May 1, 2024
Worth the Trip

Exploring quirky coastal attractions: From giants to dinosaurs

As lovers of adventure, my sister and I are always on the lookout for unique outings and funky attractions to explore. Our recent day trip along the coast exceeded all expectations. From a giant skinny dipping, to encounters with dinosaurs and even wandering through a fairytale flower garden, our excursion was filled with unforgettable moments.

The day started with a visit to a whimsical attraction known as the Lady in the Lake, situated at the Barber Marina in south Baldwin County, about 20 miles from Pensacola. Affectionately dubbed the “Country Girl Skinny Dipping,” this eccentric installation features a giant reclining woman’s head and knees emerging from the water, crafted from fiberglass by the talented artist Mark Cline. Sponsored by the visionary Alabama businessman George Barber, this sculpture is a sight to behold, reportedly measuring 108 feet tall if she were to stand.

Our next stop was at Bamahenge, a replica of England’s iconic Stonehenge. It’s located just off Barber Parkway, near the Barber Marina in Elberta, Alabama. This intriguing display is meticulously crafted from fiberglass to look exactly like stone. Despite its resemblance to the original Stonehenge, Bamahenge remains shrouded in mystery, with no directional signs or explanations in sight. We simply parked on the tiny, graveled parking area and took a short walk along a pathway to the display where we were impressed with its massive size and alignment with the summer solstice — just like the inspiration, Stonehenge.

Next, we spotted a collection of dinosaurs spread along the roadside and nestled within the nearby woods: life-size replicas of Brontosaurus, T. Rex, Stegosaurus and Triceratops. It was a surreal experience to come face-to-face with these ancient creatures, frozen in time in the modern-day landscape.

Next, we found ourselves immersed in the beauty of Ben’s U-Pick Flowers in Daphne, Alabama. Run by charming owner Angelo (Ben) Trione, this colorful zinnia farm offers more than just flowers — it offers a sense of community and generosity. Inspired by his late wife, Trione and a group of dedicated volunteers spread joy by delivering bouquets to hospitals and nursing homes. We were moved by his generosity of spirit and commitment to making the world a brighter place.

Armed with garden snips and empty containers, we found our way through rows of blooming zinnias, selecting our favorites to create personalized bouquets. Priced affordably at $5 per bouquet, we left with arms full of blossoms to share, and hearts full of gratitude.

As we ended our expedition, we felt delighted by the unexpected treasures we discovered. From whimsical sculptures to prehistoric wonders and fields of blooming flowers, each moment reminded us of the magic that lurks just beyond the beaten path. So, whether you’re a seasoned explorer or seeking a short respite, take a trip along the coast — you never know what surprises await.