GulfQuest - National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest - National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest - National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico
4.5
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is the only museum in the world dedicated to the rich traditions, history and culture of "America's Sea". With a combined 90 interactive exhibits, simulators and theaters, GulfQuest is a family tourist destination and a signature attraction for Mobile, the state of Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast region.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • MNDoodles
    Stillwater, Minnesota679 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Learning is fun at this museum
    This was a totally fun and interactive museum. You’ll learn about shipwrecks, container shipping, maritime history, navigation and a ton of other topics, all explained in creative and engaging exhibits. My husband loved the ship simulator and was able to not crash the huge barge he ‘docked’. We spent several hours here, far longer than anticipated, because it was so fun. There’s also a great outdoor observation deck to watch all the action on Mobile Bay. The big gift shop has a good variety of items. A very high recommend on this museum, great for all ages.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 February 2024
  • Brendan S
    Arlington, Virginia2,067 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interactive maritime museum
    GulfQuest is a museum of all things related to traversing the sea. It is shaped like a huge container ship and has five levels, including a “bridge” with an observation deck overlooking Mobile. It’s a very interesting design and a carefully planned museum overall. A lot of reading about navigation, shipping routes and harbor operations would get boring, but everything is interactive at GulfQuest. There’s an exhibit where you can use a sextant to navigate by stars, a remote controlled tugboat, and a simulator allowing you to pilot ships through the harbor, among many others. The exhibits seem targeted a little towards children, but many are sophisticated and explain complicated technology and science. It’s a fun and informative museum and I would have liked to spend more time here as it would easily take 3+ hours to try everything.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled solo
    Written 18 February 2024
  • Michael S
    Newcastle, Canada53 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Family Friendly Museum
    The museum, while suited to a younger audience, had plenty of information and interactivity for adults as well. The obvious efforts to design the building around its maritime theme were quite remarkable. The one person we spoke with, his title was educator, was professional and just a wealth of information.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 22 February 2024
  • S R
    Colorado City, Colorado12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must-do!
    Fantastic museum. So many hands on exhibits for ALL ages. Loved that it covered the whole Gulf -ecology, wildlife, industry, and shipping. I could imagine a family living spending hours here, we spent 3 hours and didn’t try all the exhibits 🤣
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 April 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles338 reviews
Excellent
275
Very good
43
Average
14
Poor
4
Terrible
2

S R
Colorado City, CO12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Fantastic museum. So many hands on exhibits for ALL ages. Loved that it covered the whole Gulf -ecology, wildlife, industry, and shipping. I could imagine a family living spending hours here, we spent 3 hours and didn’t try all the exhibits 🤣
Written 3 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael S
Newcastle, Canada53 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
The museum, while suited to a younger audience, had plenty of information and interactivity for adults as well. The obvious efforts to design the building around its maritime theme were quite remarkable.
The one person we spoke with, his title was educator, was professional and just a wealth of information.
Written 22 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brendan S
Arlington, VA2,067 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
GulfQuest is a museum of all things related to traversing the sea. It is shaped like a huge container ship and has five levels, including a “bridge” with an observation deck overlooking Mobile. It’s a very interesting design and a carefully planned museum overall. A lot of reading about navigation, shipping routes and harbor operations would get boring, but everything is interactive at GulfQuest. There’s an exhibit where you can use a sextant to navigate by stars, a remote controlled tugboat, and a simulator allowing you to pilot ships through the harbor, among many others. The exhibits seem targeted a little towards children, but many are sophisticated and explain complicated technology and science. It’s a fun and informative museum and I would have liked to spend more time here as it would easily take 3+ hours to try everything.
Written 19 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MNDoodles
Stillwater, MN679 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
This was a totally fun and interactive museum. You’ll learn about shipwrecks, container shipping, maritime history, navigation and a ton of other topics, all explained in creative and engaging exhibits. My husband loved the ship simulator and was able to not crash the huge barge he ‘docked’. We spent several hours here, far longer than anticipated, because it was so fun. There’s also a great outdoor observation deck to watch all the action on Mobile Bay. The big gift shop has a good variety of items. A very high recommend on this museum, great for all ages.
Written 1 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Renee L
Bradenton, FL25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
I found this museum when looking g for activities for my family to do in Mobile. Especially with a boy who loves big boats. What a gem! Super friendly staff, TONS of fun things for the kids to do (including a dress-up area), and who wouldn’t want to drive a simulated cargo ship in the bay? I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
Written 10 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KandKMaryland
Maryland26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
great museum on the history of the Gulf cost and maritime. Really enjoyable for all ages. Learned a lot about all aspects of maritime history. Delivered in a very interesting and fun way.
Written 4 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

