Folklore, rhythmic Zydeco and Cajun music, smooth jazz, and spicy cuisine all make Louisiana an interesting and unique place to explore. Combine these with varied landscapes that include rambling prairies, white sand beaches, and circuitous bayous, the state of Louisiana offers plenty for families with kids to do, see, and experience. The historic city of New Orleans and Cajun Country, also known as “Acadiana,” are particularly fascinating and fun destinations for families, offering attractions for people of all ages.
1.Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is situated along the Mississippi in New Orleans, Louisiana, located adjacent to the French Quarter. Immersing visitors into the underwater world, the aquarium offers families hours of fun getting up close to a wide variety of aquatic life. A walk-through tunnel brings the colorful Great Maya Reef to life, while Southern sea otters and penguins delight visitors. Visitors can also marvel at huge rays and sharks in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit and touch stingrays at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The facility is also home to the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-861-2537
The Audubon Insectarium and Butterfly Garden is located on Canal Street in New Orleans inside the United States Custom House. The unique attraction encourages visitors to use all of their five senses as they explore the large museum in North America dedicated to insects, as well as their relatives. Kids can learn how insect’s are the planet’s building blocks of life, shrink to the size of a bug, see thousands of butterflies in the Asian Garden, participate in an active audience for a bug award show, and explore a Louisiana swamp among several other activities at the Audubon Insectarium.
423 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-524-2847
3.Audubon Nature Institute Park
© Audubon Nature Institute Park
The Audubon Nature Institute Park is situated within the historic uptown area of New Orleans, Louisiana. Audubon Park has become a popular spot in the city for picnics, recreation, and simply enjoying the nice weather on a sunny day. For over one hundred years, people have visited the urban oasis featuring playgrounds, picnic shelters, a lagoon, a peaceful jogging path extending almost two miles, and alleys of ancient live oaks. Open 5:00am until 10:00pm, the park also includes soccer fields, riding stables,the Whitney Young Pool, tennis courts, the Audubon Golf Club, and the Audubon Clubhouse Cafe.
6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, Phone: 504-581-4629
© Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo is located at the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans’ historic Uptown area and is home to an exotic assortment of animals found throughout the world. The zoo also offers lush gardens, hands-on encounters with several different animals, and engaging educational programs. Visitors can explore award-winning and unique natural habitat exhibits at the Audubon Zoo, such as the Jaguar Jungle and the Louisiana Swamp, showcasing the relationship between nature and people. There are also daily animal presentations, feedings, and chats, along with a variety of animals that include Amur leopards, white alligators, orangutans, and many other species.
6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, Phone: 504-581-4629
5.Baton Rouge Zoo
The Baton Rouge Zoo is a modern zoo that teaches the importance of environmental awareness, sustainability, and conservation. The “Realm of the Tiger” exhibit is the zoo’s main exhibit, immersing visitors in the nature of Asia and includes Siamang gibbons and tigers, as well as a rock garden, a koi pond, and an aviary guests can walk through featuring Asian birds. Other animals that call the Baton Rouge Zoo home include alligators, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, Aldabra and Galapagos tortoises, Chilean flamingos, and otters. There is also the KidsZoo, the Safari Playground, and the Cypress Bayou Railroad for kids.
3601 Thomas Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70807, Phone: 225-775-3877
6.Natchitoches Alligator Park
The NatchitochesAlligator Park is a one-of-a-kind destination in the state of Louisiana that allows guests to come and explore the exciting, mysterious, and unique world of American Alligators just outside of the town of Natchitoches. The park provides eight acres of authentic Cajun countryside with Cajun cuisine, Cajun music, and plenty of world-famous “Joie de Vivre” that Louisiana is known for. Of course, there are many alligators as well. Visitors can feed alligators, touch them, and even take a picture with them. Kids and adults alike can take in the thrilling experience of “Alligator Island,” surrounded by numerous huge gators.
380 Old Bayou Pierre Rd, Natchitoches, LA 71457, Phone: 318-354-0001
7.BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
The BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana encompasses a little over one hundred acres and is dedicated to tourism, recreation, education, and conservation. The facility is home to an award-winning building of 9,500 square feet that houses a variety of live animal exhibits, mineral and natural artifact displays, a working beehive, photographic presentations of fauna and flor, and a vintage, sizeable collection of waterfowl decoy carvings. More than a mile of boardwalks and gravel paths link the various habitats at the BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, including hardwood forests, beech-magnolia, and cypress-tupelo swamp.
