Home to the fourth-longest river in the world and the birthplace of American music, Mississippi is full of exciting and interesting things to see and do for the whole family. Boasting several stunning state parks, including Clarko, Holmes County, and Roosevelt, as well as beautiful beaches, dense forests, and some of the country’s bloodiest battlegrounds like the Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi is a fantastic destination for families with kids. Cool off in waterparks like Geyser Falls or Barnacle Bills, test a space shuttle engine at the NASA Infinity Science Center, or hit the beach along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here are some fun things to do in Mississippi with the family.
1.Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
Located in the architecturally significant Mississippi City Elementary School, the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a 15,000-square-foot exhibition space that features interactive displays and presentations that encourage exploration and discovery through play. Built in 1915, the Elementary School is one of the architectural gems of the state and an architectural exhibition itself. The center features a spacious theatre, six acres of outdoor play space, a Viking kitchen, and exhibits include To Market, To Market Grocery Store, Bear Camp Bayou for Little Discoverers, The History Hotel Old-Time Adventure, Dolan Avenue Depot, WLMDC TV Studio, and On the Green.
246 Dolan Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39507, Phone: 228-897-6039
2.Clarkco State Park
Located near the Mississippi-Alabama state line, just south of Meridian, Clarkco State Park is an 815-acre state park that offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including camping, hiking, mountain biking, and water sports. Featuring gently rolling woodlands, the peaceful park is ideal for a weekend getaway and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with log cabins for overnight stays. Ivy Lake and MooreMill Creek offer water-based activities such as fishing, swimming, leisure boating, and bird-watching, and several trails around the park offer excellent hiking for all skill levels.
386 Clarkco Road, Quitman, MS 39355, Phone: 601-776-6651
Located in Picayune, Mississippi, the Crosby Arboretum is a 700-acre botanical garden and flora sanctuary that protects over 300 species of indigenous trees and shrubs. The Arboretum features a 104-acre Native Plant Center that includes the award-winning architect Fay Jones-designed Pinecote Pavilion, one of the architectural jewels of Mississippi, and the Piney Woods Lake, which offers a variety of outdoor activities. The gardens also provide several walking trails through savanna exhibits, dense woodlands and human-made waterways, and habitats within the gardens include a Hillside Bog, Dead Tiger Creek Hammock, Dead Tiger Creek Savanna, Red Bluff, Talowah, Mill Creek, and Steep Hollow. Self-guided tours of the arboretum are available Wednesday through Sunday.
370 Ridge Rd, Picayune, MS 39466, Phone: 601-799-2311
4.Delta Blues Museum
Located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, inspiring, and encouraging awareness and appreciation of blues music. Clarksdale has been at the core of the blues culture and a center for the music since the 1920s, and this is highlighted in the works at the museum. The museum features a significant collection of blues-related memorabilia, artworks, and documents, which are showcased in a variety of exhibitions, including works by photographer Birney Imes, and sculptor Floyd Shaman. Built in 1926, the Museum is located in the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Passenger Depot, which is also known as the Clarksdale Passenger Depot and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 38614, Phone: 662-627-6820
5.Eco-Tours of South Mississippi
Eco-Tours of South Mississippi introduce visitors to the coastal barrier islands and the cypress swamps of the lower Pascagoula River on guided, interpretive eco-tours. The company also offers guided kayaking tours in the wetlands and marsh and birding trips to Deer Island, which is home to a wide variety of migratory birds, ranging from herons, pelicans, ospreys, egrets, and bald eagles. Other fauna and flora in the cypress swamps and salt marshes include alligators, and over 300 species of native plants and orchids, and wild lilies. Two-hour sunset cruises offer a romantic way to experience the beautiful landscapes while sipping sundowners and soaking up the spectacular scenery.
