Mayes Lake is a wonderful spot to bring your family on a beautiful day.
Photo by Trip Burns
Lots of parents are familiar with the usual ways to entertain their tykes, but when they get bored with the same old, same old, try something a little different. Here are a few fun—and less crowded—outdoor places to take your kids:
2140 Riverside Drive, 601-987-3923
Often quiet and deserted, Mayes Lake is a relaxing spot in Jackson for early morning picnics, late afternoon strolls and everything in between. It has blue herons flying over the water, deer wandering in the woods, public restrooms and a shaded, uncrowded playground. The $3 entry fee covers a whole carload of people and as much wandering as you like.
4736 Clinton Blvd., 601-960-1894
Through a doorway in an unassuming little building lies a hidden Eden. Well-maintained paths meander by statues, over bridges, among flora and around a turtle-filled pond. The landscape gives ample scope for the imagination and plenty of little spots for running, reading, picnicking, dreaming and hide-and-seeking. Bring bug spray, a high adult-to-child ratio with littles and an extra 50 cents to buy a bag of turtle food.
Mississippi Petrified Forest
124 Forest Park Road, Flora, 601-879-8189
North on Highway 49, past the Indian mound and the giant teepee is a place of old-world magic where fairies could live in tiny caves and crevasses that the moss-covered petrified wood created. Wander the trails, soak in the enchantment, find the old caboose, and be sure to leave a little time and perhaps a few dollars to explore the rock and gem shop.
Roosevelt State Park
2149 Mississippi 13, Morton, 601-732-6316
Keep driving past the crowded, paved Yogi Bear Park. Just 10 minutes further east, is the peaceful wooded Roosevelt State Park. Home to lovely trails, campsites and even a little playground, Roosevelt also has a waterslide that is fun for parents and kids of all ages. Smaller kids like my son can enjoy the slide in a parent's lap. Climbing the steps with a big raft, visitors can enjoy the view looking down on the gorgeous forest and lake as well as the pool and splash pad area. And, unlike many local water park attractions, this serene destination won't break the bank.
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