• Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh

    Jean Lafitte

    National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana

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  • Columbus Day Closures

    All park sites closed Monday, October 13, for Columbus Day. Follow the link for information about park hours and days and about access to the Barataria Preserve and Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery on holidays. More »

Barataria Preserve

Image of ruby-throated hummingbird hovering in the air
Bird alert: Fall migration is underway! Summer residents like ruby-throated hummingbirds will soon be heading south for the winter, and other birds will use the preserve as a stop on their journey or as a winter destination. Join a preserve bird walk or wetlands walk and find out what our feathered friends are doing in this busy time of year.

Important information:

  • Never approach, harass, or feed alligators. Remember that they are wild animals and can move very quickly.
  • If you plan to kayak or canoe, check with the rangers at the visitor center or call them at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for a waterways update. Vegetation grows quickly on preserve waterways and can make them difficult to canoe through, so it's a good idea to check first to find out about waterway conditions.

National Public Lands Day Volunteer Event - Make a different to YOUR public lands on Saturday, September 27, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Click here to find out what's happening and how you can join in.

Special program: Wildflower Walk - If you're an aspiring plant geek (or already one), join a local plant expert to find out what's blooming in the wetlands and learn some basic botany. Saturday, October 4, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free but space limited so reservations required. Call the preserve visitor center at 504-698-3690 ext. 10 for reservations.

Special program: Beginners Bird Walk - It's fall migration time in the wetlands! Learn to find and identify preserve birds by sight and by sound, then join the worldwide birding community with a lesson in how to use the park's eBird kiosk to report sightings. For beginners age 10 and up, but all skills level welcome. Saturday, October 18, 8:00-10:00 a.m. Free but space is limited; call the preserve visitor center at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations.

Special program: Creatures of the Night Bat Program - Join Dr. Craig Hood of Loyola University to learn about the natural history, ecology, and conservation of bats. Dr. Hood has studied bats for 30 years (10 of them at the Barataria Preserve) and will share his knowledge of how bats use the area. Following his talk, get a quick course in how bat biologists study bats, including listening to the bat call detector. Saturday, October 25, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Free but space limited so reservations required; call the preserve visitor center at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations by Tuesday, October 21.


The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 200 species of birds (learn more about preserve wildlife here). Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve; check out the trail map, enjoy a self-guided tour, or explore with a cell phone tour. Waterways can be explored by canoe or kayak; hikers and paddlers can check out the preserve map here. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs. The center's museum store has books, music, children's books, insect repellent, field guides, and more on sale. Admission to the preserve is free. Click here for directions and program listings for specific dates.

6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point)
504-689-3690 ext. 10
Visitor center is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17, in 2015). Parking lots are open for access to trails daily including federal holidays 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. except on Mardi Gras, when the preserve is completely closed. Useful information about public transportation, regulations on pets, etc., is available here. Specific information about the preserve is at the Barataria Preserve Frequently Asked Questions page.

Events and programs

  • Field trips for schools and other groups by reservation.
  • Girl and Boy Scout programs.
  • Wetlands walk 10:00 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Join a ranger for a guided walk through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Stop by the visitor center to find out which trail the day's walk will explore. Free.
  • Ranger's choice talk 2:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Nature, human history, fascinating critters, emerging ecological challenges: there are a lot of stories in Louisiana's wetlands! Depending on weather and topic, 15-minute talk will either be at the visitor center or on the Visitor Center Trail; stop by the visitor center just before 2:00 for location update. Free.
  • Summer camps for kids. See you in 2015!

Learn about

  • BioBlitz 2013, a 24-hour blitz of scientific discovery, that was held at the Barataria Preserve on May 17 and 18. You can learn more about this partnership between the National Park Service and National Geographic here. The BioBlitz page also has links to National Geographic science and nature webpages; stay tuned for information about number of species counted, what the park will do with the information that was discovered, etc.
  • the Active Trails program and how you can participate.
  • research at the Barataria Preserve.
  • more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
  • the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.
Image of green tree frog clinging to plant stem

Take another look at that plant stem you're passing: is that a green tree frog camouflaging itself in the vegetation?

Wanda Lee Dickey

Follow the link to learn about animals and plants in south Louisiana and remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with park research and management.

You can also follow the results of BioBlitz 2013 (May 17-18), a 24-hour attempt to inventory as many of the Barataria Preserve's plants and animals as possible. Find out about what BioBlitz learned and what the park will do with the information at the BioBlitz page.


Did You Know?

Young opossum riding their mother's back.

The opossum is North America's only native marsupial! The female will carry young in her pouch for 2-3 months and then on her back another 1-2 months. A female will usually have 7-8 babies, and each one latches onto one of 13 teats in her pouch.