© Eric Gevaert/stock.adobe.com
Set within Kamper Park in Hattiesburg, the Hattiesburg Zoo is a small animal sanctuary that is home to around 55 species of animals. Nestled among a grove of oak and pine trees, the zoo, which is also known as the Kamper Park Zoo, features several sections and different habitats, including Africa, Americas and Asia, Wallaby Walkabout, and the Asbury Discovery Center. Animals at the zoo include porcupines, ostriches, Grant’s zebras, Blue duikers, DeBrazza guenon monkeys, Bennett’s wallabies, emus, New Zealand-native kunekune pigs, and kookaburras. Other attractions at the zoo range from a train ride around the zoo, a vintage carousel, a splash pad, a mining sluice, an African drum station, and a petting zoo. Several concession stands provide food and drinks, and the zoo runs a variety of educational programs for children of all ages.
107 S 17th Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401, Phone: 601-545-4576
Situated within the historic 110-acre Livingston Park, the Jackson Zoo is an animal sanctuary that is home to almost 380 animals across 200 different species from around the world that reside in a variety of habitats around the park. Established 90 years ago, the zoo features several areas dedicated to specific regions on the planet, such as the African Savannah and Rainforest, Froggy Bottom, Jewels of South America Aviary, Wilderness Mississippi, and the Discovery Zoo. Other attractions in the park include the Elephant House Café, which serves light fare and coffee, train rides around the park and shady picnic areas, an Endangered Species Carousel and a splash pad for kids, and the Jackson Zoo Trading Company, offering educational toys and souvenirs.
2918 W Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39209, Phone: 601-352-2580
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8.Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum
© Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum
The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum explores the maritime history and heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Established in 1986, the museum aims to interpret, protect, and preserve the rich maritime history of the region through informative and interesting exhibits, objects, artifacts, and a fascinating collection of historical photographs. The museum’s exhibits span from the time of the first Indian settlement and following immigrant settlement to the development of the melting-pot culture of the Gulf Coast today, showcasing industries like shrimping and oystering, net-making, wooden boat building, and marine blacksmithing. The 1,400 square foot Wade Guice Hurricane Museum within the museum features a state-of-the-art theatre and replicas of two 65-ft twin-masted Biloxi Schooners. The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum is open Monday through Sunday.
115 1st Street, Biloxi, MS 39530, Phone: 228-435-6320
9.Mississippi Children’s Museum
© Mississippi Children’s Museum
Located in LeFleur's Bluff State Park, Mississippi Children’s Museum is a fun, educational environment in which children are inspired to learn through play. The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits that focus on the arts, history, health, and science and are designed to encourage a hands-on approach to learning and stimulate young minds in a safe, engaging atmosphere. Exhibits include Pollinator’s Playground, The Literacy Garden, Journey to the North Pole, The Wild About Reading Gallery, and Healthy Fun Gallery. The museum also offers educational field trips and group visits for all ages.
2145 Museum Boulevard, Jackson, MS 39202, Phone: 601-981-5469
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10.Mississippi Museum of Art
© Mississippi Museum of Art
Based on an architecturally significant building designed by Glavé & Holmes Architecture, the Mississippi Museum of Art is a public museum in Jackson, Mississippi, and the largest museum in the state. Established to engage the community in and through the visual arts, the museum on South Lamar Street features a variety of diverse exhibits that feature everything from ceramics and sculptures to paintings and prints from artists spanning all periods. Other attractions at the museum include a beautiful 1.2-acre sculpture garden, a studio school offering classes and workshops, jazz programs, performances, and presentations, and a casual café that serves light fare and freshly brewed coffee throughout the day.
380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS 39201, Phone: 601-960-1515
11.Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Located in LeFleur's Bluff State Park, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science explores the natural fauna and flora of the region through more than 73,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibits. Overlooking the beautiful landscapes of LeFleur’s Bluff State Park through vast expanses of glass, the museum features an array of exhibits that range from showcasing Mississippi’s endangered fauna and flora species to fossils, waterfowl and more. Other attractions at the museum include a 100,000-gallon aquarium with more than 200 living species, an open-air amphitheater, and over 2.5 miles of nature trails.
