By Kristy Christiansen
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Tigers at the Baton Rouge Zoo in Louisiana
See tigers and other exotic animals at the Baton Rouge Zoo.

At the heart of a state known for colorful politics, Baton Rouge stands proud as Louisiana’s capital city. Steeped in history, the area offers a wide variety of kid-friendly museums, plantations, memorials and historic sites. Itching to get outside? Hike the trails at Tunica Hills or view the nation’s largest bald cypress at Cat Island. Afterwards, spend a day cooling off splashing around in Blue Bayou Waterpark.

Meet the Wildlife

Baton Rouge Zoo: Travel the world and visit animals from Africa, Asia, Australia and, of course, Louisiana! Don’t miss the new, world-class Realm of the Tiger exhibit, the Birds of the World or the Kidszoo and Safari Playground.

Play Outdoors

Blue Bayou Waterpark & Dixie Landin’: Bring your bathing suit and experience 20 water attractions, including some of the tallest, fastest and largest in the world. Next door, Dixie Landin’ Amusement Park offers family-friendly rides, from a giant, looping rollercoaster to a Kiddie Section for smaller children.

Tickfaw State Park: Explore the Tickfaw River and the surrounding ecosystems. Hike the boardwalk, canoe the river, play in the water park or learn about the area in the Nature Center, complete with an 800-gallon aquarium featuring fish from the Tickfaw River.

Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area: Hike through forested hills and bluffs beside streams cascading into waterfalls. Be aware, though, that hunting is allowed during certain times of the year. 

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge: A drive deep within Cat Island followed by a short hike through old-growth forest leads to one of Louisiana’s crown jewels—the massive National Champion bald cypress tree. It’s a sight to see for kids of all ages, but visit when the Mississippi River’s waters are low—or you’ll need a boat.

Make New Discoveries

USS Kidd & Veterans Memorial: Tour a U.S. naval destroyer from World War II, restored to almost exactly how she looked in 1945. Adjacent to the ship stands the Veterans Memorial Museum, honoring the men and women who served our country.

Louisiana Art & Science Museum: From inside a historic railroad depot overlooking the Mississippi River, LASM offers fine art exhibits, interactive art and science galleries, an Egyptian gallery and a planetarium with sky shows and films.

Louisiana State Capitol Buildings: Less than a mile apart, Louisiana’s new State Capitol and Old State Capitol are both fascinating attractions. Discover how Governor Huey P. Long built the country’s tallest state capitol, tour the chambers and see the city from the 27th floor observation deck. Then hike over to the Gothic castle that once served as the statehouse and is today a political history museum.

Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site: After its construction in 1909, Plaquemine Lock connected the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya Basin and central Louisiana via Bayou Plaquemine. Although closed in 1961, the historic structure remains alongside the Memorial Lockhouse that now serves as a museum.

LSU Rural Life Museum: Children will be delighted to step into the past to experience a 19th-century working plantation, a collection of Louisiana folk architecture buildings and early 20th-century rural artifacts. An outdoor oasis in the middle of the city, this is a must-see for anyone interested in history.

Tour River Road Plantations: Drive either side of the Mississippi’s River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and you’ll journey back in time to the days of the sugar plantations. Tour beautiful plantation houses, which stand as the last vestiges of grandeur of this once thriving industry.

More family-friendly activities around Louisiana:

Find family fun in north Louisiana.

Find family fun in central Louisiana.

Find family fun in southwest Louisiana.

Find family fun in the New Orleans area.