Giant moss-draped live oaks, such as this specimen, are abundant throughout the Park. The tree at left is estimated by botanists to be approximately 800 years old, and was a mature oak when the Spaniards first visited the shores of Dauphin Island in 1519. A self-guided tour through Shell Mound Park should be included in any visit to the area.
The Shell Mounds and Dauphin Island in general are renowned "hot-spots" for observing neotropical migrant birds, and attract birders from around the U.S. each spring and fall. Dauphin Island is the first point of land encountered by migrants during their spring migration across the Gulf of Mexico. The entire Island is a bird sanctuary.
Indian Shell Mound Park, located on the northern shore of Dauphin Island, is maintained and administered by Alabama Marine Resources Division. This eleven acres of subtropical natural wonder represents a botanical treasure-trove found on no other Gulf barrier island. Several plant species occurring here are representatives of families found as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains and from as far south as Yucatan state, Mexico. Many were probably transported here by Indian groups hundreds of years ago for medicinal and culinary purposes.
An estimated 25,000 people, comprised of student tours, elder-hostels and birding groups, visit the Mounds each year. Call Alabama Marine Resources Division (251) 861-2882 for more info.