The exiled Acadians settled the swamps and backwoods of south-central and southwest Louisiana and, in doing so, created a cultural mecca unique to the world. Immerse yourself in the towns and customs of this region, and you’ll discover intriguing people, rice mills, tabasco peppers, swamplands and cities known for authentic Cajun music and food.
Kid-Friendly Wildlife Attractions in Southern Louisiana
Zoosiana Zoo of Acadiana: Visit this 45-acre gem in Broussard to see more than 750 animals from 130 species, including black bears, giraffes, cougars and zebras. While there, be sure to hop on the Safari Express train ride through animal habitats and check out the Jungle Lodge Playground, one of the largest playgrounds in Louisiana.
Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point: Start your journey on the Creole Nature Trail – an All-American Road linking Lake Charles with the state’s rugged, southwest coastline – at the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, a free fun attraction that immerses you in nature. The kids can check out the imaginative, hands-on displays that will show them the best places to spot alligators and migrating songbirds, plus give them a peek at wildlife found in bayous and marshes. They’ll walk away with a better understanding of Louisiana’s diverse wildlife and landscape.
Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park: Get a taste of Louisiana’s wetlands on 26,000 acres of bayous, swamps, marshes and forests. Stroll boardwalks and trails to spot animals (including alligators!) and more than 200 species of birds, plus a diverse selection of wildflowers and plants. Explore at your own pace on a self-guided or cell-phone tour, then let the kids earn a Junior Ranger badge. A park store inside the visitor center offers books, music and more.
Outdoor Activities for Kids
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park: On the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Fausse Pointe offers a great escape for boating, fishing, hiking and more. A nature center highlights animals and plants found in the area, while cabins situated right on the water offer great spots for wildlife watching – and a good night’s rest.
Grand Isle State Park: Venture off the coast of Louisiana to be rewarded with expansive Gulf views – and a launching point for excellent deep-sea saltwater fishing. Play in the sand, splash in the surf, camp on the beach or take a nature hike to spy numerous species of birds and other wildlife.
Family-Friendly Things to Do
Avery Island: Take a spicy trip to the ultimate Louisiana flavors found on Avery Island, home of McIlhenny TABASCO® for a “seed to sauce” factory tour showing how a tiny red pepper creates the world-famous McIlhenny TABASCO® sauce made on this salt-dome island. Afterwards, visit the country store for souvenirs, enjoy Cajun and Southern food at the on-site restaurant, then drive through Jungle Gardens to see the flora and fauna that abound in the bayou.
Children’s Museum of Acadiana: This museum in Lafayette is packed with activities for the kids, and the warning “don’t touch” doesn’t apply here. Hands-on exhibits help children explore a mock bank, grocery store, dentist office, veterinary hospital and more. A Wee Acres Farm, Architecture Alley, Sensory Sea and Bubble Factory add to the fun.
Conrad Rice Mill: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Conrad Rice Mill, maker of Konriko products, is the oldest rice mill in the United States. Take a tour of this working factory, then stop by the company store to pick up some local rice, hand-made seasoning blends, and flavorful gifts to take home with you.
Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum: Learn how Louisiana’s waterways are integral to the oyster, crab, fish, and oil and gas industries through eye-catching displays and interactive exhibits at this fascinating museum in Houma. Hear the stories of those who work in these careers and then try your hand at driving a shrimp boat or learning the oyster-tonging technique.
Looking for more kid-friendly activities?
Find family fun in north Louisiana.
Find family fun in central Louisiana.
Find family fun in the Baton Rouge area.
Find family fun in the New Orleans area.