12 Things to Do with Family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a family vacation destination. However, this medium-sized city has plenty to offer visitors of all ages. From exploring history and culture to enjoying the great outdoors, there are many fun things to do with family in Hattiesburg.

Nestled in southeastern Mississippi’s Pine Belt region, Hattiesburg provides easy access to beaches along the Gulf Coast and quaint towns full of Southern charm. This university town offers family-friendly attractions, delicious cuisine showcasing Southern flavors, and an array of annual festivals and events.

With its rich music heritage, Hattiesburg invites you to walk in the footsteps of rock and roll hall of famers. Outside of town, wooded hills dot the landscape, inviting adventurers to hike, bike and camp. And don’t forget the sweet treats! Family owned candy and ice cream shops deliver mouthwatering confections around every corner.

When visiting Hattiesburg with kids and teens, parents can rest assured this sunny Southern city offers plenty to keep the young ones entertained. From hands-on children’s museums to antique carousels, Hattiesburg overflows with interactive attractions for youth. And while the little ones play, grownups can learn about the region’s Freedom Trail honoring civil rights activists, explore local art galleries, or tee up on championship golf courses.

No matter your interests or family dynamic, Hattiesburg presents the perfect playground for memory making. Read on to discover 12 tantalizing things to do with family in this surprising Mississippi destination.

1. Tour the Hattiesburg Zoo

Spread across 70 lush acres in the heart of Hattiesburg, the Hattiesburg Zoo offers fun for all ages. As Mississippi’s only AZA-accredited zoo, this park provides an exceptional habitat for more than 150 animal species.

Families can visit with endangered red pandas in an immersive new exhibit as well as get eye to eye with playful lemurs in the zoo’s Madagascar-themed section. Kids love interacting with friendly domestic animals like sheep and pygmy goats in the popular petting zoo.

In addition to daily keeper chats highlighting different animals, the zoo hosts regular events from birthday bashes to conservation programs. New additions coming soon include an African penguin habitat and speckled bear facility. With reasonable admission prices and annual memberships available, the Hattiesburg Zoo makes for an excellent family outing that’s also gentle on the wallet.

2. Splash Down at Freedom Springs Water Park

As Mississippi’s largest water park, Freedom Springs offers slides and rides guaranteed to amuse kids of any age. Conveniently located 10 minutes north of downtown Hattiesburg, families will find attractions scaled for every member.

Adrenaline junkies can brave steep drops down Omega Vortex or barrel loop-de-loops racing down The Rocket. The AquaPlay Structure captivates younger visitors with toddler areas, tipping buckets and over 80 interactive play elements.

When you need a break from the excitement, relax in the current channel or lounge in a private cabana. Freedom Springs hosts theme nights with DJs spinning tunes and special events like Movie Nights. Daily tickets start around $20 per person with season passes available at reasonable rates. With lifeguards constantly on duty, parents can kick back knowing the whole crew is safe and having a splashing good time.

3. See Unique Wildlife at Lucky Star Equestrian Park

Nestled on 98 acres of picturesque pine and oak forest, Lucky Star Equestrian Park sanctuary provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to observe exotic animals.

Families can meet watusi cattle, water buffalo and other livestock breeds rarely seen in the United States. Lucky Star’s signature attractions are their giraffe encounters allowing visitors to hand-feed these towering creatures right from elevated platforms.

Knowledgeable park staff accompany all supervised animal interactions to educate guests on each species. Lucky Star also offers horseback trail rides suited for all skill levels. Additional activities range from fishing at the lake to gem mining.

Birthday parties receive special perks like giraffe feedings and pony rides for the guest of honor. With an on-site rodeo arena and resident cowboys, this working ranch appeals to little buckaroos and dude ranch divas alike.

4. Discover Hands-On Science at Infinity Science Center

Designed to kindle scientific curiosity for guests of any age, Infinity Science Center ignites the inner inventor in all who visit. This lively museum overflowing with interactive exhibits offers an ideal destination for families to experience science and technology firsthand. Budding engineers can construct skyscrapers on the Build It Wall then test creations against simulated earthquakes and hurricane-force winds.

