Things to Do With Kids: Central Louisiana

A mingling of cultures, a wealth of history and a beautiful landscape make central Louisiana a hit with parents and children alike. Here are some of our top family-friendly picks in the region.

Visit the zoo in the Alexandria Louisiana

The Alexandria Zoo will keep the whole family entertained while learning about exotic animals.

Shore Fishing

Take the whole family fishing at the North or South Toledo Bend State Parks.

Kisatchie National Forest

Spend an afternoon outdoors, get some fresh air and have some fun in the protected wilderness of the Kisatchie National Forest.

The swath of land cutting through central Louisiana is both an outdoor paradise and a keeper of history. Take your little ones camping, fishing and hiking in some of the best wilderness in the state. Home to the oldest town of the Louisiana Purchase, central Louisiana brings history to life.      

Kid-Friendly Wildlife Attractions 

Alexandria Zoo: Experience the wild animals of Asia and Africa, take a stroll through the Australian Walkabout, see native South American wildlife or simply get an up-close look at the creatures lurking in Louisiana’s backyard. Hop on the zoo’s train, let the kids burn off some energy on the playground, grab a bite in the Palm Café and hit the gift shop on your way out. A top family-oriented attraction in central Louisiana, the Alexandria Zoo should make the top of your to-do list.

Gator Country Louisiana: Looking for a real, live alligator experience? Find one right outside of Natchitoches at Gator Country Louisiana, a swamp-side park with alligators, caimans, tortoises and more. Kiddos will love befriending animals at the petting zoo, spotting snakes in the reptile house, watching colorful birds in the aviary and romping through the Rocky Raccoon Resort. 

Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium: The only federal fish hatchery in Louisiana offers a rare opportunity to see largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish raised to stock National Wildlife Refuges and federal waters, plus alligator gar, alligator snapping turtles, freshwater mussels and other recreational species across 53 ponds. An onsite aquarium features more than a dozen tanks filled with local fish, alligators and turtles, plus a wood duck display, replica Caddo Indian village and mock archaeological dig site.

Gone Wild Safari: In Pineville, get up close with a variety of exotic animals at Gone Wild’s petting zoo; search for gemstones, minerals and fossils at the Mining Company; see colorful birds at the Toucan Pavilion, let some energy out at the playground, and grab a treat at the concession stand.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

Kisatchie National Forest: Louisiana’s only national forest features more than 604,000 acres of land waiting to be explored. Hike or bike its trails, canoe or kayak its rivers, cast a line for fish, take a horseback ride or enjoy a scenic drive to spot grand vistas, rippling waterfalls and hidden caves. And the best part? You can set up camp to enjoy even more adventures the next day.

North South Toledo Bend State Parks: Nestled on opposite ends of one of the country’s largest man-made reservoirs, these two state parks offer camping, hiking, biking, birding, pools, lake swimming and boating along with beautiful waterfront views. Be sure to bring your fishing gear, too. Toledo Bend Reservoir is nationally known for top-notch bass fishing! 

River Paddle Rentals: Operating near the old Oxbow Marina, this couple-owned and family-friendly standup paddle-boarding (SUP) outfit provides everything you need to explore the area’s waterways.  All rentals include a paddle, leash and life jacket. Delivery service is available, or choose inflatable boards that easily fit in your car.

Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports:  Located on the Cane River in Natchitoches, Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports offers kayaks, hydrobikes and stand-up paddle boards for rent. For a more leisurely activity, take a ride on the the Cane River Queen.

The T.R.E.E. Children's Museum & CM Farms

T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum: This hands-on children’s museum in Alexandria provides hours of educational fun and entertainment for kids and young teens, through exhibits and programs that explore science, math, social studies and the humanities. A children’s TV studio, bank exhibit, dress-up center, mini-mart, replica doctor’s office, toddler corner and more keep wee ones busy all day.

CM Farms: This farm in Dry Creek has spring and fall activities for the whole family. Celebrate springtime on the farm and go berry picking for Strawberry Harvest Days, enjoy Easter egg hunts, a May Day picnic or release butterflies for Mother’s Day. During the fall, get lost in a maze, pick pumpkins, and crunch kettle corn. And of course, there are always farm animals to be seen.

 

Looking for more kid-friendly adventures? Find family fun in North Louisiana and South Louisiana or get inspired with family-fun trip ideas.