12 Things to Do with Family in Tupelo, Mississippi

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Tupelo, Mississippi is a small city nestled in the northeastern part of the state, known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley. While it may seem like a quiet southern town, Tupelo offers visitors a surprising number of fun, family-friendly attractions and activities.

From museums that chronicle Tupelo’s most famous native son to hands-on science centers, this affordable destination has something to keep everyone in the family entertained. The walkable downtown district boasts cute boutiques and restaurants in historic buildings. And just outside the city limits lies a treasure trove of natural wonders to explore.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for good old-fashioned family bonding time, read on for twelve of the best things to do with kids of all ages in Tupelo, MS.

1. Tour Elvis Presley’s Birthplace and Museum

No trip to Tupelo is complete without visiting Elvis Presley’s Birthplace, now a museum commemorating the early years of the King of Rock and Roll. The modest two-room house where Elvis was born on January 8, 1935 sits within a memorial park that includes a bronze statue of the music legend, a fountain, and a chapel.

Inside the Birthplace museum, fascinating exhibits and memorabilia document Elvis’ roots in Tupelo and the influences that shaped his musical talent. Don’t miss the touching tribute to his twin brother Jesse Garon, who was stillborn. From the house, stroll along the Walk of Life to see stones engraved with significant milestones in Elvis’ early journey to stardom.

2. Immerse Yourself in Nature at Tupelo Buffalo Park

For an exciting outdoor experience, head to the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo. This unique park is home to over 250 animals and 100 different species roaming freely in a natural habitat. Walking trails wind through the peaceful grounds where your family can spot American bison, elk, deer, longhorn cattle, emu, and more native wildlife up-close.

Kids will love hand-feeding the park residents – they can purchase a bucket of feed pellets at the gift shop. Be sure to save time for playing in the Endangered Species playground, picnicking, and exploring educational exhibits in the Nature & Interpretive Center highlighting the flora and fauna of Mississippi.

3. Learn Something New at Tupelo Children’s Mansion

Combining education with entertainment for young explorers, the Tupelo Children’s Mansion is one of the most fascinating attractions in town. This impressive hands-on discovery center packs tons STEAM-based learning into an elegant 19th-century Italianate mansion.

Permanent exhibits on topics like physics, anatomy, archaeology, and flight give kids intriguing concepts to investigate through interactive games and experiments. The on-site planetarium, one of only two in Mississippi, offers amazing astronomy shows starring towering digital constellations, planets, and celestial wonders. It’s guaranteed to spark imaginations!

4. Stroll Through Downtown on Your Own Walking Tour

From its All-America City award-winning park to points of interest related to Elvis, downtown Tupelo provides a pleasant pedestrian experience for families. Grab a walking tour map and scout out historical buildings and landmarks along the way.

Kids will get a kick out of posing with the nine-foot sculpture of Elvis as kid outside the Tupelo Hardware Company, where he bought his first guitar in 1945. Notice the building façades decorated with colorful murals depicting Tupelo’s rich musical history. Don’t forget to sample tasty southern cuisine and sweet treats at mom-and-pop eateries and cafés between sightseeing stops!

5. Take the Kids on a Hike at Natchez Trace Parkway

Stretch your legs amid the scenic landscapes along a segment of the renowned Natchez Trace Parkway just outside Tupelo city limits. Choose from several family-friendly hiking trails that traverse gently rolling terrain, shady forests, and trickling streams.

A nice easy route is the half-mile Old Town Overlook Loop with stellar views of farmlands dotted with antebellum houses. For more adventure, tackle the 1.5-mile Pharr Mounds Trail past eight impressive Native American mound structures dating back 1,000+ years. Remember to slather on the bug spray and watch out for poison ivy!

6. Meet Creepy Critters at North Mississippi Zoological Park

Better known as the North Mississippi Zoo, this zoological park located six miles east of downtown provides close encounters with exotic wildlife from all over the world. Home to over 175 animals across 70 species, it claims the state’s largest public collection of big cats, primates, and reptiles.

Watch in awe as tigers prowl and pounce during thrilling live demonstrations. Congo Line Boardwalk immerses you in the domain of chimpanzees and lemurs. Laugh at the waddling walk of penguins and make faces with meerkats. Meet Happy the Hippo, snakes in the Reptile Center, and Bug House critters. With so much to discover, you’ll want to allow plenty of time here.

7. Bounce on Trampolines at Skybound Trampoline Park

When kids get antsy for active play time, Skybound Trampoline Park is the perfect place to put all that pent-up energy to good use!

Their massive jump arena boasts connected trampolines forming one giant bounce surface for flippy fun. Race each other on the Ninja Course that stretches over the whole park or try extreme bouncing tricks in the Foam Pit filled with soft foam cubes.

Little jumpers under six have their own special area called Sky Tykes with appropriate-sized equipment. Parents can even join in the bouncing too! Skybound also offers fitness classes, sensory-friendly jumping sessions, organized games, camps, and parties.

8. Design Your Own Pottery at Clayground Ceramic Arts Center

Spark creativity with a hands-on afternoon at Clayground, Tupelo’s paint-your-own-pottery studio located downtown. Pick out funky shaped bisques, bowls, mugs, or figurines to decorate however you wish! Their enormous glaze bar lets you mix and match colors to paint masterpieces.

The helpful staff at this family-run art center can assist young artists with pottery painting techniques too. You’ll return after pieces are glazed and fired to take home your personalized ceramic artwork! It’s an especially memorable souvenir from a Tupelo trip.

9. See Rare Warplanes at Tupelo Aviation Museum

Aviation buffs of all ages find Tupelo Aviation Museum a marvel, thanks to its impressive fleet of unique aircraft on display. As you enter the hangar, a fully restored 1934 Boeing 247-D commercial airliner that revolutionary modern flight greets visitors.

Peer into the cockpit of this Art Deco time capsule and check out the luxurious interior. Elsewhere, get up-close views of immaculately maintained vintage bombers, trainers, and fighters with lots of cool details to spot. Fun interactive exhibits let kids try piloting and landing challenges.

10. Cheer on Professional Baseball at BancorpSouth Arena

Since 2009, Tupelo has been home to the Minor League Baseball team known as the Mississippi Braves, Atlanta Braves’ AA affiliate. Watch future big league stars take the diamond when the “M-Braves” are in town playing rivals at downtown BancorpSouth Arena.

Perfect for an exciting – yet affordable – family outing, these action-packed games have lively atmospheres and fun in-between innings entertainment everyone will enjoy. Arrive early to explore player memorial sculptures outside the stadium gates. And don’t leave without trying Dippin’ Dots ice cream!

11. Dine & Play at America’s Best Community Center

Voted “Best Community Center” in the country, America’s Best Community Center is truly an incredible complex catering to visitors of all ages. The 65,000 sq ft facility houses an indoor playground, arcade, carousel and 18-hole mini golf course with splash pads that kids will adore.

Meanwhile parents can unwind at the lounge, exercise in the fitness room or sweat in the sauna. The on-site restaurant called Me & Billy serves scrumptious southern cuisine, decadent desserts and specialty coffees. Rental spaces for parties round out the offerings.

12. Camp Out or Rent a Cabin at Trace State Park

Trade city sights for stunning scenery at Trace State Park, straddling picturesque Appalachian foothills 20 minutes west of Tupelo. Rent a lakeside cabin at the vintage Roosevelt State Park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps or pitch a tent at one of their campsites to experience true tranquility.

Pedal boats, fishing piers and swimming areas invite visitors to enjoy the park’s centerpiece water attraction, 33-acre Trace Lake. Eight hiking trails weave through hardwood forest and grasslands brimming with native flora and fauna. Connect with nature together while roasting marshmallows around a crackling campfire under the stars.

Conclusion

From world-famous attractions commemorating Tupelo’s biggest star to outdoor adventures in forests and prairies, this northeast Mississippi city offers plenty for families to see and do together.

Vibrant downtown districts lined with boutiques and eateries provide quaint sightseeing stops between bucket list destinations.

Hands-on museums and zoos guarantee all-ages appeal while sports complexes, an aquatic center, and parklands give kids room to roam. When the youngest members of the bunch simply need to cut loose, options like trampoline gyms and mini golf won’t disappoint. Affordable and overflowing with heartland hospitality, Tupelo makes an ideal vacation spot to bond across generations.

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