Daphne, Alabama is situated along the Mobile Bay’s eastern shore. The quaint community of fishing camps along the beach and historic houses is home to many different activities for both locals and visitors alike to enjoy. There are a host of cultural offerings, festivals, beaches, parks, and restaurants. From holding baby alligators and spending a day at the park to fishing excursions and Cajun cooking, there’s more than most people would think. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Gator Alley Boardwalk
2.Village Point Park Preserve
3.May Day Park
4.The American Sport Art Museum & Archives
5.Daphne Museum (Daphne Methodist Church)
6.Ugly Fishing LLC
7.Hot Wheels Skate Center
8.Boudreaux's Cajun Grill
9.Moe's Original BBQ
10.The Wacky Shrimp
11.Mediterranean Sandwich Co.
12.The Sugar Kettle Cafe
12 Best Things to Do in Daphne, Alabama
- Gator Alley Boardwalk, Photo: Courtesy of Mary - Fotolia.com
- Village Point Park Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of Turnshoe - Fotolia.com
- May Day Park, Photo: Courtesy of mangpor2004 - Fotolia.com
- The American Sport Art Museum & Archives, Photo: The American Sport Art Museum & Archives
- Daphne Museum (Daphne Methodist Church), Photo: Daphne Museum (Daphne Methodist Church)
- Ugly Fishing LLC, Photo: Courtesy of Rob - Fotolia.com
- Hot Wheels Skate Center, Photo: Hot Wheels Skate Center
- Boudreaux's Cajun Grill, Photo: Boudreaux's Cajun Grill
- Moe's Original BBQ, Photo: Moe's Original BBQ
- The Wacky Shrimp, Photo: The Wacky Shrimp
- Mediterranean Sandwich Co., Photo: Mediterranean Sandwich Co.
- The Sugar Kettle Cafe, Photo: The Sugar Kettle Café
- Cover Photo: City of Daphne, Alabama - "The Jubilee City"
Attraction Spotlight: Village Point Park Preserve
Daphne, Alabama’s Village Point Park Preserve is a 70-acre protected natural area. Archeological digs within the site prove a history dating back to the earliest inhabitants of North America. The preserve protects heritage trees, wetlands, streams and woodlands, creating a home for the native wildlife.
Features of Village Point Park Preserve include Jackson’s Oak, the largest live oak in Alabama. Live oaks can live for at least one thousand years, and this oak, at 95 feet tall and 28 feet in diameter was already of a grand stature when a 1787 land survey was conducted by the Spanish, and when General Andrew Jackson made a speech from a limb of the oak during the War of 1812. An observation platform surrounds the tree to allow viewers to enjoy it up close without doing damage to the roots. The preserve is also home to six additional “State Champion” trees.
A short trail, the D’Olive Plantation Nature Trail, winds around the oak to the D’Olive Cemetery and to a prehistoric burial ground beyond. The D’Olives were the first family in Daphne, Alabama and the cemetery dates back to the early 1800’s. The oldest gravestones are inscribed in French, and would have belonged to a family that lived on the land, as it was customary back then to perform burials on your own plantation.
The Yancy Creek cuts through the Preserve, while beach access to Village Point Beach is provided by a short trail. All trails in the park offer easy hiking and are dog and bicycle friendly. A full loop of all trails spans about 2 miles. Village Point Beach allows swimming, but alligators and murky waters keep most guests out. Wind makes it a popular location for kite surfing.
A nature boardwalk parallels the Alligator Habitat along D’Olive Bay, and is also among the best places for bird watching in Daphne. Commonly spotted birds include bald eagles, great horned and barred owls, and water birds such as the great blue heron, tricolored heron and great egret.
Visitors can overlook the bay from a pier that extends out across from the Richard Scardamelia Pavilion. The pavilion is Daphne’s premier private event venue, and is host to weddings and other parties. With views overlooking the bay, it has been rated one of Alabama’s most beautiful places to get married. Kayak and Canoe access is also available through the separate entrance to Bayfront Park, although the Village Park and Bayfront Park are connected.
History: Village Point Park Preserve is a colonial and Native American site known as “the village,” and marks the location where the native Alabamans, Tensaws, the the Creeks, Seminoles and Choctaws would meet up at different times throughout history. It’s where the French first established Fort de la Mobile, and where the Spanish would convene before heading to their fort a few miles to the north. Farragut’s men landed nearby before marching to capture the Spanish Fort. The Village today marks the site of the history of Alabama, and Daphne in particular.
