3 Things To Do Near Ridgeland/Jackson Mississippi For Under $10 Per Person

1. Mississippi Agricultural Museum: Jackson, MS

Cost: $10 per person or $4 for children, seniors, and military

Tip: Consider visiting the town first thing in the morning or evening and then enjoying the air conditioning in the museum. We struggled to walk around the town in the heat of the day in August..

This museum was extremely informative. The museum explains the progression of several major industries in Mississippi including timber, cotton, catfish, and aerial crop dusting. There are artifacts, exhibits depicting the industries mentioned above, model trains, videos, and restored airplanes. The information in each exhibit was extensive and interesting.

There is also a small town built around the museum which depicts what life would have been like in Mississippi in the 1920’s.  The town has a quaint general store with old-fashioned Coca Cola and other sodas, toys, and candy. The town also has an old church, a barn, a lumber mill, a doctor’s office, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin, among other buildings. We visited in August and not everything was open in the town, but during certain times it looks like they have more people doing demonstrations and manning stations within the town. They also have animals too, but we didn’t see any while we were visiting.

This was one of my favorite places to visit in the area. You could easy spend up to 2-3 hours here reading all of the information at each exhibit and exploring the town. Kids will love watching the model trains in the museum and walking through the 1920’s town.

2. Natchez Trace Parkway trails  Ridgeland, MS

Cost: Free!

Tip: Wear plenty of bug spray and pants because some of the trails are overgrown.

There are several trails but I tried the paved walking path just off of the Natchez Trace Parkway near Highway 51 and Rice Road. The path was paved and would be perfect for a quick walk or bike ride. There are parts of the trail under construction so to get a long walk or ride in could be a little bit tough, without having to cross several busy roads to do so.

The Yockanookany trail/Cyprus Swamp Trailhead is the starting point to several trails, but there is a short loop you can take if you just want to take a quick hike. The trail winds through trees and while mostly clear, has some long grass on each side of the trail. I saw and heard several birds, frogs, bugs, and butterflies. I went in August, in the evening, but didn’t see anyone else on the trail.

3. Mississippi Petrified Forest- Flora, MS

Cost- $10 a person or We found a Groupon that admitted two people for $8.25

Tip: If you can go in the fall it is less busy

The visit begins with a trail that is about 6 blocks in length, which winds through the trees and takes you past a series of petrified logs. Petrified wood is wood that has completely been replaced by different types of minerals, changing the log’s appearance and composition. The logs in this forest weigh hundreds to thousands of pounds and were formed millions of years ago from different types of trees.

While the path was nice, and the information written about the wood was interesting, I think my husband and I’s favorite part of the forest was the museum which features gems, fossils, and petrified samples from all over the world. Above are a few pictures of some of my favorite samples.

Kids under 8 probably wouldn’t appreciate the forest and museum much, unless of course they have a special interest in geology. However, the collection inside the museum was awesome to look at and while quite small, has impressive specimens.

If you’re not in this part of Mississippi, check out fun things to do in the Greenville, Mississippi area

Do you know of other fun things to do in this area? Please share some below in the comments section.

5 Fun Thing to Do Near Greenville Mississippi For Under $20

Check out what the Northwestern side of Mississipi has to offer!

1. Jim Henson Exhibit in Leland, MS

Cost- Free!

Tip: Don’t visit too close to the time they open or they may not be open quite yet. We went by during the first hour of their normal business hours and the doors were locked and the building empty.  Things move at a slower pace in this sleepy town of Leland so wait until they’ve been open an hour or so to go by and visit.

This fun little exhibit focuses on the life of Jim Henson and is a nod to his Mississippi roots. The exhibit is all in a small room and features pictures, anecdotes, and newspaper clippings about Jim and his family. There are also a few muppet displays, a short video, and a small gift shop. I found it fascinating and very well-run for such a small exhibit. The woman running the shop is friendly and helpful. They do accept donations, but for being free it is pretty awesome.

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2. GreenVille Cyprus Preserve- 

Cost- Free!

Tip- Wear bugspray!

This lovely preserve taught us about the Cyprus trees responsible for turning the Greenville water brown. Yes, the water coming out of the fossits is brown and perfectly safe to drink–just a bit unnerving when you first see it leave the faucet.

