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Hattiesburg Zoo Plans Waterpark At African Continent Exhibit

The Hattiesburg Zoo is getting a little bit bigger with the addition of nine water slides, two bucket dump stations, multiple water-play areas, and, of course, lots of animals.

Serengeti Springs is a $10.5 million project that is set to open in the summer of 2023 as an extension of the African Continent’s animal habitats and entertainment areas. It will be located on more than three acres of Kamper Park, which borders Hardy Street, Park Avenue, and Gordon’s Creek. It’s designed to accommodate all ages and mobility levels and will meet the growing demand for family-friendly activities in the Hattiesburg metropolitan area. The attraction will even feature tropical animal exhibits and the zoo will offer animal presentations throughout the year.

“Expanding the Hattiesburg Zoo to include the Serengeti Springs waterpark is a natural fit,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which will build and manage the park.  “This expansion will carry through the same look and feel of Africa that exists in our zoo, and will combine the slides and sprays with rest and relaxation.”

Construction begins this month on the waterpark which features a Fusion Fortress Water Play Structure, an entry building with a gift shop, restrooms with changing areas, showers, and lockers. A serene lazy river, swim-up pool and bar, group pavilions, cabanas, food trucks and concession stations, loungers, Adirondack chairs, tables, and other amenities are also in the works.

The Fusion Fortress includes nine slides of varying heights. Some straight slides and several with twists and turns, and the soon-to-be-famous Serengeti Swirl.  There will be multiple water-play areas and two bucket dump stations, all in a design that highlights the animals and environment of Africa.

Underneath the Fusion Fortress is the Life Floor, which provides a cushioned floor that is anti-microbial and has a zero-water level. On the Life Floor around the perimeter of the Fusion Fortress are an additional 19 spray toys, allowing for access and enjoyment outside of the slide areas.

While the Fusion Fortress is the splash, slide, and spray a section of Serengeti Springs, the rest and relaxation area is the lazy river, which offers floating serenity with an accompanying swim-up pool and bar.

“As a mother of three active children, and as the chair of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission Board, I am excited that we are bringing another first-class attraction to Hattiesburg,” said Jennifer Payne.  “Serengeti Springs at the Hattiesburg Zoo will bring a unique offering–only available in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.”

Funding for the zoo expansion comes from Convention Commission earnings and the city’s 2% tax on restaurants, which supports the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.

Click here for additional information about the Hattiesburg Zoo.


* Photo courtesy of the Hattiesburg Zoo.


Written by Cherie Ward

Cherie Ward is an award-winning Mississippi Gulf Coast journalist with decades of experience in writing and photography. She lives in Ocean Springs with her husband and has two adult children who also live on the Coast.

Connect with her by email at [email protected] with story ideas or find her @cherieward on Instagram. She would love to hear from you.


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