Did you know that Mardi Gras was born in Mobile, Alabama? Me neither. But they set me straight pretty quick at the Mobile Carnival Museum! Mardi Gras is presented as a family friendly kind of event in Mobile. You see lots of children in the pictures of Mobile Mardi Gras crowds. So, in that sense, it seems very different from the New Orleans Mardi Gras experience.
If you've ever been to Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, then you know that attraction focuses on the intricate floats used in their Mardi Gras parades. But the Mobile Carnival Museum has a more historical focus. The museum is set up in a former residence in downtown, Mobile. The tour begins with a short film about the history of Mobile Mardi Gras. Once the film is over, the tour proceeds into a large room with a replica float. You can stand on the float to get the experience of what it's like to ride one in a parade.
The next part of the tour will feature some actual pieces used on past Mardi Gras floats. There are also displays of the different ‘favors' given by some of the organizations that participate in the parade.The tour guide we had was a walking encyclopedia of Mobile Mardi Gras history. As we walked through the exhibits, he gave us massive amounts of stories and trivia about what was clearly his favorite subject.
One of the most interesting aspects of Mobile Mardi Gras is the Kings and Queens. These ‘monarchs' are elected by the major Mardi Gras organizations and their coronations and the after parties are a huge part of the festivities. The clothing of these Mardi Gras royals is amazing! Each King and Queen is responsible for the design and creation of their formal clothing which includes a massive train. These trains usually contain thousands of crystals and intricate designs. Many of these costumes are on display throughout the Mobile Carnival Museum.
Most of the museum is accessible with wheelchair or strollers. I wouldn't recommend this tour for families with small, rambunctious kids. But it can be a great option for families with older children and teens. If you don't want to take the guided tour, there is a self guided option that allows you to explore the museum at your own pace using a smart phone app..
Thanks to Visit Mobile for sponsoring our experience in Mobile. Their financial partnership keeps our site FREE for our readers. All opinions are my own.
Family Fun Facts
Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9AM – 4PM
Admission – $5 Adults $2 Children 12 & under