PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds attended Thursday's dedication of the new Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point off Rhodes Bayou, a gateway to exploring the Pascagoula River and experiencing nature tourism.
A standing room only crowd turned out for the long awaited dedication; a project 10 years in the making.
"We'll have kayaking, we have nature trails, we have historic buildings. So, we're just excited to share that with everyone," said Mozart Dedeaux, with the Audubon Center.
Governor Phil Bryant praised the modern interpretive center, which educates and engages visitors.
"But it pales in reflection to the beauty, the stature of nature that surrounds it," said Governor Bryant.
Providing access to that natural beauty is the primary purpose of Audubon Centers, and Joel Goff wants his children to appreciate the natural resources.
"The estuaries and how good it is for the wildlife, and the fisheries and how important that is," said Goff.
The 10 acre development is expected to attract many new visitors to the gulf coast, and help expand the nature tourism draw in Mississippi.
"That means tourism money. That means hotels, motels, restaurants. I think we can see a lot of growth as a result of this development taking place," said local realtor, Mark Cumbest.
The colorful, interactive displays inside the interpretive center are certain to be a hit with visitors. The entire project is designed to lead people to the great outdoors and the natural beauty of this Pascagoula River watershed.
"It's just getting them out here to experience nature like we did when we were growing up. And that's the important thing. They get out here and experience it firsthand. And then we're done. Then we've done our job," said Dr. Mark LaSalle, director of the center.
Thursday's dedication kicked off a three-day grand opening celebration at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. Saturday is family day at the new facility in Moss Point.