Many families are on spring break in South Mississippi and parents are looking for ways to entertain the kids while they are out of school.
Check out the fun that awaits across the Coast:
▪ Ocean Adventures in Gulfport is a $15 million, newly opened aquarium off Lorraine Road, south of Interstate 10. Families will get a mix of educational and entertaining experiences in the aviary with its hundreds of colorful parakeets, at macaw and parrot shows in the outdoor theater, watching a trio of dolphins in the Dolphin & Sea Life Arena and getting close enough to touch a stingray or an alligator. Buy tickets daily, including Easter Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The attraction is open until 4 p.m. General admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors and active military, and $12 for ages 3-12, with an additional cost to swim with the dolphins and stingrays.
▪ The first 2018 season home game for the Biloxi Shuckers isn't until April 11 against the Mississippi Braves, but the home team will play an exhibition game with the William Carey Crusaders baseball team on Tuesday, April 3, at MGM Park in downtown Biloxi. The first pitch is at 6:35 p.m. All tickets are $7 and proceeds benefit the university.
▪ Two Easter egg hunts are still on the schedule for Saturday, March 31, at Lava Links miniature golf at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D'Iberville at 10 a.m. and at Beauvoir — the Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library, 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi. Children 12 and under are admitted free at Beauvoir and admission for adults is $5.50 for the event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
▪ An Arcade Egg Hunt Margaritaville Resort Biloxi from noon to 5 p.m. on Easter Sunday will give those playing at Escape 36 chances to win free prizes when they find one of the six jumbo eggs hidden in the arcade every hour.. Margaritaville also has an indoor ropes course, climbing wall, zip line roller coaster and virtual golf and baseball.
▪ Let the kids burn up energy at one of the indoor trampoline parks on the Coast. Altitude Trampoline Park is at 9444 U.S. 49 in Gulfport and Mullet Hop is on Mallett Road off Sangani Boulevard in D'Iberville.
▪ Ziplines swing through the trees and over the roads at Zip'n Fun Adventure Park in Gulfport, or challenge the ropes courses for adults and kids. Adventures range from about $15-$35, and the price is less for those who make online reservations.
▪ Laser tag is just one of the things to do at Big Play Entertainment Center in Biloxi that has something for all ages with its bowling, an arcade, go-karts and bumper cars.
On the water
▪ South Mississippi has lots of options for boat excursions that get families out on the water. New is the Betsy Ann Riverboat that leaves the dock between Golden Nugget Biloxi and Margaritaville on nature tours and sunset cruises.
▪ Ship Island Excursions is an adventure families will remember after they play on the beaches and see the fort on Ship Island. The cost for the trip to the barrier island from Gulfport is $32 for adults, $30 for seniors 65 or older and active military , $22 for kids 3-10. Wednesday-Friday the ferry departs Gulfport at 9 a.m., and departs Ship Island at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday the ferry leaves the dock in Gulfport at 9 a.m. and noon, and departs Ship Island at 2:30 and 5 p.m.
▪ Biloxi Shrimping Trip is a double-decker boat that leaves the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, just east of Hard Rock Casino Biloxi, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily except Easter Sunday. Guides on the boat describe the fish that are caught in the net during the trip.
▪ Options in Jackson County are Eco-Tours of South Mississippi at City Park Road in Gautier that go into cypress swamps and salt marches, McCoy Riverboat Tours from the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, and the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Airboat Tours,10300 U.S. 90, Moss Point. Families can walk along protected walkways and hand-feed gators ($8), or ride an airboat, which is $30 for adults and $15 for children.
▪ Vendors along the beaches across South Mississippi rent jet skis and other water toys, or rent a paddleboard or a kayak at Paddles Up Rentals & Sales 1018 Government Street Ocean Springs or Wut SUP Standup Paddleboards & Rentals 13247 Seaway Road, Gulfport.
▪ Kids will learn while they have fun at Infinity Science Center at exit 2 of Interstate 10, with its high-tech, interactive displays let families learn the difference between X-rays and gamma rays at the electromagnetic table, then create a hurricane and see if it makes the news.Families can follow the Biome Boardwalk to learn about habitats of the region or board a bus to tour the nearby NASA Stennis Space Center. Hours are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission ranges from $8 for kids age 4-13 to $15 for adults.
▪ Edgewater Mall in Biloxi is a family-favorite with its carousel for young kids and a rock climbing wall at the main entrance on U.S. 90. At Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, families can learn about birds and animals, and Lynn Meadows Discovery Center at 246 Dolan Ave., Gulfport engages kids and adults in play. Admission is free on the last Friday of the month, including March 30, from 5-8 p.m.
Those who are doing spring break on a budget will find free activities on the Coast, starting with making sandcastles or playing games on the beach.
▪ Splash pads are opening at parks in all three counties of South Mississippi. Take an Easter ham sandwich picnic and stop at the playground for a whole day of free fun.
▪ Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum at 504 Pass Road in Gulfport will delight families with model train displays and almost 1 million Legos. Families can board a train and take a spin and check out the new Jurassic Park layout and turtles and alligators at the Swamp Train. The attraction is free, although donations help keep the place open and operating.
▪ Another favorite pastime on the Coast that don't cost anything is a walk across the Biloxi Bay Bridge or Bay of St. Louis Bridge, which offer a breeze, amazing views and birds that fly along.