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Key Info

1204 Gulf Shores Pkwy.


Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 4.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 3.0Atmosphere

When the kids tire of beach days, take them to visit some furry friends at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. If the zoo sounds familiar, here's why: It was the star of Animal Planet's 2006 documentary series "The Little Zoo That Could," which details the zoo's efforts to rebuild and care for its animals after hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina. The zoo is home to more than 600 animals representing nearly 200 species, including 22 endangered species. In addition to animal viewing, the zoo offers daily zookeeper talks, animal shows and meet-and-greets with select critters.

Recent visitors enjoyed the zoo, praising the variety of wildlife on display. However, others noted that the cages seemed a bit too small for some of the animals and that the facilities appear worn. Reviewers also acknowledged that the deteriorated facilities could be due to the zoo's impending move 4 miles north of its current location in late 2019.

The zoo's current location is 1 mile north of the beach. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for kids ages 3 to 12. The zoo also offers animal encounters; these encounters are an additional fee. The last day the zoo is open at its current location is Sept. 30, 2019; starting Oct. 1, the zoo will be closed for the move. It plans to open at its new location in mid-November 2019. Check out the zoo's website before your trip to learn more.

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Time to Spend
#1 Gulf State Park

Outdoor adventurers flock to Gulf State Park, which sits just a mile east of the public beach. Along with opportunities for swimming, fishing and paddling at Lake Shelby, the park also boasts 28 miles of trails (15 of which make up the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail) that weave throughout. Visitors can also take advantage of the park's guided tours or stop by the nature center to learn about the local flora and fauna. Budget-minded vacationers should check out the park's rental cabins or its campgrounds, while those traveling with pets can make use of the on-site dog park. Those who don't want to rough it can book a room at one of the nearby hotels.

Travelers regularly call the park beautiful and praise the clean facilities. Hikers enjoyed the park's trails and appreciate the water fountains located along the paths. Meanwhile, RVers offer rave reviews of the size of the grounds and the on-site amenities.

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Courtesy of Alabama State Parks
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