10503 N Oak Hills Pkwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70810, Phone: 225-757-8905
8.Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
The Carousel Gardens Amusement Park has been a unique marvel in New Orleans for over one hundred years, drawing visitors every year to experience the “flying horses” of the beautiful carousel, one of just one hundred carousels like it in the United States. The Carousel at the amusement park is even listed on the country’s National Register of Historic Places and is a masterpiece of Loof and Carmel, famed carvers. The Carousel Gardens Amusement Park in New Orleans City Park is also home to a variety of other rides and attractions, including a ferris wheel, a drop tower, and a roller coaster.
7 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124, Phone: 504-483-9402
9.Children's Museum Of Acadiana
© Children's Museum Of Acadiana
The Children's Museum Of Acadiana houses a wide assortment of exhibits designed for allowing families to learn, create, and play. Children are encouraged to discover and explore the world through interactive, hands-on participation throughout the museum. Architecture Alley offers a base for kids to discover the “designer” inside as they build with dominoes, Legos, and Kapla blocks. Wee Acres provides a farm-themed activity area made for toddlers, while the Bubble Factory lets kids experiment by creating bubbles of different shapes and even standing inside of one. Children's Museum Of Acadiana is open every day except for Mondays.
201 E. Congress St, Lafayette, LA 70501, Phone: 337-232-8500
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10.Children's Museum of Lake Charles
© Children's Museum of Lake Charles
The Children's Museum of Lake Charles is the only attraction of its kind anywhere between Lafayette and Houston. The museum offers more than twenty-one thousand square feet of space of exploration across three floors in the historic building, located in the middle of downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Children's Museum of Lake Charles houses more than 45 hands-on, interactive exhibits, providing families with an abundance of opportunities to play, learn, and interact. Children can learn about the local water system with the Southwest Louisiana WaterWorks exhibit, or learn about the local wildlife in The Louisiana Wetlands among many other exhibits.
327 Broad St, Lake Charles, LA 70601, Phone: 337-433-9420
11.Creole Nature Trail
The Creole Nature Trail is home to more than four hundred species of birds, alligators, and marshlands full of life. Visitors can also experience Cajun culture, crabbing, fishing, and approximately twenty-six miles of natural beaches along the Gulf of Mexico along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, extending over 180 miles in length. Affectionately referred to as “Louisiana’s Outback” the trail is one of the country’s forty-three designated scenic byways and provides an adventure into onf the “Last Great Wildernesses” in the United States. There are many different ways for people to experience the nature of Southwest Louisiana, including kayaking and airboats.
1205 N. Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA 70601, Phone: 337-436-9588
The Cypress Zoo is situated within the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation Park in Benton, Louisiana, spread across approximately seven acres and encompassed by sweet gum, pine, and oak trees. Established in the year 1998, the Cypress Zoo offers guests an excellent learning environment that heightens visitors’ respect and understanding of the animals that call the zoo home, as well as the surrounding area. A smaller and more tame zoo than most, animals found at the Cypress Zoo include peacocks, horses, turkeys, pigs, and deer. The Cypress Zoo is open from 8:00am until 4:30pm Tuesday through Saturday.
135 Cypress Park Dr, Benton, LA 71006, Phone: 318-965-0007
13.Gators & Friends
© Gators & Friends
Gator and Friends is home to around 150 alligators, a petting zoo full of exotic animals, go-karts and more. As the largest adventure park within the region of Northwest Louisiana, this unique destination offers families with kids hours upon hours of fun. Visitors can speed around the track in high-performance go-karts on the Gator Raceway, zipline above the gator-filled swamp habitat, and get up close and personal with over thirty different exotic animals. The adventurous Zipline Course takes around an hour and takes guests over exotic animals, through the woods, and end with a side-by-side , 750-feet run above the alligators.
11441 US Hwy 80, Greenwood, LA 71033, Phone: 318-938-1199
14.Global Wildlife Center
© Global Wildlife Center
The Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana is one of the country’s largest completely free-roaming wildlife preserve. Home to more than one thousand threatened, endangered, and exotic animals from throughout the world, the wildlife center provides a unique chance for both children and adults alike to spend a day viewing and learning about a wide variety of animals they otherwise may not be able to see. The Global Wildlife Center also offers a safari tour that lasts approximately an hour and fifteen minutes and takes visitors on a journey across more than nine hundred ares of Louisiana countryside.
