Be Dolphin SMART

Gathering crowds and pointing fingers often mean one thing on the beaches of Fort Morgan – a dolphin sighting! It’s so exciting to see dolphins traveling through the waters along the Gulf Coast, especially when they’re “performing” for the crowds. You may see them splashing, circling, playing, jumping, or flipping out of the water. They truly are beautiful and magnificent creatures, and we must keep them safe in order to continue enjoying them. Being dolphin SMART is about knowing how to react around dolphins for the safety of yourself and the animal.

The Dolphin SMART program was created in Key West, Florida, and promotes responsible dolphin viewing. You can enjoy the dolphins, but at a safe distance! The acronym “SMART” is an outline of basic dolphin etiquette. SMART stands for:

Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
Move away slowly if the dolphins show signs of disturbance
Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near
Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins
Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

In October 2008, Orange Beach, Alabama, hosted its first Dolphin SMART training session. The hope is to create a safe and healthy environment for the dolphins in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, and Orange Beach.

Dolphin viewing in and around Fort Morgan

If you want to spend the day, or just a few hours, out on the water, check out these area dolphin cruises and tours. The professionals guiding these trips are sure to provide you with a fun and scenic day – hopefully with lots of dolphin sightings! If you’re out in the water along the beaches of Fort Morgan or Gulf Shores, remember to follow the proper etiquette. It will ensure the safety of these wonderful animals and of yourself and your family!

Fins and Family Fishing Charters
4170 Spinnaker Dr. Unit 1223i
Gulf Shores, AL
251.979.2691
https://www.finsandfamilyfishing.com/

Flora-Bama Marina & Watersports
29603 Perdido Key Drive
Orange Beach, AL
251.980.5222
https://www.florabama.com/

Dolphin Fun Dolphin Cruises
27844 Canal Road
Orange Beach, AL
251.971.1893
https://dolphincruises.net/

Cetacean Cruises*
25991 West Perdido Avenue
Orange Beach, AL
251.550.8000
https://cetaceancruises.com/

*Certified Dolphin SMART business

Holiday Events at the Beach

The holidays are all about family and fun, and Christmas vacations at the beach are no different! Fort Morgan is a scenic and relaxing place to spend the holidays. You can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous beach views or sink your toes in the sand during morning walks. But you don’t have to be a total beach bum to enjoy Christmas at the beach. Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, and surrounding towns offer jam-packed community calendars, hosting holiday events throughout December.

Christmas Shows
Your little princess will love Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) at the South Baldwin Community Theatre beginning December 5. On December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14, watch Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless fairy tale come to life! On December 8, head to the Foley Civic Center for the Baldwin Pops Christmas Concert: Frozen Christmas – a free Christmas concert for the whole family! And Christmas with the Nelsons comes to the Erie Meyer Civic Center at 7 p.m. on December 9, taking guests on a digital sleigh ride with live vocals and hilarious stories of the Nelsons’ family Christmases.

Santa Claus is coming to town!
December 11 boasts one of the biggest holiday events when Santa Claus comes to town! SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach, Alabama, will welcome Santa and invite children to get photos taken with Santa and his elves with Vacation Beach Portraits. Until December 21, you can also have Winter Wonderland photos with Santa taken at The Wharf – just $10 per photo! Find more Santa fun on December 13 at Tea with Santa at Villaggio Grille at The Wharf or the Santa Drop at Flora-Bama! On December 13, LuLu’s will welcome Billy Claus, the big brother of Santa Claus, who will be on hand to take photos and take kids’ letters from the letter writing station to his brother in the North Pole! At dusk, the Nautical Night of Lights Boat Parade will begin, so there will be plenty for both children and adults to enjoy. On December 20, kids can have another chance to meet Santa before he heads back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas Eve. A hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, and eggs will be served before it’s time to take photos with Santa! Admission is just $5, and children under three years old are free!

More holiday fun
If you need to pick up some Christmas gifts, be sure to stop by the Merry Market at The Wharf from December 12-13, where you’ll find unique gifts, handmade arts and crafts, and fine art pieces. Admission is free, so you could spend hours browsing here. Get in the holiday spirit with horse and carriage rides at The Wharf on December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21. As you ride, take in the beautiful holiday lights and decorations!

Interspersed throughout these exciting holiday events are karaoke and open mic nights at area restaurants and bars, so you can belt those holiday tunes all you want! Lulu’s will feature new live entertainment throughout the holiday season, and local restaurants will feature some of your favorite holiday foods. Round out your Christmas at the beach with the Christmas Potluck at Flora-Bama – complete with turkey and ham. Those attending are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share, making the potluck feel so much more like a family affair! What a wonderful way to spend the holidays during your vacation to Fort Morgan!

