Human amenities at Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama, like white sandy beaches, tennis courts, a 5,000 square foot swimming pool, cabins, cottages, and RV sites, are equally matched by the park’s Nature Center that provides a Club Med for animals native to the Gulf Coast region.


When we visited the Gulf State Park Nature Center, a turtle ambled across the waxed floor to critique our footware. An owl turned his head 270 degrees to watch our every move, one eye open, the other closed. We know he was pretending not to see us.


A young female possum, too shy to take more than a step toward us from the wide-open door of her cage, insisted that the Park Ranger bring dinner to her. The Ranger dimmed the lights because Miss Possum is nocturnal and prefers to dine in the dark.

In close proximity to shopping and restaurants, the Gulf State Park ecosystem spans 6,150 breathtaking acres.





Surrounding the interpretive Nature Center, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, named for the park superintendent, run between lakes, marshes, sand dunes and oak hammocks. They offer a priceless opportunity to get up close and personal to hear critters rustling in the trees, see birds hovering overhead, and study turtles nesting to protect their next generation. So many experiences that busy people often miss.

Gulf State Park provides an awesome experience for both animals and humans. The modern resort-like facilities are a result of reconstruction since Hurrican Ivan in 2004.