Disclosure: We stayed and played at OWA in Foley all expenses paid, however, the opinions in this post are my own and I was not asked to blog about my experience.
Last summer when we went to Gulf Shores for the first time in a few years, we passed by a huge complex called OWA (pronounced “O-wAAh”) and had no idea what it was. Bobby Googled, and we found out that it looked pretty awesome. Fast forward to this summer, we passed it again and because of a flyover advertising plane, we discovered that there was a Paula Deen’s restaurant at OWA! We LOVE Paula Deen’s at The Island in Pigeon Forge, so we contacted them and ended up working out a whole itinerary for a visit to OWA on our second beach trip in August. We played for 2 days and stayed the night on-site at the Townplace Suites, and I wanted to give a little recap so you can visit on your way to or from the beach the next time you are in Alabama!
We left our beach condo Sunday morning and drove about 20 minutes north to OWA. First up was lunch at Paula Deen’s, and I was SO pumped to eat all the things.
The food is served family-style, and they also have incredible cheddar bread that comes with the meal. We also ordered an appetizer of fried okra which was delicious!
After sufficiently stuffing ourselves, it was time to head to the Park at OWA. It is on the other side from the hotel and lunch, so instead of walking we hopped in the car and parked on the other side. The Park is an amusement park with plenty of attractions for everyone. They even have a splash pad! The operate on seasonal hours so be sure to check their website before going.
There are a bunch of rides perfect for kids, so since we only had a couple of hours to spend that day, that’s where we headed first. Emma Kate LOVES going from ride to ride and had a blast on everything she rode. Masks are not required for children 8 and under as long as you follow social distancing rules, which we easily did the entire time. For adults, masks are only required when you can’t social distance, on rides, and when interacting with an employee such as at an entrance gate, food window, etc.
Have someone in your group that doesn’t like rides? No worries! Right now they have a special non rider pass so you don’t have to pay for them to get in since they won’t be riding anything. I love this!
Most of the rides EK did alone, but some me and Bobby went on with her. (Like the one below. I sat in the back part but managed to ram my knee into the front. Not made for tall people!)
As I mentioned, we only had a couple of hours because we had tickets for a matinee in the afternoon of the Legends in concert show! It was so nice to take a break from the heat and cool off and relax.
I was really impressed with the performers! I was singing along with them, and even remembered all the choreography to Britney’s “Oops I did it again”‘ which Bobby found quite frighting.
We “saw” Elvis, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Luke Bryan. So fun!
After the show, we checked into our hotel and then turned right back around and went into Downtown OWA for dinner at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and restaurant. It was SUCH a cute and fun place with delicious food and drinks!
After dinner, we watched a fun dancing fountain show and then got some ice cream for dessert. (It was the last night of vacation, so why not?)
We went back to the hotel (so nice having it just RIGHT THERE) and turned in for the night. The next morning I got up and headed to the hotel gym for a sweat session and Bobby and EK headed to the indoor pool, which ended up being closed for maintenance, but it looked like a fun place!
We checked out of the hotel and then headed to lunch at Downtown OWA at the Groovy Goat. This was a super fun place with really great food. I had a turkey avocado wrap that hit the spot! They also had delicious queso. Emma Kate had spaghetti and meatballs. I really appreciated that the kid’s menu had something besides chicken tenders and a hamburger.
They also have a fun arcade attached to this restaurant so we played a few games while we waited for the Park to open up for the day, then it was more rides and more fun!
Unfortunately all good vacations must come to an end, and we left mid afternoon to make the drive back to Mississippi. Emma Kate was so wiped that she even napped in the car, something she hasn’t done in as long as I can remember. Overall we had a great time not really knowing what to expect. I would love to go back and take my parents or some friends and show them around! In closing, here are some of my best tips for a visit to OWA in Foley:
-Check the calendar on their website. Often they have fun weekend events like Caribbean day, or car shows, etc. at Downtown OWA in Foley.
-You can get a free cup of water at the food counters in The Park. It was very warm the weekend we were there and this saved us!
-If you have little kids bring swimsuits for the splash pad inside The Park
-Come hungry, there are so many amazing places to eat at Downtown OWA!
– Wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. There wasn’t a ton of shade and it gets very hot in the summer months.
-Plan for breaks if exploring all of OWA. It’s a large area, but thankfully lots of great shops and restaurants to pop into as you go!
-Check hours on the website for shopping, dining, shows etc. as they change with the seasons.
-Staying at the hotel right next to OWA was super convenient, however you could always come down to the area in the morning and stay all day then head to the beach late afternoon/early evening. Or, do what we did and come on checkout day for a fun afternoon before going home! Most condos make you leave at 10 anyway, so plenty of time to play before going back to reality!
Related: Cool down at Adventure Island, Tampa