One Tank Trip: Visiting Alabama's Gulf Coast

One Tank Trip: AL Gulf Coast
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo animal encounters are a can't miss for animal lovers. (Photo source: WDAM)
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo animal encounters are a can't miss for animal lovers. (Photo source: WDAM)

We filled up our gas tank and hit the road for the second edition of our One Tank Trips to show you fun memories you and your family can make this summer without spending a fortune.

This time, we headed down to the Alabama Gulf Coast to check out OWA in Foley and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and the Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

The ride down is beautiful. You'll travel through the George Wallace Tunnel and pop out on the Bayway over Mobile Bay.

Our First Stop was the beach at Gulf State Park. The beach is absolutely beautiful with sugar white sands and clear, emerald color water. The beach is not normally crowded, so there is plenty of room for you and your family to have fun in the sun.

You can even go saltwater fishing on the pier with a permit, of course. Parking is free, though you do have to pay to fish from the pier.

Next, we headed to OWA, which is located about 10 miles north of Gulf Shores in Foley. OWA has much to offer for everyone in the family.

To start off, there's The Park at OWA, which is an amusement park that features 21 roller coasters and rides, games and great food.

The biggest roller coaster is called Rollin' Thunder, which takes you up 125 feet into the air before dropping you down a 90-degree drop. The coaster reaches a top speed of 65 mph and has 2 airtime hills that give you the sensation of coming out of your seat!

This was such a blast for us that we rode it twice!

If big roller coasters aren't your thing, there are smaller amusement park rides throughout the park that are designed for everyone, including a section just for kids. You can view the full list of rides at visitOWA.com.

If you get too hot, you can cool down at the splash pad inside the park.

Afterward, you can visit Downtown OWA, which is free to enter and features numerous shops and restaurants, including Alvin's Island, Fairhope Soap Shop, Hershey's Ice Cream Parlor and Cinnabon. Most famous of them all is Wahlburgers, which is featured on the A&E TV show of the same name and is owned by actors Donnie and Mark Wahlberg.

While you're down there, be sure to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, where you can interact and even hold some of the animals!

Animal encounters include interacting with sloths, lemurs, kangaroos, tamanduas and a reptile garden. While we were there, we had a blast playing with the kangaroos, lemurs and sloths while learning about the animals from knowledgeable and friendly staff.

The zoo is a wonderful experience for any animal lover! You can also stop by and see Chucky the Alligator, who became famous when he went missing after floating out of his enclosure during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, only to be found later in the back of the zoo.

The zoo also features a mining sluice where you can pan for fossils, gems and minerals for treasures to take home.

The Alabama Gulf Coast is has something to offer for the whole family, and best of all, it's just one tank away! You can view a map of everywhere we stopped below:

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