2148 Riverside Dr, Jackson, MS 39202, Phone: 601-576-6000
12.Mississippi Petrified Forest
The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a privately owned, ancient petrified forest near Flora that is open for the public to explore. Believed to have formed over 36 million years ago, the forest features fir and maple trees that have become petrified over time and is one of only two such forests in the country, the other of which is the Gilboa Fossil Forest in New York. The National Natural Landmark is home to the Earth Science Museum, which features samples of petrified wood found in every state, fossil casts, including whale bones, dinosaur footprints, turtle shells, and a prehistoric camel. Other attractions in the park include a Gem Mining Flume, a large covered pavilion, a gift shop, and a campground with 11 full hook-up RV campsites with water, sewer, and electric hookups and a tent camping area.
124 Forest Park Rd, Flora, MS 39071, Phone: 601-879-8189
13.Museum of the Mississippi Delta
Formerly known as the Cottonlandia Museum, the Museum of the Mississippi Delta explores the archaeology, agriculture, antiques, and animals of the Mississippi Delta with an extensive collection of artifacts, items, and objects related to the agriculture, history, military, and art of the region. Founded in 1969, the museum is also home to one of the Delta's most extensive collections of regional art and an immense collection of Native American artifacts. The museum’s collection features a vast selection of Native American trade beads, agricultural items such as blacksmith tools, plows, mule hames, and fertilizer spreaders, furniture from the home of Greenwood Leflore, and a life-size, walk-through diorama of a Mississippi swamp.
1608 US-82, Greenwood, MS 38930, Phone: 662-453-0925
14.INFINITY Science Center
The INFINITY Science Center is a science museum and educational attraction that provides a fun and fascinating learning experience that focuses on science and space. The state-of-the-art science and space educational center blend Earth science, space, engineering, and technology to create fascinating exhibits that encourage interactive and immersive learning experiences that inspire minds and spark imaginations. The center serves as the official NASA visitor center for Stennis Space Center and offers several attractions, fun-filled rides, and exhibits, guided bus tours of a NASA rocket testing facility. The INFINITY Science Center is open from Monday through Saturday.
1 Discovery Cir, Pearlington, MS 39572, Phone: 228-533-9025
15.Natchez National Historical Park
The Natchez National Historical Park is a public park in Natchez that commemorates the history of the city. The park comprises three different sites, namely Fort Rosalie, the William Johnson House, and the Melrose Estate. Built by the French in the 18th century, Fort Rosalie is a former fortification that was later renamed Fort Panmure. The William Johnson House was the home of the 19th-century African-American barber and Natchez resident, William Johnson, and the Melrose Estate is the beautifully maintained estate of a lawyer, state senator, and planter, John T. McMurran who lived in Natchez. The William Johnson House and the Melrose Estate display an array of antiques and period pieces collected from different eras, and archaeological objects found in the park are also on display.
Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi
16.Ocean Adventures Marine Park
Located in the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Ocean Adventures Marine Park offers incredible experiences and interactions with a variety of marine creatures such as sharks, stingrays, sea lions, dolphins, and seabirds. Experiences include swimming with dolphins and stingrays, kissing sea lions, dolphin and sea lion shows, snorkeling with rays, touching and petting various sea creatures, guided tours of the facility, and meeting parakeets. The park offers a variety of educational programs and workshops for children of all ages and caters for special occasions such as birthday parties. Ocean Adventures Marine Park is open daily, year-round.
10801 Dolphin Ln, Gulfport, MS 39503, Phone: 228-896-9182
17.Old Capitol Museum
© Henryk Sadura/stock.adobe.com
Located at the corner of Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue on the University of Iowa Pentacrest in downtown Iowa City, the Old Capitol Museum, also known as the Old Mississippi State Capitol, once served as the Mississippi statehouse from 1839 until 1903. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Capitol Museum boasts a Greek revival architectural design, and beautiful interiors with limestone floors and a rotunda dome that towers 94 feet above the ground. Visitors can browse a collection of exhibits that depict life in the 1830s in Mississippi, along with Native American history, and impact the cotton industry has on the culture of the state.
