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See / Visit - EVERYONE

The Museum's 73,000-square foot building features vast expanses of glass overlooking a 300-acre natural landscape containing 2.5 miles of nature trails and an open-air amphitheater. The building's design and layout encourages visitors to share their time between the indoor exhibits and the outdoor environment, moving between informative indoor models and their reality in a natural Mississippi setting.

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Indoors, the central atrium's octagonal skylight illuminates a spectacular exhibit of white-tailed deer and soaring waterfowl. Around the corner, Mississippi's antediluvian past is commemorated in an entire wall of fossil specimens, and a special area for preschoolers is marked by colorful murals, and a giant treehouse. The outdoor trails meander through wooded bluffs, river bottoms, lakes, and scenic swamplands, offering ample and diverse opportunities for nature walks, photography, and the study of living things in their natural landscape.

A Museum's permanent exhibits are its backbone; they announce the Museum's mission and give substance to its public message. At the same time, changing displays and special temporary exhibits are its lifeblood, providing inspiration and relevance for educational programming and compelling visitors to return again and again. In 2006 alone, more than 140,000 visitors were inspired by what they learned about the natural world in the Museum's permanent and special exhibits.

 

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In the Museum's main exhibition hall, a floating Earth and outsized Mississippi maps put the state and planet in perspective.

Nearby, a series of life-size displays gives visitors a comprehensive sense of the state's diverse habitats, along with illuminating existing relationships among the state's land, plants, and animals. In addition, the Museum houses large, intricate living models. A 100,000-gallon aquarium houses over 200 living species of native fish, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates. And a 1,700-square foot greenhouse called "The Swamp," along with another 12,000-gallon aquarium, provide a home for alligators, turtles, fish, and a lush native plant garden. Our committed exhibit and aquarium management team collaborates with other biologists, naturalists, and custodial personnel to maintain these permanent exhibits, which exceeds over 30,000 square feet.

Along with the exhibits and displays, the Museum includes a 200-seat auditorium. There is also a gift shop, classroom space, a 2,500-square foot library, and a safe storage environment for the Museum's biological archives-a vast collection accessed regularly by scientist around the world.