The historic district of Hattiesburg is not very large. If you stop by the Visitor's Center and get both a walking map and a driving map, you can easily see the historic buildings in the matter of an afternoon.
The downtown area is approximately:
2nd Ave on the west to Edwards St on the east.
Katie Ave on the south to 6th St on the north.
My recommendation is to start at the intersection of Pine and Main and walk/drive the streets in a 4~5 block radius. In this area, you will see the Court House, City Hall, the Masonic Temple, Saenger Theater, etc. The first three of these can be seen on my Hattiesburg home page photo.
The second stop I would recommend is going to the Historic Train Depot (still operating) on 308 Newman St. From here, walk/drive the neighborhoods to the south, down to Katie Ave.
In these neighborhoods, you will see both vintage Colonial style architecture as well as dilapidated facades that have not maintained the test of time so well.
I have visited museums in lots of different corners of the globe. I have many military in my family and throughout all of my travels, have definitely secured an appreciation for service men, their commitments and sacrifices.
The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum has very rich and detailed displays and artifacts from every American military involvement from The War of 1812, through the World Wars, the period of "Great Isolationism", then Vietnam, to Korea, and even displays on Somalia and Kosovo. I feel that the information presented shows a very truthful and honest portrayal of both the good and bad. This museum focuses on the soldiers who either came from Mississippi, or those who trained within the State.
It will take an hour to visit if you just walk through glancing quickly, several hours if you are a history buff.
Outside in the grounds of the museum (and throughout Camp Shelby) there are also many military vehicles on display. From tanks to Hum-V's to helicopters, etc.
Cost is Free. Open 9:30am to 4:30pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays and national holidays.
African Americans have been a constant contributing factor in the US military. However, just like other simultaneous events in history, their service has seen a near constant battle for not just the American nation, but also for their own equality and opportunities.
The USO Club was opened in 1942 as a off-base home for African American soldiers. It has evolved into a museum chronicling the days and their involvement from the Civil War and the Buffalo Soldiers all the way through current service men in the deserts of the Middle East. But in not only shows off the military might of the soldiers, but also the cultural wealth it shared also. For example Lt James Reese Europe traveled over 2000m miles in Europe introducing American jazz and ragtime music to French, British and American soldiers.
In my opinion the museum does a great job both with written texts, exhibits and photos. It takes about an hour if you read all the placards.
Hattiesburg is a perfect place for such a museum, not only because of the strong presence of the military (Camp Shelby), but also because the area was home to many of the early African American soldiers in the military, like Jesse L Brown (first naval pilot shot down in Korea) and Ruth Bailey Earl.
Cost is free. Open 10am ~ 4pm.
Closed Sundays and Mondays.
The Hattiesburg Zoo is nestled in a grove of oak and pine trees at Kamper Park. The 40 acre park houses a 12 acre zoological garden. Enter the Zoo, take a stroll down the promenade and get face-to-face with prairie dogs or continue on to the African Veldt to encounter antelope, zebra, ostrich, monkeys and servals. Stop by and visit the South American exhibit - home of the tapir, capybaras, llamas, howler monkeys, macaws, iguanas and the new jaguar. Stop at the tiger overlook to get a birds eye view of the largest cat on earth. Continue down the tiger boardwalk to get an up close view of American Alligators. The next phases will add exhibits from Asia and Mississippi. The park area has landscaped walking trails, grassy picnic areas, and playgrounds.
The Hattiesburg Zoo also offers several other attractions that make your visit worthwhile. Kids of all ages will enjoy riding the carousel or taking a peaceful train ride around the zoo. Children five and under must be accompanied by an adult. Both rides cost $1.25 per person. If you find the weather a bit warm, you can stop by the concession stand to cool off with an Icee, slush or soft drink. You can also purchase snacks including crackers, popcorn, chips or candy. Stop by the gift shop and purchase souvenirs, stuffed animals, music, toys and t-shirts.
Other admission prices:
-Adults (13 & over) -$2.00
-Senior Citizens & Children (ages 4-12) - $1.00
-Under 3 years old - Free
Open: Monday-Sunday 9a.m. to 4:30p.m
I've actually never been to the zoo, but it's a nice way to spend the afternoon. Also at Kamper park are picnic tables and playgrounds where the family can enjoy a nice picnic lunch.