Are you seeking fun in the City With Soul, socially and safely distanced?
We have a look at ten activities to keep you occupied, all based in the outdoors.
Navigate the Pearl With Capital City Kayaks
If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip down the Pearl River or explore one of the oxbow lakes that surround it, try Capital City Kayak Adventures. Owned by Chris Lockhart, the company offers guided water tours and fun in and around Jackson.
“We’ll put in at Crystal Lake, paddle upriver or downstream and play around.”
Unsure? Don’t be. “We spend about 10 to 15 minutes getting acclimated,” he said. “(You)’ll be paddling like a pro after that! The average excursion is an hour and a half to two hours. For $30 a person, I provide everything (you) need. All you do is show up. You can bring your snacks and bring your dogs.”
Relive Small Town History at the Mississippi Ag Museum
From the 1820s until recent decades, Mississippi agriculture, and that of much of the South, was centered around the production of cotton.
One hundred years later, crossroad towns such as Small Town, Mississippi and the Fortenberry Farm – on display at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum – flourished as a combination of railroads, automobiles, agriculture, forestry and social developments converged. These small towns generally included a general store, filling station, cotton gin, sawmill, blacksmiths shop and grist mill, on display here along with a church, doctor’s office and school.
While there, don’t miss the agricultural and display gardens, the newly opened Children’s Barnyard and Antique Tractor displays and the manageable nature trail on the campus’s western edge.
Explore the Creative Landscape with the JXN Google Art Map
Throughout Jackson, public art has become both more common and more widely celebrated. Our city has long been vibrant, but now, our streets, walls, and common spaces match our soul.
From some of the latest (Adrienne Dominick’s “Mama Rose Kitchen” on Farish Street to Shon Perryman’s “JXN Icons” across from the Two Museums’ plaza on North Street) to longtime fixtures (literally) like the painted Downtown Traffic Signal Boxes, the landscape is rich in color and creativity.
A newly created public art map showcases murals, sculpture and other interesting artistic finds with areas of concentration in Fondren, Midtown and Downtown Jackson.
Pack a Picnic (and your walking shoes) for Jackson City Parks
Did you know that approximately 2,300 acres of land in the City of Jackson are composed of nearly three-dozen city parks? The areas include playgrounds, picnic grounds and jogging and walking paths.
Take a loop around the trails at Buddy Butts Park in South Jackson, Tougaloo Park in the Tougaloo community, Parham Bridges Park in LeFleur East or Fondren Park in West Fondren.
Most, if not all, parks offer picnic tables and benches, shade trees and, at some, pavilions (reservations and fees may apply).
The City of Jackson’s new website has an interactive map with amenities and directions available.
Learn About the Blues, Civil Rights on the “Trails”
Looking for a wealth of blues music heritage info? Visit all of Jackson’s blues markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, “telling stories through words and images of bluesmen and women and how the places where they lived and the times in which they existed–and continue to exist–influenced their music.”
Markers for Malaco Records (3023 West Northside Drive), the Subway Lounge/Summers Hotel (JSU Parkway – 619 West Pearl Street) and the Alamo Theatre and Dorothy Moore (333 North Farish Street) are among them.
For more on the struggles of the Civil Rights era, explore the Mississippi Freedom Trail which provides a tour of sites that played a pivotal role in the movement. Among the ﬁrst markers unveiled were the Medgar Evers Marker, located at his former home, now a museum, at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, and at the former Greyhound Bus Station, now an architect’s oﬃce, at 239 N. Lamar Street.
Tour the City With More Than a Tourist
Local guide Jane Halbert Jones has made a business out of showcasing the city she loves. Her more recent virtual tours have been informative and entertaining.
With tours that always include historical info and sometimes food and drink, Jones’ More Than a Tourist is limiting current tours to eight people at a time.
She explores Fondren, Belhaven and Downtown mostly, but can customize to suit any group need.
Experience Nature at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
An urban oasis in our own backyard, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in LeFleur East “sits at the crux of present and past; of urban development and beckoning wild.”
In the park’s 305 picturesque acres of trails, forest, lakes, museums, and fairways, LeFleur’s Bluff is “a cloistered refuge from the chaos of modern existence.”
Hike the park to the tall staircase about a mile in, ascending to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Along the way, native vegetation awaits along with unfiltered views of the Pearl River, the same river explored by Louis LeFleur, Jackson’s original namesake, LeFleur’s Bluff.
Unwind on the Green at the Mississippi Museum of Art Garden
A 1.2 acre park located in the heart of Downtown Jackson awaits at The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Featuring a welcoming lawn, seasonal foliage, native garden beds, permanent art installations, soothing fountains, and outdoor terrace dining, this versatile, open, outdoor space is open to the public from daily during daylight hours.
One day again soon, the Museum will begin to host socially-distanced movie nights, concerts and other gatherings.
Let Your Wild Side Out at The Jackson Zoo
The Jackson Zoo, closed since last September while changing management now welcomes guests and members in a limited capacity on the weekends. Hours are Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm, but are subject to change without notice.
The Zoo will operate under strict guidelines in light of COVID-19 . Those are in part (but are not limited to):
- ADMISSION MUST BE SECURED ONLINE. Daily tickets and Zoo member reservations are now required BEFORE arrival and can be purchased/reserved online in the Zoo’s SHOP. Walk-ups are not guaranteed entry.
- Only 500 persons are allowed in the park per day.
- FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED unless medically exempt. (Until animal experts can find a way to make a tiger or a chimp wear a mask, all humans in the park will need to comply.)
- Groups must be 10 persons or less.
- All guests and staff must abide by the 6′ social distancing measures.
Zoo tickets and additional guidelines can be found here.
Frolic in the 1930s-era Garden of Famed Writer, Eudora Welty
Most people know Eudora Welty as a writer, but she was also an avid gardener.
Her mother, Chestina, designed the garden in 1925. Until about 1945, she and Welty spent much time with hands in the soil, digging, planting, and weeding.
Both Welty’s prose and personal correspondence are rich with imagery from the natural world. She mentions more than 150 kinds of plants in her stories.
Tour the gardens for free at the Eudora Welty House, Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m – 4 p.m.