Psst. Moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas. Listen close. You’re gonna want to hear this.
Tomorrow Baldwin County Schools will open their doors and thousands of students big and small will pour into the streets while the doors shut tight behind them.
You have 83 days before those doors open again.
First, try not to cry.
Second, check out our list below of 83 fabulous, fun and fairly inexpensive things to do with your kids. We’ve searched high and low, scanned websites and taken notes to help you fill every single day of summer break.
Hike, create, explore and learn. Pack a picnic lunch and hit the road. You may be surprised how much fun you have too.
1. Celebrate the last day of school at Let’s Glow Crazy, glow in the dark event at the FORT Container Park in Spanish Fort. A DJ will begin spinning tunes at 6:30 p.m.
2. Keep the party going and welcome the sweet season of summer under a rain shower of beach balls! Attend The Wharf’s annual Pepsi Beach Ball Drop on May 24 from 5 – 9 p.m. when 5,000 beach balls are dropped from the sky.
3. Sign up for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Shining Star Camp – At $30 a child, this is the least expensive camp with the most awesome activities that you will ever attend. Camps are held at four locations throughout the summer. Visit sheriff.baldwincountyal.gov
4. Dive into a giant puddle of mud at the wildly popular International Mud Day event at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley. Park staff will turn piles of dirt into mud that you can slip, slide and bury yourself in. Held June 29 at 10 a.m.
5. Try one of the best meals Alabama has to offer. The Alabama Tourism Department has designated a list of “33 Dishes to Eat Before You Die.” Topping that list is a Key Lime Milkshake from Stacey’s Drugs & Olde Tyme Soda Fountain in Foley. Stop in and try a sip.
6. Enter a seed spitting contest, learn about butterflies and gardening and more at the Summer Fun Day for Kids hosted by 4-H and the Baldwin County Master Gardeners. The event is held July 26 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and costs $5 per family. Call 937-7176 to register
7. 5 Rivers StoryTime – The 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month is StoryTime at the center in Spanish Fort for children under age 7. Crafts too! 10 – 11 a.m., free
8. Have an ice cream at Mr. Gene’s Beans in Fairhope. The iconic sweet shop is a great place to stop on a hot summer day.
9. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – This beautiful hidden gem is a great place for a short, shady walk along the recently refurbished Jeff Friend Trail, or in the additional 470 acres added to the refuge last month.
10. Pick your own berries off the vine and enjoy them while you listen to live music or take them home and teach your kids to make a variety of delicious desserts. The last Harvest Night at Weeks Bay Plantation will be held June 15 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. There are food trucks, live entertainment and music. Admission is $10 per person, kids 12 and under are free.
11. Visit a splash pad – Several cities in Baldwin County have splash pads at their kids’ parks. They include: Bay Minette, Fairhope and Summerdale.
12. Cool down warm summer nights at Kids Night at The Wharf every Tuesday from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. with a DJ, bouncy houses, games and more.
13. Run, run as fast as you can to The Adventures of Gingerbread Man puppet show at Foley Public Library on June 13 at 10 a.m., Spanish Fort Public Library on June 11 at 10 a.m., Bay Minette Public Library on June 11 at 1 p.m.
14. Gulf State Park naturalists lead a program nearly every day - bog walks, astronomy, turtles and more. Cost is $2 per vehicle to enter the park. Find their weekly schedule at http://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park-activities
15. Find yourself far out at Space Day at Barnes & Noble on June 8 at noon. Space themed party with displays, story time and crafts.
16. Light up the night at GLOWA at OWA. Every night, except Tuesdays, from 5 – 9 p.m. enjoy music, lights and a fountain show. Runs through Aug. 11.
17. Build, build, build with the Lego Club at Orange Beach Public Library every Monday at 2 p.m.
18. Sea, Sand and Stars – Some Baldwin county students are lucky enough to visit this phenomenal facility on a field trip. If not, you can come with your child during the summer. Open Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. the weeks of June 2, 10, 17, 24 and July 8, 15 and 22. $5 per person. www.seasandandstars.com
19. Enjoy Butterflies Observe & Explore Day on June 5 at 10 a.m. at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley, designed for children 10 and under, crafts, story time, free.
