The Gulf State Park Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals that are native to the Gulf Coast region. It was established with the goal to inspire people to care for the environment by expanding their knowledge of the state’s natural resources through experiences that lead them to understand their connection to the natural world. It is open and staffed Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is closed during regularly scheduled off-site programs. Bird checklists are available and the naturalist on duty can give you the latest information on birds in the park. For additional information about guided tours and interpretive programs, call 251-948-7275 ext 124.
DIRECTIONS: If following the directions in the Coastal Birding Trail brochure, from the pavilion parking lot, continue west on AL 182 to CR 2 [0.6], turn right (north) and proceed 0.5 miles to Campground Road, turn right (east) and continue to the campground check station. Pay a nominal entrance fee and proceed east another 0.5 miles to the Gulf State Park Nature Center / Education Center turn-off. Upon completing your visit, return to CR 2, turn right and head north. Along the way, you have the option to stop at the Gulf Oak Ridge Trailhead (the western entry point to the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails) [1.1] or proceed on to Marsh Bridge.
GPS: N30.26335 W-87.64224
Marsh Bridge spans the stream flowing from Shelby Lakes and Little Lagoon. There are brackish marshes on either side of the road. Cross the bridge to the parking area to the left. There is a short path to the streamside where grebes, waders and rails may be found. Osprey can be observed overhead and wintering sparrows and House Wrens in the grassy areas. In December-January, Great Horned Owls have been seen in the Osprey nests scattered around.
DIRECTIONS: Continue north from Campground Road following CR 2 to the intersection with AL 135 [2.4] and bear to the left (south) at the intersection. The park headquarters will be uphill on your right. Continue south on AL 135 one mile to Marsh Bridge
GPS: N30.25611 W-87.67858
Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm 7 days a week
*Gulf State Park Nature Center is closed during regularly scheduled off-site programs such as guided tours of the park.
Fees: $1.00 per vehicle to visit the Nature Center.
All Gulf State Park Nature Center activities and programs are free unless otherwise posted.
20115 State Hwy. 135