100 State St, Jackson, MS 39201
18.Old Depot Museum Vicksburg
Old Depot Museum Vicksburg honors the Siege of Vicksburg and explores early modes of transportation through informative exhibits and an array of railroad memorabilia. Based in an old depot, the museum features a plethora of historical presentations that include a miniature replica of the Vicksburg battlefield, original paintings by Herb Mott depicting the war, model railroad layouts, a collection of model Civil War gunboats, and exclusive video footage from soldiers during the Siege of Vicksburg. Nearby attractions to the museum include the Old Court House Museum and several restaurants, and the Old Depot Museum Vicksburg is open Monday through Saturday, year-round.
1010 Levee St, Vicksburg, MS 39183, Phone: 601-638-6500
19.Percy Quin State Park
Percy Quin State Park is a public recreation area southwest of McComb, Mississippi that surrounds the 490-acre Lake Tangipahoa and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Boasting breathtaking natural landscapes of rolling hills, forests of Loblolly pines and stately magnolia trees, seasonal flowers, and diverse fauna and flora, the 1,700-acre park is ideal for exploring with the family. Attractions in the park include Lake Tangipahoa, which offers water-based activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking, a championship golf course, and several hiking and mountain biking trails. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Percy Quin State Park is located just two and a half hours from New Orleans.
2036 Percy Quin Dr, McComb, MS 39648, Phone: 601-684-3938
20.The Birthplace of Elvis Presley
© The Birthplace of Elvis Presley
The Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum is a historic site and museum in Tupelo, Mississippi, that is dedicated to showcasing the life and times of American musician Elvis Presley. Established to preserve the birthplace of the world-renowned artist, the Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum includes the home and place of birth of Elvis Presley, a museum with a variety of exhibits, memorabilia and photographic displays about the musician, a quaint chapel, and the Assembly of God Church building, where Elvis and his family worshipped. The museum features a shop where Elvis-related items and souvenirs can be purchased, and guided tours of the house and the museum are offered daily.
306 Elvis Presley Drive, Tupelo, MS 38801, Phone: 662-841-1245
21.The Gulf Coast Gator Ranch
© Daniel Meunier/stock.adobe.com
The Gulf Coast Gator Ranch in Moss Point offers the opportunity to see wild alligators in their natural habitat on guided ranch tours and exhilarating airboat swamp tours of the beautiful swamplands of South Mississippi. Bordering the Grand Bay Estuary in Moss Point/Pascagoula, the 105-acre ranch is home to wild alligators, marine creatures, and native birds, and visitors can stroll around the farm, meet the resident wildlife and hand-feed gators. The ranch also offers Airboat Swamp Tours on high-speed airboats driven by highly experienced and knowledgeable guides who will find and point out alligators and other native wildlife in their natural habitats.
10300 US-90, Moss Point, MS 39562, Phone: 228-475-6026
22.The Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo
The Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo is a 210-acre zoo and animal sanctuary and home to over 260 animals. Founded as a cattle ranch by Dan Franklin, the zoo is the largest in the state and is home to 300 buffalo, the largest herd East of the Mississippi River, a 19-foot tall giraffe called Tall Boy, and a Capuchin monkey named Oliver who is famous for two attempted escapes. Other animals at the zoo include an African Lion, a camel, a yak, ring-tail lemurs, and zebra. The park also has a petting and feeding zoo, where visitors can feed goats, sheep, deer, and other docile creatures, and it hosts an annual Pumpkin Patch where young visitors can enjoy hay-rides, pumpkin picking, and a corn maze.
