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What’s New in Mississippi

Arts and Entertainment Experience

What do Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Eudora Welty, Walter Anderson and Jimmy Buffett have in common? They all hail from Mississippi, a state that has made impressive contributions to America’s arts and entertainment culture. To honor these and other figures, the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience opened in April in Meridian, a town in the east-central part of the state.

The museum has been in the works since 2001, though it officially broke ground in 2015. Organizers designed it to be an immersive experience that would not only introduce visitors to Mississippi stars but also give them a look at their heroes’ cultural influences, their early artistic works and even the creative processes they went through to craft their writing, music and other products.

The exhibits are just as much about Mississippi as they are its celebrities. Galleries highlight the physical landscape, the home life, the community support and the church culture that shaped the perspectives and work of Mississippi’s creative spirits.

Margaritaville on the Coast

Because beach music superstar Buffett is a Mississippi native, it’s only fitting that his Margaritaville brand should have a home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Last year saw the opening of the Margaritaville Resort, a 371-room, 23-story resort in Biloxi themed around the music and culture that made Buffett famous.

Though many people know Biloxi for its gaming properties, Margaritaville has no casino. Instead, the city was built with families in mind and features a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. A 55,000-square-foot indoor entertainment center features a 48-foot-high rock-climbing wall in the shape of a volcano, as well as ropes courses, golf simulators, bowling alleys and a “cloud coaster.” Outdoors, the pool complex features a 450-foot-long lazy river, a splash pad and other amenities.

Adult groups will find plenty of fun at the resort as well, including a variety of dining options themed around concepts from other popular Buffett songs. Favorites include the Landshark Bar and Grill, the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar and Doe’s Eat Place.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.