Chill out with the
family this spring & summer
By Cathy Wood For Crossroads Magazine
Cathy Wood’s grandson, Nolan Behel, checks out a snake at Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo.
hake off the cold-weather blues and celebrate spring with a fun and affordable family vacation – northeast Mississippi is close to several family-friendly destinations that will fit your budget and fill your Facebook page with plenty of memorable photos. Here are some ideas: • Want to start in your own backyard? Check out the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, 2272 N. Conley Road, Tupelo. There are baby animals in the petting zoo, guided horseback rides, pony rides for younger children, snakes, monkeys and of course a bus or trolley ride to see the buffalo, giraffes, zebras and more roaming the grounds. You can even buy food there and feed the animals – a kidfavorite activity. The Buffalo Park and Zoo is open every day. Visit http://www.tupelobuffalopark.com/ for details. • When you’re ready for more animals, head to the Memphis Zoo, 200 Prentiss Place, Memphis, in midtown’s Overton Park. There you’ll see 3,500 animals from 500 species in the zoo that’s enchanted families since it opened in 1906. Before you go, visit the zoo’s website at http://www.memphiszoo.org/. Aimed at helping families enjoy their experience, the website offers easy-to-read informative articles as well as details on the specific animals housed at the zoo. Plan your visit around the posted schedules for feedings and other events. The zoo is open every day. • While you’re in Memphis, take your family out to the baseball game at Auto Zone Park in the heart of downtown. Opened in 2000, this vintage-feel stadium is home to the Minor League Memphis Redbirds, a Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. For ticket information, call 901-721-6000, visit the Redbirds’ Facebook page or search http://www.milb. com/ for the Redbirds’ team website.
• For some quality indoor family time, drive two hours east to Huntsville, Ala. Several museums there offer children – and their parents – a chance to learn and explore. First on the list is the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, on I-565, a Smithsonian Affiliate and the visitors’ center for the nearby NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. With its spaceflight simulators, interactive exhibits and such artifacts as the Saturn V moon rocket, a Skylab orbital workshop and the Apollo 16 command module, the center will make every member of your family feel like an astronaut. Add one of the visually stunning IMAX movies and a bus tour of the Marshall campus (both available without museum admission) to your visit. Check the website at http:// www.rocketcenter.com/ for details. Also in Huntsville is Sci-Quest, 1435 Paramount Drive off of University Drive, a hands-on science museum that will entertain your children for hours as they dam a river, build a robot and take a turn at a TV weather desk. Visit https://sci-quest.org for more information. Must-see additions to your list are the EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum, 404 Madison St. S.E., where hands-on exhibits and games teach lessons about early life in north Alabama, and the Huntsville Depot and Museum, 320 Church St. S.W., where children can climb aboard trains, fire engines and other vehicles. Along with the Alabama Constitution Village, 109 Gates Ave., S.E., these museums make history fun. Learn more at http://www.earlyworks.com/. And if you’ve got more time, include the outdoor living-history museum with breath-taking views of Burritt on the Mountain, http://www.burrittonthemountain.com/, and the Huntsville Botanical Garden, http://
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