Family vacations in Louisiana can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pretrip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Louisiana family vacations.
The Atchafalaya Experience
The Atchafalaya Experience allows tourists to get out in the Louisiana swamps and experience their mysterious beauty firsthand. Guides take visitors out on tour boats to meander among towering trees and quiet inlets. Photographers, nature lovers and bird watchers will appreciate the natural beauty of the terrain. It's often better to take this trip in the summer when the trees and other plants are at their best.
Address: 338 N. Sterling St., Lafayette, LA 70501
Hours: Tours start at 9 a.m. and last three hours
Price: Adults (13 and up), $50; children (8 to 12), $25; children (7 and under), free
Sci Port Service Center
The Sci Port Service Center in Shreveport, La., offers kids a way to learn about science in a fun, exciting environment. With computer-based interactive experiments, play areas and educational programs developed to get the kids engaged, the little ones will be too busy to notice that they're learning. Adults might find the IMAX Dome Theater interesting, showing movies from under the sea, in space and throughout the many landscapes of the Earth.
Address: 820 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, LA 71101
Hours: September through February, Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: noon to 6 p.m. March through August, Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.
Price: General admission, $13; children (3 to 12), $10
Louisiana State Museum
The Louisiana State Museum offers numerous exhibits exploring the history of the state of Louisiana. The “Living With Hurricanes” exhibit delves into the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The museum's other exhibits and interactive experiences cover Mardi Gras, Louisiana food and music.
Address: 660 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and state holidays
People all over the world celebrate Mardi Gras but no one does it like New Orleans. New Orleans celebrates the holiday with large parades and festivals, offering Cajun cuisine and the best in jazz music. Stretching from the French Quarter to West Bank and Uptown, Mardi Gras offers a chance to dress up and dance in the streets. Family members might want to stay out of the French Quarter as some of the behavior is not appropriate for children.
Address: New Orleans, La.
Hours: Mardi Gras takes place once a year, either at the end of February or beginning of March
Kliebert’s Alligator and Turtle Farm
A tourist can’t visit Louisiana without getting up close and personal with the alligators and other regional wildlife. One of the best known alligator farms is Kliebert’s Alligator and Turtle Farm, home to thousands of alligators. The farm has raised these creatures for almost five decades and also has a bird sanctuary and large collection of turtles.
Address: 41083 West Yellow Water Rd., Hammond, LA 70403
Hours: March 1 to November 1, noon to dark
Price: Adults, $10, kids (12 and under), $5; kids 2 years and under, free
Avery Island, Home of Tabasco
Avery Island is the home of the McIlhenny family, the creators of Tabasco sauce. While the island is famous for creating the beloved hot sauce, there is much more to do there than just touring the factory. The island offers beautiful botanical scenery with Japanese camellias, azaleas, Egyptian papyrus and more. The 250-acre gardens and Bird City sanctuary offer two of the most beautiful attractions visitors will see on a trip to Louisiana.
Address: Avery Island, LA 70513
Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on major holidays
Price: $1 toll to enter the island
Blue Bayou Water Park
Located in Baton Rouge, the Blue Bayou Water Park includes a number of slides and family rides as well as special attractions throughout the year. The signature ride at the waterpark is the Voodoo, a large slide, with twists and turns for all types of thrill seekers. The water park also offers amusement park rides, including roller coasters and Ferris wheels.
Address: 18142 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Hours: Open May through beginning of September. Park opens at 10 a.m. and closes between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Price: 48 inches and taller, $34.99; under 48 inches, $27.99; seniors, $27.99; under 35 inches, free
Have you been to Louisiana? What are your favorite attractions?
Check out more FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDES.
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