Without mincing words, the state of Mississippi is a delightful destination for any tourist, vacationer or adventurer. It is the ultimate site for fun-seeking activities such as camping, hiking, fishing and other wonderful recreational activities especially during the summer. Either for a first-time visitor or a life-long resident of the state, Mississippi definitely has a lot to offer in terms of tourist sites and attractions.
Topping the list of these incredible pearls of tourism is the great Mississippi river itself. This mighty river, by far the longest and largest river system in North America and the fourth longest in the world, runs for almost 3800 kilometers before ending its spectacular journey in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River derived its interesting name from the Anishinaabe word misi-ziibi which translates into ‘mighty river’, quite an apt description you might say. A riverboat cruising along this ageless body of water is a wonderful experience. You will savor the sights and enjoy the energetic sounds of cities like Natchez, Vicksburg and Greenville. Other amazing bodies of water include the Big Black River, Pascagoula River, Yazoo River, Arkabutla Lake and the eye-catching Sardis Lake.
The state of Mississippi is not all about water alone. Visitors can enjoy awesome wonders of the natural world at the Jackson Zoological Park and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science where one can view more 200 species of marine animals. For the children, there is the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. It is one of the most popular children’s recreational centers in the United States with numerous playing facilities and acres of playing ground. To spoil your children a little, that is a very good place to do it.
A tour around the major cities is also an integral part of a vacation to Mississippi. One of the most popular places to visit is the city of Natchez which was founded in 1716, at a period when there was an agricultural boom especially in the production of cotton. In Natchez, places to explore are numerous and some of these include the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, the Natchez National Historical Park and the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Old Spanish Fort and Museum beckons in Pascagoula while the Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi Forestry Museum and the Chimneyville Crafts Gallery are all located in the capital city of Jackson. This is also the state’s largest city.
In addition, other sites of tourist attractions are the Tupelo National Battlefield, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site and the Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemetery. Other cities to be toured for the excitement of a lifetime include Hattiesburg, Gulfport, Southaven and Biloxi. It is important however, to note that a trip to Mississippi is not complete and superlative enough without visiting the splendid Mississippi Gulf Coast. This geographical wonder lies adjacent to the world-famous and oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. On this coast you can stroll with your family along the longest artificial beach on the planet. What’s more, there are numerous world-class golf courses, artefact museums and plenty of casino resorts waiting for you to explore them. Although the state of Mississippi is not as large as some states like Alaska and Texas, it is surely full of big surprises!
The importance of sports to mankind can never be under-estimated or over-emphasised. Sporting activities allows us the opportunity to be physically fit, enjoy the thrill of competition and most importantly, strengthens bonding amongst ourselves. In the state of Mississippi, the benefits of sports are utilized to the fullest. The state is a vibrant sporting one with significant showing in various areas of sports such as baseball, football, soccer, basketball, softball, swimming, athletics and golf. It is on record that one of the greatest baseball players, Sam Hairston, a native of the Lowndes County was the first African American player signed by the Chicago White Sox.
Sporting in Mississippi is always very captivating as there are lots of facilities around to bring out the sporting best in you. Some of these places include the Biloxi Natatorium where there is an Olympic-size swimming pool, dressing rooms and patios. Another is the Gulf Sportsplex, considered by many to be the best in southern United States. The Sportsplex serves multiple purposes and it has amongst others, four world-class soccer fields. The Gulf Sportsplex is also the usual venue of the World Series Events in the southeast. Other sporting centres include the McComb Sports Park, Ridgeland Tennis Centre, Smith Wills Stadium, Tunica Sports Complex, Biloxi Sports Complex (which has fields for baseball, softball and soccer!), Lakeview Golf Course and the Greenbrook Softball Complex.
Therefore, in a state like this bubbling with so much sporting excitement, it is no wonder to discover that there are numerous sporting teams all over. In ice hockey, one of the latest entrants is the Mississippi Surge, a team in the Southern Professional Hockey League which had its first season of play in 2009. It is based in the city of Biloxi with its home arena in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. I n recent times, the name of the team sparked some controversy because of its uncanny reference to the devastating Hurricane Katrina of 2005. This apart, the team is a winner as it won the William B. Coffey Trophy as the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Regular Season Champions. But this was not after the thorough 5-2 bashing of the Columbus Cottonmouths. Still on ice hockey, the Mississippi River Kings is a professional minor league team which was started in 1992. This team has clinched the Ray Miron President’s Cup in the Central Hockey League twice. Other popular ice hockey teams are Jackson Mandits, Mississippi Sea Wolves and Tupelo T-Rex.
Baseball is another much-loved sport in Mississippi and it is well-represented by teams such as the Jackson Senators, Greenville Bluesmen, Greenwood Dodgers and Jackson Mets. In football, the state is also popular with its fantastic soccer team, the Mississippi Bulla (also known as Bulla by fans and admirers). The team was founded in 2006 and it plays in the USL Premier Development League in the Southeast Division of the Southern Conference. The team won the USL PDL Southern Division Champion in 2009 and 2010. Perhaps they will maintain the winning streak in 2011. Apart from Bulla however, other football teams are the Jackson State Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels, Gulf Coast Pirates, Mississippi Firedogs, Mississippi Mud Cats and Tupelo Fire Ants. Interesting names, you might say, but that is all because sports surely thrive in Mississippi.
