Experience JXN Outside

Are you seeking outdoor fun in the City With Soul?

We have a look at activities to keep you occupied and in the fresh air!

Two people in an orange kayak floating on water.
Image: Capital City Kayaks

For additional spots to enjoy JXN’s outdoor scene, see the JXN Outdoor Recreation map, created by Andy Hilton.

Navigate the Pearl With Capital City Kayaks

If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip down the Pearl River or explore one of the oxbow lakes that surround it, try Capital City Kayak Adventures. Owned by Chris Lockhart, the company offers guided water tours and fun in and around Jackson.

“We’ll put in at Crystal Lake, paddle upriver or downstream and play around.”

Unsure? Don’t be. “We spend about 10 to 15 minutes getting acclimated,” he said. “(You)’ll be paddling like a pro after that! The average excursion is an hour and a half to two hours. For $30 a person, I provide everything (you) need. All you do is show up. You can bring your snacks and bring your dogs.”

capitalcitykayaks.com

Museum Trail
Credit: Salam Rida

Bike, Walk or Run the Museum Trail

JXN’s Museum Trail, a 2.5-mile route that stretches from downtown through Belhaven and LeFleur East between some of the city’s most prominent museums, opened in late 2020.

The trail is for foot and non-motorized traffic only. Think walkers, runners, cyclists, strollers and children’s scooters. There are several points of entry through Belhaven Heights and Belhaven, most notably among them, at Belhaven Heights Park, at Moody Street, and at Harding Street. Most users park in the former lot of Dave’s Triple B off High Street on the south end. On the north end, users park under I-55 on Laurel Street.

An additional, rustic mountain bike and hiking trail is being built alongside the paved museum trail, between Fortification Street and Belhaven Creek.

MS Ag Museum

Relive Small Town History at the Mississippi Ag Museum

From the 1820s until recent decades, Mississippi agriculture, and that of much of the South, was centered around the production of cotton.

One hundred years later, crossroad towns such as Small Town, Mississippi and the Fortenberry Farm – on display at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum – flourished as a combination of railroads, automobiles, agriculture, forestry and social developments converged. These small towns generally included a general store, filling station, cotton gin, sawmill, blacksmiths shop and grist mill, on display here along with a church, doctor’s office and school.

While there, don’t miss the agricultural and display gardens, the newly opened Children’s Barnyard and Antique Tractor displays and the manageable nature trail on the campus’s western edge.

Explore the Creative Landscape with the JXN Google Art Map

Throughout Jackson, public art has become both more common and more widely celebrated. Our city has long been vibrant, but now, our streets, walls, and common spaces match our soul.

From Adrienne Dominick’s “Mama Rose Kitchen” on Farish Street to Shon Perryman’s “JXN Icons” across from the Two Museums’ plaza on North Street to longtime fixtures (literally) like the painted Downtown traffic signal boxes, the landscape is rich in color and creativity.

Jxn’s public art map showcases murals, sculpture and other interesting artistic finds with areas of concentration in Fondren, Midtown and Downtown Jackson.

Pack a Picnic (and your walking shoes) for Jackson City Parks

Did you know that approximately 2,300 acres of land in the City of Jackson are composed of nearly three-dozen city parks? The areas include playgrounds, picnic grounds and jogging and walking paths.

Take a loop around the trails at Buddy Butts Park in South Jackson, Tougaloo Park in the Tougaloo community, Parham Bridges Park in LeFleur East or Fondren Park in West Fondren.

Most, if not all, parks offer picnic tables and benches, shade trees and, at some, pavilions (reservations and fees may apply).

The City of Jackson’s new website has an interactive map with amenities and directions available.

Part of the state's largest playground, now open at the LeFleur's Bluff Education and Tourism Complex. Image: MS Children's Museum

Play Around on Mississippi's Largest Playground

Featuring a 21st century, 30,000-square-foot playground, the LeFleur's Bluff Education and Tourism Complex play structure is separated into different play areas based on age, for children ages 6 months to 12 years old. All structures on the playground promote physical activities - from providing greater freedom to run, jump, and climb, to supporting reduced stress levels.

The Greyhound Bus Station Freedom Trail marker

Learn About the Blues, Civil Rights on the “Trails”

Looking for a wealth of blues music heritage info? Visit all of Jackson’s blues markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, “telling stories through words and images of bluesmen and women and how the places where they lived and the times in which they existed–and continue to exist–influenced their music.”

Markers for Malaco Records (3023 West Northside Drive), the Subway Lounge/Summers Hotel (JSU Parkway – 619 West Pearl Street) and the Alamo Theatre and Dorothy Moore (333 North Farish Street) are among them.

For more on the struggles of the Civil Rights era, explore the Mississippi Freedom Trail which provides a tour of sites that played a pivotal role in the movement. Among the first markers unveiled were the Medgar Evers Marker, located at his former home, now a museum, at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, and at the former Greyhound Bus Station, now an architect’s office, at 239 N. Lamar Street.

LeFleur’s Bluff is “a cloistered refuge from the chaos of modern existence.”

Experience Nature at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park

An urban oasis in our own backyard, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in LeFleur East “sits at the crux of present and past; of urban development and beckoning wild.”

In the park’s 305 picturesque acres of trails, forest, lakes, museums, and fairways, LeFleur’s Bluff is “a cloistered refuge from the chaos of modern existence.”

Hike the park to the tall staircase about a mile in, ascending to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Along the way, native vegetation awaits along with unfiltered views of the Pearl River, the same river explored by Louis LeFleur, Jackson’s original namesake, LeFleur’s Bluff.

The Art Garden at the MS Museum of Art

Unwind on the Green at the Mississippi Museum of Art Garden

A 1.2 acre park located in the heart of Downtown Jackson awaits at The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Featuring a welcoming lawn, seasonal foliage, native garden beds, permanent art installations, soothing fountains, and outdoor terrace dining, this versatile, open, outdoor space is open to the public from daily during daylight hours.

The Museum has begun to host movie nights, concerts and other gatherings again following a pause during the height of COVID-19.

Let Your Wild Side Out at The Jackson Zoo

Providing visitors with a recreational and educational environment, dedicated to wildlife care and conservation, The Jackson Zoo welcomes guests and members Thursday-Sunday and $2 Tuesdays, 10 am-4 pm.

Founded in 1916 by the city's fire department, the original Zoo consisted of fireman’s pets: squirrels, deer, raccoons, alligators and rabbits.

Today's zoo puts priority on exhibits and daily care schedules, following standard protocols for constantly improving animal welfare, including saving species in danger of extinction all over the world, thanks to national and international Species Survival Programs.

Zoo tickets and additional guidelines can be found here.

Frolic in the 1930s-era Garden of Famed Writer, Eudora Welty

Most people know Eudora Welty as a writer, but she was also an avid gardener.

Her mother, Chestina, designed the garden in 1925. Until about 1945, she and Welty spent much time with hands in the soil, digging, planting, and weeding.

Both Welty’s prose and personal correspondence are rich with imagery from the natural world. She mentions more than 150 kinds of plants in her stories.

Tour the gardens for free at the Eudora Welty House Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m – 4 p.m. Utilize the free 20 minute audio tour to enhance your experience.

Paul Wolf

Author

Paul Wolf