Both of today's options offer glimpses into the modern and anciently glorious days of spirited competition. Those who opt for the one-year family membership will receive an annual membership pass plus the prideful perks of both a museum decal and a certificate of membership, plus a quarterly online newsletter outlining upcoming happenings and already-happened historical moments.
As the Jackson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s reigning Travel Attraction of The Year, as well as the subject of accolades from the Jackson Free Press and Parents & Kids Magazine, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science delights and enlightens attendees of all ages. A family membership grants two adults all the benefits of joining, including one year of free admission and a 10% discount at the museum gift shop. Parents may extend their membership to include any number of offspring under the age of 18; grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other guardians may include up to four children; lonely puppet-makers may not include any wooden wards they’ve wished to life.
Members of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi share their one-of-a-kind skills in manipulating metal, glass, and fabric at the Mississippi Craft Center, a modern creativity oasis located in the verdant Ross Barnett Reservoir. After arriving for the combination soiree and learn-a-thon, crafting duos spend an hour (5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) preparing for their preselected classes by socializing and enjoying complimentary appetizers and wine. Students then participate in one of four, two-hour crafting classes. Skillful instructors acquaint pupils with hands-on arts including glass fusion, in which class participants create two items, such as a plate or elegant Frisbee, that can be taken home a few days later after firing. A fresh pair of earrings and newly forged necklace go home with metal-jewelry students, who learn to fashion glittery, wearable art using fine tools and careful precision. Aspiring blacksmiths and basket weavers can also craft artful creations to adorn mantels or add rustic touches to hermetically sealed plastic bubbles.
The Jackson Zoo, which opened in 1919, introduces families to more than 800 animals that make up more than 200 species living in re-created habitats. Throughout the diverse man-made ecosystems, wandering animal lovers can see a pair of orangutans and 12 endangered species, such as the brown-headed spider monkey, amur leopard, and hungry, hungry pygmy hippopotamus. Patrons can also ride the train and carousel through the zoo before perusing the gift shop's colorful souvenirs, which include cups and shirts emblazoned with images of striding zebras or chimpanzees working as gaffers on the Planet of the Apes set.
The newly renovated Mississippi Museum of Art is home to a diverse and rapidly expanding permanent collection. Its artistic trove of American art; British, 19th century portraits; preColumbian ceramics; and more have garnered it a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service award. The Orient Expressed is an exhibit dedicated to Japonisme, a cultural phenomenon involving Japanese influences in Western art from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Marvel at more than 200 rarely viewed works by Gauguin and Whistler among many others while tickling the brain with little-known art-history facts such as Gauguin's secret envy of Lisa Frank.
Earning a glowing review from the Wall Street Journal, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center depicts the 60-year-plus career of the musician’s life in the larger context of a changing world. Individual exhibits move chronologically from the musician’s ‘30s delta beginnings milking six-string baby bottles, through the civil-rights movement, and onward through his rise to international success. To complement the exhibits, multimedia and film excerpts share rarely heard live tracks and television performances. Patrons are welcome to bring an identical twin to research tandem guitar picking while perusing the extensive archive of personal papers, photos, and instruments from B. B. King’s life and work. Fingers of all lengths are also free to traverse the fretboard in the museum’s guitar studio, where instruments can be found grazing placidly on ample grassroots.
Dedicated to preserving Mississippi’s heritage, Cottonlandia Museum educates visitors with an array of interdisciplinary displays and collections. Cottonlandia’s permanent exhibits and rooms include the Mississippi Art Collection, an anthology of Mississippi-made art, most of it purchased from the winners of the biannual Cottonlandia Fine Arts Competition, and the Archaeology Room, home to a large assortment of Native American beads and a 12,000 year-old mastodon skeleton that they used to hang sabertooth fur coats. Meanwhile, the Malmaison Room presents photographs and furniture salvaged from the home of county namesake Greenwood Leflore, the last chief of the Choctaw tribe before their removal to Oklahoma, and the Swamp Room lets guests absorb the sights and sounds of the wetlands without brewing their own bog water out of bullfrog tears.