A Picturesque Town with Rich History
Things to do in Foley, Alabama, are plentiful, and the town’s charm is evident when you arrive. Located on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico, Foley is just a quick drive away from Mobile, Alabama.
Known as “The Forward City” with the motto “The Heart of the American Riviera,” Foley is a city that has grown significantly over the years. Its history is rich, with the town named after its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago. He bought vast land and invested in the community, including laying the rails for the first train service, the “Pine Knot Special.”
Foley’s growth has been remarkable, with the population increasing from 243 in 1920 to 20,335 in 2020. The city’s racial composition is diverse, and it has seen significant development in various sectors, including education, with several schools serving the community.
The city is not just about numbers and growth; it’s about the community and its unique attractions. The City of Foley Antique Rose Trail features over five hundred varieties of fragrant roses, and the OWA resort destination provides entertainment, shopping, and dining options.
Attractions and Activities
In the middle part of your exploration, you’ll find numerous places to visit in Foley, Alabama. The City of Foley Museum & Archives and Model Train Exhibit, located in a restored train depot from the early 1900s, holds archives for the city and railroad memorabilia.
The Holmes Medical Museum, the first hospital in Baldwin County, showcases an extensive collection of 20th-century medical equipment.
For those looking for shopping and dining experiences, the commercial corridor of South McKenzie Street offers a variety of stores and restaurants, including a Tanger Outlet. OWA, a 520-acre resort destination, is a must-visit, with an amusement park section called The Park at OWA and a newly opened water park called Tropic Falls.
The city is also home to notable individuals, including professional football players, racing drivers, and authors. The community spirit, historical significance, and modern attractions make Foley a destination worth exploring.
Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park is on the Alabama Gulf Coast, a 6,500-acre park with beaches, lakes, and trails. In addition to its beautiful natural setting, the park offers many activities and educational opportunities. You can learn about the park’s history, tour, fish, hike, or ride a bike.
The Civilian Conservation Corps, part of the New Deal program, constructed the park facilities in the 1930s. The park became one of the first five parks in Alabama. It was developed to increase tourism and create jobs.
In the years since, the park has undergone extensive growth. The campground was completed in 1972, and a lodge opened in 1974. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ivan destroyed adjacent buildings in 2004. It also flooded the park with salt water, eliminating the bottom floors of the lodge.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Located in Gulf Shores, Alabama, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a nonprofit zoological park with various animals. It’s a place where people can learn about conservation and the natural world. They also feature a petting zoo where adults and children can pet animals.
The zoo opened in 1989 as Zooland Animal Park but was renamed in 2000 to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. It is located on 25 acres. The zoo features more than 100 species of animals, including deer, monkeys, lions, tigers, birds, and more. It’s also home to eight endangered species.
Several hurricanes have hit the zoo, forcing it to evacuate its animals. But after Hurricane Ivan, the zoo was able to reopen.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo was turned into a popular documentary television series, which aired on Animal Planet. It was a success and led to the construction of The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo 2.0. It was filmed in January 2006 and aired in February 2007.
Patti Hall, the zoo’s director, has worked to push the zoo to a higher level. As a result, she has professional credentials in education and administration. As a result of her efforts, the zoo gained accreditation. In addition, the zoo became a haven for many endangered animals.
After the disaster, the zoo had to improve its exhibits and facility grounds. Several national news outlets, including CNN, The Weather Channel, and People magazine, reported the story.
Located in Summerdale, Alabama, Alligator Alley is a wildlife sanctuary featuring hundreds of live alligators. In addition, the attraction offers a guided nature walk, a gift shop, a deck to walk over the marsh, and a feeding time.
The alligator farm is a family-friendly attraction. It features air conditioning, clean facilities, and knowledgeable staff. The facility also has a great picnic area. There’s also a chance to hold one of the gators. In addition, you can purchase snacks to feed the alligators.
If you’re interested in seeing alligators, the best place is in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. This delta is the second largest in the country and contains thousands of sloughs and bayous. As a result, it’s home to the largest alligator population in the state.
Another way to experience alligators in the delta is to paddle the Bartram Canoe Trail. This series of marked trails meander down narrow channels and bayous. This isn’t for the neophyte paddler. Instead, it passes scenic woodlands and shimmering lakes.
Foley Railroad Museum & Model Train Exhibit
The Foley Railroad Museum & Model Train Exhibit is a unique tourist attraction in Foley, Alabama. It offers a wide variety of historical railroad memorabilia. The museum is free and open daily from 10 am to 3 pm.
The museum is in the former Louisville and Nashville (L&N) railroad depot. It is owned by the city of Foley and is operated by the local Caboose Club.
The museum features various locomotive artifacts and a full-size train containing period artifacts. The railroad played a large part in the prosperity of the city of Foley. In addition, the museum has several railroad-related artifacts and photos.
The museum also offers a model railroad display, run by volunteers, and is free. It has several trains and cars and is a great time to spend with the family.
Located in Foley, Alabama, Downtown OWA is a new development on the Gulf Coast. Small Southern towns, including various shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, inspire it. The story spans 520 acres.
OWA is home to many big-name national brands, restaurants, and a few local favorites. It also has an esports gaming facility and two live indoor theaters. In addition, it is just a few miles from the beaches of the Gulf Coast.
Downtown OWA is also home to a new arts and crafts festival. The festival features local artists and musicians. It also offers free art-making opportunities.
Another attraction is the Legends in Concert, a tribute show. This 90-minute concert is a great family show. It includes a 20-minute intermission, and the performances run through September 4.
For the adults, there is a full bar with top-shelf labels. The best value in Downtown OWA is at Hershey’s Ice Cream Parlor, which offers a selection of tasty freshly-made doughnuts.