20. Take a field trip to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile and enjoy exhibits and the IMAX theater, currently playing Superpower Dogs.
21. Enjoy a free concert at the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort. The free concert series kicks off May 24 at 6 p.m. with a performance by Shuggy. There will also be sidewalk sales and face painting.
22. Learn more about the creatures we share Baldwin County with at the Special Species Observe and Explore Day at Graham Creek Nature Preserve on June 15 from 10 a.m. to noon.
23. Blakeley State Park – The last stand of the Civil War happened here and now you can walk in the footsteps of history, or just take a really pretty hike. There is a Junior Ranger Activity booklet available for kids www.blakeleypark.com
24. Arrgh, walk the plank to Pirate Day at Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort a on June 1 at 2 p.m. for story time and crafts.
25. Visit Baldwin County’s newest history museum, The Stockton Heritage Museum. This quaint collection can teach you and your kiddos the very beginnings of Baldwin County history. Located in downtown Stockton and open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
26. Pick up dinner at a farmer’s market – With fresh produce being grown practically in your backyard, who needs to go to the supermarket? Markets are located in Gulf Shores, Foley, Fairhope, Daphne and Spanish Fort.
27. Go bowling for free – The kids bowl free program gives every child under 15 two free games of bowling every week of the summer at a participating bowling alley. www.kidsbowlfree.com
28. Meet your favorite princesses at Fairy Tale Nights on Wednesdays at The Village at The Beach Club in Gulf Shores. At 6 p.m. create your own crown, $7 for non-Spectrum guests, meet a new princess each week at 7 p.m. and at 8 p.m. watch a fairy tale movie! Located at 925 Beach Club Trail, Gulf Shores.
29. Fish for free on June 8 which means residents and non-residents can fish without a license. Visit www.outdooralabama.com/fishing to find a spot to cast your line.
30. Check out Baldwin County’s only children’s museum, the Wonderland Children’s Museum, 151 Van Buren Street, in Daphne for a free event on May 26 from 1 – 6 p.m. There will be vendors, food trucks, games and fun.
31. Learn more about snakes, frogs and turtles at Observe and Explore day on July 3, 10 a.m. at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley.
32. Hike at Gulf State Park – The park has miles of trails to choose from but Gulf Oak Ridge, along the north side of the park, is completely shaded by trees and may be easiest for children under the summer sun. Visit the park headquarters for a trail map and get going!
33. All you can play laser tag at The Gulf Bowl in Foley every Thursday in June and July from 5 p.m. to close, $12 a person.
34. Visit the Baldwin County Heritage Museum – the largest of the county’s museums, this giant step back in time takes visitors through the entire county and out to a reconstructed village outside. Enjoy a new exhibit all about hand carved wooden toys. It includes some puzzles you can play with!
35. Meet the Blue M&M in person! He will be at the Fairhope Walmart, 10040 County Road 48, on July 25 at 12:30 p.m. and at the Gulf Shores Walmart, 170 E. Fort Morgan Road at 9 a.m. to introduce M&M Hazelnut Spread candies. There will be samples and activities.
36. Learn to Square Dance! The Magnolia Spring Squares host lessons every Monday evening from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Magnolia Springs Community Hall at the corner of County Road 49 and Oak Street. Cost is $7 per person. All ages welcome.
37. Attend the Battle of the Bay – Want to know what Fort Morgan looked, and sounded like during the Civil War? On Aug. 3 you can hear the cannons thunder and the troops rise to the occasion during the re-enactment of the Battle of Mobile Bay.
38. Learn about Baldwin County’s bogs and the carnivorous pitcher plant at Beautiful Bogs Observe and Explore Day on July 20, 10 a.m. at Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley.
