As my first blog entry, I thought I would address how GulfQuest is defining itself as a new museum. Future entries will include GulfQuest updates and glimpses into the Gulf of Mexico's maritime world provided by me and other members of GulfQuest's crew.
GulfQuest was established to fill a significant void in our nation's cultural landscape. While regional even national - maritime museums are common on the East and West Coasts, no significant, all-encompassing maritime museum has been created to represent the nation's South Coast.
Now, GulfQuest has staked its claim as the maritime museum dedicated to telling the stories of this fascinating region. Since the first arrival of Spanish explorers more than 500 years ago, the Gulf of Mexico has played a vital role in the maritime history of North America, Europe and the United States. Today, despite setbacks like Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Gulf Coast remains a center of cultural interest, economic activity, environmental focus, and natural beauty.
GulfQuest's exhibits offer a kaleidoscopic view of the Gulf of Mexico of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our exhibits present information about "America's Sea" in a fun, educational way, with interactive experiences that are designed for adults but highly-attractive to kids as well. GulfQuest provides a deeper understanding and appreciation for the maritime aspects of the Gulf region for the millions of people who live on the Gulf Coast and the millions more who vacation here every year.
Named the "2016 Attraction of the Year" by the Alabama Department of Tourism, GulfQuest is earning that title one visitor at a time. Our visitors are really enjoying the museum's 90 interactive exhibits, simulators, theaters and displays, including the three-screen panoramic theater with its "slice of life" overview of the Gulf, the massive container ship that commemorates Mobile as the birthplace of containerized shipping, and the multiple decks of exhibit galleries that focus on the Gulf region's history, environment, economy and more.
Visitor feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, as seen in the reviews on Trip Advisor, Facebook and other social media. We hear great comments every day from our visitors, who are impressed with the overall experience, beginning with the interactive exhibits and including the rooftop observation decks, an "underwater" museum store, and a riverfront cafe with outdoor dining.
Families, couples, individuals, school groups, tour buses - young and old alike - have discovered a museum experience like no other. GulfQuest's exhibits entice and engage visitors as they explore an array of maritime topics. The building's unique design and architecture raises their energy level. And the riverfront location provides a fascinating glimpse into the ships that work the waterfront. It's a magical place that provides real-world experiences that change your perspective on the Gulf of Mexico.
GulfQuest's board members and staff have worked hard to create a world-class experience. We believe we've achieved our objective. GulfQuest is prepared to exceed your expectations.
At the gateway to the museum's galleries, to inspire our visitors, we display a quote from Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
Come and explore, dream and discover the Gulf of Mexico with us. Or, as we say at GulfQuest, "Adventures Aweigh!"
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES
We "batten down the hatches" to prepare for trouble. Hatches are openings in a ship's deck, through which cargo is loaded. Hatch covers were covered with canvas and heavy wooden strips called "battens" to prevent flooding during a storm.