Located in the southeastern section of the United States, Mississippi is the 32nd largest state by both area and population. The state is named after the Mississippi River, which flows along its western border. Mississippi has borders with Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama, with a small section of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. The state covers an area of 48,430 square miles and has an estimated population of 2.98 million people.

Agriculture has always been a big part of Mississippi's economy and continues to be important to the state to this day, but Mississippi is also one of the poorest states and also ranks low in terms of health and education. The largest city in Mississippi is Jackson, which is also the state capital. The Greater Jackson area is the biggest metropolitan area in Mississippi. Read on to learn more details and overviews of the largest cities in the state of Mississippi. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Situated in Hinds County, Rankin County, and Madison County, the city of Jackson is the capital of Mississippi. It's also the biggest city in the state and is the only Mississippi city to have a population exceeding 100,000. Jackson is situated in the central part of the state on the Pearl River and covers an area of 113.2 square miles. The estimated population of Jackson is 165,000, with over 575,000 in the surrounding metropolitan area.

The city was named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. Jackson is known as 'The City with Soul' for its strong blues and folk music scene, and is also the number one touristic, cultural, commercial, and industrial hub of Mississippi. Major landmarks in Jackson include the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, State Capitol Building, Jackson Zoo, and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

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Located in Harrison county, Gulfport is the second biggest city of Mississippi. This city is located on the southern coast of the state and covers an area of 64.2 square miles. The estimated population of Gulfport is 71,000, with approximately 382,000 people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. Gulfport was named due to its situation as a port city on the Gulf of Mexico.

This city forms the Gulfport-Biloxi Metropolitan Statistical Area alongside Biloxi and hosts several unique annual events like the World's Largest Fishing Rodeo and Smokin' the Sound speedboat races. Gulfport is also a key tourism city of the state of Mississippi due to its coastal location and many casinos.

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Located in DeSoto County in the northern part of the state, Southaven is the third largest city of Mississippi. Due to its close proximity to the Tennessee border, this city is actually a suburb of Memphis and is included as part of the Memphis metropolitan area. Southaven covers an area of 41.5 square miles and has an estimated population of 54,000.

It's one of the fastest-growing cities in all of Mississippi and has a strong economy when compared to other cities around the state due to its key location near Memphis. The city's name comes from the fact that it is situated directly south of the Memphis community of Whitehaven.

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Mostly situated in Forrest County but also extending slightly into Lamar County, Hattiesburg is the fourth largest city in the state of Mississippi. This city, nicknamed 'Hub City', is located in the south-central part of the state and is home to The University of Southern Mississippi, as well as William Carey University, making it a key educational hub for the state.

Hattiesburg covers an area of 54.3 square miles and has an estimated population of 46,000, with over 148,000 in the surrounding Hattiesburg Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city was founded in 1882 by William H. Hardy, who decided to name it in honor of his wife, Hattie. Hattiesburg is also notable for being home to Camp Shelby, the biggest National Guard base on the eastern side of the Mississippi River.

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Located in Harrison County, nearby the other large city of Gulfport, Biloxi is the fifth biggest city in the state of Mississippi. This is a port city, located on the southern edge of the state, with a long stretch of popular touristic beaches directly on the Mississippi Sound.

Biloxi covers an area of 46.7 square miles and has an estimated population of 45,000, with more than 379,000 in the surrounding metropolitan area. The name of the city was taken from a Native American word and has also been spelled Bilocci throughout history. Biloxi is a popular tourist location due to the beaches, lighthouse, and nearby barrier islands.

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5 of the Largest Cities in Mississippi

  • Jackson, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
  • Gulfport, Photo: CrackerClips/stock.adobe.com
  • Southaven, Photo: yotrakbutda/stock.adobe.com
  • Hattiesburg, Photo: csfotoimages/stock.adobe.com
  • Biloxi, Photo: Fotoluminate LLC/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com

Attraction Spotlight: MDWFP Museum of Natural Science

The MDWFP Museum of Natural Science displays a variety of highlights from Mississippi’s ecosystems. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science has a combination of 2.5 miles of outdoor trails, as well as a 73,000 square foot indoor attraction.

Fannye Cook has a passion for the natural aspect of Mississippi. Cook loved Mississippi’s natural science aspects so much he would collect and study items from Mississippi’s nature. In order to preserve and display his collection, as well as educate the Jackson community about natural science, Cook created the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science in 1932.

Today, the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science has become an enormous museum with an array of interactive, exciting, and educational opportunities for every visitor.

There are two sections of the permanent attractions at the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science: the indoor exhibits and the nature trails. In order to keep an element of surprise to the wonderful information within the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science, there is not much information about the permanent indoor exhibits at the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science. What is known about the permanent indoor exhibits is the name of each exhibit, which is listed below:

· White-tailed Deer

· Aquatic Habitats

· Waterfowl

· Pearl River Aquarium

· Mississippi’s Extinct Species

· Alligator Snapping Turtle

· Stories in Stone

· The Swamp

· Endangered Species of Mississippi

· Life Up Close

· Researching and Conserving Mississippi’s Wonders

· Earth is Our Neighborhood

· History of the Museum

· Terrestrial Habitats

· Bio Bulletin

As for the nature trails, there are five nature trails which are listed below:

· Old Pond Trail is an easy and general nature trail that encompasses the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science’s pond.

