OWA is the gleaming and exciting new entertainment/dining/shopping attraction in Foley, Alabama, a mere half-hour drive from Gulf Shores and the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast. My husband and I were two of the last visitors to enjoy this beautiful complex just a couple of days before it had to close its doors, along with practically everything else in the country. But let me assure you that OWA, which means "Big Water" in the Muskogee Creek language, will reopen and roll out the red carpet just as soon as we're given the signal that it's time to travel once again.
Encompassing 520 acres in a prime location on the Foley Beach Express, OWA is designed (1) for a day-long visit when you're spending a week on Alabama's beaches, (2) for a weekend getaway where you can park once and find everything you need without getting back in the car, or (3) to be the central destination for a family vacation. Inside the OWA complex, you can stay overnight, have a good choice of restaurants, ride thrill rides, test your skill at the arcade, enjoy a nightly live music or comedy show and browse in some upscale shops. And, adjacent to OWA is the City of Foley's elaborate sports/tourism facility where many teams come for games and tournaments.
Currently, there is one hotel -- TownePlace Suites by Marriott -- on the property with four additional ones and a luxury RV park in the works for future development.
TownePlace Suites has 150 studio and one-bedroom suites with kitchens equipped with cookware and full-size appliances. An indoor pool, a fitness center and a fire pit on the large terrace expand the options for relaxing and unwinding. The full, hot buffet breakfast is always a plus.
Paula Deen's Family Kitchen is the newest restaurant at OWA and opened to much fanfare and delight of locals and visitors. Downhome specialties are served family-style. Once you're seated, you decide whether you want 2 entrees and 4 sides brought to your table or 3 entrees and 4 sides. Delectable biscuits, unlimited refills and a homemade dessert accompany both options.
Another newcomer to the dining scene is Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar (no relation to Lucy Buffet of LuLu's fame in Gulf Shores). The seafood at Lucy's is incredible!
Trattoria Pizza and Italian has a relaxed atmosphere and Italian menu, and Crazy Donuts, Hershey's Ice Cream Parlor, Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon will tempt you with sweet treats. Wahlburger's, Groovy Goat and Sushi Company are also popular with OWA visitors, and I hope to try them during my next visit.
The Park at OWA includes 21 rides and pavilions full of Midway games. The rides range from Rollin' Thunder which thrills daredevil riders with 90-degree loops and a 100-foot drop to mild rides for the youngest guests. In the works is a large outdoor water park.
A 14-acre lake is a focal point for OWA with a 400-seat amphitheater in the middle -- perfect for viewing light shows, fireworks and concerts.
A somewhat surprising attraction at OWA are the live shows presented nightly. OWA Theater presents Legends in Concert. The night we visited Elvis, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson impersonators entertained with their famous hits. A smaller theater with a more intimate setting features Brandon Styles, an amazingly talented magician, impersonator, and musician. We saw his Variety Show where he did 60 impressions in 60 minutes. It was very enjoyable.
Seven shops are presently in operation with many more storefronts to be filled in the future. Steve and I particularly enjoyed browsing, tasting and bringing home products from The Spice and Tea Exchange and Pepper Palace. We made personalized pixie dust at Fairhope Soap Company and checked our balance and strength at Body Tune Plus. I would love to have had more time in Sweet Tooth and Parker and Co. Boutique.
We had a wonderful time exploring OWA, and I believe you'd enjoy it as well. Put it on your list!