Travel the state, discover fun times

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beachgoers enjoy the white, sandy beaches in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. Located two-and-a-half hours from Andalusia, it’s a great opportunity for a Saturday getaway or a quick weekend trip. | Photo Courtesy Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Looking for a family trip without leaving Sweet Home Alabama? There are literally hundreds of choices for day adventures and overnight stays in every region of the state.

From the sandy white beaches of Alabama’s Gulf Coast to its highest point atop Mt. Cheaha, there’s an adverture awaiting in the state’s backyard.

The state has three minor league baseball clubs — the Birmingham Barons, Montgomery Biscuits and the Mobile Baybears — for those looking to catch some excitement on the diamond.

Take a slide down a water slide at one of Alabama’s several water parks, including Waterville in Gulf Shores and Water World in nearby Dothan.

For future scientists, there’s the Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile and the McWane Center in Birmingham to name a few.

Animals lovers alike would appreciate the Montgomery or Birmingham Zoo, where animals from different habitats can be found.

-Kendra Bolling

Gulf Coast Exploreum, 65 Government St., Mobile
About: More than 150 interactive exhibits, IMAX films and hands-on learning programs, it’s a great day trip for local families.
Hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Cost: Exhibit only: Adults $12, teens 13-18 $11 and children 2-12 $10; IMAX only: Adults $8, teens 13-16 $6.75, children 2-12 $6; Combo: Adults $16, teens 13-16 $15 and children 2-12 $14.

Montgomery Zoo and Mann Museum, 2301
Coliseum Parkway

About: Some 40 acres featuring habitats from five continents with naturalistic, barrier-free exhibits for more than 600 animals. Family can enjoy dining at Overlook Cafe, visit the gift shop and take a train ride around the park.
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Cost: Zoo only: Adults: $10, children 3-12 $7, seniors $9 and ages 2 and under free; Mann Museum only: $6 for adults, $4 for children, $5 for adults and under 2 free; combo tickets: $14 for adults, $10 for children, $14 for seniors and free for under 2.

Cheaha State Park, 19644 Hwy 281, Delta
About: Cheaha State Park is the pinnacle of natural beauty in Alabama. Surrounded by the Talledega National Forest, this foothill of the Applachian Mountains is the highest point in the state. Families can hike trails, enjoy the national forest water falls and trails, bike the trails and enjoy a horse trail.
Hours: Daily 7 a.m. until sundown.
Cost: Varies depending on whether camping, renting a cabin or chalet.

Alabama Adventure, 4599 Alabama Adventure Parkway

About: A joint water and amusement park, it’s a great overnight trip for a family. Located just outside of Birmingham in Bessemer, there’s something for adrenaline junkies and those who want just a relaxing time, including water slides, lazy rivers and much more.
Hours: Vary by date.
Cost: $35.99 for adults; $25.99 for those under 48 inches and those over 62 years, children under 3 free. Parking is $10.