The Mississippi Children’s Museum host seasonal events like Journey to the North Pole

Visit + Eat + Enjoy: Your Family's JXN Itinerary

Planning the ideal family trip is not an easy feat.

First, you’ll need something for the kids to do, a destination that both keeps their interest and (preferably) enriches their lives.

Next, you’ll need a backup bribe for that added excitement. The promise of a treat, toy, or a favorite meal should do. Finally, you’ll want an activity that won’t bore you and your partner to tears or drive you simultaneously up the nearest wall.

Satisfying all three elements of an ideal family trip depends on the central destination, a locale where options outnumber ability. In Jackson, Mississippi, you’ll discover a wealth of fun in the form of an interactive museum, zoo, gardens and galleries. Add in the local food, ice cream and candy scene, and you’ve got the makings of a great family vacation for everyone involved.

To keep the balance between places to visit and spots to eat, consider these top family attractions in Jackson.

Visit – Mississippi Children’s Museum

Online learning has parents nationwide fearing a dreaded “brain drain” in their young learners. To combat this, the Mississippi Children’s Museum provides a 40,000-square-foot learning playground with five distinct galleries of educational and interactive exhibits.

Focusing on literacy, health and nutrition, cultural arts, science and technology, engineering and mathematics, and Mississippi heritage, the galleries engage young learners through touch, movement, and good old-fashioned fun.

Currently, the Museum is open Saturday and Sunday for limited blocks of time with deep cleaning between sessions.

Nandy's Candy

Eat – Nandy’s Candy

After an energetic afternoon of learning at the Children’s Museum, what better treat could there be for both parents and kids than unbelievably tasty locally made candy?

Nandy’s Candy is the neighborhood fudge, truffle, brittle, and candy shop of your family’s dreams. With dozens of seasonal treats on offer alongside chocolate popcorn, covered Oreos, butter cookies, pralines, and jellybeans, there’s something for every child (young or old!) at Nandy’s.

Visit – Jackson Zoo

Few sights spark a child’s imagination quite like a reticulated giraffe or Sumatran tiger. Visitors can find even more at the Jackson Zoo where mammals, birds, and reptiles come together to light up eyes and inspire minds.

This must-experience zoo is also home to a treat shop, gift shop, carousel, and educational halls—so you’re looking at hours and hours of worth of informative fun. Kids won’t soon forget the red-ruffed lemur, American cougar, or Southern white rhinoceros.

Currently, the zoo is open on Saturdays and Sundays only.

A young girl drinks a red soda while sitting on a bar stool.
Brent's Drugs

Eat – Brent’s Drugs

Since 1946, Brent’s Drugs has been serving up hot meals and fizzing sodas to parents and kids of all walks of life. As a Fondren neighborhood hotspot for lunch, brunch, dinner, breakfast, and a cold malt shake, Brent’s has enjoyed the delighted laughter of countless families throughout its 74 years in business.

Combining a day at the zoo with a meal at Brent’s is a timeless experience and a classic combination you won’t want to miss!

Visit – Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

Located near the equally interesting Agriculture and Forestry Museum, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the athletic achievements of the state’s most accomplished sons and daughters.

With such inductees as Brett Favre, Walter Payton, Mary Gallagher, and Henry Armstrong (among many more), the Sports Hall of Fame highlights the contribution of Mississippians in domestic and global sports.

A surefire hit for the sports fan in the family, both the hall of fame and the adjoining museum have delights, surprises, and memorabilia to spare.

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

Eat – Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint

Proudly bringing authentic New York-style pizza to Jackson, Sal & Mookie’s has been tossing dough, topping pies and putting their brick-lined ovens to work for locals since 2007. With a full “Little Italy”- inspired menu and an ice cream shop within the restaurant itself, Sal & Mookie’s is a must-try lunch or dinner spot after your trip to the Sports Hall of Fame.

Also serving soups, salads, subs and burgers, try the Statue of Liberty burger featuring char-grilled ground chuck, pickles, and red onions.

Jackson for Families

In Jackson, you’ll easily meet all the criteria for a great family vacation. Though the last year has been hard on small business owners and families, in Jackson, you can support local business while having the educational, fun and memorable time of your life!

Visiting Jackson responsibly begins with a community commitment to health, safety, and reasonable public protocols at all restaurants and museums. Take out and curbside options are available at most area restaurants and all area attractions have been sanitizing, testing and encouraging social distancing. Learn more at

Facebook photo: Snow Much Fun at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, normally held each December.