Hattiesburg tourism focusing on zoo animals, museum construction, USO celebrations for 2017

Hattiesburg tourism focusing on zoo animals, museum construction, USO celebrations for 2017

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hub City tourism in 2017 will be highlighted by new animals at the Hattiesburg Zoo, new construction at a future civil rights museum and a diamond anniversary celebration of the USO.

At the zoo, look for plenty of new animals on display, especially at the African Veldt exhibit.

We're going to be expanding our African holding, so that on the Veldt, we can introduce more hoof stock, more animals, gazelles, that sort of thing into the mix with our zebras and our ostrich," said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism commissions.

Across town, work will soon begin on the final phase of restoration at the old Eureka School, which will ultimately become a Civil Rights museum.  A $1.6 million project, focusing on plumbing, electrical and mechanical work in the building, is set to start in about 30 days.

"(When this phase is finished), the building itself will be complete, will be operational," said Taylor. "I'm certain, we will have a few events in the building to introduce people to such a historic and beautiful structure and then get on with the museum and installation of it."

And just down the road from the Eureka School, another museum is getting ready for a diamond anniversary event.

In March, the African-American Military History Museum, which is housed in the old East 6th Street USO, will host a 75th anniversary celebration of that building.

It opened its doors on March 22, 1942.

"We will have a week's worth of activities," said Latoya Norman, museum manager. "We'll have a 1940's-inspired pageant that we'll have, we'll have a community day, that will feature 1940's-era cars, so we just have a lot of fun events planned for that and we want the community to come out and support that."

The museum is also planning Black History Month events honoring veterans from the Global War on Terrorism and other activities during the year honoring Vietnam War veterans.