26389 Hwy 40, Folsom, LA 70437, Phone: 985-796-3585
15.Gone Wild Safari
© Gone Wild Safari
Gone Wild Safari offers guided safari tours, a playground, and a petting zoo, making it one of the premiere family attractions in central Louisiana. Hundreds of different exotic species of animals call the grounds of the wildlife preserve home, with several of these animals roaming freely within their habitats like they would be found in the wild. In addition to the safari tour, people of all ages can have fun with shopping, food, animal feeding experiences, the petting zoo, and much more. The petting zoo is where the most well behaved, cuddliest, and sweetest animals can be found.
805 Hooper Rd, Pineville, LA 71360, Phone: 318-787-6902
16.Jean Lafitte National Park
© Cindy Miller Hopkins Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
The Jean Lafitte National Park invites visitors and locals alike to discover and explore the rich cultural mix of New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area. The park allows people to view alligators from the banks of a bayou, learn about Cajun traditions, and step back in time to the Battle of New Orleans that took place in 1815. Six different and unique sites make up the Jean Lafitte National Park: the Barataria Preserve wetlands, the Chalmette Battlefield, the French Quarter Visitors Center, the Acadian Cultural Center, the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, and the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center.
419 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-589-3882
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17.Louisiana Arts and Science Museum
© Louisiana Arts and Science Museum
The Louisiana Arts and Science Museum is a beautiful educational and architectural space, featuring several soaring windows inviting guests to come in and explore the numerous exhibits inside. The Planet Tower streated over two stories in height and includes giant models of the planets built to scale, with the Sun represented by the planetarium dome. Within the tower is a model of Saturn and its rings, fifteen feet wide, along with a bowling ball-sized model of Earth. Along with several other exhibits dedicated to space, including actual images of space, visitors can also explore the Ancient Egypt Gallery.
100 River Rd South, Baton Rouge, LA 70801, Phone: 225-344-5272
18.Louisiana Children's Museum
© Louisiana Children's Museum
There are numerous different paths for visitors to take through the Louisiana Children's Museum, which houses several different fun, hands-on exhibits in which kids and their families can learn while having fun. The Outdoor Adventures exhibit area allows children to discover while they call it the “Great Outdoors,” providing kids with drums, tunnels, and more. Dig Into Nature lets children explore how plants, water, and animals work together in the world, while the Follow That Food exhibit area provides a space for kids to act out being a chef or learn where their food comes from.
15 Henry Thomas Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124, Phone: 504-523-1357
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19.LSU Museum of Natural Science
© LSU Museum of Natural Science
The Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science aims to educate the public of the Baton Rouge community, the state of Louisiana, and beyond through lecture programs and a variety of exhibits. The facility is divided into two different parts: the research collections utilized by scientists and the public science exhibits with both biological and habitat exhibits. The LSU Museum of Natural Science is the only comprehensive research museum of its kind within the south-central region of the United States and one of the largest natural history museums in the country, home to more than 2.5 million specimens.
119 Foster Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, Phone: 225-578-2855
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20.Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum
© Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum
The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is home to several fascinating and fun exhibit area for children to explore and learn. The Kid’s Cafe offers a restaurant environment in which kids can experience what it is like to be a chef, dishwasher, or server, with the kitchen area stocked with everything they need to prepare a pretend meal. The Discovery Hospital provides children with a change to be a pharmacist, nurse, or doctor as they listen to a giant heart beating or work in the mini NICU. Other exhibit areas at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum include The White House and the Baby Bayou.
323 Walnut St, Monroe, LA 71201, Phone: 318-361-9611
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21.Palmetto Island State Park
The Palmetto Island State Park is located along the Vermilion River and offers a true experience of the great outdoors of southern Louisiana. The boat launch in the park provides opportunities for boating and fishing, while kayakers and canoers can float down the lagoon for a close up look at native animal and plant life. Six cabins are available at the Palmetto Island State Park for overnight visitors, with each one able to comfortably sleep as many as eight people. There are also RV and tent camping sites. The Visitor Center complex includes a bathhouse and water playground.
