For an urban escape: Mobile


Battle House Hotel lobby.

The Battle House hotel features a lobby with a whispering arch and an unbeatable location in downtown Mobile. Photo courtesy Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa

School may be out, but that doesn’t mean class has to be. The historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa—with its spacious rooms and prime downtown location—makes an ideal home base for the intellectually curious family.

If you can tear yourself away from the property’s palatial swimming pool, the surrounding blocks offer museums, parks, and more. Don’t miss sending secret messages along the hotel lobby’s famed whispering arch, located on the second floor. Rates start at $219; AAA discount available.

Nearby, the Exploreum Science Center’s domed theater erupts with youthful squeals of delight as a crocodile seems to swim toward the audience. The film, part of a traveling exhibit on Cuba’s cultural and natural wonders, joins a slew of hands-on draws like scheduled live-animal demos, explorations of the human heart, and experiments in the science labs. Adult admission, $15.

National Maritime Museum shipping simulator.

Kids can navigate Mobile's busy bay on a shipping simulator at the National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Jessica Fender

On the waterfront, visitors can learn to tie clove hitches, explore shipping containers’ contents, and even pilot a simulated patrol boat into the state’s busiest port at the ship-shaped National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of MexicoAdult admission, $14.

History comes to life at colonial Fort Condé, located near the museum, complete with a replica of the 1723 French settlement that first brought Europeans to Alabama and beyond. Included with adult admission to History Museum of Mobile, $14.

Freshly baked Pop-Tart from Dropout Bakery & Company.

At Dropout Bakery in Mobile, any number of breakfast treats are sure to please the family, including homemade Pop-Tarts. Photo by Jessica Fender

Memorable meal: Dropout Bakery & Company specializes in whimsical treats for all ages. House-made goodies might include fruit-filled pastries and “crookies,” a croissant and chocolate chip cookie hybrid. Savory specialties on the ever-changing menu at this weekend hot spot might include the honey pepper Conecuh sausage croissant.

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