HATTIESBURG – Hattiesburg, a charming southern Gulf town that offers something for all ages, recently hosted two giraffes, hyenas and Colobus monkeys in an expanded Africa exhibit at the Hattiesburg Zoo. New zoo extensions, along with the city’s museums, expansive public art, outdoor recreation and diverse dining scene, now make the perfect time to book a family summer getaway to Hattiesburg.
“We are delighted to see our visitors create lasting memories, as Hattiesburg has become the perfect place for multigenerational family vacations,” says Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director of VisitHATTIESBURG. “Our family attractions are organized to engage and entertain children and our relaxed atmosphere makes travel a breeze for every member of the family.
See below for a sample of family activities to do in Hattiesburg:
This year, the Hattiesburg Zoo officially opened its expanded Africa exhibit to house two giraffes named Sue Ellen and Alberta, a hyena, and colobus monkeys. The area also includes a new restaurant and pavilion. The zoo is home to over 100 species of animals from around the world and also recently welcomed the endangered charcoal peccary to its South American exhibit. Guests can get up close and feed a sloth in the Zoo’s Sloth experience or pet a wallaby, kune kune pig, or emu in the Wallaby Walkthrough exhibit. Additional attractions within the zoo include a train ride, carousel, playground, playground, petting zoos, tree climbing course, and a mining expedition.
Hattiesburg introduced a burger route with stops at over 34 local restaurants across town, serving everything from classics to gourmet burgers and even some that redefine what a burger is. The trail provides the perfect opportunity to discover new bites and sip refreshing drinks while discovering interesting shops, public art, and hidden gems throughout the city.
Trace of long leaves
The Longleaf Trace is Southern Mississippi’s premier running, biking, hiking, and horseback riding trail suitable for all ages. It is a beautiful linear park, 70 km long and fairly flat, stretching from downtown Hattiesburg through Sumrall, Bassfield and Carson to Prentiss. The trail is 10 feet wide and is paved with asphalt making it simple and enjoyable to navigate. Adventurers can bring their own gear or rent a bike at Trace Gateway on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. For those who enjoy off-road courses, many follow the paved path of Longleaf Trace. Spurs connect the trail to attractions, campsites, and restaurants.
Alley Cats Ax Throwing Co.
Families can hone their ax throwing skills in historic downtown Hattiesburg. Alley Cats offers ax throwing in a fun and controlled environment. No previous experience is required as the staff experts will teach customers how to properly throw an ax. Snacks, draft craft beer, wine and more are available for purchase at The Alley.
The lucky rabbit
Hattiesburg’s self-proclaimed 15,000 square foot flea market, The Lucky Rabbit, will be open every weekend in 2021. The boutique features endless vintage items and hands-on displays, including a replica of the Dunder Mifflin set from the hit show “The Office,” a vintage Volkswagen bus, vintage gaming systems like Nintendo and more. Seen on HGTV’s hometown, The Lucky Rabbit features a variety of vendors specializing in vintage items, from collectible, antique, nostalgic and handmade and has an indoor entertainment studio.
Blue lanes of the pine belt
Located along the Leaf and Bouie Rivers, Pinebelt Blueways consists of over 50 miles of beautiful scenic river to explore. Recently, the Blueways announced an extension of the waterway that allows guests even more opportunities to reconnect with nature while enjoying the solitude, sights and sounds of this refreshing outdoor experience. Several new signs and milestones exist along this established waterway to keep visitors on course and educate them about the natural habitats and wildlife along the route. Suitable for all ages and abilities, visitors can float the river, canoe, kayak or sunbathe on a sandbar. This waterway does not have an official outfitter, so guests should bring their own equipment.
Public art trail
With 41 stops (and growing), the Hattiesburg Public Art Trail features dozens of murals, 12 larger-than-life sculptures, and plenty of art galleries. The city has also started transforming utility boxes into beautiful works of art along the trail. As an emerging destination in the Southern Gulf for art lovers, Hattiesburg’s vibrant arts scene continues to grow, offering new venues year round. Visitors to this modern southern destination can walk, cycle, or drive the downtown portion of the Art Trail, marveling at the beauty of a rich collection of art from renowned local, national and international artists. .
An old boarded up window in the alley behind Hattiesburg’s Saenger Theater was turned into Mississippi’s smallest museum in 2020, now known as the Pocket Museum. Tucked away in an Instagram-worthy alleyway, the museum unveils a new exhibit at the start of each month allowing visitors to gaze out the window at four small shelves displaying a collection of small items. Past exhibits included a collection of Swiss Army Knives and mini rubber ducks. In addition to the museum, there are many outdoor art installations on display in the alley.
The first city in the southern Gulf, Hattiesburg blends culture, art, food and history, making it a modern southern destination. Known as the birthplace of Rock N ‘Roll and the site of one of the most important social movements in American history, Hattiesburg’s roots run deep. Today, the city is an emerging civil rights destination, preserving and telling history through attractions such as the 1964 Freedom Summer Trail and the East Sixth Street Museum District. A creative community adds flair through local restaurants, craft breweries, vibrant public art shops and boutiques. VisitHATTIESBURG and its partners have adopted best practices to ensure the safety of visitors and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out how Hattiesburg is safely open for you at www.visithburg.org/safely-open. For more information, visit www.visithburg.org.