LeFleur’s Bluff Playground Now Open for Free, Accessible Play

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Park's Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Children's Museum cut the ribbon on the new state-of-the-art playground at the LeFleur's Bluff Education and Tourism Complex.

(left to right): Don Brazil (CEO, MDWFP), Emily Hoff (Executive Director, Mississippi Children’s Museum), Krystle Love, Susan Garrard (President, Mississippi Children’s Museum), Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, Sheila Grogan (President, BCBS of Mississippi Foundation), Dr. Sam Polles (Executive Director, MDWFP), Santa, Dr. Thomas Fenter (Board Chairman, BCBS of Mississippi Foundation), First Lady Elee Reeves, Brian Ferguson, Ryan Russell, Lynn Posey, Angel Rohnke (Executive Director, LeFleur’s Bluff Complex). Image: MS Children's Museum

The 21st-century playground features 80 play activities, 73 that are inclusive to children with accessibility needs.

A unique play structure for ages 6-23 months, the Wedra, is the first play structure in the world with this design. The Hedra® Tower, designed for children ages 5-12, is the fourth play structure in the country with this design. Shade structures cover 75 percent of the playground, making the area below up to 30 degrees cooler for year-round outdoor play.

Beginning December 10, the LeFleur's Bluff Playground will be open seven days a week (Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5 pm, Saturday 9 am - 5 pm, and Sunday 1 - 5 pm). Parking is available in the park and at both museums. Admission to the park is free and open to the public. MCM and MMNS welcome you to visit both museums during your visit to the park.

A museum walking trail and an outdoor pavilion are scheduled to open in early summer 2022.

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

Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, First Lady Elee Reeves, elected officials, donors, board members and staff from both museums, students from Spann Elementary School, and Santa joined together to cut the ribbon in celebration of the LeFleur's Bluff Playground grand opening, which opened on Friday, December 10.

"This new playground is an excellent addition to LeFleur's Bluff Park, and I know that the children of Mississippi will enjoy it for years to come," said First Lady Elee Reeves. "I am incredibly grateful to the Mississippi Children's Museum and MDWFP's Mississippi Museum of Natural Science for everything they do on behalf of Mississippi kids."

The LeFleur's Bluff Education and Tourism Complex is the shared campus between MDWFP's Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS) and the Mississippi Children's Museum (MCM). The multi-purpose complex will be used for recreational and educational activities featuring a playground, an outdoor pavilion, and a museum walking trail.

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is the signature sponsor of the LeFleur's Bluff Playground, Outdoor Pavilion and Museum Trail. The Foundation's generous $3.86 million grant - which includes ten years of upkeep and maintenance - made this innovative project possible. Sheila B. Grogan, Foundation President, and the Foundation's leadership team played a visionary role in developing the state-of-the-art playground and complex.

"The LeFleur's Bluff Playground, Pavilion and Museum Trail align with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation's strategic focus to provide sustainable health and well-being opportunities for Mississippians," said Sheila B. Grogan, Foundation President. "Encouraging children, families and others to spend more time outside engaging in fun play activities, taking a walk develops life-long positive attitudes about maintaining healthy lifestyles."

"The LeFleur's Bluff Complex is transformational for our state. This partnership between two award-winning museums will provide state-of-the-art amenities and educational opportunities for everyone who visits," Susan Garrard, President/CEO of the Mississippi Children's Museum. "The strategic plan is innovative and sparks a vision for the future of Mississippi. We are grateful for the vision and commitment of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation's board of directors."

"The Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks Foundation is truly excited to partner with so many organizations to offer children and families visiting LeFleur's Bluff State Park an opportunity to enjoy an active outdoor experience on the new playground and walking trail," said Don Brazil, CEO, MWFP Foundation.

A woman, a man and another woman pose for a photo. In the background are blue shade sails.
Angel Rohnke (Director, LeFleur’s Bluff Complex, right), Emily Hoff (Executive Director, Mississippi Children’s Museum), The Honorable Delbert Hosemann (Lieutenant Governor of MS). Image: MS Children's Museum

More Fun Coming in Early Summer 2022

The 8-foot-wide Spotter's Adventure Trail will be located east of the playground and will conveniently lead the way to visit both museums and the playground. The trail will feature a fun and interactive outdoor experience with Spotter the Otter and friends.

The Den will be located west of the playground and include tables and seating for up to 50 students. The Den will be used for both museums' field trips, events, and programs, including the award-winning Mississippi Science Festival. An adjacent sloped lawn allows the structure to be used as an open-air amphitheater for large assemblies.

The complex is located in LeFleur East in the LeFleur Museum District at the intersection of Museum Drive and Riverside Park Circle (formerly known as Riverside Park). Donate to ongoing efforts through the MDWFP Foundation.

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