The luckiest visitors to Mobile Bay sometimes enjoy the fruits of a mysterious natural phenomenon called Jubilee, when many species of crab and shrimp, flounder and eels, will leave deeper waters and swarm in a shallower area of the bay, creating a fresh catch of unbelievable magnitude. A much-celebrated occurrence, the shores of Mobile Bay are the only place in America to regularly experience this event, and it attracts large crowds, many drawn by the promise of abundant and easy-to-catch seafood. As jubilees only happen when the conditions are right – on warm summer nights, often in the early pre-dawn hours, with a full moon above – the event takes on the aspect of a joyous community beach party, adding yet another reason why this corner of Alabama is treasured as a one-of-a-kind destination.
The most celebrated and well-known butterflies in North America, Monarchs are well-known to Alabama, bringing their dazzling orange and black colors to the shores of the Grand as they make their annual migration stop here, in a brilliant display, before heading on to the Gulf of Mexico where they winter. Called the Great American butterfly, by midsummer these tireless travelers inhabit every state, then return in great flocks during the month of October, roosting in trees each night and feeding on the nectar of the Alabama shore’s still-blooming plants along their southward migration route. The Gulf Coast – and particularly the abundant natural habitat of the Grand Hotel – is considered a grand place for viewing the migration, where butterflies are so numerous, the trees are “noisy” with the flapping of their tiny wings, an incomparable spectacle to behold.
Recently, Monarch Butterflies have been placed on the endangered species list. The Grand Hotel, thru the hard work of our horticultural team, is dedicating a portion of our Estate Garden to provide the needed plant material for the Monarchs. These plants will allow the Monarch’s to feed, refuel, and energize prior to migrating South across the Gulf of Mexico. Hummingbirds and other pollinators will also benefit from the following plants, flowers, herbs, and other eatables: Milkweed, Gaillardia, Bee Balm, Dwarf Buddleia, Celosia, Chives, Blue Daze, Verbena, Strawberries, Blueberry bushes, Muscadine & Scuppernong grapes, Ruellia (Rajun Cajun), Rosemary, Peachtree, Apple tree, Cassia Tree, Firespike, Fig trees, Banana plants, Pentas, Oregano, a few varieties of Mint, Turmeric, Lemongrass, Lavender, Red Salvia, Cuphea (Cigar plant), Lantana, Coreopsis, Satsuma tree, Pawpaw tree, Dwarf Bottlebrush, Rudbeckia (Blackeyed Susan), Dwarf Ruellia, and Gaura (Whirling Butterflies).
With over 430 bird species documented in Alabama, the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay is an ideal location for bird-watching year-round. Alabama provides critical habitat for hundreds of bird species, from the Endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker to the now flourishing Bald Eagle. Alabama boasts 280 bird-watching sites from the mountains to the gulf. Whether you are a seasoned birder or just want to add a little nature to your next visit, we welcome you to get out and explore.
The Grand Hotel's gardens include 550 pristine acres featuring a stunning selection of colors. The Southern charm of our Grand Oaks, dripping with Spanish moss, is a favorite to our grand guests. Along with magnificent flower, herb, and vegetable gardens, over 150 stunning live oak trees are a highlight of the Grand Hotel’s lush historic landscape. Each historic oak tree is numbered and receives monthly care for future generations to enjoy.