· Overlook Loop is a moderate trail that goes just a little bit further than the Old Pond Trail.

· Cypress Swamp Trail is a challenging trail that runs alongside the bodies of water along the MDWFP Museum of Nature Science.

· Old River Run is a challenging trail that does not loop.

· Pearl River Trail is a challenging trail that goes to the very edge of Mayes Lake, which makes this trail the longest and most challenging trail at the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science. It’s important to note this trail does not loop.

Aside from the vast amount of permanent indoor exhibits, the actual building of the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science regularly hosts special attractions throughout the year. In fact, the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science even has a specific section of the Museum that is dedicated to special attractions. This space has approximately 2,500 square feet and displays a combination of highlighted objects that are special to the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as the various traveling special attractions.

Since it is still the beginning of the year, the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science currently does not have any special attractions on display. In order to obtain an updated list of the special attractions at the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science, check out the Museum’s official website.

Education is extremely important to the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science. The MDWFP Museum of Natural Science’s educational opportunities include a field trip program, special classes, and camps. One of the most general and popular educational programs is the field trip opportunity.

Through the field trip opportunity, schools are welcome to travel to the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science to use and explore their facilities to gain a new insight into natural science. Schools can choose from any of the following field trip options to participate in:

· Self-guided Tour and Trails gives participants the opportunity to explore the indoor exhibits of the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science for one hour, then explore the natural trails for approximately 1.5 hours. Unlike the other tour options, participants in this tour will not be guided by a Museum official.

· Hands-on Program allows visitors to explore the indoor and outdoor portions of the MDWFP Museum of Natural Science, as well as participate in a hands-on activity with a museum official. During the 30 to 45 minute hands-on program, a museum official will lead an interactive and educational class about any of the following topics: fossils, birds, fish, endangered species, plants, reptiles, invertebrates, or mammals.

· Wetlands Program is a one hour field trip opportunity offered for students in third grade and above. Through the Wetlands Program, students will work alongside renowned educators and employees from the LeFleur’s Bluff State Park to learn about, understand, and explore the fundamentals of plants, soil, and water.

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2148 Riverside Dr, Jackson, MS 39202, Phone: 601-576-6000

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Attraction Spotlight: Mississippi Agriculture Museum

Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi Agriculture Museum is a recreated living history farming town, featuring an agricultural aviation museum, a 1920s-era cotton production town, and a variety of educational exhibits on farming and transportation technologies. The Mississippi Agricultural Museum was the vision of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Jim Buck Ross, who began an initiative to collect artifacts and organize scholars in the hopes of creating a museum facility to educate Mississippians on the history of the state’s agricultural industry.


A 39-acre site for the museum was donated by the City of Jackson in 1978, under the stipulation that the land could only be used for educational and recreational purposes, and the same year, $1.5 million in funds was approved for museum construction by Mississippi state legislature. Government funds were matched by private donations raised by the newly-formed Agriculture and Forestry Museum Foundation nonprofit organization.

Permanent Exhibits and Attractions

Today, the Mississippi Agriculture Museum is owned and operated by the Agriculture and Forestry Museum Foundation and serves as an educational resource communicating the past, present, and future of agricultural lifestyle and industry in the Mississippi area and the Southeastern United States. The museum complex spans 39 acres and includes a fully-recreated Small Town Mississippi 1920s-era village, serving as a replica of typical Mississippi cotton farming towns during the post-Antebellum period. A variety of businesses typical of early 20th century towns have been created for exploration, including the TBZH Print Shop, the Small Town Blacksmith shop, a gas filling station, and a general store. Social services such as a doctor’s office, church, and one-room schoolhouse are also featured, along with a grist mill, sawmill, sugarcane mill, and a replica of the Bisland Cotton Gin, which operated in nearby Natchez until 1954. A masonic lodge recreation and cultivated rose garden are also available for exploration.

The museum’s Heritage Center serves as its main entrance point for visitors and features the National Agricultural Aviation Museum, a 5,000-square-foot exhibit center chronicling the history of agricultural production through the development of aviation technologies supporting the industry. The museum is supervised by the Washington, D.C.-based National Agricultural Aviation Association, which moved its facilities to the Mississippi Agricultural Museum in 1980. A photo wall displays photographs of members of the National Agricultural Aviation Hall of Fame, including its three Mississippi members, Jess Orval Dockery and Aubrey and Jimmy Finklea. Important crop dusters and aviation aircraft are displayed, including the Stearman A75 Biplane, constructed during World War II, and the 1946 Piper J3, formerly used as a flight school training aircraft before being converted into a crop duster model.

