Saint Nick’s Swamp Tour | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Saint Nick’s Swamp Tour

Cajun Christmas is Friday, Dec. 9, at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Photo courtesy James Hill

Cajun Christmas is Friday, Dec. 9, at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Photo courtesy James Hill

For the folks at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, nothing says Christmas time like coming face to face with bayou critters.

The museum will host its annual Cajun Christmas on Friday, Dec. 9, featuring encounters with swamp animals such as alligators, snakes and snapping turtles, a visit from the Christmas Gator mascot, and Cajun-themed crafts including making ornaments shaped like alligators, beavers and other animals. Children will also be able to play with instant snow, write letters and take photos with Santa Claus—and watch him dive in the museum's aquariums.

One of the main events of the evening is an interactive story time with Trosclair's book, "Cajun Night Before Christmas," first released in 1992. Artist and storyteller Terrence Roberts, who is known as "Da Story Weaver," will narrate the play, and Jonathan Harris, the museum's former environmental educator, will play the part of Papa Noel.

"The play is brief but meaningful and a wonderful way to connect to that Christmas family feeling," Nicole Smith, a naturalist and special-events planner for the museum, says.

Cajun Christmas will also feature performances from the Mississippi Girlchoir and Boychoir, and a walk through the Blissful Christmas Light Trail in the museum's native plant garden. Food truck 2 for 7 Kitchen will also be on site to prepare gumbo and serve hot chocolate.

"Our light trail is a very noncommercial way of celebrating the holiday," Smith said. "It's a quiet, contemplative experience with peaceful Christmas music playing in a natural setting. Many light displays are wonderful but very showy, while this is intended to be a more subtle and touching display."

Cajun Christmas is from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr., 601-576-6000). Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for ages 3 to 18, and free for ages 2 and under. For more information, visit mdwfp.com/museum.aspx.

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