Last Saturday I took our 9- and 6-year-old grandsons to the GulfQuest museum and we were totally entertained for almost six hours. We began at the presentation of the state docks and the daily activity on the Mobile Riverfront. From there we saw the dinosaur exhibition, which was fascinating! They could not believe the size of these underwater creatures and especially liked the giant turtle and wanted their picture taken in front of it.
We spent quite a lot of time looking at the routes taken by the explorers on the huge wall map. This gave me the opportunity to teach geography and point out the different countries. The older child was familiar with some of the names from studying history in school.
They both enjoyed navigating the tugboats and sailboats and thought it was so “cool” that they were actually in water and there was wind to catch the sails. The 6-year-old discovered his sailboat would go really fast when the sails were completely full. He learned to come about and go fast in the opposite direction. Think he wants to be a sailboat captain one day!
We took a lunch break and sat on the outside deck where we saw two duck boats go by and several tugboats pushing barges of coal. The coal is exported and made into aluminum, which is imported to Austal where it is used to make the military vessels. There were a million questions about all of this over lunch and I did my best to answer them.
Back inside, we saw the Hurricane, Hunley submarine and glass-bottom boat presentations. All were great! There were lots of other fun things too, but one of the highlights of the day was the tugboat simulation where they actually got to “drive.” The girl teaching this just did a fabulous job! She told the 9-year-old to do a “donut,” which he did successfully, but on the second try he capsized! They thought it was hysterical.
Mobile is so fortunate to have this maritime museum and I hope everyone will support it.