The 3 Best Aquariums in Mississippi

Written by Jude Speegle
Published: June 19, 2022
Image Credit Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com
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The soil of Mississippi is an agricultural powerhouse, meaning that thanks to the river that courses through the state, the soil fertility is through the roof. Soil fertility helps crops grow and biomes thrive. It’s thanks to the water in the state of Mississippi that such a wide variety of important plants can grow, and why there are a few excellent aquariums.

Known for the winding river that bears its name, bluegrass music, and southern hospitality, Mississippi is a state you’d never want to miss. Cotton and soybeans are among the top products that make their way out of the constituent state, and it also has a high production catfish farming industry.

Out of its 48,430 square miles, making it the 32nd largest state, three aquariums have made their names. These are the:

  • Mississippi Aquarium
  • Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
  • Ocean Adventures Marine Park

Get ready to do a deep exploration of the three aquariums in the state of Mississippi, seeing what they have to offer and all their unique parts.

Mississippi Aquarium

Cassius, Captive Saltwater Crocodile
Say hello to crocodiles at the Mississippi Aquarium.

Bob Stilwell/Shutterstock.com

Mississippi Aquarium
Location2100 E Beach Blvd, Gulfport, MS 39501
Animal to SeeCrocodile
Known For360-Degree Acrylic Underwater Tunnel

The Mississippi Aquarium first opened its doors in August of 2020 and is still a newer attraction within the state. It holds around 200 different species of animals along with 50 various species of plants

This aquarium has ample opportunity to get your money’s worth by offering photos with animals and the ability to watch animal training sessions for yourself.

All sorts of aquatic wonders are available on the three levels of this aquarium. There are quite a few exhibits and opportunities to be educated.

  • American Alligator- There are five American alligators to observe in their habitats. See if you can spot all five as they blend in quite fully.
  • American Crocodile- If you find the American crocodiles, then it is likely that they will be basking with their mouths open. They do this to regulate their body temperature.
  • Fresh Water River- A river winds its way through the aquarium, home to teems of freshwater fish like alligator gar and largemouth bass. A boardwalk is constructed over it so you can view it from above.
  • North American River Otter- Four river otters spend their time breaking open shells with rocks to eat the gooey insides, playing in the river, and holding hands while they sleep.
  • Turtles- Endangered diamondback terrapins live in this enclosure, thriving completely in their habitat.
  • Bottlenose Dolphins These dolphins are playful and excited to see guests from all over. Make it a goal to spot all four of them before you leave, and you won’t be disappointed in their enthusiastic natures.
  • Aviary- If you have a love for birds, the aviary is a great place to observe over 40 different species. Both local birds and exotic birds can be found here, flying around and living their lives.

Three various levels show the diverse array of fish local to the community and exotic fish from around the world.

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Blacktip reef sharks with a shoal of fish
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is a great example of a museum dedicated to its state’s wildlife and history.

iStock.com/damocean

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Location2148 Riverside Dr, Jackson, MS 39202
Animal to SeeGiant Sloth Fossil
Known ForWide Array of Exhibits

More than an aquarium, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science holds all sorts of fascinating exhibits to catch the attention of the intrepid learner. Nature trails surround the building so you can observe the local plants and wildlife, along with exhibits and displays that explain the life of the average Mississippi creature.

A 100,000-gallon aquarium is home to over 200 different species of fish and underwater creatures and plants. Some dioramas explain what you are seeing and do a deep dive into what these animals mean to Mississippi.

There are so many specimens available to see and learn about, like fish, invertebrates, reptiles, fossils, birds, and amphibians. Museums like these are made to explain research and studies and teach visitors about almost anything under the sun, constantly changing it up to keep the displays engaging.

After the aquarium, there is a playground for kids and a whole fossil section. The collections and research at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science showcase information to help inspire visitors to enjoy what Mississippi has to offer and conserve it at all costs.

Ocean Adventures Marine Park

Bottlenose dolphin smiling at the camera
Swim with bottlenose dolphins at the Ocean Adventures Marine Park.

iStock.com/Lefteris_

Ocean Adventures Marine Park
Location10801 Dolphin Ln, Gulfport, MS 39503
Animal to SeeBottlenose Dolphins
Known ForDolphin Interactions

Located in the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is the Ocean Adventures Marine Park. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is a research organization whose main mission is to research marine mammals in both the wild and captivity.

They take care of sick or injured animals that cannot be released back into the wild because they would not survive.

Ocean Adventures Marine Park has quite a few different shows with marine mammals and plenty of fun activities to do or organize. Encounters with animals are a common part of this park and include:

  • Dolphin Encounters- A dock stretches out into the dolphin pool where you can offer them their favorite fish and maybe pet a smooth head and see a smile just for you.
  • Dolphin Meet and Greet– Get a photo while you see the skills and tricks a dolphin can perform on command.
  • Dolphin Interaction- Suit up and get into the water with a dolphin yourself. Swim beside a bottlenose dolphin and play with it up close and personal. 
  • Stingray Encounter- Stand in the water up to your waist as stingrays swim around you while you offer them food and stroke their silky backs.
  • Snorkel with the Rays- Pull on a mask and snorkel and swim with the rays in a full experience out of your imagination.
  • Sea Lion Kiss- Pose with a trained sea lion for a photo and get a nice smack on the cheek. A kiss, that is.
  • Sea Lion Encounter- Entice a California sea lion to perform its ultimate tricks while you offer its favorite foods.

The Ocean Adventures Marine Park is a hands-on type of aquarium where you get right into the thick of it. Be prepared for excitement the entire way.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats.