A Family Guide to Visiting Baton Rouge with Kids

guideBaton Rouge is often the forgotten little sister to the big easy, New Orleans, just down the muddy Mississippi River. But the “Red Stick” has a lot to offer locals and visitors alike. We often have festivals and events filling our streets and a variety of local attractions to keep families busy in this beautiful, relaxed city! Once ruled by the French, British, and Spanish, this town is a melting pot of rich culture and history.  As home to the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars, Baton Rouge has pride running thick through its blood and is unstoppable on game day. Former Governor Huey P. Long made sure that Baton Rouge stood out above the rest, building a bridge across the Mississippi River that was too low for ships to pass and a capitol building that was the tallest in the US. Our rich history, culture, and variety of activities will welcome your family and keep you coming back for more! This post is a compilation of some of our favorite destinations, in and around Baton Rouge, that kids and their families will love. Hope it helps you as you plan your trip!

North Baton Rouge

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See the animals at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. With a wide variety of animals including a new tiger, bird, and otter exhibit, there is something for everyone. Stop and eat at Flamingo Café. Then head to the playground and petting zoo for some more fun!

Just outside of the zoo is BREC’s Greenwood Community Park. It is a beautiful, newly renovated park that features a huge lake for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The playground and splash pad are sure to keep kids of all ages entertained. You can also hike around the park and take in all the nature surrounds.

If you are not much of a walker then Hooper Road Mountain Bike Trails and Comite River Park are where you need to be! Over 10 miles of bike trails between the two parks, that wind through woods, over bluffs, and along riverbanks and bayous, these parks will keep novice and experienced bikers happy. The parks are open daily and require no advanced preparation– just a rider, a bike, and a helmet. Happy Trails!

Downtown

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Take a tour of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum. This area located on the banks of the Mississippi River pays tribute to the men and women who fought for the United States military. See a warplane that flew during two wars, view artifacts from infantrymen, and walk aboard the fully restored Navy ship. Be sure to see where it was attacked in 1945 and listen closely to see if you can hear voices of some of the 38 men that lost their lives.

Explore the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum and Irene W. Pennington Planetarium. With something to offer guest of all ages, LASM is a must see when visiting Baton Rouge. From art galleries to a real mummy, from interactive science exhibits to sky shows, families will be entertained for hours. There are even two hands-on learning areas for kids of all ages, including babies and toddlers! Entry is free the first Sunday of each month.

Meet local farmers, bakers, and artisans at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market, which is open every Saturday from 8am-noon. You can get lots of local, seasonal goods to help create a delicious southern meal. Not sure how to cook that southern meal? No problem! You can watch one of the many cooking demonstrations that happen every Saturday. Find a cozy spot and chow down at one of the many eateries located inside the market, while you enjoy the sounds of local musicians. Be sure to let the kids get their tokens to purchase their own goods! On the first Saturday of each month, the Baton Rouge Arts Market joins in the fun showcasing handcrafted, local art including pottery, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and glassworks.

Let the kids play in the Shaw Center for the Arts fountains while enjoying the scenery. Then head to Tsunami restaurant at the top of the Shaw Center for one of the best views in town and watch the sunset over the majestic river.

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Roll down the hills at the Louisiana’s Old State Capitol and take a tour of the inside to see a glimpse of Louisiana’s political past. Be sure to check out the award winning “Ghost of the Castle” to see the tumultuous history of the building.

Go to the top of the tallest state capitol in the United States, the Louisiana State Capitol, and see a 360-degree view of our beautiful city! While inside, look for the bullet holes from when our old governor Huey P. Long was shot right there in the corridor. Bonus if  you can find the fake movie blood that was never washed away. And don’t forget to try and spot the pencil stuck in the ceiling from when a bomb went off! When finished, stroll around the 27-acre perfectly manicured grounds and even catch a view of the governor’s mansion.

Sit on the balcony of Schlittz and Giggles and watch as they throw the pizza dough to make one of the best pizzas in town.

LSU/Mid City area

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Start at Milford Wampold Memorial Park to feed the ducks and geese, then stroll around the LSU lakes. Although the lakes look like a natural beauty set perfectly on the edge of LSU, they were actually manmade out of tupelo-cypress swampland. Donated in 1933, the owners stipulated the land had to be made into lakes and parks for public use and must remain that way forever. To this day this still serve as a beautiful spot for just watching the sunset over LSU! Visit www.batonrougelakes.com for more on the history of the “Big and Little Lake” of LSU.

Visit BREC’s City Park, which offers guest the Baton Rouge Art Gallery, a water fountain for the kids to cool off in, a children’s park, tennis, golf and a Raising Cane’s dog park for our furry family members!

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Walk around Mike the Tiger’s Habitat. With over 15,000 square foot habitat, watch the only live tiger on a college campus taunt the opposing team whose locker room is conveniently located right next to Mike! While you’re there, stroll through the beautiful campus until you find the LSU Dairy Store and get some fresh cheese and ice cream!

