Ready for a vacation? How about a staycation? You don’t need to go far to enjoy the variety of life from restaurants, theaters, museums, and family entertainment to the sportsman’s paradise in the Bayou!
There is always plenty to do in the capital city! You and the kids can cool off on a hot day at Blue Bayou Water Park off of Highland Road. Or, if you are looking for a shorter adventure, you can visit BREC’s Liberty Lagoon Water Park. If you are a history buff, check out the USS-KIDD on the Mississippi River in Downtown. And then grab a rooftop lunch at Tsunamis.
Can’t-miss venues include the Ogden Museum of Southern Art; the Contemporary Arts Center; the Cabildo and Presbytère buildings in the French Quarter; and Mardi Gras World, where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at how the parade floats are built.
You can also visit the National World War II Museum, which tells the story of the Greatest Generation and the battles fought in Europe and in the Pacific, on land and sea and in the air.
Families will especially enjoy the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Entergy IMAX Theatre, Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Insectarium. The kids will love the Louisiana Children’s Museum, it is packed with hands-on, educational activities. And don’t forget to pass through City Park, where kids can play in Storyland, feed the ducks and ride paddle boats.
In the nearby town of Folsom is an unusual spot, the Global Wildlife Center. During a 90-minute safari tour, you can see giraffes, zebras, camels, elands and other animals. You can even feed them!
In Monroe, we have the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, a magnificent mansion built by the first bottler of Coca-Cola, Joseph Biedenharn. Guests can tour the historic home, furnished with antiques, as well as the beautiful gardens, a Bible museum and displays of Coke memorabilia.
Vacationing with the kids? Don’t miss Shreveport’s Sci-Port – Louisiana’s Science Center, more than 90,000 square feet of interactive, educational fun for families. Try out Splash Kingdom Family Waterpark in Shreveport, featuring awesome slides and a lazy river.
In Ferriday, the Delta Music Museum spotlights the rock ’n’ roll and blues musicians from the Delta. Learn more about Mickey Gilley; Jerry Lee Lewis; and Louisiana’s “singing governor,” Jimmie Davis, remembered for his big hit, “You Are My Sunshine.”
Alexandria’s T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum and the town’s zoo are two such stops the kids will enjoy. They may also enjoy the Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana’s only national forest. It’s a great place to fish; hunt; hike; and go boating, swimming and camping. Toledo Bend Reservoir is one of the nation’s top fishing spots, and you can also picnic and camp there.
Crowley, between Lafayette and Lake Charles, celebrates the area’s rice crop in many ways. The Historic Rice Theatre, an art deco beauty built in 1940, has been lovingly restored and features local music events. Crowley also boasts the J.D. Miller Music Recording Studio Museum, opened in 1946 and restored to its original state. The studio once recorded tunes by local Cajun, zydeco, blues, country and swamp pop artists.
Children will find much to do in Cajun Country. Both Lafayette and Lake Charles have children’s museums. In DeQuincy, let kids see the train cars at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum. And in the fall, Crowley’s Rice Festival celebrates the harvesting of the rice crop with carnival rides and fun activities for the whole family!
A visit to beautiful Avery Island brings tours of the famous Tabasco factory. In the island’s Jungle Gardens, you can see exotic plants, as well as deer, alligator and snowy egrets, among other wildlife.
The Rayne Frog Festival holds frog-jumping and frog-racing contests – bring your own contender. The Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette includes music, food and arts and crafts.