This preserve features a well-kept walking path, brideges, and platforms built right over the water. The trail also has signs describing the names of the plants and wildlife of the area.

3. A Southern Bazaar LLC

Cost- Free!

I don’t usually like to put stores on lists like this, but this charming antique shop was full of fun items both old and new at reasonable prices. We bought some historical items for Matt’s mom who teaches history and I purchased a few home decor items. Give yourself at least 20 minutes to browse and appreciate all of the interesting items this shop has to offer.

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4. Lakeport Plantation

Cost- $10 cash or check only

Tip: Bring cash, the nearest working ATM is a few miles away.

According to their website, Lakeport Plantation is “the only remaining Arkansas plantation home on the Mississippi River.” Yeah it’s technically in Arkansas, but it is about 30 minutes away from Greenville, Mississippi and worth every minute of the drive.

The house is focused on the history of the home, the families who lived within it, and the rich history of the area. It doesn’t contain very much furniture inside, but the information provided was fascinating and enlightening. Features of the house reveal so much about what everyday life was like for the people living there. A blog that recommended I visit here suggested listening to the podcast, “The History of American Slavery” on the drive to the plantation. It helped me think more deeply about the implicatications of this lifestyle on the hundreds of slaves who lived here.

You can go on a self-guided tour and read mounds of information off of signs near items in the house, or you can have a guided tour. I would recommend the guided tour. It takes anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour and really made the house and it’s history come alive, after all in my opinion it’s people and their life challenges which make history interesting and I felt I got more from someone telling me about it, than I would have just reading snippets of information from the signs.

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5. The Belmont Plantation

Cost- $10 per person

This plantation was exquisit. It was decorated with period furniture, paintings, books, statues, and even some musical instruments. The manager graciously agreed to take us on a tour and told us a little bit about the history of the house and the uses of each of the many rooms. She even told us a few ghost stories about the property.

The home and the grounds were lovely and well worth the drive. This house was the perfect follow up to the Lakeport Plantation which focuses more on history, while Belmont is more about ambiance. This charming bed and breakfast gives you a small taste of the decadence plantation homes once enjoyed. I wish I would’ve know about it earlier so that we could’ve stayed there. The rooms seemed fairly priced and each was ornately decorated. At least we got to enjoy an impromptu tea party in the parlor before leaving!

Belmont Plantation
Tea Party at the Belmont Plantation

 

 

 

 

The south is known for their fried food. My first week in Ridgeland, Mississippi we went out to eat at a local southern buffet called, Mamma Hamil’s  which includes almost all of the quintessential southern dishes you could ever imagine including fried chicken, green beans (which are flavored with bacon by the way), mac n’ cheese, banana pudding etc. As I went through the buffet line putting a little bit of everything on my plate I asked a local what the fried green things in the buffet were. The woman seemed surprised and said it’s oakra. I guess I made it pretty obvious I wasn’t from around here.  I’d heard of it, but never actually seen or eaten it. It tasted great fried but then again what doesn’t?

Okra: courtesy of Prathyush Thomas via Wikipedia

I have to admit one fried food I didn’t expect to enjoy was catfish. It has a very light texture and is way milder in taste than I expected.

So on my way home from Greenville, Mississippi after passing a sign about a Catfish museum in Belzoni I decided to stop and take a look.

Here are a few things I learned about Catfish:

  • Farm-raised Catfish are mild in flavor because unlike their bottom feeding relatives these fish have been conditioned to be top dwellers through floating feed. Now instead of feeding in the murky depths and taking on a “slightly muddy” flavor, farm-raised catfish have a mild taste often described as being similar to tilapia or cod.
  • Catfish are one of the most environmentally friendly forms of protein because they require much less feed pound for pound than any other animal. See the chart below shown in Kilograms:

  • One 3 oz. filet of catfish contains 104% of the B12 you need per day, which contributes to your neurological health.

So if you’ve been holding off on trying catfish give this mild-flavored, southern delight a try. But when you do try it take the advice of the locals, if the restaurant didn’t get their catfish from a fish farm in the south, it won’t taste as good and they probably don’t know how to prepare it.

When are you going to give catfish a try? Or if you already have what did you think?

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