When you hear the words “Mardi Gras,” what city do you think of? If you said, New Orleans, I’ll give you a pass. You really need to know about the historic festival going on in my home state.
Mobile, Alabama considers itself the birthplace of the American Mardi Gras celebration. With a history of celebration reaching as far back as the 1830s, Mobile certainly has the right to claim a piece of Mardi Gras history.
Family friendly fun abounds in the coastal city, and it’s easy to find a parade or two just about every weekend of the month leading up to Fat Tuesday. Find out why it’s my favorite place to celebrate, and read my best tips for taking the family to Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama.
Best Tips for Taking Family to Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama
My first experience with Mardi Gras in Mobile came as a newlywed. Neil’s family had long been making the trek down south to celebrate, and I wasn’t really sure why.
It wasn’t until I caught my first “throw” that I finally understood what it was all about.I’ve got a few tips for taking family to Mardi Gras that will help you have the best experience possible.
First, like any good piece of travel advice, you better have a plan before you head out. What parades are you going to attend? Where are you going to stay? How many parades are you wanting to see?
Check out the Mobile Mask for updated information each year on the parades and schedules. We usually choose a parade in Baldwin County, but I have also attended parades in downtown Mobile.My girls’ first parade was the Knights of Ecor Rouge in Fairhope, and we’ve been attending that parade ever since. It’s family friendly and not too long (or short) of a parade.
No matter how “popular” the parade, you will want to arrive early. Parking is always an issue whether you are in downtown Mobile or out in the suburbs. If the parade begins at 6pm, you better arrive at 5pm.
Next, dress in layers. You want to be prepared for chilly weather and warmer temperatures. Blankets and chairs also come in handy for sitting while waiting.
It seems that every other year we attend Mardi Gras festivities, the weather is different.I will caution against carrying too much, however. You will be bringing home lots of loot, so extra hands will be needed to carry it all!
Bring a Bag, Bin, or Tote for Throws
Ever heard of a “throw?” If that term is unfamiliar, no worries! A “throw” is an item thrown from a Mardi Gras parade float.
Throws can be traditional plastic bead necklaces, glow sticks, cups, coins, and even GIANT plush toys.Don’t show up at a parade empty handed! Bring an empty bag, bin, or tote to carry home all your prizes!
Other Mardi Gras Fun
What if parades just aren’t your thing? The history and culture of Mardi Gras can be experienced without attending even one parade.
Families can enjoy a unique spin on the history of the city by visiting the Mobile Carnival Museum. Browse a gallery of historical photographs, discover the art and pageantry of costume design and float construction, or immerse little ones in the history by trying on costumes that are just their size!
This museum is a more low key way to experience the Carnival atmosphere if an actual parade doesn’t sound appealing. Above all, have fun! Mardi Gras is an annual celebration that is all about excitement and entertainment. Have you ever been to Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama?