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Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

 The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science  © Tomás Castelazo
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science © Tomás Castelazo

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1932 by Francis Cook, and to this day, remains the Magnolia State's largest museum. A passionate student of Mississippi's natural resources, Cook's vision was to establish a museum that would focus on the promotion and protection of the state's natural landscape. In LeFleur's Bluff State Park, he chose an ideal setting for such a project. The museum grounds feature a 73,000 square foot complex overlooking a 300-acre natural landscape, 2.5 miles (about 4km) of nature trails, an open-air amphitheatre, a series of life-size displays of the state's diverse habitats, a 100,000-gallon aquarium network housing more than 200 living species, and a 1,700 square foot greenhouse. When one visits the museum, it is obvious to see that Cook's conservancy ideals have been faithfully followed over the last 80 or so years; and the museum's astonishing collection of more than a million specimens of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, invertebrates, plants, and fossils is nothing less than a living, breathing monument to biodiversity conservation.

Address: 2148 Riverside Drive, Jackson

Website: www.mdwfp.com/museum.aspx