Mississippi is home to a number of excellent attractions showcasing native and exotic wildlife, sea life, and outdoor habitats. Come explore the wilder side of our state at the premier attractions below.
The Mississippi Natural Science Museum, the state’s largest museum, is located in the LeFleur Museum District of Jackson. Their collections include more than a million specimens of native animals, plants, and fossils. Outdoor attractions include a 300-acre natural landscape, open-air amphitheater, 2.5 miles of nature trails, and an innovative new 30,000-square-foot playground shared with the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
The Hattiesburg Zoo provides an opportunity to view more than 100 species of animals from around the world, including a Sumatran tiger, a jaguar, howler monkeys, and wallabies. The zoo’s expanded Africa exhibit, Experience Africa, debuted in 2021 and includes two giraffes, a hyena, and colobus monkeys. The zoo also offers a high-ropes course and a Sloth Experience. (Be prepared to book your sloth encounter months in advance. It’s super popular.)
One of Coastal Mississippi’s newest attractions, the Mississippi Aquarium, offers indoor and outdoor exhibits including 12 freshwater and saltwater habitats. More than 200 species of animals and 50 species of native plants can be seen, including bottlenose dolphins, river otters, sandbar sharks, stingrays, and a variety of exotic birds. The aquarium is one of only a few locations in America featuring underwater viewing via the SeaTrek helmet diving experience.
The Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo is known, of course, for its large herd of American bison. But there’s a lot more to the park than just its namesake animal. At 175 acres, it is the largest zoo in Mississippi. More than 260 exotic animals can be seen, including a giraffe, zebras, llamas, a Burmese python, and a variety of monkeys and other primates. Unlike traditional zoos, visitors can drive their own vehicle through the park and feed the bison and many other animals.