retiredJB
Pensacola, FL1,492 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2023
It is so nice to have GulfQuest open again. Had a wonderful experience enhanced by volunteers who provided additional information on the various opportunities you can have there. Allow at least a couple of hours. The experience with the large globe is something every age would enjoy.
Unfortunately, they currently have no food services, but they do have a lovely gift shop with books for adults and educational toys for children.
The people who work there (both paid and volunteer) love what they do. Post-Covid, I appreciate that even more.
Check the big windows along the water for the occasional passing of huge ships.
Written 21 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fred and Susan M
Hollywood, FL159 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
Gulfquest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is dedicated to the history and culture of “America’s Seas.” It claims “its most unmistakable feature is the full-sized container ship that houses most of its exhibits.” Of course, it’s a replica.

The Museum commemorates the development of containerization in the early 20th century with 90 interactive exhibits, simulators and theatres. I skipped the 16-minute introductory film (probably a mistake) and headed right to the top floor to work my way down. I also skipped the area with global displays on atmospheric storms, climate change and ocean science. The place was too large to see it all and with limited time I pretty much rushed through.

Deck 5 began with sound signals that the bridge can make to convey information either to crew or other ships in the area. Controls in the bridge such as radio traffic, depth sensors and communication features were also explained. The “house flag” is the distinguishing flag of a shipping company. The Gulf of Mexico is home to seven of the 10 largest seaports in the U.S.

Long ramps connected the decks. Deck 3 was my next stop. Here were stories about Gulf shipwrecks, an historical timeline, weather signals, cargo handling, tools of the trade (e.g., ship’s bell, grindstones, chain, hooks, draught markers, axes, spikes, etc.) and much more, not just today but through 150+ years. A boatswain (pronounced bo-sun) kept the ship in good repair (maintenance of wood, sails, ropes, flags, anchors and lifeboats). A cooper was in charge of barrels and casks (for food, water and supplies). Gunners cleaned and maintained cannons, gunpowder and ammunition.

A special exhibit called “Spirits of the Passage” was excellent. Items and details from the wreck of an actual slave ship were on display. African leaders traded their enemies and captives for European goods, arms and luxuries. As many as 10% of captives revolted before leaving the continent. On board, iron shackles fastened slaves together, even children. Slavers typically carried 200 to 500 captives. Sketches showed the packed configuration of the slave ship hold. Slave cargo came from different African homelands. They were fed twice a day but dehydration, fevers and dysentery were common, as was water contamination. Accounts that exist suggest somewhere between 13% and 33% died during the voyage, to say nothing of crew who often succumbed to the same illnesses. From 1501 to 1867 an estimated 12.5 million people were shipped out as slaves mostly to North and South America. England and the U.S. banned their transport in 1807 and 1808 respectively but could not stop such a lucrative business. The illegal transport continued until the mid-1800’s.

Containerization transformed international shipping and advanced the global economy by minimizing cargo handling and shipping costs. In 1955 a trucking entrepreneur tested his idea of shipping cargo in large containers that could be moved fully loaded from land to sea and back again. In 1956 the first container ship made its maiden voyage from NY to Houston with 58 containers. Only two cranes were needed to empty the ship in just eight hours which was super-fast for the time. It reduced the cost of loading and discharging cargo from $5.83 per ton to only 15.8¢ per ton.

Dozens of sayings were posted along the Museum ramps that had originated at sea. They explained, for example, the origin of terms like:
• to ‘deep six’ something
• ‘first rate’
• ‘mind your p’s and q’s.’
• Port Out Starboard Home = 'POSH'
• ‘scuttlebutt’
• 'slush fund.’
This is the type of museum you want to return to, as there is so much to see and learn. It's great for kids too.
Written 5 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chpkb
Crystal River, FL108 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
Thought we would be in and out, just killing time. REALLY enjoyed the museum. Lots to read and do. Make sure to read the info and play with the demos.
Written 22 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve J
Ann Arbor, MI78 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Solo
This is an absolutely wonderful museum. The displays cover a wide range of topics related to the Gulf and ocean-going vessels, with the the museum having a container-ship-themed layout. There is a plethora of interesting and fun interactive exhibits, including a room that is a mockup of a ship bridge with a digital display where you can sit at the wheel and pilot one of three kinds of ships into Mobile Harbor. There are a couple of short films worth seeing. The display about the history of the slave trade was excellent. The educational kids area appeared to be very well done, and likely fun for the kids. If you're visiting Mobile, this museum should be high on your list of attractions - give yourself most of a day to experience it, there's a lot to see and do.
Written 16 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GulfQuest - National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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