The average time span for determining the climate of an area is usually 35 years, according to most climatologists. Such atmospheric conditions include solar radiation, wind, humidity, precipitation, temperature and atmospheric pressure. Weather on the other hand, is the variation of these atmospheric conditions over a shorter period of time, usually 24 hours. For the state of Mississippi, the climate and weather has interesting trends. Mississippi does not have an extreme climate and thus is an excellent location to reside or work.
In terms of the seasons, winters are short and mild while summers are usually long. In Mississippi, the summer temperatures do not vary much in different parts of the state. Although areas towards the south and places close to the Gulf coastline can have temperatures reaching 28oC (82o F) in July while northern regions can average 27oC (80o F). July is usually the hottest month in Mississippi while January is the coldest month, with temperatures that can plunge to 9oC (48o C). The temperatures of these areas along the southern part are moderated by the Gulf of Mexico and this makes the southern area warmer than the northern areas.
Like all other areas around the globe, Mississippi has its own temperature highs and lows. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -28oC (-19o F) on the 30th of January, 1966. That was in the city of Corinth in the North Eastern corner of the state. On the other extreme, the highest temperature ever recorded on the 29th of July, 1930, in Holly Springs. For the capital city of Jackson, temperatures can soar up to a high of 33oC (91o F) during the hottest months of July and August. This compares closely with the city of Meridian in the eastern part where the highest monthly average is 34oC (93o F) in the same months of July and August.
Furthermore, rainfall is an all-year-round activity, although the volume is usually higher in the south than the north, i.e. precipitation increases from the north to the south. It is also possible for scanty snowfalls to occur in the northern and central parts. However, this is not a common event. Precipitation can reach 135 cm (53 in) in a year while areas along the coast can have more than 157 cm (62 in) during the same period. This is not unconnected with the geographical influence of the nearby Gulf of Mexico. For Jackson, the average precipitation is 50 in (127 cm) although there is more rain during the December-May period. The humidity of the state can be very high especially between May and September where it can reach 90% in parts of the south.
Another important climatic feature of Mississippi is the occurrences of natural disasters. Coastal areas can witness dangerous tropical storms, otherwise called hurricanes from the months of June through October and they usually originate from the Gulf of Mexico. Tornadoes and thunderstorms are also somewhat common during summer and autumn. The dangerous powers of such natural phenomena are violently unleashed as in the devastating Hurricane Katrina of 2005 which caused losses of lives and damages running into billions of dollars. Fortunately, these events are rare thus making Mississippi a relatively safe state.
A lot of people know Mississippi because of its intricately entwined relationship with the river of the same name. Apart from this mighty river, there are some other things that make the State of Magnolia to be famous and popular. It will not be too bad an idea if we run through some of those fascinating things that set Mississippi apart from other states. Without much ado, emphasis must be on the Mississippi River. For this river is the most popular feature that is closely associated with the state as mentioned earlier.
The Mississippi River is the 4th longest in the world, the largest in North America draining about one-eighth of the entire continent. It originates from Lake Itasca in Minnesota and is later joined by its major tributaries, the Missouri River on the western flank while the Ohio River connects from the eastern side. The river, called the Father of Waters by the Native American Indians runs for a total distance of about 3800 km before emptying its massive contents into the Gulf of Mexico. Apart from Mississippi, the river is associated with 30 other states in the United States. By virtue of its history, location and volume, the Mississippi River is one of the busiest waterways in the world and it is heavily used for trade, commerce and tourism. The river has been immortalized in the writings of that highly-celebrated writer, Mark Twain and in the heavenly songs of Oscar Hammerstein.
From another perspective, the state of Mississippi is also known for its long-standing tradition of catfish aquaculture. The state is the largest producer of pond-raised catfish in the whole of the United States and one of the largest producers in the world. The state also has a relatively comfortable humid tropical climate and good, arable land which is good for settlement, agriculture and some other activities. This does not change the fact that the state is widely known to experience natural disasters such as hurricanes (violent tropical storms) which migrate from the Gulf of Mexico, especially in areas close to the coast. There are also tornadoes from time to time, with an average of about 27 strikes every year. Sometimes, these can be very deadly as the one that occurred in 1971.
Another activity that has put Mississippi on the world map is flooding. The state experiences seasonal flooding usually from December through June. These floods have necessitated the extensive construction of levees, sometimes by army engineers. Flooding was a serious menace during the years of the American Civil War.
Talking about the Civil War, history will never forget the role played by Mississippi. Being the seat of the Confederacy, it was one of the strongest states that opposed the Union. Jefferson Davis, a legislator from the state later became the President of the Confederacy. As a matter of fact, thousands of Mississippians lost their lives fighting for the Confederacy. One of the most decisive struggles of the Civil War was the Vicksburg Campaign from 1862 to 1863. However, that is a part that will be of interest to the historians. Mississippi today is now known for various activities such as USA International Ballet Competition which attracts dancers from all over the world.