September 27, 2022

New adventure trail and outdoor pavilion open at LeFleur’s Bluff on Oct. 1

Therese Apel

LeFleur's Bluff State Park. Photo: MDWFP

At the beginning of October, new adventures await for children in the Metro area.

Spotter’s Adventure Trail, which is a museum walking trail; and The Den, which is an outdoor pavilion, will be open October 1 at the LeFleur’s Bluff Education and Tourism Complex.

Spotter’s Adventure Trail will connect Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and the LeFleur’s Bluff Playground, a state-of-the-art playground that has welcomed 100,000 visitors since opening in December of 2021. The 8-foot-wide trail features a fun and interactive outdoor experience with Spotter the Otter and friends, designed and illustrated by MCM’s Senior Graphic Designer, Lori Nesbit. Characters were brought to life through stories and exhibit elements by MDWFP’s staff and MCM’s Education Team, which was led by William Moore, Assistant Director of Exhibits.

“We are excited for the completion of another phase at the LeFleur’s Bluff Education & Tourism Complex. The adventure trail and outdoor amphitheater will connect visitors to fun outdoor recreational experiences,” said MDWFP Executive Director Lynn Posey. “We are proud of the progress at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.”

The Den, located west of the playground, includes tables and seating for up to fifty students. Both museums will use the facility for field trips, events, and programs, including the award-winning Mississippi Science Festival and Park After Dark. An adjacent sloped lawn allows the structure to be used as an open-air amphitheater for large assemblies.

On Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex will celebrate the grand opening of Spotter’s Adventure Trail and The Den. Guests can design Spotter’s flag, create Spotter’s Friends themed crafts, play with bubbles, and participate in a scavenger hunt.

Live animal encounters will be hosted at The Den at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“The LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is transformational for our state. This partnership, between two award-winning museums, will provide state-of-the-art amenities and educational opportunities for everyone who visits,” said Susan Garrard, President/CEO of the Mississippi Children’s Museum. “As this new phase opens, Spotter’s Adventure Trail is particularly meaningful because it not only physically connects two award winning museums for a better visitor experience, but also connects families to the missions of the institutions with activities around literacy and conservation while celebrating outdoor play and our unique sense of place.”

Garrard said the strategic plan “is innovative and sparks a vision for the future of Mississippi, and we are grateful for the vision and commitment of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation’s board of directors, and our state leaders and legislators.”

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation funded the LeFleur’s Bluff Playground, Outdoor Pavilion and Museum Trail. The Foundation’s generous $3.86 million made this innovative project possible, and the Foundation’s leadership team played a visionary role in
developing the state-of-the-art playground and complex.

“The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is proud to provide a myriad of inclusive outdoor opportunities at the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex to encourage children, families and others to spend time outside engaging in fun activities while developing life-long positive attitudes about the importance of being healthy,” said Thomas C. Fenter, MD, Foundation Board Chairman and President. “This project is important to the Foundation as it aligns with ourstrategic focus to empower sustainable and lasting change that is evident in both the built environment and in the health and well-being of all Mississippians.”

The LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is open seven days a week. Hours are:
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking is available in the park and at both museums. Admission to the park is free and open to the public.

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