“Your Gateway to Free-Flowing Nature” It all started with out-of-town visitors, one of whom is an avid bird watcher. She demanded to visit the PRAC (Pascagoula River Audubon Center). As a native, we had no idea that such a valuable resource existed! Located in downtown Moss Point the center has so many services it’s hard to cover all of them. The 10-acre site is of historic value, having been the exact location of part of the of the Old Pascagoula Street Railway and Power Co. Trolley line. The main building constructed three years ago houses the Admissions Office, Hidden Heron Gift Shop and The Moss Point Fine Art Gallery. Outdoor activities include: a native plant botanical garden, nature trails, river swamp tours and historical reconstructions. All ages are welcome, and there are senior programs and a Nature Discovery Garden for toddlers.
Upon arriving at the main building for admission (just $8, with discounts for seniors, military and Audubon members), you will notice the Hidden Heron Gift Shop. The Shop specializes in nature books, artwork, children’s science projects and apparel. Also, in the building is the Moss Point Fine Art Gallery which hosts nature-based art produced by local artists. This space also doubles as a meeting space, conference room and wedding venue with seating of up to 60 and an adjacent catering kitchen! This building was constructed at the above flood level stage which leaves plenty of room beneath to host other events and features ‘The Pillar Trees’; structural supporting pillars are adorned with local art focusing on nature.
Outside your venture really expands, a boardwalk with observation points allows young and old alike to venture safely thru the swamps while looking for birds and wildlife. Another nature trail provides pointers to native plants with bar codes that you can access for further information. Explore the 100-year-old reconstructed Ticket Booth of the railway trolley nicknamed the ‘Beach Run’. The service operated from 1903 to 1925; transporting people and materials the 10 miles between Moss Point and Pascagoula. This octagonal structure is one of the two historical elements that have been recognized by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The other structure is the 100 plus year-old wood building known as the “Scout Hut”. This ‘cabin’ is supposed to have been constructed about 1905 and from the 20’s till 60’s was used as the meeting place for Boy Scout Troop 220. This restored building now serves as a meeting room for up to 20 participants.
There are plenty of other ways to observe the ecosystems via boat or Kayak. McCoy’s River and Swamp tours provides a two-hour excursion through the old growth swamps and tidal marshes. Kayaks are also available for both guided tours and solo rentals. The PRAC is funded by sponsors, donors, admission and grants. Ms. Belcher explained that there are only 4 employees taking care of this magnificent facility. They are grateful for donations and currently need bird seed and many other supplies.
Please contact Ms. Belcher if you can donate. Andrea Belcher Outreach and Facilities Associate 5107 Arthur St Moss Point, MS 39563 228-475-0825 Hours: Tue – Fri: 9 – 5, Sat: 9 – 3, closed Sunday and Monday