39. Learn to saltwater fish at the Angler Academy at Gulf State Park’s Nature Center. All equipment provided, children ages 4 – 17 $10, 18 and older $15 for a two hour class. 948-7275
40. Hang with the ever cool Pete the Cat at story time at Barnes and Nobles in Spanish Fort. The cool cat will be there for photos, crafts and snacks. July 6, noon.
41. X marks the spot at The Wharf’s weekly Pepsi Treasure Hunts held every Wednesday from 5 – 8 p.m. followed by the SPECTRA Sound and Light Show. The Wharf, Orange Beach.
42. Oscar Johnson Park – This Silverhill playground on Highway 104 is a hidden gem. Play on the equipment, picnic under the shelter or take beautiful summer photos in the covered bridge.
43. Watch fireworks every Monday night at The Wharf – the free show begins at 8:45 p.m., May 27 – Aug. 5.
44. Visit the Gulf Shores Museum – Originally a beach house this museum can show you the history of hurricanes, former fishing villages and how Gulf Shores became a vacation hot spot.
45. Explore Stonehenge – That’s right, there is a life-size replica of the ancient site, located in the woods along the road leading to Barber Marina in Elberta. Lovingly called Bamahenge, this is as close to the real thing as you can get without a passport.
46. Enjoy Mardi Gras in the summer too by visiting the Mobile Carnival Museum where you can see the gorgeous queen’s gowns and giant floats up close. Located at 355 Government Street, Mobile. Call 432-3324 for hours.
47. Find all the Turtle Tracks statues in Gulf Shores – This public art program creates and posts sea turtles throughout the city as designed by local artists. Explore the city and find them all!
48. Watch the stars fall on Alabama at the Weeks Bay Alta Fish River Star Party for the Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower on July 28 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Bring a blanket and snacks. The Alta Fish River Property is located off of County Road 33. Another meteor shower watch part will be held Aug. 12 and 13 for the Perseids Meteor Shower. 928-9792.
49. Pensacola MESS Hall – This is a haven for any kid who loves science. Various programs in the summer. Visit www.pensacolamesshall.org
50. Meyer Park – This massive, wooden playground on 22nd Avenue in Gulf Shores is a favorite of kids of all ages.
51. Visit the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum – This former 1910 schoolhouse is home to hundreds of Native American artifacts and shows what life was like when the island was home to just a few fishing families. Open Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
52. Take your photo with the shark – No summer is complete without an annual family photo standing inside the gaping mouth of the shark that greets visitors at Souvenir City in Gulf Shores.
53. Have a proper spot of tea on a glorious summer afternoon at the Copper Kettle Tea Bar in Foley. The shop hosts costumed weekend events and live music. Call 609-2832
54. Play disc golf – There are four disc golf courses in the county, at Volanta Sports Park in Fairhope, Daphne Central Park, Orange Beach Disc Golf Course off Canal Road and the Foley Disc Golf Course at Graham Creek Nature Preserve.
55. Foley Train Museum – Sure you’ve probably climbed all over the trains in downtown Foley but did you know there is a magical model train inside that runs on a quarter mile of track? There is and you should visit! The trains run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free.
56. Walk the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail – This 15 mile trail crosses through Gulf Shore and Orange Beach and wanders through six distinct ecosystems. The butterfly garden is a favorite with children. www.backcountrytrail.com
57. Watch the Blue Angels practice – The world-famous aviators can be seen practicing over the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola often throughout the summer. Practice lasts about 55 minutes and is free. For a full schedule visit http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/attractions/blue-angels/
58. Take a peek at a castle! Sheldon and Mosher Castles, located on Street St. in downtown Fairhope are private homes. Tours can be arranged by calling 928-0900. The owners allow non-professional photographers and respectful visitors to take a peek as they stroll through downtown.
59. Go back to school shopping! The Back to School Tax Free Weekend in Alabama is July 19 – 21 and includes clothing, computers and school supplies. In Florida tax free weekend is Aug. 2 – 4 and includes the same items.
