From Ocean Springs, drive an hour west on Interstate 10 toward Louisiana to experience the INFINITY Space Center, a nonprofit museum that serves as the official visitors center for the NASA Stennis Space Center. The museum has 35,000 square feet of exhibit space. Some of the exhibits include the hurricane prediction lab, where people can learn about the science of storms and how data is used in predicting severe weather; the Biome Boardwalk, which has four biomes (a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for their environment) and natural habitats.
In the spring and summer, INFINITY also offers tram tours down the Possum Walk Trail, which teaches people about the ecology and history of the area. Admission to the museum also includes a bus tour of the NASA Stennis Space Center. INFINITY is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children, and those ages 3 and under get in for free. For more information, visit visitinfinity.com.
The sculptures outside the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi are larger than life—a fitting tribute Mississippi artist George Ohr, also know as "the Mad Potter of Biloxi." In 1999, Frank Gehry began the design for the museum, but in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the construction site and OOMA's predecessor, the George Ohr Arts and Cultural Center. Five years later, museum patron Jerry O'Keefe, Gehry and Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway cut the ribbon and opened the first phase of the new museum.
One of the museum's permanent exhibits, "George Ohr: I Am the Potter Who Was," tells the story of Ohr's life and includes photos, archives, videos and information on the different phases in the artist's career. The museum also has exhibits such as "City Within a City: African American Culture in Biloxi," which highlights the history of black Mississippians in Biloxi after World War II. The museum also has classes, workshops, a gift shop and more. OOMA is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students with ID, $8 for seniors and military. Children under the age of 5 get in for free. For more information, visit georgeohr.org.
The Mississippi Delta has a few museums dedicated to the blues, and it should. But if you want to get a broader understanding of blues culture in the Delta, one of the best stops is the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.
The museum tells B.B. King's story, sure, but his story is intertwined with the history of the blues. The exhibits include a theater where you can watch a film about B.B. King, get an inside look at the Delta in the 1930s, and see King's experience in Memphis in the 1950s, and his journey from artist to icon in the 1960s. The museum is open Sunday and Monday from noon to 5 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for students with ID, $10 for children ages 5 to 7, and free for children ages 0 to 5. For more information, bbkingmuseum.org.
The Jackson Zoo is awesome, but the state also has other great zoos. One such example, the Hattiesburg Zoo, is smaller than ours but has a lot to offer. You may meet a peacock roaming the area, but the zoo also has around 100 species of animals from around the world. The zoo also has exhibits such as a "Touch Africa" petting zoo, an African drum station and a "Bug Hub" playground, where kids (and adults) can slide down tall mounds and play on insect-themed playground equipment. For more information, visit zoohattiesburg.com.