The Mississippi Children’s Museum and The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science held a ribbon cutting at Friday morning for the Spotter the Otter Adventure Trail and an outdoor pavilion at the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex in Jackson.
Public officials, including Lynn Posey, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Angel Rohnke, director of the LeFleur’s Bluff Complex and Emily Hoff, executive director of Mississippi Children’s Museum were in attendance along with Spann Elementary School for the ribbon cutting.
Posey said it was a beautiful day to celebrate the occasion with children, friends, public officials and Spotter the Otter.
“On behalf of MDWFP we would like to thank everyone who invested their time and resources to make this possible,” Posey said. “We have two award-winning museums today, but without commitment, leadership, and staff what you see today would not be.”
Susan Garrard, president and CEO of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, said the adventure trail and pavilion are great assets to the community and the theme for the year is “Heartfelt Gratitude.”
“We face many challenges running the museum to be what it is today,” Garrard said. “The spirit of gratitude to celebrate such an amazing project despite the challenges we’ve faced makes it worth it.
“The trail features a 6-foot statue of Spotter the Otter in the middle of the trial along with fun and attractive outdoor experiences, Claire Bear’s 5-foot log play structure, slides and play bear den, hands-on musical instruments, a nutrition maze, green handrails, chairs resembling acorn caps and cloud graphics with contemplation prompts,” Garrard said. “Spotter the Otter was designed by Lori Nesbit, who is a senior graphic designer at MCM.”
The newly built 8-foot-wide trail leads a clear path to one of the entrances to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
Characters were brought to life through stories and exhibit elements by MDWFP’s team and MCM’s Education Team, which was led by William Moore, assistant director of exhibits, according to a press release.
Garrard said both projects cost about $2 million to build and were funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield foundation.
“This donation was the largest donation ever by Blue Cross Blue Shield,” Garrad said. “Since adding the adventure trail and pavilion the Lefleur Bluff playground is the largest attraction in the region. About 14 years ago, we held a ground-breaking ribbon cutting for the Mississippi Children’s Museum in the same location.”
Both museums will use the facility for field trips, events, and programs including the award-winning Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and Mississippi Children’s Museum’s Park After Dark festival.
Spotter’s Adventure Trail and The Den will open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 1st with activities between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.