In 1882, lumberman and civil engineer, William H. Hardy founded the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, naming it in honor of his wife, Hattie. It became the center of the lumber and railroad industries and, in 1912, was dubbed "The Hub City" because it served as the intersection of several railroad lines. Hattiesburg is known for southern hospitality, several beautiful parks, examples of old world architecture and many recreational activities for residents and visitors. Families with children can find lots of venues for both outdoor and indoor relaxation and fun.
Almost everyone enjoys a zoo and the Hattiesburg Zoo offers a variety of animals for observation and interaction. It caters to children of all ages, with opportunities for summer camping, birthday parties and field trips. It's a place for kids to get close to different kinds of animals and learn about the fascinatiing characteristics of each. Children can also ride a train and carousel. The zoo is part of Kamper Park, located right in Hattiesburg. There is an admission charge plus wagons to rent if young ones get tired of walking.
Petal Roller Dome
The Petal Roller Dome has been open for skating since 1988. It sports wooden floors and a snack bar. The Dome is family-owned and prides itself on being a place where all skaters, from beginner to pro, are welcome. Skates and roller blades are available if you don't have your own and a pro shop is on site to provide anything you might need to fix any problems with broken wheels or laces. There is no charge to parents in attendance who just want to keep an eye on young skaters. Petal Roller Dome is located just outside Hattiesburg in Petal, Mississippi.
Pep's Point Water Park and Campground
Take the family camping for a week or just spend the day at Pep's Point Water Park and Campground. Bring your own food or hit the snack shack for hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and drinks. You can swim in the spring-fed lake, play on the water slides, ride in a canoe or paddle boat and try a round of miniature golf. There is a daily admission charge that covers all activities and a lesser fee if you only want to swim and picnic. Very young children get in for free.
Longleaf Trace Trail
Older children who like biking, rollerblading or horseback riding will relish traversing all or part of Longleaf Trace Trail. It extends 41 miles from the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg to Pretiss, Mississippi. A 26-mile stretch of the trail serves as a horse path which tracks through vast forests of pine. The entire trail is a scenic adventure and comfortable to be on because of the abundance of shade.
Laser Mania features laser tag and games for all ages. Cost varies depending on how many sessions you want to play and the size of your group. There are also special rates on certain days of the week and discounts offered to church groups. Regular events include parents' and ladies' nights. Several birthday party packages are available. Laser Mania's philosophy is that you come to play tag with high-tech toys for the purpose of having fun, not waging war. Games are enacted with teams of two to 10 players. Equipment is provided and scores are determined by the number of successful tags with points deducted for anyone who tags his own teammate.
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