Meridian is known for its beautiful parks, thriving economy, and rich history. With all of these things to offer, it is no surprise that Meridian has become a popular tourist destination in Mississippi. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoors with your family or enjoy some time by yourself near one of Meridian’s many lakes, there are plenty of things to do in this city. Here are 6 things to do in Meridian MS that will make your visit unforgettable!
About Meridian MS
Meridian has a lot to offer its citizens and visitors. A thriving downtown home to world-class learning and entertainment institutions, as well as a long history in the arts and entertainment, and a prime Southeastern position — Meridian is the center of it all.
The area is steeped in history and enjoys celebrating it at every opportunity. When you have the Father of Country Music, the Key Brothers, the final resting place for the Queen of Gypsies, Mississippi’s oldest restaurant, and an operational Dentzel Carousel as your neighbors, you can’t help but remember your heritage. Additionally, the area is a unique blend of old and new, providing the community with the perfect backdrop for photographs. Our motto is ‘Resilience,’ which includes in its meaning an unwavering commitment to improve.
Explore the park system with your family. Meridian is home to a large, beautiful park system that offers both recreation and relaxation for all ages. Within the park system are several historic sites, trails for hiking and biking, picnic areas with grills/fireplaces, playgrounds for kids, and even a dog park.
Take your significant other for a romantic evening. The Theater at the Museum of Mississippi History is one of Meridian’s best-kept secrets. This historic venue hosts concerts, plays, and performances throughout the year that make for a perfect night out with your significant other.
Spend some time in Meridian, go to the Arts & Entertainment Experience, see a show at the MSU Riley Center, go for a walk at Bonita Lakes Park, and check out the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
1. Mississippi’s Arts & Entertainment Experience
The Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience, sometimes known as The MAX, is a spectacular exhibit that features an outdoor stage and laser light show with music from all genres of music from around the world.
You are invited to enter Mississippi’s golden door by its creators. But be cautious. Every stone in the building unleashes their creativity. The MAX recognizes that the arts are a vehicle of expression. The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience is here to be experienced, seen, and heard by all that enter its doors.
The Hall of Fame is where your MAX adventure begins. The two-story rotunda is encircled by a galaxy of celebrities. The inaugural class in 2017 included luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, John Grisham, William Faulkner, Jim Henson, Elvis Presley, Leontyne Price, and Jerry Wexler.
The second floor is an art gallery with interactive exhibits that allow you to create your own masterpieces. This floor is dedicated to the history of Mississippi and its people from Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, and Multiracial pioneers.
The Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience is home to the world’s largest music box, which can play up to 100 songs. You can plug in your phone and listen to the playlist you created.
The Mississippi’s Art + Entertainment Experience is not just a museum but also a place to eat. The MAX’s dining area is modeled after a turn-of-the-century Southern Railroad Dining Car.
This museum explores these origins and media through interactive, cutting-edge galleries. The galleries are cozy and welcoming. Each one is a unique adventure. Authors and their works take up the walls of the writers’ gallery. At the center, a typewriter rests on a desk, yet the text on the paper in the machine is not stationary. The words flow from the page across the wall and around the room. A plate and recipes materialize on the kitchen table when you move it. Select performers in the music room. Musicians who never collaborate in real life magically combine their talents on stage.
While the invention is almost unbelievable, traditional media has not been abandoned. Draw design quilt blocks with a pencil and paper. Make Mississippians’ own clay with a potter’s wheel.
The MAX exhibits the idea that the arts are as fluid as water and flowing through them is an integral part of culture and history. It is a living, breathing testament to the power of art as an experience that has built America.
Expect to spend hours in the world of fantasy. Attend one of The MAX’s many live events.
2. Mississippi Industrial Heritage Center
Take a trip back in time on a guided tour of America’s last fully functional steam engine factory. During the early 1900s, see what it was like to work in a machine shop, iron foundry, assembly facility, and office. Visitors may also visit the restored machine shop and blacksmith shop.
Only three steam-powered factories with their original equipment are still in operation in the United States. One of them, the Soulé Steam Feed Works, is now on display at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum. Open the door to a time machine and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a steam-driven plant.
Take a trip back in time and learn about how individuals lived in the early 20th century. Soule’s Steam Feed Works is the last remaining steam-powered works in the United States. Visit the original machine shop, which is now a museum, that was built in 1907 and appears to be largely unchanged since then. The foundry, assembly shop, and office were also preserved. Most of the original pieces in the Soule office are from the 1930s. The blacksmith used a modern indoor forge to shape iron into forms required at the factory. Learn about the Foundrymen, Pattern-Makers, and Finishers. The Soules built beautiful homes for their workers and these are still standing today.
The Soulés did not upgrade their machinery since they didn’t use it very often. Listen for the thump-thoom and hiss of the steam engine. The Soulé firm provided steam engines, stackers, unloaders, turners, and mill dogs to the sawmill sector as well as cotton presses, cotton gins, and planters to the farming industry. Soule’s Steam Feed Works is truly an incredible experience for people of all ages.
3. Jimmie Rogers Museum
The Jimmie Rodgers Museum features the musician’s legacy and timeless treasures, such as the guitar that ended up being known as “The Singing Brakeman’s” best friend. The museum is the only one of its kind in Meridian, and it’s a must-see for anyone who loves music.
Jimmie Rodgers was born on September 8, 1897, in Meridian, Mississippi, the youngest of three children. He began singing and playing guitar at a young age and was often found performing in the streets.
The museum itself is a beautiful building, built to resemble Rodgers’ home in New York. On the grounds, there is a replica of his original home in Mississippi. It shows visitors what it was like to live during this time period and gives them a chance to experience something of what Rodgers did. It also provides an insight into the childhood that would eventually lead him to stardom.
The Father of Country Music has had a wide impact on all of our lives, not only through his profound music but also with his folksy approach to life.
Jimmie Rodgers’ legacy is felt throughout Meridian, Mississippi. It’s easy to see why this small town would want to preserve the memory of such a big name.
The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation, in Meridian, Mississippi, works to preserve country music’s history by organizing various events throughout the year. It’s the only place on earth where you can get an up-close look at some of Rodgers’ personal mementos, including his ‘Mississippi Pal’ guitar.
4. Bonita Lakes park
Meridian is a fantastic location to go outside. Bonita Lakes Park, which spans 3,300 acres, is located within the city limits. It’s tranquil, lightly used location for paddling, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, jogging, picnicking, or just relaxing with the family.
The park features a man-made lake that was created from the dredging of natural, swampy bayous in 1954–55 and extended in the 1970s. A particularly nice spot is at Bonita Lakes Dam, with its beautiful view of downtown Meridian and a popular fishing hole. The park features nine miles of trails. Over 20 miles of horseback riding are also available, as well as dog walking and even horse trekking. The forests and the lakes provide a unique view of nature in the city limits.
The beautiful Lake is surrounded by lush woods and offers some of the best fishing in the state. The Bonita Lakes Trail is a moderate 12 -mile hike that takes you around the lake. This is a 550-acre park that includes an off-leash dog area, which is open all year. There are several activity choices along with great places to relax and enjoy the ambiance. At least once in your life, you should visit this park that is just minutes from downtown, where nature’s beauty is showcased.
5. Mississippi Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum in Meridian, Mississippi, takes the enjoyment factor to a whole new level. With hands-on engaging exhibits and activities that focus on science, math, culture, technology, and the arts.
Children are able to explore their creativity in a safe environment that encourages self-discovery through play. Learning all about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), as well as health and nutrition, are the keys to helping kids grow up to be healthy, independent adults.
A few of the exhibits you’ll find at this museum are The Mini-Medical School, a giant Scrambled States of America map, and the ever-popular Bubble Rock.
The exhibits and programs at the museum inspire creativity and critical thinking, as well as an appreciation for learning. They offer a selection of hands-on, educational programs and workshops for kids of all ages.
Did you know that the Mississippi Children’s Museum is the state’s largest non-profit early learning institution? They’ve also received the Children’s Count Program of Promise award, which recognizes organizations that contribute to the development and well-being of children and families.
The Meridian Children’s Museum is a great place for kids to spend some quality time exploring their interests, being creative, and learning about the world around them.
You can visit the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Meridian, Mississippi, and discover what they have to offer today!
6. MSU Riley Center
The MSU Riley Center, which is in the historic center of town Meridian, opened its doors in September 2006 to offer unique cultural, artistic, and educational experiences. The facility hosts a diverse array of performances and exhibits, including music, theater, ballet, dance concerts, comedy shows, and art displays. The center’s distinctive architecture reflects the historical significance of Meridian.
The MSU Riley Center is home to a 350-seat proscenium theater, a 160-seat flexible theater, and two art galleries. The facility also has an outdoor amphitheater which is the site of many community events throughout the year.
The theater features a full lighting and sound system, large-format projection capability for film or video presentations, computerized scene selection, a spacious lobby, and a box office, which is open Monday through Friday.
The MSU Riley Center hosts many special events, including the MSU Riley Center Presents series of performances and exhibits designed to enrich the cultural life in Meridian.
The facility, more than simply a beautiful place, is a unique location for social interaction, cultural appreciation, lifelong learning, and community growth and development.
The multi-purpose center attracts 60,000+ people to downtown Meridian each year for conferences, meetings, and shows. The facility also includes a restored 1889 grand opera house theater that seats 950 people, as well as a 200-seat studio theater and 30,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to some of the best things Meridian, Mississippi has to offer. If you are thinking about moving or visiting this area, make sure that you include all these great activities in your plans!
Meridian is a great place to enjoy arts and culture, while also learning about your community! The Meridian Children’s Museum offers unique educational experiences that promote creativity and critical thinking in kids of all ages, while the MSU Riley Center hosts many special events throughout the year. These are just two of many activities you can enjoy in Meridian, Mississippi!
What other attractions would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!