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. Note that the preserve visitor center will be closed (but trails will be open) Thursday, January 8, through Sunday, January 11; all staff will be working at the Battle of New Orleans bicentennial (come join us!).
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. No walk Thursday, December 25, Friday, December 26, or Thursday, January 1; visitor center closed for federal holidays. Also, no walk Thursday, January 8, through Sunday, January 11; see note about Battle of New Orleans bicentennial closure above.
- 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. No talk Thursday, December 25, Friday, December 26, or Thursday, January 1; visitor center closed for federal holidays. Also, no talk Thursday, January 8, through Sunday, January 11; see note about Battle of New Orleans bicentennial closure above.
- Summer camps for kids. See you in 2015!
- 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.