370 Ridge Rd, Picayune, MS 39466
Whether you’re looking to get away from city life or just want to spend time observing nature, the Crosby Arboretum is a fantastic place to start! Located in Picayune, Mississippi, just off of I-59, this hidden gem is owned and maintained by the Mississippi Extension Service Agency.
The trails are fun and easy for kids. Most are shaded and offer flat and well-maintained walkways for everyone. Each trail highlights different exhibits ranging from a butterfly garden to a savanna, woodland, and aquatics. The younger kids thoroughly enjoyed seeing the fish and turtles in the aquatic exhibit. Katie enjoyed the woodland exhibit the most. It’s the perfect place to practice photography. There’s such a variety of ecosystems in each exhibit that kids are educated in a natural and fun setting. Be aware that bugs could be an issue on the trails, so use insect repellant. If you do not have any, the arboretum has some on hand just outside the bathrooms.
Before exploring the trails, be sure to stop by the visitor’s center. It’s currently under reconstruction, so they have put in a temporary one in a double-wide trailer with a wheelchair ramp leading up to the entrance. There’s a gift shop inside, along with clean restrooms and cold filtered water. The staff is friendly and are happy to help in anyway possible. Be sure to pay admission fees in the visitor’s center as well. It’s about $5 per adult, $4 per senior and military, and $2 for children under 12. With the admission fee, you get a small bag of fish/ turtle food.
Honestly, I felt like the parking was strange and a little unorthodox. There was a sign on the side of the main road that indicated we were there and then there was a ticket booth (which was not in use) that provided a map of the arboretum. The rest of the parking lot is gravel and you just park wherever.
The butterfly garden was in the process of getting a facelift so we didn’t see any butterflies, but we were told that tons of them tend to gravitate towards that area.
The pavilion is located in the aquatics exhibit and provides some refuge from the heat and/or rain. We think it is the PERFECT place to feed the fish and turtles! There are ropes separating the guests from the water but it can be a hair-raising experience with smaller or more curious children.
On one route through the savanna exhibits, there are beehives with active bees. If you have any allergic reactions to these flying insects, steer clear of that route!!! There was still plenty to see, do, and observe without that one section of property.
We were warned by other workers to watch out for alligators. There had been a somewhat domesticated alligator in the aquatics area but they were unable to find it and remove it from the property that day. With that said, it goes without saying to be aware of your surroundings while having fun.
Crosby Arboretum is definitely a refreshing place to observe nature, educate the kids, and learn to appreciate the simple things in life. For more information on the Crosby Arboretum, visit their website at http://crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu.