Pink Pony’s signature Bob Marley which artfully blends strawberry, piña colada, banana, melon, orange, coconut rum and dark rum. Sunsets can also be toasted with a classic cocktail, a traditional American beer, a newer craft brew or a glass of wine. No matter what you like to drink, the Pink Pony is the place for sippin’ into a coastal sunset.