19501 Pleasant Rd, Abbeville, LA 70510, Phone: 337-893-3930
© Shreveport Aquarium
The Shreveport Aquarium is a place where visitors can discover the wonders of the underwater world, traveling through the vividly colored coral reefs, tropical lagoons, dark ocean caves, and creaking shipwrecks. The aquarium offers an opportunity for getting up close and personal with jellyfish, rays, sharks, and a number of other fascinating sea creatures in one of the several touch tanks. The unique domed freshwater gallery showcases diversity and variety, and guests can also visit strange creatures of the deep, lurking in the dark. SALT, the aquarium’s restaurant, provides a bite to eat and amazing river views.
601 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, LA 71101, Phone: 318-383-0601
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23.The Alexandria Zoo
© Thomas Kraus/stock.adobe.com
The Alexandria Zoo consists of several different habitat areas for visitors to explore and to learn more about the many interesting animals that call the grounds home. The 3.5-acre Louisiana Habitat features the culture, industry, architecture, fauna, and flora of Louisiana, with the state’s uplands, swamps, and marshes represented through that natural habitats exhibit areas for white-tailed deer, red wolves, black bears, otters, spoonbills, alligators, and more. The Asia area lets visitors meet clouded leopard, tigers, Siamang apes, and a variety of birds. Other habitat areas at The Alexandria Zoo include the African Experience and the Australian Walkabout.
3016 Masonic Dr, Alexandria, LA 71301, Phone: 318-441-6810
24.The Lois Loftin Doll Museum
© The Lois Loftin Doll Museum
The The Lois Loftin Doll Museum is a unique thing to do in Louisiana with kids. Albert "Dutch" and Lois Loftin spent more than forty-eight years collecting the more than three thousand dolls displayed within the museum, which is located inside the old Kansas City Southern Depot. This collection includes rare collectibles and antiques from throughout the world, and visitors should allow for plenty of time if they want to see the entire collection. The Lois Loftin Doll Museum is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
120 South Washington Ave, DeRidder, LA 70634, Phone: 337-463-6217
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25.Zoosiana: Zoo Of Acadiana
© Zoosiana: Zoo Of Acadiana
Zoosiana: Zoo Of Acadiana, home to 130 species and more than 750 animals, is an exciting place for people of all ages to visit. Naturally shaded walking paths traverse across the forty-five acre zoological park, taking visitors to see animals from all over the globe call Zoosiana home. The Petting Zoo is particularly fun attraction for kids, allowing them to hand-feed and pet chickens, pigs, cows, donkeys, horses, deer, goats, and even llamas. The Zoo Of Acadiana also provides guests with an opportunity to feed giraffe and parakeets during their visit. Other attractions include the Safari Express and the Jungle Room.
5601 Highway 90 E, Broussard, LA 70518, Phone: 337-837-4325
25 Best Things to Do in Louisiana with Kids of All Ages
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Photo: nd3000/stock.adobe.com
- Audubon Insectarium, Photo: iloli/stock.adobe.com
- Audubon Nature Institute Park, Photo: Audubon Nature Institute Park
- Audubon Zoo, Photo: Audubon Zoo
- Baton Rouge Zoo, Photo: NancieLee/stock.adobe.com
- Natchitoches Alligator Park, Photo: miami2you/stock.adobe.com
- BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, Photo: Miguel/stock.adobe.com
- Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Photo: LUGOSTOCK/stock.adobe.com
- Children's Museum Of Acadiana, Photo: Children's Museum Of Acadiana
- Children's Museum of Lake Charles, Photo: Children's Museum of Lake Charles
- Creole Nature Trail, Photo: CrackerClips/stock.adobe.com
- Cypress Zoo, Photo: goldencow_images/stock.adobe.com
- Gators & Friends, Photo: Gators & Friends
- Global Wildlife Center, Photo: Global Wildlife Center
- Gone Wild Safari, Photo: Gone Wild Safari
- Jean Lafitte National Park, Photo: Cindy Miller Hopkins Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, Photo: Louisiana Arts and Science Museum
- Louisiana Children's Museum, Photo: Louisiana Children's Museum
- LSU Museum of Natural Science, Photo: LSU Museum of Natural Science
- Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, Photo: Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum
- Palmetto Island State Park, Photo: misu/stock.adobe.com
- Shreveport Aquarium, Photo: Shreveport Aquarium
- The Alexandria Zoo, Photo: Thomas Kraus/stock.adobe.com
- The Lois Loftin Doll Museum, Photo: The Lois Loftin Doll Museum
- Zoosiana: Zoo Of Acadiana, Photo: Zoosiana: Zoo Of Acadiana
- Cover Photo: James Litsey/stock.adobe.com