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show in Alabama

Known for their impressive air skills and long-standing traditions, the Blue Angels pilots of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron have a mission to “showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.” Their first show was at Craig Field in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1946, and the Blue Angels have been stunning crowds ever since! It’s estimated that 11 million people see the air shows each year, not counting the 50,000 people the Blue Angels visit during school and hospital visits.

This November, the Blue Angels will be performing their Homecoming Air Show at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. Admission is free, and gates open at 8 a.m. each day. When the show begins at 9 a.m., spectators will be in for a treat! The Blue Angels Flight Demonstration team will fly at 2 p.m. and sign autographs after. Along with the amazing flying skills, the Homecoming Air Show includes static aircraft displays, food and drink, vendor booths, attractions, and virtual reality experiences! There is even a Kids’ Zone that features virtual games and a bungee jump.

What to bring
Air shows are very loud, so those with young children are encouraged to bring protection for their ears. Layers of clothes help protect against the wind on the tarmac, and blankets and chairs are allowed. You can also bring small camera and diaper bags, but coolers, backpacks, pets, food, and drinks are not allowed.

Blue Angels aircraft
Over the years, the Blue Angels have flown more than 10 different aircraft. They originally flew four aircraft in the “Diamond” formation and then began flying six aircraft to include solos and precision formation flying. Today, the Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules with their own modifications, including an inverted fuel pump, a smoke-fluid system, a stop watch, an adjustable constant-tension stick spring, and the Blue Angels paint scheme.

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show
November 7 – 9
National Museum of Naval Aviation
1750 Radford Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32508
850.453.2389

If you need a great place to stay while you’re in the area, check out our condos and beach houses near Gulf Shores, Alabama. Instead of staying near the traffic of Pensacola, you can stay in the peaceful town of Fort Morgan. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan, along with the many activities in the area, before heading to Pensacola for an exciting show!

Birding in Fort Morgan

Birding, also known as bird watching, is the observation of birds in their natural habitats. Birding can be done with the naked eye, through a pair of binoculars, even though the powerful lens of a camera. The town and historic sites in Fort Morgan, Alabama, have been designated as one of the “One Hundred Globally Important Bird Areas,” being the site of annual migration routes from everything from hummingbirds to bald eagles!

While the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan offer many guests all that they could ask for, the wildlife in the area is one of the most impressive features. Birding is a seasonal venture, particularly spectacular in the spring and fall, however, migrations take place all year-round. The unique peninsula of Fort Morgan is the first landfall and last departure point for thousands of migrating birds!

Bird banding has become quite a venture in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Bird banding entails capturing large numbers of migrating birds and harmlessly placing a band around their leg as a way to track and monitor population levels as well as the condition of the birds. Bird banding allows researchers to gain crucial insight into the effects that variables such as temperature, storms, and other weather conditions have on these migrating animals.

Bird banding gathers a remarkable crew of trained and dedicated volunteers to capture and release these animals, and it is quite a sight to see! Bird banding in Fort Morgan is open to the public, inviting one and all to come check out this unique and impressive adventure. The bird banding takes place over the course of a little over one week’s time, both in April and in October.

Fort Morgan, Alabama, is also home to several sites on the Alabama Costal Birding Trail. Considered to be a birder’s paradise, the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail spans over two counties and was developed during the late 1990s as a way to offer bird enthusiasts a way to enjoy the incredible diversity that this area has to offer. Each loop that the trail offers features different ecological regions, and the one in Fort Morgan features five different sites for your recreational use!

The Fort Morgan birding loop starts AL 180, which runs until the end of the peninsula. The majority of the Fort Morgan birding trail is nestled in Fort Morgan Historic State Park. Serious birding enthusiasts can pick up a checklist at the museum in preparation for the wonderful wildlife activity they are about to witness!

If storms are in the area during the springtime migration, many guests get to witness awe-inspiring “fallouts” of migratory birds. The animals retreat to the peninsula to take refuge, in numbers and types greater than what are normally seen. Spring is one of the best times to view colorful neo-tropical birds – photographers flock to the area during this time to capture these spectacular animals on film.

The season of fall brings the neo-tropical birds back to Fort Morgan, and in addition, hundreds of migrating hawks! During this time you can view everything from red-tailed to sharp-shinned hawks. Winter brings many water birds and sparrows to the area, including chipping sparrows and white pelicans. Summer is considered to be the “slow” season of birding in this area, but can bring sandwich terns and rock pigeons to the area.

Birding in Fort Morgan is a popular activity that draws many tourists to the area. Since there are few hotels in the area, many visitors choose to stay in our lovely beach condos and houses right along the Fort Morgan beaches. Migration season is an excellent reason to enjoy a beach vacation to Fort Morgan, Alabama!