60. Animal meet and greet at 5 Rivers in Spanish Fort – meet a local critter from the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, find the full schedule of meet and greets at http://www.outdooralabama.com/activities/5-rivers-alabama-delta-resource-center
61. Adopt your new best friend – The Baldwin County Animal Shelter in Summerdale hosts adoption fairs the first and third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon., 15050 County Road 49 North.
62. Visit your local library – Public libraries throughout Baldwin County are hosting tons of summer fun for kids. Check out schedules online or go down and visit in person.
63. Walk the Eastern Shore Trail – The trail extends 23 miles from Spanish Fort to Weeks Bay and is an easy walk over boardwalks, sidewalks and asphalt. Split the trail over several days and explore the entire Eastern Shore.
64. The closest National Park to Baldwin County is Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida. Kids ages 6 – 11 can complete the junior park ranger program by completing a handbook during their visit. www.nps.gov/guis
65. Visit the Holmes Medical Museum in Foley – This former hospital is now a fascinating place to learn how they tended to patients in the early part of the 1900s. And, it’s said to be one of the most haunted places in the county.
66. Climb your way through the rope course at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. At $7 a person mom and dad can sit and rest why the kids spend a good hour making their way through the course.
67. Eat breakfast with pirates and princesses – The Hangout in Gulf Shores will host breakfast every morning for young pirates and princesses. Come dressed in your swashbuckling or royal best and play games and win prizes.
68. Attend a real rodeo – Round out your summer adventures by attending the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo the first weekend of August in Foley.
69. Pick up litter – When you plan a family hike or walk to any of the county’s beautiful park, make a point to bring a bag to collect litter you find and help keep Baldwin County beautiful!
70. Play and create – Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope offers weekly craft classes for children for $5 a child. Call 928-1720.
71. Stockton Bicentennial Park – A 367-acre park dedicated to preserving county history. It includes a two-mile nature trail, hands-on historical exhibits and a working farm. Open Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.
72. Every wonder what life was like on a battleship in World War II? On June 15 attend the Living History Crew Drill at the USS Alabama and find out. Re-enactors will be on board for special tours and events planned for the day. www.ussalabama.com
73. Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve – At the Weeks Bay Visitor Center in Fairhope there are exhibits, live animal displays and so much to learn about how these habits protect our coasts.
74. The Hot Shop – Ever wonder how they make glass bowls, paperweights and flowers? Watch artisans in action at the Coastal Arts Center’s Hot Shop in Orange Beach.
75. Handicapped-accessible playground – This playground in Bay Minette, located at the Municipal Pool Complex, complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The playground sits on rubber padding so wheelchairs can easily maneuver and there is a wheelchair swing and other various equipment.
76. Plant a small vegetable garden – Many veggies can be easily grown in a pot in the backyard. Have your kids plant and care for a tomato plant and then enjoy the fruits of their labor!
77. Gulf State Park Pier – For $2 a person you can stroll along this 1,540 foot long pier, the second longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico. Take in the view, watch anglers bring in their catch and enjoy the day.
78. The Ferris Wheel, Orange Beach – There are a lot of pricey places to take your kids this summer for entertainment, and lots of amusement park rides to be had but The Wharf’s 112-foot tall ferris wheel remains one of the least expensive rides around. At $5 a person the gondolas are also wheelchair accessible.
79. Gator Alley – Also called D’Olive Boardwalk Park, this Daphne property features a beautiful boardwalk over D’Olive Creek and a butterfly garden. And, you may just see alligators in the water below.
80. See a movie for free! Cobb Theatres in Gulf Shores offers the free Kids Summer Movie Escape. Shows start at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, first come, first serve. Visit www.cobbtheatres.com for a schedule.
81. Take your photo with dinosaurs – When you visit Stonehenge (see #45) don’t turn around and go home. Keep driving towards Barber Marina and keep a keen eye on the tree line. There are life-size dinosaur statues hidden in the woods.
82. Hunt for shells and driftwood along the beach – especially at low tide after a summer storm the sea gives up lots of treasures to be found.
83. Sleep in one last time and take an extra lap around the pool. School starts tomorrow!