When discussions on the construction of a Bayfront park began in 1994, the Village Point Foundation was founded soon after in 1995. The Foundation was established with a mission to preserve and maintain all the parks of Daphne, Alabama. By 1996 close to 7 acres had been secured as Bayfront Park, which includes the current location of the pavilion. By 1999 an additional 50 acres had been acquired, establishing the Village Point Preserve. An additional 11 acres were adjoined to the park in 2003. Village Point Park was awarded the Alabama Urban Forestry Award in 2003.
Recently, the Village Point Foundation was awarded a grant to further restore the D’Olive Cemetery. Signs will be constructed for each gravesite, especially where the years or vandalism have worn away grave markings. A military headstone will be installed to mark the burial site of the D’Olive sons, who both served the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Tours of the Village Point Park Preserve are self guided, and enhanced by informative kiosks located throughout the park, with short sound clips on the history of the area. The park is a popular meet-up point for hiking groups, bird watchers and scout troops.
What’s Nearby: While Village Point Park and Preserve is the largest of all Daphne parks, the Village Point Foundation manages five other city parks.
27710 Main St, Daphne, AL 36526, Phone: 251-621-3703
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Attraction Spotlight: The American Sport Art Museum & Archives
The American Sport Art Museum and Archives, or ASAMA, is located in Daphne, Alabama on the campus of the United States Sports Academy. The museum preserves the history of sports through arts and literature with a collection of over 1,800 paintings, sculptures, photographs, posters, prints and more. Pieces span all media and represent the important cultural connection between creative expression and competitive athleticism.
The museum’s Thomas P. Rosandich Gallery is dedicated to the role the arts have played in exalting and glorifying physical performance in competitive sports. The museum is also home to a vast collection of Olympic Memorabilia and Olympic-related artwork.
The permanent collection is considered to be the largest collection of sports-related art in the world. Highlights include sculptural work by Armand Arman, known as the oracle of environmental art, and local sculptor Bruce Larsen, who creates athletic figures from salvaged metals. Painters represented in the collection include Bernie Fuchs, known for his 1960’s oils of golfing and horse racing, the Australian Miriam Cabello, whose painted series “white rope” features Aboriginal boxers, and San Diego’s Kadir Nelson, whose paintings carry forward the African American tradition of oral history through a visual lens. Also among the collection are illustrations by Murray Tinkleman, calligraphy by China’s Gu Gan, and works by graphic artist Primo Angeli.
An outdoor mural spanning the full height of the building’s exterior is the largest public art installation in Alabama. The mural, by artist Maestro Cristóbal Gabarrón graces the side of the architecturally acclaimed building which houses the museum. An outdoor sculpture park surrounds the museum with several environmentally friendly sport-themed sculptures.
History: The United States Sports Academy was founded in 1972 and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in sports-related studies. ASAMA, the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives was founded in 1984 to honor artistic representations of sport, and their influence in inspiring athletes, coaches, and sport spectators worldwide.
Notable Academy alumni include Washington State University football coach Mike Leach, and Israeli-American Olympic figure skater Aimee Buchanan. The museum is supported through its relationship with the Sports Academy, and through member donations. Admission to the museum and its programs is free.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Free group tours of the museum are available by appointment, although the collection is easily accessible with a self-guided visit.
The museum has hosted the United States Sports Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year Award since 1984. The honor is given annually to an artist whose work best captures the spirit of athletics. Many of the artists represented in the permanent collection are past winners of the award.
American painter Ernie Barnes was the first to win the award in 1984, and repeated his win in 2004. The neo-mannerist painter had a 43-year long career during which he painted the American experience, and African-American experience via sport and recreation, from Ring around the Rosy to portraits of American Football League owners and players.
The Sport Artist of the Year award is just one of several awards the academy grants annually. Others include Distinguished Service Awards, Honorary Doctorates, Team of the Year, Alumni of the Year, and Outstanding Athlete awards. Each is designed to recognize those who have made significant contributions to American sport.
The 2018 award show and presentation was recently held in November. New York Painter Greg Kreindler and Chicago sculptor Lou Cella won the award. Their works were featured in the show and each will have a piece added to the museum’s permanent collection.
