The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana’s wild wetlands. The preserve’s 20,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 300 species of birds. Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve, and waterways can be explored by canoe or kayak. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Seven interconnecting waterways are available for canoeing here, and there are three canoe launches: Bayou des Familles in the Pecan Grove area (check the gate closing time), Twin Canals and Lower Kenta Canal. Pick up a map at the visitor center so that you can plan your route.