Infinity’s wide-ranging galleries allow kids to launch atomic testing with a touch of a button, uncover fossils beneath layers of sedimentary sand, and make music with laser beams.

Special programs like Midnight Madness lock-in parties ensure tweens and teens stay fully enthralled investigating science wonders into the wee hours. With an IMAX theater, gift shop stocked with DIY science kits, and seasonal camps like Robotics Week, Infinity Science Center sparks scientific passion sure to endure long after your visit concludes.

5. Honor Local History at Eureka School Museum

Standing as the first public school built specifically for African American students in Mississippi, the Eureka School now serves as a monument to the achievements made during the civil rights movement.

Allowing visitors to step back in time, this National Historic Landmark founded in 1921 remains intact housing the original classrooms, auditorium and principal’s office.

Rotating exhibits tell stories of the teachers and pupils who once filled these halls as visitors observe educational tools illustrating the disparities black students endured.

Yet despite inadequate learning conditions, Eureka School instilled academic excellence sending many graduates on to prestigious universities.

More than a worn-down segregated schoolhouse, Eureka School gives an enlightening glimpse into the hardships and triumphs central to Mississippi’s quest for equal rights.

6. Play Mini Golf at Longleaf Trace Disc Golf Course

Designed to challenge novice and seasoned players alike, Longleaf Trace eighteen-hole disc golf course delivers family fun with a twist. Each fairway features custom-built structures from logs, ropes and wooden platforms.

Navigating 9 to 27 holes encourages focus and problem-solving skills. Simply aim your disc and let it sail toward the targets peppered throughout this well-maintained park.

Suitable for all ages and ability levels, disc golf offers an active outdoor activity the entire group can enjoy together. Pristine pines provide plenty of shade on hot Southern days. Well-spaced tee pads limit wait times even on crowded weekends.

Just remember: last one to the pin buys ice cream after! With single day passes under $5 per person, disc golf at Longleaf Trace grants an affordable, unforgettable family experience.

7. Tour Hattiesburg in a Trolley

Offering amusing anecdotes alongside scenic tours of historic neighborhoods, Hattiesburg Trolley day trips share an intimate look at this charming city. Groups can charter a vintage trolley seating 20 guests for private excursions to customize sights based on your family’s unique interests.

Standard routes explore Victorian-style homes and murals adorning downtown or weave through the University of Southern Mississippi campus highlighting college life.

Knowledgeable conductors regale riders with tales of local lore from the days blues musicians roamed Hattiesburg’s streets to highlights of the civil rights movement.

Stops allow families to stretch their legs while learning about the city’s founding lumber industry or sampling sweet confections named among Mississippi’s most iconic treats.

With special seasonal tours and wine tastings on tap for adults, Hattiesburg Trolley tours make navigating this unfamiliar town fun and stress-free.

8. See Stars at Lake Terrace Convention Center

Home to the area’s only public planetarium, Lake Terrace Convention Center transports families to the farthest reaches of outer space all under one handy dome.

Venture inside the circular Star Theatre to recline beneath an exact replica of the night sky identifying constellations and galactic happenings.

Themed laser shows choreographed to popular tunes like The Wall from Pink Floyd offer a mesmerizing experience.

Scripted programs educate viewers on eclipses, black holes and other astronomical wonders through full-dome animation immersing audiences in the action. Special events like meteor shower watch parties organized by the Pine Belt Amateur Astronomy Club allowgroupname fun while supporting science education.

Though shows fill up fast, the out-of-this-world experiences inside Lake Terrace Convention Center’s Star Theatre make booking your tickets in advance well worth the effort.

9. Swing Through the Pines at Timberton Golf Club

Boasting Mississippi’s only mountain golf course, Timberton’s dramatic elevation changes carry a hint of Augusta’s iconic greens. This championship 18-hole course challenges amateur golfers while enchanting players with tranquil vistas. Mature pines frame gently sloping fairways winding through the tranquil countryside 20 minutes outside Hattiesburg.

