Things to Do With Kids in North Louisiana
Find the perfect balance of big-city fun and outdoor appeal at these top family-friendly attractions in northwest Louisiana.
North Louisiana is wild and scenic, dotted with beautiful state parks, lakes, bayous and forests. Bring your family to explore nature at its finest, where you can spot wildlife while hiking trails or pitch a tent to sleep under the stars. Then venture into the cities of Shreveport-Bossier City, Ruston and Monroe to test your science knowledge, discover the roots of Coca-Cola bottling or smell the fragrant roses.
Kid-Friendly Wildlife Attractions
Shreveport Aquarium: This aquarium is home to over 1,000 creatures made up of over 300 different species of marine life, ranging from turtles and eels to seahorses and jellyfish. Get up close with cool creatures in one of the many touch tanks, handfeed stingrays, observe shark feedings and more. At the Red River Treasure Mine, hunt for treasure, gems, fossilized shark teeth, and ancient marine specimens then learn about them with field experts.
Gators and Friends Adventure Park and Exotic Zoo: In Greenwood, near Shreveport, explore the largest adventure park in northwest Louisiana. Catch a glimpse of an estimated 150 alligators at feeding time, plus zipline over a swamp and zip around a Go-Kart track. Then visit the park’s calmer side, where you can feed and pet more than 30 types of exotic animals in a natural setting.
Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo: Over in Monroe, immerse yourself in more than 80 acres of landscaped grounds that house more than 400 animals from 200-plus species, plus more than 1,000 species of plants. There are lions and tigers and bears, sure, but don’t miss the zebra, bison, elk, baboons and a large number of birds and reptiles. The Hall of Small features interactive exhibit devoted to the world of insects.
Outdoor Activities for Kids
Lake Claiborne State Park: Lounge on the sandy beach and play in the pristine waters of Lake Claiborne whether you’re swimming, fishing, boating or water-skiing. Take a nature hike through hilly trails or try your hand at one of the top two ranked disc golf courses in the state. When you’re ready to call it a night, two-bedroom cabins are nestled among the pines, many offering great views of the lake.
Chemin-A-Haut State Park: Scenic and serene, this park is situated on a high bluff over Bayou Bartholomew, which you can enjoy by renting a boat or fishing from your waterfront cabin. As one of the state’s most kid-friendly state parks, it features two playgrounds, swimming and wading pools, horseback riding, camping and picnic areas.
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge: This Wildlife Refuge sits on a 1,700-acre lake and offers a pier and boardwalk for great views. Rent a canoe, or if you’ve got some landlubbers on your hands, check out the Conservation Learning Center with live animal exhibits and the arboretum or prairie demonstration area with native plants and wildflowers.
Red River National Wildlife Refuge: This Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City features a Nature Discovery Play Area, a small nature-themed playground that includes a tree house, faux fishing boat, balance beams, hollow logs, and more. Explore the grounds on one of the many trails or stop by the Visitor Center.
Family-Friendly Things to Do
Sci-Port Discovery Center: Sci-Port is a massive 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center in Shreveport where little ones can journey through the universe in the Space Dome Planetarium, settle in for a dynamic film in Louisiana’s only IMAX Dome Theater or learn about science, math and astronomy on two levels of interactive exhibits.
American Rose Center Gardens: Home to the American Rose Society’s national headquarters, Shreveport boasts the nation’s largest park dedicated to roses. Wander the gardens and see and smell the beautiful roses all around you. Visiting hours are seasonal.
Poverty Point UNESCO World Heritage Site: Long before today’s residents inhabited northeast Louisiana, a sophisticated group of people built earthen ridges and mounds along the banks of the Mississippi River considered nothing short of an engineering marvel at the time. Learn about these ancient people and the culture they created thousands of years ago by touring the grounds and interactive museum of this Smithsonian affiliate near Monroe.
Biedenharn Museum & Gardens: Home to the first bottler of Coca-Cola, this interesting site in Monroe offers tours of the historic house and grounds, a Coke Museum full of memorabilia and exhibits, and the lovely ElSong Gardens featuring indoor and outdoor spaces filled with plants, art and more. Regular concerts and special events take place year-round as well.
North Louisiana Military Museum: This Ruston museum is for those history-loving kiddos. See equipment, including arrowheads and Native American Pre-Civil War relics, and firearms from World Wars One and Two; Chinese, Korean Japanese and Italian uniforms; medals, pins, badges and even aircrafts and artillery.
Mitcham Farms: Visit this large peach orchard in Ruston for fresh hand-picked peaches and homemade products. Take a tour or stop by the Peach Store and grab goodies like fruit preserves and pepper jellies, or grab a peach cobbler mix to make back at home.