Arriving in Mobile, we were greeted at the RV Resort with a welcome sign. Never experienced that before. And they even included our pups!

The people of Mobile were so welcoming and friendly. We truly had a nice time exploring the city. Our first stop was a Duck Boat tour. Duck boats are DUKW military surplus amphibious trucks used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.

We like to take tours when we first get into a new area – usually the hop on, hop off, bus tours. In Mobile, after realizing the trolley tour we had planned on taking was down for the day, we jumped about a Duck Boat and learned a ton about the city and its history.

Some of the interesting facts we learned about Mobile:

Moon Pies

The city is the “Moon Pie Capital of the World.” More Moon Pies are sold and consumed in Mobile than any other place. Because of this, Mobile is a test market for Moon Pies as each year new flavor combinations are released only in Mobile. Based on popularity, the new flavors are added to the production line or scrapped.

Mardi Gras

New Orleans is most known for its Mardi Gras parades and celebration, but Mobile claims to have held the first Mardi Gras celebrations. Mobile served as the capital of French Louisiana territory, and the French soldiers and settlers enjoyed Mardi Gras festivities here.

After the capital was moved to New Orleans, the first recorded Mardi Gras street parade in New Orleans took place in 1837. Although in Mobile, they have a plaque commemorating the first parade in Mobile in 1868.

Ship Building

The largest manufacturing employer in Mobile, is Austral – an Australian company with a contract to build Aluminum hull ships for the United States (Steel hulled ships for the US are built in Wisconsin). Austral employs over 4,000. We didn’t get any great pictures of the ships, but you can see one of them near the end of the Duck Boat video above.

Battleship Memorial Park

Following World War II, the Battleship USS ALABAMA and hundreds of other warships were essentially useless. The Alabama was decommissioned in 1947 and left in Bremerton, Washington waiting to be scrapped as other vessels were.

A group of Alabama citizens organized and lobbied the state government to acquire and preserve the USS Alabama. A state law was passed creating a commission to oversee the construction of a memorial park, and to purchase and transport the ship from Washington to Mobile.

The legislation allocated no money for the effort. A public fundraising campaign was launched, and over one million school children brought loose change from home and donated almost $100,000 to help the cause. Each child received a pass good for “free admission as long as Governor Wallace was in office.” (Many today claim that the promise was for lifetime free admission.)

The newest addition to the park is a statue called “The Recruit” representing all those who have taken the oath of enlistment when joining military service.

The park is pretty impressive. Not only is the USS Alabama on display, but the park also features a World War II submarine, the USS Drum, a B52 bomber nicknamed, “Calamity Jane,” and numerous other aircraft, tanks and other artillery.

B52 Bomber “Calamity Jane”

 

The A-12 Black Bird, a super-secret spy plane with a wing span of 65 feet and 125 feet in length. This airplane flew 2,300 miles per hour and 93,700 feet high. It was used by the CIA in 1965 for spy missions.

The USS Alabama has three self-guided walking tours that take you though out the ship.  Here are a few images from below deck.

The park also features a unique walking path and sitting area. Each tree is from a different county in Alabama, and the trails represent the rivers that flow throughout the state. From above, you can see that the park is laid out in the shape of the state of Alabama.

Mobile is a great city to visit, and we’re glad we made the stop.  As usual there are plenty more pictures in the gallery, and additional videos on the video page.

Until next time… Happy Trails.