Mobile| Dauphin Island | Fairhope| Daphne| is located in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 159.4 square miles, with 117.9 square miles of it being land, and 41.5 square miles, or 26.1% of the total, being water. The elevation above sea level in Mobile ranges from 10 feet on Water Street in downtown to 211 feet at the Mobile Regional Airport.It is the third most populous city in the U.S. state of Alabama, the county seat of Mobile County, and Alabama's only salt water port. Located at the junction of the Mobile River and Mobile Bay on the northern Gulf of Mexico, the city is the only seaport in Alabama. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the area beginning with the city as a key trading center between the French and Native Americans down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.As one of the Gulf Coast's cultural centers, Mobile has several art museums, a symphony orchestra, a professional opera, a professional ballet company, and a large concentration of historic architecture. Mobile is known for having the oldest organized carnival celebrations in the United States, dating to the 18th century of its early colonial period. It was also host to the first formally organized Carnival mystic society, known elsewhere as a krewe, in the United States, dating back to 1830. Carnival balls in the city may be scheduled as early as November, with the parades beginning after January 5. Carnival celebrations end at midnight on Mardi Gras, signifying Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In Mobile, locals often use the term Mardi Gras as a shorthand to refer to the entire Carnival season. During the Carnival season the mystic societies build colorful floats and parade throughout downtown with masked society members tossing small gifts, known as throws, to parade spectators.
The city is also home to a variety of museums. Battleship Memorial Park is a military park on the shore of Mobile Bay and features the World War II era battleship USS Alabama, the World War II era submarine USS Drum, Korean War and Vietnam War Memorials, and a variety of historical military equipment.
Dauphin Island is a town in Mobile County, Alabama (U.S.), on a barrier island also named Dauphin Island at the Gulf of Mexico. The population was 1,371 at the 2000 census. The town is included in the Mobile metropolitan. The island (originally named "Massacre Island") was renamed for Louis XIV's great-grandson and heir, the Dauphin. The Gulf of Mexico is to the south of the island; the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are to the north. The island's eastern end helps to define the mouth of Mobile Bay. The eastern, wider portion of the island is shaded by thick stands of pine trees, but the narrow, western part of the island features scrub growth and few trees. Dauphin Island is home to Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, the Dauphin Island Airport, boat ramps, a large public pier, historic sites, several restaurants, new condominium developments, and numerous private homes. Beaches attract tourism, and fishing is a popular activity in the waters around the island. The island is connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge. Although the island has several bird sanctuaries, the main one is the 164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Dauphin Island is the first landfall encountered by many birds as they migrate north from South America, and as a consequence many species can be found resting there before continuing their journey.