Also included in the Heritage Center is the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, which highlights agricultural technologies using water, railroad, and road vehicles. Two model train exhibits, an HO Scale Layout and an O Gauge Layout, are included in the museum’s railroad section. Behind the museum, the Fitzgerald Collection exhibit showcases the collected memorabilia of Frank Stanley and Erva Mae Fitzgerald, who accumulated a large collection of Mississippi Delta artifacts from local antique stores, junkyards, and auctions. Highlights of the collection include more than 17,500 Native American artifacts, a large collection of vintage and antique toys, and a 7,000-piece pencil collection listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

A number of natural areas are also highlighted within the museum complex, including the museum’s Nature Trail, which educates visitors on the relationship between farmers, the agricultural industry, and the environment. The 300-yard trail runs through 10 acres of hardwood, pine, and cypress forest area along a creek bed, featuring a variety of exhibits detailing information about native trees and plants. A nature pavilion offers opportunities for visitors to relax and observe, and picnic tables are also provided at several points. Additionally, a Specialty Crops Victory Garden features 17 raised beds with seasonal and specialty plantings, along with a worm composting station, and offers education on conservation and cropping techniques.

Ongoing Programs and Events

Guided tours of the Mississippi Agricultural Museum are offered for elementary and secondary educational groups, tailored to Mississippi curriculum standards. Self-guided audio tours of the facility are also available, along with a detailed map of the museum’s exhibit areas. Carousel rides on the museum’s classic 1928 carousel are offered Monday through Saturday for a nominal fee. On the first Thursday of every month, a Story Time with Uncle Story event is presented, showcasing agricultural and forestry-related stories read by the museum’s mascot puppet, Uncle Story. Other special events held throughout the year include an Easter egg hunt, a Pumpkin Adventure festival, a Spring Farm Days event, and a Country Christmas celebration.

1150 Lakeland Dr, Jackson, MS 39216, Phone: 601-432-4500

More Things to Do in Jackson MS

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Attraction Spotlight: Mississippi Museum of Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art is a comprehensive art museum with an array of permanent art collections and special exhibitions. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the goal of the Mississippi Museum of Art is to engage visitors, and the general Jackson community, with intriguing and thought-provoking visual art.

On October 27, 1911 the Mississippi Art Association formed by a group of artists from the 1911 State Fair. The main initiative for creating the Mississippi Art Association was for the benefit of artists. This association would enable artists to display their work continuously. All of the initial members of the Mississippi Art Association were also members of the Art Study Club in Mississippi. After creating the Association, members quickly created a permanent art collection.

The original president of the Mississippi Art Association, Bessie Lemly, was succeeded by Marie Hull in 1916. Under the leadership of Hull, the Mississippi Art Association advocated for the introduction of art education within the public school system. The Association’s avocation proved to be strong and powerful enough because the Central High School of Jackson introduced art classes, as well as the Mississippi State College for Women.

Although the Mississippi Art Association was founded in 1911, they did not receive a charter until 1926. The Association finally secured a charter where the present day Municipal Art Gallery is located. When the charter was signed, the Mississippi Art Association agreed to share this location with various other clubs and organizations. Although the Association’s space as small, they still managed to showcase their art collection and continue administrative duties.

It wasn’t until 1955, when Morgan Jones was the Association’s president that the Mississippi Art Association actively worked to building an official art museum. In the late 1900s, the City of Jackson created an initiative for a new complex that would be located near the Jackson Municipal Auditorium. On April 22, 1978, dedication ceremonies were held for the building and the museum. In order to signify the new and official developments of a museum building, the Mississippi Museum of Art was officially established in late 1979.

Since 1979, the Mississippi Museum of Art has underwent various renovations to ensure the Museum reaches its full architectural and art potential.

Currently, the Mississippi Museum of Art has over 5,500 pieces of art within their permanent collection. A comprehensive focus is drawn upon American art from 1865 to the current day within the Museum’s permanent collection. There is a minimal amount of information known about the details of the Mississippi Museum of Art’s permanent attractions. This is largely to create an enriching element of surprise when a visitor explores the Museum. What is known about the permanent attractions is the thematic exhibition the entire Museum’s permanent collection seems to embody and follow, which is The Mississippi Story.

The Mississippi Museum of Art regularly hosts special attractions throughout the year. The Museum is so dedicated to displaying special exhibits it even has a large and dense area specifically dedicated to displaying special exhibits. For an updated list of special attractions at the Mississippi Museum of Art, check out the Museum’s website.

Since the foundations of the Mississippi Museum of Art lies within education, it shouldn’t be a surprise the Mississippi Museum of Art values education and has an array of educational opportunities. The educational opportunities at the Mississippi Museum of Art range from standard programs, such as field trips and specialized group tours, to comprehensive and distinguished programs such as classes and internships.

One of the most diverse and distinguished educational opportunities at the Mississippi Museum of Art is The Museum School. The Museum School offers children, teenagers, and adults comprehensive and unique art education classes throughout the entire year. Classes range from fundamentals of colors and paintings, to exploring the themes, messages, and influences within a specific piece of art work. Many of the art classes draw inspiration and technique from the Museum’s permanent art collection.

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380 N Lamar St, MS 39201, Phone: 601-960-1515

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