Going Coastal

USS Lexington

USS Lexington, The Blue Ghost


USS Lexington, namesake “Battle of Lexington,” is an Essex-class aircraft carrier built during World War II for the United States Navy in commission from 1941-1991. Following her decommissioning, she was donated for use as a museum ship in Corpus Christi in 1992. In 2003, Lexington was designated a National Historic Landmark. The USS Lexington was the fifth Naval ship to be named “Lexington” in honor of the Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington.

Pensacola Lighthouse

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum
The Best View in Town!


Climb 177 steps up the historic Pensacola Lighthouse for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. Built in 1859, the lighthouse is located onboard NAS Pensacola. The Pensacola Light remains an active aid to navigation standing 190 feet above sea level. Maintenance and tour operations are currently conducted by the Pensacola Lighthouse Association.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park, Tropical Wilderness Protecting a Fragile Ecosystem


Everglades National Park covers over 1,500,000 acres in three southern counties in Florida, visited by nearly 1,000,000 visitors annually. The Everglades are a network of wetlands and forests fed by a river flowing .25 miles per day out of Lake Okeechobee, southwest into Florida Bay. The Park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere. It is home to 36 threatened or protected species including the Florida panther, the American crocodile and the West Indian manatee. The Everglades supports 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles. The majority of South Florida's fresh water, which is stored in the Biscayne Aquifer is recharged in the park.

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System and is named for the cartoonist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling. The refuge was created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island, to protect endangered and threatened species and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. Today, the refuge provides important habitat to over 245 species of birds.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, “The Little Zoo That Could”


The 17-acre Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo opened in June 1989 as Zooland Animal Park. The zoo is located just several blocks north of the beach. An additional 13 undeveloped acres was donated by the Ward family and the Erie Meyer Foundation in 1994. The zoo was founded as a private enterprise by Joey Ward of Gulf Shores with wide pathways throughout the park offering close up views of over 300 exotic animals including lions, tigers, bears, primates, leopards, macaws, wolves, and more. Visit the reptile house, petting zoo, and aviary.