Step back in time while you explore Magnolia Mound Plantation. This colonial home and surrounding structures date back to the French Creole’s of the late 1700’s. You can explore on your own or take a guided tour and learn the rich history of this time period, while taking in the beauty of the surrounding stately oak trees.

Have an afternoon snack on the patio of Magpie Café. Using fresh, local ingredients, this is certainly a place to taste! Not what you are looking for? Then head across the street to Zippy’s Burritos and Tacos. Experience the indoor/outdoor dining as the kids color on the chalkboard.

Visit the original Raising Canes Chicken Fingers right outside the gates of LSU. Although Canes is growing in popularity, the “mothership” is located right here in the Red Stick! After a failed business plan for a college class, Todd Graves decided to prove that a chicken finger restaurant could be successful. The rest is history…and dipped in Canes sauce!

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Looking for some delicious cajun food with cajun atmosphere? Look no further than Mike Andersons Seafood. The whole family will love looking at all of the fish tanks that fill the walls. Grilled, fried, or boiled, this is to place to go for good food!

Try some pizza at a Baton Rouge staple, Fleur De Lis Pizza . This family owned and operated restaurant is staying old school and cooking up the same recipe that grandma made famous! Opened since the 80’s this simple menu will have your mouth watering.

South Baton Rouge

Highland Road Park Observatory features a 20-inch reflecting telescope inside the main building’s retractable dome. Every Tuesday – Saturday night they open up the observatory for guest to come and view the skies through the state of the art telescopes. They often have events and lectures on Friday and Saturday’s to help guests become more knowledgeable about our universe.

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Highland Road Community Park is situated in the hills of Baton Rouge and has a lot to offer! From tennis, archery, disc golf, to a slash pad opening Spring/Summer of 2015, this park has something for each member of your group.

In the summertime, be sure to check out Blue Bayou Water Park, Dixie Landing! This large park is a two-for-one deal. Blue bayou features over 20 water attractions, while Dixie Landing has over 29 amusement rides. The two parks sit side by side, and 0ne pass allows patrons to freely move between the two parks.

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See lots of local critters at BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. This 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. You can stay inside and view exhibits from mineral to waterfowl. Or you can head outside to walk over a mile of long gravel paths and boardwalks that make their way through the swamp. You may see turtles, snakes, rabbits, coyotes, foxes, and deer!

Stroll around the Mall of Louisiana to beat the hot Louisiana summer heat! With lots of stores to make any shoppers heart swoon, the mall also features an indoor playground and large carrousel in the middle of the food court.

Burden Museum and Gardens is another must-see in South Baton Rouge. With over 420 acres right in the heart of the Capitol City, this destination will show you the beauty of Louisiana, past and present. The Rural Life Museum will bring you back to southern living during the early 19th century with a large collection from farms, homes, and plantations. The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens is an expansive collection of specialty gardens, woodlands, wetlands and arboreta. Walk between trees along the 5 miles of trails and see the beautiful gardens that will impress any black or green thumb. Windrush Gardens replicates the tranquil gardens of European past. Winding paths amoung the majestic live oaks and creep myrtles, will allow for hours of peaceful strolling.

Surrounding areas

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Take a drive down I12, and visit Global Wildlife for a one and half hour guided wagon safari tour of over 900 acres of beautiful Louisiana countryside. While on this tour don’t expect to see local wildlife. Instead you will see all the animals of an African safari, including giraffes, bison, zebra, camels, and more! And this isn’t your average boring tour. The animals will actually come face to face with you as you feed them. This unique and educational tour will have you wanting to buy a zoo!

Head Northwest to St. Francisville and take a nature walk through Clarke Creek Nature Area also known as Tunica Hills. While technically in Mississippi, it is close enough that you will want to experience the natural hills, creeks, and waterfalls. Put on your hiking shoes, pack a lunch and go see this one of a kind beauty!

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While in St. Francisville, stroll through this quaint little town to see all it has to offer. Voted one of 20 Best Day Trip destinations, you will not be bored! Visit one of the many plantation homes located in and around St. Francisville, including The Myrtles, which is one of the most haunted houses in America. If you get hungry, enjoy lunch on the patio of Magnolia Café.

Looking for some scenic views but a little more local? Be sure to check out BREC’s Frenchtown Road Conservation Area. With over 495 acres, this is one of the largest nature preserves in East Baton Rouge Parish. Frenchtown or “The Land Between Two Rivers” currently has over 3 miles of trails which wind around the north and central parts of the park including access to the Amite River’s Beach, several Amite River overlooks, and access to countless Cypress-Tupelo sloughs.

So as you can see, Baton Rouge has more than enough to keep you happy, exploring, and making memories! While in Baton Rouge, you will get a taste of big city fun without the big city headache. Here, the locals are friendly and southern hospitality is anything but lacking. So pack your bags and fly into our own Ryan Airport or drive right in! Fun awaits you and the whole family!

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2 Responses to A Family Guide to Visiting Baton Rouge with Kids

  1. Pushpendra July 3, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    Wonderful,
    really appreciated, and many thanks for your time towards this fabulous article,

    Best,

    Pushp

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