December 8, 2012 5:59:26 PM
JACKSON -- December is officially here, and Mississippi is buzzing with the holiday spirit. Events, festivals, parties and a unique holiday atmosphere make this one of the best months of the year to visit areas of the Magnolia State.
Make plans now to include one or more of these stops in your December schedule:
Festivities in Canton take place around the historic Courthouse Square, decorated with over 200,000 glittering lights. In addition to the Canton Animation Museums and decorations of the Square, Canton offers holiday visitors many other attractions including the Carousel on the Square, Miniature Train or Fire Truck on the Square, Old Jail Museum, Log Cabin Behind the Old Jail, and The Railroad Museum. For more details, visit cantontourism.com
Drive through the 116-acre Central Park with 100,000 twinkling lights. Cars can tune to five FM radio stations playing Christmas music as they ride through the park. Don't miss the Christmas Tree Farm synchronized to music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Proceeds benefits local charities. Closed Christmas Day. For information about cost and other details, go to southaven.org.
In Natchez, events continue through city-wide New Year's celebrations, including tours of beautifully lit and decorated historic homes, concerts, candlelight carriage rides and more. Learn more about how Natchez celebrates by checking out christmasinnatchez.com
Mississippi native Jewell Younger Graeber lovingly acquired the figures in this magnificent display over more than 20 years, in order to share the collection with the children of Mississippi. The installation in the Mississippi Museum of Art's Trustmark Grand Hall includes more than 150 authentic and scarce 18th-century figures. For details, visit msmuseumart.org.
Tour the last home of Jefferson Davis. View a miniature Victorian Christmas Village where Santa Claus makes a special appearance and marvel at the decorated grounds at this extraordinary event. Enjoy a unique nighttime tour, and step back in history. Learn more at beauvoir.org.
Christmas in the Park is a colorful Christmas display of millions of lights staged at Holmes Water Park. More than 32,000 visitors enjoy the display each year. The park is open seven days a week from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., weather permitting. For information about costs and other details, visit walthallchamber.com/Christmas.html
Catch the zoo's one-of-a-kind Holly Jolly Animal Show and jump aboard the Polar Bear Express with a warm cup of cocoa for a magically illuminated journey in search of Santa. Ticket price includes admission, unlimited train and carousel rides and more. For details, visit hattiesburgzoo.com/zoo/.
Start planning your trip to the True South in December by going to VisitMississippi.org today.
3. Ho ho ho -- Downtown Open House heralds the holidays ENTERTAINMENT