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By Kristy Christiansen

Play in the sand at Grand Isle State Park.

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The exiled Acadians settled the swamps and backwoods of south central and southwest Louisiana and created a cultural mecca unique to the world. Immerse yourself in the towns and customs of this region, and you’ll discover an intriguing group of people. You’ll also find rice mills and tabasco peppers, swamplands and cities known for their food and music.

Meet the Wildlife

Munsons Swamp Tours: Outside Gibson, board a pontoon boat to travel deep into the mysterious Chacahoula Swamps of Louisiana. Munson’s remote cypress and black-water wilderness is home to graceful birds and powerful alligators, and knowledgeable guides will ensure you see all the area has to offer. 

Zoo of Acadiana: In Broussard, visit the zoo with more than 500 animals, including black bears, giraffes, cougars and zebras, are waiting to see you. While there, be sure to check out the Jungle Lodge Playground, the largest Backyard Adventures playground set in Louisiana.

Play Outdoors

Creole Nature Trail: An All-American Road traveling through Louisiana’s “outback,” the Creole Nature Trail links Lake Charles with the state’s rugged, southwest coastline. The road brings you past several National Wildlife Refuges, scenic overlooks, Calcasieu Lake and miles of beaches.

Grand Isle State Park: Venture out to Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island and be rewarded with expansive Gulf views. Play in the sand, camp on the beach or take a nature hike. Be sure to bring along a fishing pole for this top fishing destination.

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park: On the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Fausse Pointe is a remote state park with ample canoeing and boating opportunities. A nature center highlights animals and plants found in the area, while three hiking trails snake through the park’s lands. 

Make New Discoveries

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: Three sections (Acadian Cultural Center, Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center and Prairie Acadian Cultural Center) of this national historical park reside in Cajun Country. Through exhibits, dance halls and demonstrations, they share the stories, music and history of the Acadian people who settled this region. After a day in the wilderness head into Jean Lafitte for some of the freshest caught seafood.

Conrad Rice Mill: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Conrad Rice Mill, also known as Konriko, is the oldest rice mill in the United States. Take a tour of this working factory—one of the top attractions in the area—and then bring home some local rice from the gift shop.

Avery Island: See how a tiny red pepper creates the world-famous TABASCO® sauce on this salt-dome island. After touring the visitor center and pepper sauce factory, drive through Jungle Gardens to see the flora and fauna that abound here.

Children’s Museum of Acadiana: This museum in Lafayette, is packed with activities for the kids from banking and grocery shopping to role playing and bubbles. This hands-on museum is designed with kids aged 2-12 in mind. Children can become a star at Ham Radio Stationor Le TV des Enfants and then burn off some energy at the Kids’ Condo.

Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum: Learn how Louisiana’s waterways are integral to the oystering, crabbing, fishing and oil and gas industries. Hear the stories of those who work in these careers and then try your hand at driving a shrimp boat or using the oyster-tonging technique. The museum is located in Houma.

Looking for more kid-friendly activities? 

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