Families can reserve later tee times to enjoy a round together at reduced twilight rates. Juniors play free all day every Sunday with paying adult. Timberton’s professional staff offers lessons for all skill sets to help refine your swing.

Stop for Southern fare with a contemporary twist at the Tuscan-inspired clubhouse. With challenging terrain, reasonable prices and junior development programs, Timberton Golf Club makes an inviting destination for golf enthusiasts of every generation.

10. Savor Handcrafted Chocolate at O’Choc Factory

Indulging your sweet tooth has never tasted so good with O’Choc handcrafted confections. This quaint chocolate factory allows visitors to witness artisanal candy creations from behind viewing windows then sample irresistible goodies like salted caramels and toasted marshmallow truffles.

Their inventive flavors shine in combinations like orange chili dark chocolate and champagne strawberry milk chocolate sure to delight surprisingly sophisticated palates. Made using all natural, high quality ingredients, the gourmet delights at O’Choc Factory are well worth a special trip.

Fun hands-on experiences allow families to mold personalized chocolate bars embedded with your choice of mix-ins. O’Choc also hosts birthday get-togethers perfect for a chocolate-loving teen.

Leave room for a hot cocoa or chocolate-drizzled popcorn before browsing the gift shop’s impressive collection of packaged treats perfect for souvenirs. With sublime sweets certain to impress chocolate experts and novices alike, O’Choc Factory confections create lasting vacation memories with each morsel.

11. Cruise the Coastal Backroads

Featuring bayous, beaches and bodies of water at every turn, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beckons families to follow undulating shorelines tracing this diverse shore.

A 90-minute drive transports you to the sleepy fishing village of Ocean Springs renowned for vibrant art galleries, boutique shops housed in historic cottages and dockside cafes dishing up the day’s fresh catch. Just across the Biloxi Bay Bridge, kids will be awestruck by gaming boats illuminating the city skyline.

Westward lies Bay Saint Louis lining the shore with pastel Creole cottages, quirky murals splashing color and lively bars filled with live music into the night. Hop a ferry to tour wildlife sanctuaries or try your luck fishing for speckled trout.

With wallet-friendly condos and hotels along sugar sand beaches, Hattiesburg offers easy access to seaside adventures surrounded by the warm hospitality Mississippi does best.

12. Pay Tribute at the Mississippi Freedom Trail

Stretching 200 miles through the state, Mississippi’s Freedom Trail honors brave individuals who dedicated their lives to the civil rights movement transforming the social and political landscape across America.

Ten markers pay homage to events shaping Mississippi’s critical role securing liberties for all citizens regardless of race, creed or color. In Hattiesburg, a tribute honors Vernon Dahmer, an NAACP leader whose home was firebombed yet continued fighting for equality until his death.

Another memorializes the “Mississippi Four” civil rights workers brutally murdered on the eve of 1964’s Freedom Summer. The Tougaloo Nine marker venerates the first student sit-in successfully integrating public spaces previously divided by race.

Though sobering reminders of the violence once commonplace, Mississippi Freedom Trail sites stand today as monuments to courage and change hard fought by selfless individuals who paved the road to freedom still traveled today.


Beauty blooms in the most unlikely places when you know where to look. Though modest in size, Hattiesburg radiates an irresistible charm drawing families seeking culture fused with outdoor adventure.

Festivals celebrate bluegrass tunes while hands-on children’s museums spark scientific curiosity. Nearby sandy shores beckon beach days filled with seashell souvenirs. And everywhere families turn in this hospitable town, locals welcome you with open arms and sweet tea smiles.

With history echoing hopes for tomorrow and interactive attractions scaled for all ages, Hattiesburg hits a harmonious high note for family getaways.

No matter which memorable destinations you choose from these 12 tantalizing things to do, Hattiesburg happily ushers all guests into the easygoing rhythms of quintessential Southern living.

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