With school back in session, we’re all about learning as much as we can — both in and out of the classroom. In fact, Mississippi is home to a ton of educational attractions that are so fun, you’re kids won’t even realize they’re learning something. From amazing museums to unique parks, here are 10 Mississippi attractions perfect for an education vacation.
1. Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (MAX)
Known as the MAX for short, this incredible facility celebrates Mississippi artists through a variety of exhibits known as Cultural Trails. The interactive exhibits take you behind the scenes to numerous points of interest throughout the state. Providing a fun way to learn all about the countless artists that have come from Mississippi, this is a great visit for all ages. The MAX is located at 2155 Front St., Meridian, MS 39301.
2. Mississippi Children’s Museum
Though it’s only been opened since 2010, this Jackson museum has already received numerous awards and accolades — and for good reason. Kids of all ages will be entertained for hours as they make their way through the museum’s five galleries, each of which features interactive exhibits that focus on health, nutrition, science, literacy, and the arts. The fun continues outdoors in the museum’s Literacy Garden, where you’ll find more interactive exhibits, including a giant Scrabble game. Visit the museum at 2145 Museum Blvd., Jackson, MS 39202.
3. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Another Jackson must visit, this museum is sure to fascinate the young and old alike. In addition to a variety of exhibits that provide information on everything from Mississippi’s landscape to the prehistoric days of dinosaurs, the museum includes a 100,000-gallon aquarium and 2.5 miles of nature trails. The museum is located at 2148 Riverside Dr., Jackson, MS 39202.
4. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
This award-winning museum features a variety of both indoor and outdoor exhibits that’ll keep kids entertained for hours on end. Inside, you’ll find role playing exhibits, which allow children to try out a variety of careers, go on a safari, ride the rails, and more. With an enormous tree house, creek, and several other life-sized exhibits, the outdoor area offers just as much fun. Visit Lynn Meadows Discovery Center at 246 Dolan Ave., Gulfport, MS 39507.
5. INFINITY Science Center
Spanning 70,000-square feet, there’s a lot to see and do at INFINITY Science Center. The science museum provides a "fun and fascinating learning experience," which includes a tour of Stennis Space Center, nature trails, tram tours, and incredible exhibits, like an actual rocket engine and a U.S. Navy training boat. INFINITY Science Center is located at 1 Discovery Cir., Pearlington, MS 39572.
6. GRAMMY Museum
There are only two GRAMMY Museums in the entire country, and one of them just so happens to be right here in Mississippi. Be prepared to spend some time at this Cleveland gem because it’s filled with captivating exhibits and tons of information on the state’s deep musical roots. Visit the museum at 800 W. Sunflower Rd., Cleveland, MS 38732.
7. Tupelo Buffalo Park
Since opening as a cattle ranch in the 1970s, this Tupelo attraction has grown tremendously and now encompasses more than 200 acres and is home to nearly 300 animals. And the best way to see all those animals is a guided tour, which will get you up close and personal with buffalo, camels, zebras, giraffes, and more. There’s also a petting zoo, pony rides, and numerous exhibits. The park is located at 2272 N. Coley Rd., Tupelo, MS 38801.
8. Ocean Adventures Marine Park
Located in Gulfport, this recently opened facility includes 30,000 square feet of educational fun for the entire family. With an interactive museum, touch pools, and live shows, there are plenty of chances to get up close and personal with a variety of creatures from under the sea. Guests can even book a swim with dolphins, stingrays, and sharks. Visit Ocean Adventures Marine Park at 10801 Dolphin Ln., Gulfport, MS 39503.
9. The Biloxi Cruise Company’s Living Marine Adventure Cruise
Learn about one of the Gulf Coast’s biggest industries firsthand as you board the Sailfish and head out on the 70-minute Living Marine Adventure Cruise. During the expedition, a net is used to catch "any and all sea creatures in its path." The entire catch is then identified by the captain. Have your camera handy, as you’ll get close-up views of blue crabs, flounder, stingray, squids, puffer fish, and more. The cruise departs from 693 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39530.
10. Ard’s Dairy Farm
Please note, Ard's Dairy Farm is no longer open to the public.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes into running a dairy farm, a visit to Ard’s is your chance to find out. Located in the small town of Ruth, the 1,200-acre farm is home to 200 cows. Visitors are given a tour of the entire farm, complete with plenty of hands-on activities. Ard’s Dairy Farm is located at 3479 Orchard Ln. SE, Ruth, MS 39662.
So, have you ever been to any of the places listed above? Have an attraction to add? Tell us in the comments section.