Petting zoo. Horse stable. Vegetable farm. Bed and breakfast. These are just some of the attractions that fill Splendor Farms’ 75 acres. Located just one-fourth a mile outside the National Historic Bogue Chitto River, the farm features a bed and breakfast complete with a swimming pool and fishing area as well as a petting zoo filled with baby goats, ducks, and chickens. Elsewhere, guides lead horseback riders on trail rides across more than 1,000 acres, leading them to destinations unreachable by car or pogo stick. Other entertainments include setups for badminton and croquet, as well as an on-site dachshund kennel where pups roll around and play.
Designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art exalts the work of George E. Ohr, a ceramic artist and moustache enthusiast known as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi." After it was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, the campus reopened in 2010 amidst a grove of ancient live-oak trees, featuring a series of six aesthetically impressive pavilions that include a welcome center, a gallery of African-American art, and an interpretive center inside a reconstruction of the house of emancipated craftsman Pleasant Reed. Current exhibitions include collections from some of the art world's biggest names, including Andy Warhol and ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko, as well as selections from Ohr's Gulf Coast collection, which inspired the American Modernist movement and several MLB baseball teams to wear ceramic pots instead of baseball hats.
The round sun teeters on the barn's gable roof, threatening to roll right down. In a quick burst of wind, leaves begin clapping, as if in response to the equestrians trotting regally past. A smaller group of 10 riders wait patiently as guides corral a posse of good-natured horses, who toss their manes and lift their hooves with the joy of motion on a woodland trail ride past Wolfshohl Horse Training's gardens. Downwind, an individual lesson has a skilled trainer versing a 5-year-old about tack, grooming, and the techniques involved in English and Western riding styles. After patrons dismount at trail's end, they can question guides about holding a special event, boarding a pony, or the uncertain ramifications of using a lucky horseshoe to break a mirror.
At Gattitown, a vast buffet quells the hungers caused by romping through up to 10,000 square feet of violence-free arcade games, bumper cars, and mini bowling. Before meals, kids scurry between more than 150 exciting games, including virtual-reality racing and tax-filing simulations. In the bumper-car arena, wee ones determine driving dominance by crashing and cruising around a spacious floor. Players then hone their underhand tosses with mini bowling and skee-ball, shooting for tickets to spend on doodads, gadgets, and teddy-bear ransoms inside the Gatti goods store.
Ever since it was founded a half century ago, Mitchell Farms has remained the beloved life's work of the Mitchell family. Situated on 1,500 acres of woods and fields, the farm produces crops such as peanuts, peaches, blueberries, and soybeans. It's also home to three century-old log cabins, each adorned with antiques, patchwork quilts, and other collectable pieces.
Throughout the year, visitors can tour the historic cabins, talk farming with the Mitchell family, or purchase homemade jams, jellies, and honey. The farm's peanuts have been a staple for more than 30 years and are now grown on a full 300 acres to accommodate demand. During the fall, guests can sample fresh-dug peanuts or take home dried nuts. The fall also brings with it the Mississippi Peanut Festival, as well as a slew of onsite autumnal activities. Families can tour the farm in a covered wagon or board the Pumpkin Express train. A play area keeps children active with rope swings, play equipment, and a scarecrow drill sergeant instructing kids to drop and give him candy corn.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Condé-Charlotte Museum House has collected artifacts from Mobile's distinct periods under French, British, Spanish, American, and Confederate control and preserved them under the roof of this 19th-century Colonial-style townhouse. Originally erected as an 1822 jail house, the building was converted to a residence in 1850, when it was expanded with handmade bricks and expunged of all loitering ghosts. Imagine yourself in 1711, relaxing among the floral drapes and pale pink upholstery in the museum's French bedroom, then calibrate your consciousness to 1775 in the British "commandant's room," where a gleaming silver tea set enhances historical veracity by whining about colonists and demanding more Yorkshire pudding. Artifacts of American heritage include the lavish red-velvet sofa in the Confederate parlor, the white-laced four-post bed in the original master bedroom, and a to-scale replica of Teddy Roosevelt's mustache in the closet. Finally, move outside to explore the kempt hedges forming brick-and-tile corridors through the sun-washed garden, an homage to the late 18th- and early 19th-century Spanish presence. Tourists who wish to know the age and origin myth of each artifact can join a guided tour, which lasts 45 minutes.