LeFleur’s Bluff Complex Announces Master Plan for Expansion

A top-tier recreational and educational development is at the heart of the project.

A rendering of the master plan for the LeFleur's Bluff Education & Tourism Complex
Credit: Wier Boerner Allin

The overall master plan includes a new and unique golf experience, Otter Creek Golf Park, along with several outdoor amenities for children and adults. This visionary plan will create one of the best urban parks in the country, which will bring together four award-winning museums and countless outdoor amenities and experiences for locals and tourists, alike.

Other amenities slated for the complex include:

  • Spotter’s Adventure Trail (MCM and MMNS museum connector trail)
  • The Den (outdoor pavilion)
  • Walking and biking trails
  • Enhanced parking
  • Updated entrance and amenities
  • Extension of Museum Trail to Lakeland
  • Pedestrian bridge over Lakeland connecting four LeFleur Museum District museums ($1 million federal funding)
  • Pickleball courts, Disc golf, botanical gardens, fitness park and 3D archery

Otter Creek Golf Park:

  • 10-hole golf course that is designed for beginners, youth, families, and golfers of all skill sets and abilities
  • State-of-the-art driving range
  • 18-hole putting course and separate putting green
  • New clubhouse
  • Lighting for nighttime play

Otter Creek Golf Park will be a golf experience unlike any other in the state, with design influence from Robert Trent Jones II, world-renowned golf architect, and Nathan Crace, Mississippi based golf architect. The course will feature a 10-hole, par-3, walkable course with holes ranging from 70-150 yards.

The first phase of the project opened a new state-of-the-art playground in December 2021, The LeFleur’s Bluff Playground, which has welcomed more than 60,000 guests since opening. Construction has begun on the second phase of the project, which will include an adventure trail connecting both museums and an outdoor pavilion.

The LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is the shared campus between the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks’ (MDWFP) Museum of Natural Science (MMNS) and the Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM). Two other museums - the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum and the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum - make up the larger LeFleur Museum District.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn, Chairman and Master Architect Robert Trent Jones II, Principal and Golf Course Architect Nathan Crace, Mississippi Children’s Museum President Susan Garrard, and Executive Director of MDWFP Lynn Posey made remarks at a media conference on Tuesday, April 12.

“The pandemic really emphasized how much people value the outdoors and Mississippi has so much to offer. As a result of this planned expansion, LeFleur's Bluff promises to be one of our state's premier outdoor spaces, with attractions for children and adults. This is the kind of project, which is critical to retaining working professionals and families, bringing in tourists, and attracting new citizens to the Capital City and the metro area,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann.

"I’m thrilled for many reasons to be part of the team creating Otter Creek Golf Park," said Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Chairman and Master Architect, Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects. "Not only will it be the centerpiece of a master plan that preserves urban green space in Mississippi’s biggest city, but it also creates an opportunity for a permanent home for the First Tee of Central Mississippi, introducing golf to a new generation. The country—and the world—needs more projects like this."

"To have the opportunity to help create a permanent home for First Tee and support all of the work they and the Children's Museum continue to do for the children of the Jackson Metro area is a blessing," said Nathan Crace. "But to be able to do so while collaborating with Bobby--and make this new golf experience a reality in my adopted home state--makes it a very special project for me on a personal level!"

A rendering of the pedestrian bridge that will cross Lakeland Drive north to south, connecting the two sides of the LeFleur Museum District
A rendering of the pedestrian bridge that will cross Lakeland Drive north to south, connecting the two sides of the LeFleur Museum District
Credit: Wier Boerner Allin

The Mississippi Children’s Museum and MDWFP’s Museum of Natural Science are collaborating on this project to bring together the four museums in the LeFleur Museum District, as well as preserve urban green space, and provide an enriching experience for children, families, and adults of all ages. In addition to the entertainment experience Otter Creek will provide, it will also serve as an educational venue for MCM’s after school students to continue their weekly programs with First Tee of Central Mississippi.

“The master plan of the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is based on a passionate vision to preserve urban green space, promote youth golf and provide outdoor recreational amenities for families, as well as enhance the LeFleur Museum District experience as a whole,” said Susan Garrard, MCM President.

“The LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is exciting not only for the Jackson area, but the entire state. This is a major step in achieving our goal to make LeFleur’s Bluff State Park the best urban park in the country. We are thankful for the support of the state legislature on this project and others in our state park system,” said Lynn Posey, acting Executive Director of MDWFP.

“Since opening the new Lefleur's Bluff playground, we have averaged more than 2,000 visitors each weekend,” said Angel Rohnke, Director of the LeFleur's Bluff Complex. "We are confident that when this additional resource is added, the LeFleur's Bluff Complex and Museum District will be a premier destination spot in Mississippi.”

This project is made possible thanks to the State of Mississippi for their contribution of $13.2 million to expand the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex, which will include the Otter Creek Golf Park and other amenities. The total project cost has not been given at this time.

The funding was part of an overall $38 million package using capital expense funding approved by the state legislature for the improvement of state parks.

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is the signature sponsor of the LeFleur’s Bluff Playground, Outdoor Pavilion and Museum Trail.

A rendering of amenities coming to LeFleur's Bluff
A rendering of amenities coming to LeFleur's Bluff
Credit: Wier Boerner Allin