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 9, in 2016). 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.
- 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.
- Summer camps for kids. Sorry---all 2016 camps are full. See you next year!
- 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.
- more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
- the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.