(Photo from MCM Facebook page)
Plan your family’s next trip for a full day of climbing, running, jumping, sliding and learning fun.
The Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) and LeFleur’s Playground in Jackson offer a one-stop-shop for families with children of all ages. MCM and LeFleur’s Playground neighbor the Natural Science Museum along I-55 North at the corner of Lakeland Drive. Since it is so easy to spot, prepare yourself for the onslaught of squeals from the kids in the backseat!
MCM has two locations, in Jackson and Meridian. MCM was born of a desire to close educational disparities across the state. In 1994, various community volunteers came together with a vision of a common ground to bring children to a place of learning. The Junior League of Jackson adopted MCM as a signature project in 2003, and after a years-long, $26.5 million fundraising campaign, the MCM Jackson location opened in 2010. The Meridian campus opened its doors in 2021.
MCM Jackson 53,000 square feet of interactive exhibits. There are kid-sized harvesters that kids can sit on and operate, with plastic balls being “harvested” and transported through tubes so children get a visual of how the agricultural industry works. A life size Scrabble board gives kids an opportunity to learn letter recognition, spelling, and reading skills. There is even a giant replica of the digestive system – yes, it does burp and bubble – that lets you follow where your lunch is headed from beginning to end. Throughout the museum, you’ll find placards and audio enhancements to the various exhibits that provide learning opportunities for every member of the family. End the playdate outside at the splash pad or save it as the ultimate cooldown after playing at the LeFleur’s Bluff Playground.
As if there’s not enough running, climbing, jumping and sliding happening inside, the LeFleur’s Playground has even more to offer. Spotter’s Trail – a convenient walkway between the museum and the playground — offers plenty of climbing and brightly colored displays along the way to keep the learning going.
The LeFleur’s Playground boasts 30,000 square feet of top-of-the industry playground equipment for children ages six months to twelve years old. Children enjoy playing at this playground even in the summer months, because 75 percent of the playground is shaded, which greatly reduces the temperature.
The playground is not only divided into sections by age, but it is also gated, which keeps little ones from running into the parking lot (or making a run for it back to the museum) without having an adult in tow. There are also rental facilities for private parties. A concession stand is available when it is time little ones are ready for a snack break.
Children are going to have a blast at the MCM and playground, without a doubt, but parents will appreciate the apparent intentionality in every detail of the two attractions. The turf and soft play surfaces at the playground reduce heat and make a soft place to land. The exhibits at the Museum are tested for age appropriateness and to maximize learning. Safety tools are in place to keep excited kiddos close at hand, and sanitizer stations are set up throughout. Even the colors that are used are bright, engaging, and stimulating, keeping young minds absorbing all the fun around them without them even knowing it.
Plan your trip for a full day of fun today by visiting the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks website and the Mississippi Children’s Museum website.