Barataria Preserve

Three turtles on a log enjoy the sunshine
As you stroll the Barataria Preserve trails, look for snakes, turtles, and alligators swimming through waterways or sunning themselves on logs and bayou banks.


Wetlands Walk - 10:00 a.m.. every Wednesday through Sunday. Join a ranger for a guided walk on a boardwalk trail through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Stop by the visitor center to find out which trail the day's walk will explore. No walk on federal holidays when the visitor center is closed. Free.

Citizen Science Workshop - 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, August 12. The workshop is for ages 16 and up. The workshop is free, but registration is required. Register by calling 504-689-7611 ext. 14 or via email (follow the link). Workshop participants will learn to identify and track seasonal changes in nature that may demonstrate how storms, climate change, and rising sea levels affect Barataria Preserve plants and animals. Join a volunteer team of citizen scientists that will collect data for national and regional research projects and help scientists answer questions such as

  • Are warming temperatures causing trees to leaf out early?
  • Are native and invasive species responding differently to climate change?
  • Is climate change affecting tropical bird migration to the Gulf Coast?

Learn more about the research projects at Nature's Notebook and at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Phenology Network.

Ready, Set, Eclipse! - 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, August 19. Get ready to view the Monday, August 21, solar eclipse with a little help from Jean Lafitte. In south Louisiana, about 75% of the sun will be covered by the moon's shadow, but it's still not safe to watch directly. At the visitor centers for Jean Lafitte's Barataria Preserve, Chalmette Battlefield, and French Quarter sites, there'll be materials to make your own pinhole projector plus fascinating facts about eclipses on display. Follow the link to learn more about the solar eclipse.

Explore & Restore family fun - 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the following Saturdays: August 19, September 16, October 14, and November 18. Join a park ranger for a guided "inspiration walk" on a boardwalk trail, then create a craft from recycled materials. Children ages 4 and up are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Program is free but space is limited so reservations are required; call the visitor center at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 to sign up. Reservations for each program open on first day of program month. Here's an Explore & Restore flier pdf to download, print, and share.

Better Health BaYOU - 10:00 a..m.-2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 21. Fresh air and fun for the whole family with dance and exercise classes, games and hands-on activities, healthy lifestyle tips, and wetlands walks. Free. More details soon---in the meantime, learn about the Barataria Preserve's Active Trails program.

Hunting at the Barataria Preserve - Applications for preserve hunting permits will be taken Wednesday, September 6, through Sunday, October 1. Follow the link for complete information about the preserve hunting program and how to obtain a permit.

Important information:

  • A section of the Plantation Trail and the final few hundred feet of the Ring Levee Trail are closed for repairs. Follow the link for the preserve trail map and information about trails.
  • Never approach, harass, or feed alligators. Remember that they are wild animals and can move very quickly. You can find more information about safety and outdoor activities at the preserve at the safety page.
  • Although canoeing and kayaking have been favorite Barataria Preserve activities in the past, most waterways are currently impassable due to several years of heavy growth by aquatic vegetation. The National Park Service is working to secure funding for longterm waterways management. At this time, do not plan to canoe or kayak in the preserve; information will be posted here if the situation changes.
  • Pets are only allowed in parking areas and on the deck at the visitor center; pets in these areas must be on a leash and a human must be on the other end of the leash. Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles; pets in vehicles must have a human in the vehicle with them. Please clean up after your pet. Although service animals assisting people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments are welcome everywhere, note that the presence of wildlife may mean that service animals may not be comfortable on preserve trails.


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). 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. 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. Follow these links for the park's calendar of events, exhibits, and programs; for directions and transportation options; and for accessibility information.

6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point) (If you use a GPS system, doublecheck it with the map since not all systems find the preserve successfully)
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 28, in 2017). 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. Links to useful information like maps, public transportation, pets, permits for special uses, etc., are available on the basic information page; there's also information about the preserve at the Barataria Preserve Frequently Asked Questions page.

Special programs by reservation:

  • Ranger-led programs and field trips for schools and other groups by reservation.
  • You are welcome to bring your group and explore the preserve on your own (admission is free). For a fun activity for your self-guided group, try Barataria Bingo! (download the pdf at the link). Curriculum-based materials and other activities suitable for self-guided groups are available at the link. Please call the preserve at 504-689-3690 ext. 25 about your group's plans whether or not you plan to request a ranger program; this will allow us to alert you to possible other large groups visiting the preserve on the same day you are planning to come.
  • Girl and Boy Scout programs by reservation.
  • Summer camps for kids - sorry, all 2017 summer camps are full. See you next year!

Learn about

  • plants and animals in south Louisiana---remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with research and management. You can also use the eBird kiosk in the visitor center to find out what birds have been sighted where and to report your own sightings or to plan your visit to the preserve.
  • education offerings, including field trips, free downloadable curriculum materials, and more.
  • in May 2013, Jean Lafitte teamed up with National Geographic for BioBlitz 2013 at the Barataria Preserve, a 24-hour blitz of scientific discovery that attempted to inventory as many of the preserve's plants and animals as possible. The BioBlitz page also has links to National Geographic science and nature webpages.
  • the Active Trails program and how you can participate.
  • research at the Barataria Preserve.
  • wetlands restoration projects and management challenges at the preserve, including waterways management and the geocrib and Yankee Pond project.
  • more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
  • the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.

Last updated: August 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

419 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70130


(504) 589-3882

Contact Us