Get ready to take the plunge: Music, art, crafts, history, museums galore, hot nightlife, cool neighborhoods, literary legends, shopping, shopping, and more shopping. And then there are those 33,000 acres of gorgeous water for boating, swimming and fishing. The Clinton, Jackson, Ridgeland area is so welcoming it will make you feel like home before you can spell Mississippi.
- Clinton Visitor Center – Located on the Parkway, when you roll into Clinton don’t be surprised if they’re playing your song at the Clinton Visitor Center on the Parkway. Requests are welcome at the monthly jam sessions of the Mississippi Olde Time Music Society. Even if you don’t make the jam, there are plenty of other tasty Mississippi-made treats available at the Center and historical exhibits to devour.
- Mississippi College – This Christian University was the first institution of higher learning in Mississippi, and the first co-ed college in the nation to award degrees to women. On your stroll through campus, be sure to stop at the Samuel Gore Art Gallery and Statue Garden.
- Clinton Community Nature Center – Take a hike through the 33 acres of lush native trees, ferns and foliage. There are benches for relaxing, or you can follow a piece of the Old Natchez Trace that winds through the center.
- Mississippi Museum of Art – Construction is complete on the newly renovated MMA creating a beautiful new home for the Museum and its permanent collection of extraordinary art. The renovation project, which took just under a year to complete, marks a historical day for Mississippi and its artistic legacy.
- Museum of Natural Science – Inside the park, the Museum’s buildings and grounds feature a 73,000-square foot complex overlooking a 300-acre natural landscape, 2.5 miles of nature trails, and an open-air amphitheater. It has a variety of exciting exhibits, including: a series of life-size displays of the state’s diverse habitats, a 100,000-gallon aquarium network housing over 200 living species, and a 1,700-square foot greenhouse.
- The Agriculture and Forestry Museum – The Ag Museum sits you smack in the middle of an 1860s working farm and on the streets of an old-timey Mississippi town. Begin your journey through time as your guide reveals how agriculture and forestry molded the history and heritage of the State. Your travels would not be complete without savoring some good Southern cooking and hometown entertainment.
- The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum – This museum willput you up to bat with stats, bios and trivia in interactive exhibits on Mississippi sports legends from Dizzy Dean to Archie Manning to Jerry Rice to Brett Favre.
- The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion – The Governor’s Mansion introduces the fascinating story of Mississippi history. And should you run into him, say hello to the governor, too. He lives there, in the second oldest continuously occupied residence in the U.S.
- The Jackson Zoo – The Discovery Zoo, the children’s area at the Jackson Zoo, has been named by the New York Times Travel Guide as one of the top five children’s zoos east of Mississippi, and now with the $8 million addition, called the Wilderness Mississippi Area, you can see tigers, black bears, river otters and beavers in habitats of the latest design.
- Historic neighborhoods – You can check out Belhaven where the Eudora Welty House Museum is located and the quaint Fondren District where residents greet each other on the sidewalks, in the unique shops, galleries and showrooms, and of course – the trolley.
- The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi – Founded in 1973, this non-profit organization of craftsmen is interested in preserving contemporary, folk and traditional crafts of Mississippi. The Guild members, who now number more than 400 professional artisans from all across the Southeast, create every sort of beautiful item imaginable and have been named Best of Jackson for “Best Place to Find Unique Gifts” for 2010.
- The Renaissance at Colony Park – You’ll admire the view sitting at one of the outdoor cafés or on one of the wrought iron benches of The Renaissance at Colony Park. This massive outdoor lifestyle center offers an out-of-ordinary retail experience that’s about premium brands and much more. Modeled after an old-world European village, the Renaissance features luxurious touches like tiled roofs, fountains, lush greenery, and a village green for concerts and other events.
- Ross Barnett Reservoir – The Reservoir is a huge attraction, 33,000 acres of water to be exact, in Mississippi. It’s a sportsman’s paradise on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, a man-made wonder. Fun and relaxing restaurants are located on the bays of the Reservoir, ideal for anybody who enjoys a water-front view along with a tasty bite to eat. It’s perfect for sailing, boating, swimming, fishing and bird-watching with miles of hiking trails on the Natchez Trace.
For Visitor Information: 866-TRACE-56 (888-872-2356) www.scenictrace.com