When Sweetums and I got married on Oct. 16, 2016, our cake (from the very talented Michelle Wilbourn at Takes the Cake) was shaped like the state of Alabama and covered with little replicas of tourist attractions. One such attraction was the entrance to Souvenir City in Gulf Shores, where tourists enter through a shark’s gaping mouth, circled with jagged white “teeth.”
The shark is a Gulf Shores icon, but Sweetums had never visited it, since his family vacationed in Florida when he was a child. We had the chance to go to Orange Beach recently, where I spoke at the Alabama Press Association Convention, so I made sure we stopped at Souvenir City so we could take a photo in the shark’s mouth, a beach-trip tradition.
Souvenir City has been a fixture at Gulf Shores since 1956. The massive shark at the entrance was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 but was repaired. It is located at 217 Gulf Shores Parkway.
We also went to the Purple Octopus, the souvenir shop next door topped with a giant – wait for it – purple polka-dotted octopus. It is billed as the World’s Largest Purple Octopus, a claim no one has stepped forward to challenge. It is located at 310 Gulf Shores Parkway.
It seems two things you can never have enough of in a beach town are souvenir shops and oversized sea creatures.
Sweetums and I also took photos at The Hangout in Gulf Shores, which features live music, restaurants, shops, several outdoor bars and a booth that shoots foam for the kiddies to play in.
We had to take pics of the Shaka sign, which means “hang loose.” Overall, Sweetums checked off many Orange Beach/Gulf Shores bucket-list items on our first trip to the beach together. He was like a little kid, y’all. (I know you’re shocked).