2018 Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in Baton Rouge

Disclosure :: Special thanks to our sponsors, Bencaz Family Dentistry and Rapid Urgent Care, for making this Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in (and around) Baton Rouge possible!  

2018 Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in Baton Rouge2018 Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in Baton Rouge

With so many entertaining options, no matter what the weather is like, we’re ready for summer fun with this list! When you’re not taking advantage of our Ultimate Guide to Baton Rouge Summer Campcheck out all Baton Rouge has to offer your family this summer!

Outdoor Adventures (When it’s Not Too Hot!)

Bluebonnet Swamp and Nature Center :: a 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. It houses an award-winning, 9500-square-foot building filled with live animal exhibits; photographic presentations of the site’s flora and fauna; natural artifact and mineral displays; and a sizable, vintage waterfowl decoy carving collection. Pick up a snakeskin or inspect an animal skull! See a working beehive and search for the queen! Along the walking path, visitors might see various birds and turtles and even deer and otters! There is a small fee for admission ($2 for children, $3 for adults). Check out their site for a list of upcoming events this summer, including their 20th Anniversary celebration on May 13th!

Botanical Gardens :: Stroll the beautiful floral experiences including the Butterfly Garden, the Sensory Garden and the Rose Garden. Admission is free.

Fishing :: Nothing like the simple pleasure of fishing! Here’s a listing of local lakes and ponds.

Highland Road Park Observatory :: features  20 inch and 16 inch reflecting telescopes! The many free events offered include solar viewing, evening sky viewing, and planet viewing. Each Saturday for a $5 fee ($6 for out of parish residents) children ages 8-12 can attend Science Academy.

Baton Rouge Zoo :: Make a day of visiting our zoo! Experience the animals, ride the train, grab lunch and play on the playground.

BREC Parks :: BREC Parks all across East Baton Rouge Parish offer a safe place for kids to play and explore. There is even free wi-fi available for the mamas wanting to do a little work or relax for a minute while the kids let off their energy. 

Small neighborhood parks with playgrounds are scattered all over EBR. We’ve included links to our favorite BREC parks that offer free and cheap fun. 

  • North Sherwood Forest Community Park is the perfect place to be on any day, rain or shine. The park includes an indoor playground in the air conditioned facility! Outside, the whole family can enjoy walking and bike paths and fishing.
  • City Park located off of Dalrymple, this beautiful space boasts the shade of lovely trees and plentiful structures for kids of all ages to enjoy. The Raising Canes Dog Park is right next door — dog watching always makes for great entertainment as you swing! 
  • Blackwater Conservation Area is a park set aside to protect local wildlife habitats. Take the kids hiking on their trails or fishing in one of their two lakes.

Check out the full list of BREC parks and their calendar of events!

LSU Hilltop Arboretum :: Their fourteen extraordinarily beautiful acres in Baton Rouge showcase an extensive collection of Louisiana native trees and shrubs. Cross the old footbridge overlooking a twenty foot deep ravine and wander into the tranquil “cathedral”, where tree canopies form a green protective room or discover the bamboo grove where you can sit and listen to the wind in the trees.

Mike the Tiger :: Visit the famed Tiger and LSU Mascot in his 15,000-square foot habitat. Geaux Tigers! 

Outdoor Movies :: Grab your lawn chairs! The Main Library at Goodwood hosts Movies at Main, a free movie series. See the schedule here.

Perkins Rowe :: See a movie, have dinner or twirl around the fountain; but Perkins Rowe also hosts a variety of outdoor events! Check their calendar for their next Rock the Rowe or Food Truck Roundup.

Plantation Visits :: Our area has no shortage of beautiful plantations and what better way to spend an afternoon or morning? For a complete list of plantations close to Baton Rouge go here, but Magnolia Mound and Houma’s House are just a few of our favorites. 

Red Stick Farmers Market :: Shop local farmers while teaching your kids where their food comes from and the importance of buying locally every Saturday morning until 1:00pm. Step inside the adjacent Main Street Market to grab breakfast or lunch!

Water Activities (Because it’s Hot!)

Repentance Park Fountains :: Located downtown in front of the Shaw Center for the Arts, these interactive fountains will leave kids jumping for joy. There is also another great fountain for playing and splashing in the North Blvd Town Square.
Cost: FREE

BREC Splash Pads :: There are a few BREC Parks with Baton Rouge splash pads! They are open March – October from 8:00am to 8:00pm
Cost: FREE

  • Greenwood Community Park– This park near the Baton Rouge Zoo in Baker also features a playground, picnic area, golf, disc golf, dog park, walking trails, tennis courts and a fishing lake.
  • Forest Community Park– Off of South Harrell’s Ferry Road with a playground, picnic area, pavilion rentals, recreation center, indoor basketball, tennis courts, baseball field, dog park, walking paths, and a fishing lake.
  • City-Brooks Community Park– Near LSU and offering a playground, picnic area, dog park, tennis courts, baseball & soccer fields, golf course, outdoor basketball court, walking paths, and fishing lake.
  • Highland Road Community Park– In addition to the splash pad, this park also features a playground, archery range, tennis court, baseball field, disc golf, tennis court, indoor basketball, and the Highland Road Observatory.
  • Jackson Community Park– Visit the splash pad at this park in Central. The park also has a playground, picnic areas, baseball field, tennis court, and soccer field.
  • Zachary Community Park– Opened last year, Zachary Community Park splash pad can be activated with a brass push button on the three foot yellow pole located in the splash pad spray area and is practically brand new! There are lots of other amenities like a walking trail as well.