2272 N Coley Rd, Tupelo, MS 38801, Phone: 662-844-8709
23.Tishomingo State Park
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Tishomingo County, Tishomingo State Park is a public recreation area that is steeped in history and scenic beauty. Named after the leader of the Chickasaw nation, Chief Tishomingo, whose tribe inhabited the park as early as 7000 B. C., Tishomingo State Park boasts spectacular natural landscapes of massive rock formations and boulders blanketed in moss, rolling hillsides covered in colorful wildflowers, and fern-filled crevices. A significant feature of the park is Bear Creek Canyon, which has awe-inspiring sandstone outcroppings, and activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, picnicking, bird-watching, boating, and seasonal swimming.
105 Co Rd 90, Tishomingo, MS 38873, Phone: 662-438-6914
24.Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park is dedicated to preserving the site of the Battle of Vicksburg, which took place March 29 to July 4 in 1863 during the American Civil War. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Park also pays tribute to the Vicksburg Campaign, which led up to the battle and the 47-day siege that ended with the city surrendering. The Park features 20 miles of reconstructed forts and historic trenches from the blockade, along with 1,325 historic monuments and markers on the battlefield, 144 emplaced cannons, two beautifully maintained antebellum homes, the restored gunboat, the USS Cairo, which was sunk in the Yazoo River in 1862, and the site of the famous Grant’s Canal. The park also has a 12.5-mile walking trail and a 16-mile touring road around the property.
3201 Clay St, Vicksburg, MS 39183, Phone: 601-636-0583
25.Winterville Mounds and Museum
The Winterville Mounds and Museum is a primary archaeological site north of Greenville in Washington County that features 12 prehistoric Native American mounds and two large cleared and filled plazas. Named for a nearby community, the 42-acre site was once an ancient ceremonial center built by a Native American civilization that existed between A.D. 1000 to 1450. Developed into what looks like a cave, the Winterville Mounds Museum explores the history of the region, the people who inhabited it, and the lavish, sacrificial ceremonies that took place in and around the mounds. The museum also looks at how the flat-topped pyramid-shaped mounds were built, the largest of which reaches 55 feet in height and has a span of almost 400 meters.
2415 MS-1, Greenville, MS 38701, Phone: 662-334-4684
25 Best Things to Do in Mississippi with Kids
- Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Photo: goro20/stock.adobe.com
- Clarkco State Park, Photo: Wirestock/stock.adobe.com
- Crosby Arboretum, Photo: nickkurzenko/stock.adobe.com
- Delta Blues Museum, Photo: bizoo_n/stock.adobe.com
- Eco-Tours of South Mississippi, Photo: watcherfox/stock.adobe.com
- Hattiesburg Zoo, Photo: Eric Gevaert/stock.adobe.com
- Jackson Zoo, Photo: Rick/stock.adobe.com
- Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Photo: Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum
- Mississippi Children’s Museum, Photo: Mississippi Children’s Museum
- Mississippi Museum of Art, Photo: Mississippi Museum of Art
- Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Photo: superjoseph/stock.adobe.com
- Mississippi Petrified Forest, Photo: VIVATCHAI/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of the Mississippi Delta, Photo: jenniveve84/stock.adobe.com
- INFINITY Science Center, Photo: Viktoriia/stock.adobe.com
- Natchez National Historical Park, Photo: missperfectpitch/stock.adobe.com
- Ocean Adventures Marine Park, Photo: natasnow/stock.adobe.com
- Old Capitol Museum, Photo: Henryk Sadura/stock.adobe.com
- Old Depot Museum Vicksburg, Photo: lapis2380/stock.adobe.com
- Percy Quin State Park, Photo: Halfpoint/stock.adobe.com
- The Birthplace of Elvis Presley, Photo: The Birthplace of Elvis Presley
- The Gulf Coast Gator Ranch, Photo: Daniel Meunier/stock.adobe.com
- The Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, Photo: Harald/stock.adobe.com
- Tishomingo State Park, Photo: jordan/stock.adobe.com
- Vicksburg National Military Park, Photo: karenfoleyphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Winterville Mounds and Museum, Photo: finix_observer/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Fotoluminate LLC/stock.adobe.com