Tupelo Buffalo Park is the largest zoo in Mississippi and a really unique place to see wild animals, both national and exotic, in a more or less wild setting. The park features a really wide variety of animals like lions, Bengal tigers, giraffes, kangaroos, and zebras, but the star of the park is the herd of American Bison which roam around the park grounds. They've created a sort of off-road bus that takes visitors to see the herd up close and in its element. While you're on the so-called "Buffalo Bus" they'll also take you by the giraffes and let you feed the long-necked beauties. Careful though, those long tongues tickle!
If you're looking for a more...low-key way to see the animals, there's also a nice trolley that circles the park and lets you see the buffalo as well. Finally, if you'd like to get the real old-west feeling, they have guided horseback rides throughout the entire park (as well as Pony rides for the little ones).
The admission is a an extremely-reasonable $11 for adults (there are senior discounts) and then the Buffalo Bus, Trolley, and horseback rides are small additional payments. The Buffalo Bus, for instance, is only $3.
The Hattiesburg Zoo is a small, yet fun 12-acre zoo in the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The zoo grounds, which are beautiful by the way, have exhibits that mainly revolve around African grassland animals like antelope and zebras as well as South American animals monkeys, jaguars, and tropical birds. There are even tigers!
One of the best reasons to visit the Hattiesburg zoo are the Sumatran tigers. The zoo just got two new ones in early 2014 and they are stunning! They're young tiger and quite playful so it's sure to be a fun visit. What's cool about the Hattiesburg zoo is that, rather than fences and bars, there are sections where the barriers are made of glass so you can get up close to the animals. Getting face to face with some of the big cats is truly hair-raising.
Another nice aspect of the Hattiesburg Zoo is that it's focused on children and education (which isn't to say that adults can't have fun too!). There are animal classes for the little ones, special programs for kids, and even summer camps where they can come and learn more about the animals at the zoo. Oh, and it's cheap! Admission is only $5 for adults and $3 for kids. What else do you need?