BREC Swimming Pools :: Open May 27 – July 29 from 2:00-5:00pm

Cost: $1.25 per person, per day

BREC’s Liberty Lagoon :: Brand new amenities this season! Liberty Lagoon features water fun for the whole Baton Rouge family and includes slides, the Shockwave, pools, a splash pad, a lazy river and more. Check the website for hours of operation and 2017 schedule. 
Cost: Age 12 months and younger – Free
Under 48″ tall – $10
48″ and taller – $12

Jambalaya Park Spray Pad and Pool :: Located in Gonzales, this park offers both a splash pad and a swimming pool. The splash pad is open from 8:00am to 9:00pm Tuesday through Sunday. If you can’t get to a Baton Rouge splash pad, this is nearby in Gonzales!
Cost: Spray Pad: FREE
Swimming Pool: $5 on weekdays, $7 on weekends

Oak Grove Community Center Splash Pad :: This park has a splash pad, playground, and a sand volleyball court and is located at Hwy 42 and Hwy 73 in Prairieville.
Cost: FREE

Blue Bayou Water Park :: Off of Highland in Baton Rouge, Blue Bayou features more than 20 water attractions including the world’s largest upside down water slide and frequent concerts. Check the website for hours of operation.
Cost: Under 35″ – FREE
36″ – 48″ – $29.99
Over 48″ – $36.99
Age 60 and older – $29.99
Special pricing and season passes available

AquaPards Water Park :: Located in Denham Springs and open Monday – Friday from 10-5, Saturday from 10-6, and Sunday from 12-5.
Cost: Under 30″ – Free
In-District – $5
Out of District – $8

Indoor Activities (When it’s Just TOO Hot!)

Library Summer Reading and Activities :: You need look no further than your local library to keep the kids learning all summer long! Many parish library systems in the Greater Baton Rouge area are offering summer reading programs. Your child can set a reading goal, record the books read, and turn in his reading log to receive prizes or coupons! Pre-readers can participate by having an adult read aloud to them. Moms, this is for you, too. Set a good example, and let your kids catch you reading this summer. Most libraries also have prizes for teens and adults!

Most libraries in the area offer free activities and events for children of all ages. Activities include storytimes, Lego clubs, crafts, hands on science, plays, dance and music performances, and interactive learning programs. More information on the EBR library summer schedule here.

Bowling :: Circle Bowl offers pizza bowl and family bowling packages, as well as galactic bowling; or you can register them here for two free bowls a day during the summer. Other locations include All Star LanesQuarters in Baton Rouge also has a bowling alley, as does Premier Lanes in Gonzales.

The Independence Park Theatre is featuring several kid-friendly (and some are free!) movie showings this summer. Check out the link for more information. 

The Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts is also featuring some kid-friendly showings throughout the summer season. Here is the schedule.  

Indoor Playgrounds ::  BREC’s North Sherwood Forest Community Park has an indoor playground, as do the Mall of Louisiana and the Cortana Mall. And then there’s always Chick-Fil-A! The College, SiegenAirline, MillervilleRange and Gonzales locations all have indoor playgrounds, not to mention a kid-friendly menu complete with free ice cream (if you trade in the toy) with the purchase of a kids meal.

If you’re willing to spend a little money on an entrance fee, you won’t be disappointed with our area’s paid indoor playgrounds! Java Mama in Baton Rouge even has childcare workers supervising children during some hours. Down in Gonzales, there’s Lil Bambinos, which has areas for babies, toddlers and bigger kids up to age 10. Alaina’s Playland in Baker offers free play, parties and other events. Definitely stay in touch via social media with these facilities throughout the summer for special events!

Bouncy Fun :: For inflatables, there’s It’s My Party, Party Playground and Jump N Jive in Prairieville. Or try the trampolines at Area 51. Check in with all these for special events throughout the summer! 

Arcades :: Do you have older kids who love video games? If so, you may want to check out some of Baton Rouge’s arcades. Chuck E. Cheese has locations on Siegen Lane and Sherwood Forest. Celebration Station has a game room with a wide variety of video and redemption games. Quarters has a huge selection of games, as does Premier Lanes in Gonzales.

Skating :: Want to show off your skills on wheels or blades? Skate Galaxy has roller skating and even rock wall climbing.

Laser Tag :: What big kid doesn’t love to play a few rounds of laser tag? In Baton Rouge, there’s a few places where you can play. There’s Laser Tag of Baton Rouge, which has a multi-level arena. Quarters also has a laser tag arena, as does Skate Galaxy.

Uptown Climbing :: Indoor rock climbing is here! They have walls to accommodate all ages, bodies and experience levels and suggest visiting their first visit page and completing the waiver in advance. Also available to reserve group events or parties!

Young Chefs Academy :: This is a unique culinary school that is specifically designed for children of all ages. Check out their calendar for classes, camps and workshops!

Museums and Culture

First Free Sunday at Baton Rouge Museums :: The first Sunday of each month certain museums in downtown Baton Rouge offer free admission which includes:

  • USS Kidd :: a WWII destroyer docked in downtown Baton Rouge. You can walk the decks and see aircraft from the era. Regular admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children.
  • Louisiana Arts and Science Museum :: The museum has art exhibitions that change periodically as well as several permanent science exhibits. The Universe Gallery includes a display of the latest images from the Hubble telescope, and the Ancient Egypt Gallery has a real mummy! Be sure to let the kids play and explore in the two hands-on galleries, Discovery Depot and Science Station. The planetarium offers reduced-priced tickets on the first Sunday. Regular admission to the museum is $9 for adults and $7.50 for children with an additional charge for the planetarium.
  • LSU Museum of Art :: located on the fifth floor of the Shaw building. Explore the 14 art galleries featuring sculptures, paintings, and photography. Regular admission is $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under.

Old State Capitol :: A medieval fortress on the outside with spiraled staircase and an amazing stained glass dome on the inside houses the storied history of Louisiana’s flamboyant political history.

Old Governor’s Mansion :: After visiting the Old State Capitol, walk on down to learn more about the governors who lived here and ruled Louisiana. Kids love learning about Huey’s secret passageway!

State Capitol :: The Observation Deck on the 27th floor overlooks the city of Baton Rouge at a height of 350 feet. The views of the gardens are spectacular. What began as the dream of one man – Governor Huey P. Long – became a symbol. 

LSU Museum of Natural Science :: With holdings of almost 2.5 million specimens, the LSU Museum of Natural Science is among the nation’s leaders in terms of the size and diversity of its research collection. It houses the most active and third largest university-based collection of birds in the world and the largest collection of genetic resources (DNA samples) in the world. 

Rural Life Museum :: Dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of materials from the cultures of 18th and 19th century rural Louisianians, this is a gem in the heart of our city that you don’t want to miss. Get lost in exploration with the whole family in a time gone by. 

Knock Knock Children’s Museum :: Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a community spark for playful, engaging learning experiences that support young children’s success in school and beyond, leading to a better future for all. The weekends at Knock Knock Children’s Museum are filled with fun, creative, and imaginative play. Click here for details to make the most out of your experience if you plan on visiting this weekend.

Worth the Drive

Acadian Village :: Lafayette’s oldest authentic vision of life in 19th century Southwest Louisiana and a showcase of historic homes alongside winding bayous depicting the unique Acadian architecture of the time. A blacksmith shop, general store and two event venues are also located in the village.

Audubon Nature Institute :: With the zoo, aquarium, instectarium and nature center, all in New Orleans, there’s so much to see and do! Visit their site for hours, admission prices and additional event information.

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park :: Located in New Orleans City Park. For more than 100 years, visitors have enjoyed this unique marvel – a beauty featuring “flying horses” and one of only 100 such carousels in the country. The Carousel is the masterwork of famed carvers Loof and Carmel, and has drawn praise from the National Historic Preservation Society. The Carousel is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Global Wildlife Center :: Located a little more than an hour away in Folsom, The Global Wildlife Center is the largest totally free-roaming wildlife preserve of its kind in the country! Home to over 4,000 exotic, endangered, and threatened animals from all over the world and a perfect summer adventure!

Lafayette Science Museum :: Serving as a playful portal into a vast universe of discovery, The Lafayette Science Museum offers a fun, hands-on experience for curious minds of all ages. Located in the heart of downtown Lafayette, the museum houses exhibits and installations that are sure to enlighten and educate while proving that you’re never too old to learn something new – and, of course, have lots of fun in the process.

Louisiana Children’s Museum :: Locate in New Orleans, the Museum’s 30,000 square feet of exhibit space and programs offer children a diverse set of activities that promote learning across many disciplines – from reading and math skills to architectural ideas and the nuances of grocery shopping – through interactive play. 

New Orleans Museum of Art :: New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans’ oldest fine arts institution, opened on December 16, 1911 with only 9 works of art. Today, the museum hosts an impressive permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects. The collection, noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works, continues to expand and grow, making NOMA one of the top art museums in the south.

Tickfaw State Park :: Only 45 minutes from Baton Rouge, this beautiful state park offers easy trails, playgrounds, a nature center, and several camping options.

Other Fun Summer Resources and Lists

Fifty things to do in Baton Rouge this summer

Ten places for water fun in New Orleans

Tips for Visiting New Orleans With Kids

Happy Summer!

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