Past and Future Exhibits: The museum recently received a donation of 10 serigraphs by Sport Artist of the Year award winner Rick Rush, each of them portraying a historical moment in University of Alabama football. The works of art were donated by local resident L.D. McLaughlin Jr.
What’s Nearby: Daphne, Alabama is located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The small suburb of Mobile is the most populated in the Baldwin County area, at just over 20,000 citizens. Popular destinations in the area include the Daphne Bayfront Park and Village Point Park Preserve. Spanish Fort’s Delta Resource Center and Wild Native Tours are popular outdoor recreation spots located just five miles away.
1 Academy Drive Daphne, AL 36526, Phone: 251-626-3303
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Attraction Spotlight: Wonderland Children’s Museum
The Wonderland Children’s Museum in Daphne, Alabama provides an entertaining venue for children to explore and learn. The interactive play center promotes imaginative play through educational activities. The 8,650-sqare foot facility offers 4-hour guided experiences that children may attend 2,3 or 4 times per week, as well as drop-in play times with a parent, or drop-in day care.
Play zones at the Wonderland Children’s Museum include the Pirates Cove, which offers a large ship to climb on, complete with rope ladders and a plank to walk, the Enchanted Forest complete with giant mushroom and teepees to hide in, a Fireman’s themed area, and play castle complete with a unicorn-themed mural as a backdrop. There is a Tiny Town Café, a space-themed area with a space ship to climb in and crafting areas full of art supplies. Some of the themed areas are in small private rooms, such as the Hospital, Farm, Music Room and the General Store. This allows children with sensory sensitivity to have a quiet, enclosed play area.
Pre-school curriculum fits into a four-hour day with learning based on letters, colors or themes. With an overall scouting theme, children receive a vest they wear in class, and earn patches by completing activities throughout each week. At the end of each year, they have a vest full of patches as a keepsake. Each classroom is a mix of 2.5 to 4-year old students, with the older children acting as assistant teachers, and learning by helping their younger classmates. Each day begins with free play time in the 5,000-square foot classroom space, followed by story time, a healthy snack time and a lesson plan that includes everything from yoga to crafts, science experiments, no-bake cooking or movie time. Each day ends with the children enjoying their parent-provided lunch together.
For children not registered in pre-school, daily play is available Monday through Saturday. Parents accompany their children for free with a purchase at the on-site café. Wonderland’s Café serves Devil Dog Gourmet Coffee, a veteran-owned coffee roaster based in Colorado. Drop-in care is also available for an hourly fee. The shoe-free facility requires socks for each visitor, which are available for purchase if needed.
History: Wonderland Children’s Museum opened in the summer of 2018 as the culmination of a 3-year long dream by owner and founder Kari Noell. The mother of two small children, Noell had the idea of creating an imaginative play center for her children after visiting several children’s museums on her travels. She combined her favorite exhibits from all these museums, and added a small-class pre-school curriculum for parents seeking more structure and guided educational play. Designing Pinterest-worthy parties is Noell’s other passion, and the Children’s Museum has become a well-known birthday party hosting location.
Ongoing Programs and Education: School field trip options are available for outside schools to attend. Each field trip is suitable for children 10 years of age and under. A self-guided option lets groups explore the museum on their own. STEAM Enhanced field trips supplement free play with a guided activity based on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Options include an engineering challenge that encourages tinkering, building and problem solving, or an art-based activity that encourages development of fine motor skills through painting, drawing or sculpture. Map Quest field trips encourage children to play outside of their one favorite area by having them complete a map challenge that takes them around the entire facility.
Wonderland Children’s Museum is a perfect birthday party destination for young children. Party packages include four hours of play in a private party room, and a choice of 15 different themes such as dinosaurs, mermaids, pirates, luau, carnival, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, and princess or unicorn. Life-sized characters, a themed backdrop and a photo booth match each of the themes.
Special Events at Wonderland Children’s Museum include holiday theme parties, such as Halloween’s Boo Bash. Games at the Boo Bash included bowling for ghosts, bobbing for apples and pumpkin golf. The event included a visit by live animals, a candy bar, and costume contest. Winter holiday themed events include ornament making, snow-making and milk and cookies with Santa. Mommy and Me Yoga classes, movie nights and no-bake cooking classes are frequently on the special event schedule.
What’s Nearby: Daphne, Alabama is a small town located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, a brief twenty minute drive across the bay from Mobile.
151 Van Buren St., Daphne, AL 36526, Phone: 251-586-8811
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