Summer days on the Gulf Coast can keep you home to beat the heat and avoid the crowds at the beach or the pool, but air conditioning alone can’t keep the cabin fever away. Looking for something to do during the long, hot days? Wondering about a good place to take the grandchildren that isn’t the beach? The answer is easy: the museum!
Some of you may be booing. The museum? How boring. But, maybe you just haven’t been to the right museum. Or maybe, you’re excited about the idea. Yay art and history! Either way, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the top nine museums from Pensacola to Biloxi that will interest even the most skeptical of guests. And if it keeps you out of the heat and out of the house, it’s certainly worth a shot.
115 Zaragosa St., Pensacola, FL
The only children-focused museum in Pensacola, it offers both older and younger children a peak into the history and industry that build Pensacola. Grandchildren will love all the innovative and educational first floor exhibits and adults will enjoy the artifacts on display on the second floor.
330 S. Jefferson St., Pensacola, FL
The “flagship museum” of Pensacola. According to the UWF Historic Trust, every true Pensacolian should take a trip inside if only one time to see all the local history on display. Guests will experience the permanent exhibit of the now-defunct Trader Jon’s, an exhibit displaying old movie memorabilia from Star Wars, Alien and other classic sci-fi films for the summer and more.
201 Zaragosa St. Pensacola, FL
With everything from historic toys, tools, music and more, this immersive museum will transport guests back to a different Pensacola than the one we know today. Expect to see trolleys and horse-drawn buggies as some of the main attractions.
1878 S. Blue Angel Pkwy., Pensacola, FL
Perhaps the crowning jewel of Pensacola museums, the National Naval Aviation Museum houses the largest collection of naval aviation artifacts, aircraft and history. Take a flight in one of the museum’s simulators, enjoy a movie at the IMAX theater and marvel at the 150 restored aircrafts on display. After visiting the museum, make sure to jump across the road to check out the Pensacola Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the Gulf Coast.
2703 Battleship Pkwy., Mobile, AL
Once called “The Heroine of the Pacific,” this WWIIera battleship was retired to the Mobile Bay in 1965, where a park and museum were constructed around it. The park also includes the oldest submarine on public display, the USS Drum, and other exhibits showing off vintage artillery. Also be sure to check out the Living History Crew Drills, where reenactors take you through a day on the life of the USS Alabama and the USS Drum, including a surprise attack from vintage bomber planes.
65 Government St., Mobile, AL
For those looking for a fun, educational afternoon with the grandchildren, the Exploreum includes four permanent exhibits offering a hands-on experience for children and adults of all ages. In addition, the Exploreum is hosting a special exhibit this summer on how science fiction has become our science reality. It is the preeminent science museum on the Gulf Coast.
155 Water St., Mobile, AL
Built within a replica of a container ship, similar to those built in the port of Mobile, GulfQuest offers about 90 exhibits on maritime history, including early trade routes, Gulf marine life, ship navigation and more. Children will enjoy the interactive exhibits and adults will enjoy the history and artifacts on display.
386 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS
One of the strangest sights you may find in Mississippi are the award-winning buildings designed for the reconstruction of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. With a special interest in pottery after the museum’s namesake, the “Mad Potter of Biloxi” George E. Ohr, the museum offers both permanent and rotating exhibits focusing on the art and history of Biolxi.
510 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs, MS
A museum with permanent art fixtures painted onto the very walls, this museum seeks to celebrate Walter Anderson’s artwork and his efforts to teach art to community members of Ocean Springs. With exhibits displaying a 3,000 square foot mural of Anderson’s and changing contemporary artists, the museum offers an interactive space to explore some of the best art of the Gulf Coast.
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