Are you looking for fun things to do with your kids in Louisiana’s capital city? I’ve got you covered. From its entertaining water parks and zoo to its educational museums, Baton Rouge is buzzing with excitement, and it’s all served up with a dose of Southern hospitality.
Whether you want to spend most of your time getting to know Louisiana’s rich history or venture out on a swamp tour, there are plenty of Baton Rouge family activities for you.
Meet the Animals of the Baton Rouge Zoo
Home to over 800 animals from all over the globe, the Baton Rouge Zoo was the first zoo in the state of Louisiana to receive accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Some of the most famous residents are the eastern black rhino, Malayan and Sumatran tigers, pygmy hippo, maned wolf, and spectacled bear.
A day at the zoo is fun for kids of all ages. Your family can enjoy fish-feeding stations and a petting zoo for a more hands-on, interactive experience. The Cypress Bayou Railroad offers a train ride around the zoo’s perimeter. If you prefer to see everything on foot, this animal-packed zoo is small enough to walk comfortably in around two hours.
Have a Blast at Blue Bayou Water Park and Dixie Landin’
If you’re heading to Baton Rouge during summer’s hottest months, be sure to stop by Blue Bayou Water Park to cool off. You’ll feel like you’re swimming in the ocean at Hurricane Bay’s water pool, and you can float along peacefully in the lazy river. If action and adventure are more your style, there is a vast assortment of water slides and exhilarating drop slides for your family to enjoy.
Since your tickets gain your family admittance to the water park and the amusement park, wrap it all up with a quick stop at Dixie Landin’. The amusement park features a Ferris wheel, a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, and everyone’s favorite: roller coasters.
Make Learning Fun at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum
The Louisiana Art & Science Museum, located in a historic railroad depot, features a number of fascinating displays and interactive exhibits. Your kids can see a mummy in the Ancient Egypt gallery, get up close to a triceratops skull — his nickname is Jason — and visit Tower Planet, which is over two stories tall and houses replicas of the planets.
Kids ages seven and under will have a ball in the Discovery Depot, which offers an interactive play area, toys, train sets, and miniature kitchens. Children 7-12 will enjoy the Science Station, where they can test out different scientific hypotheses with engaging, action-based activities.
See the Stars at the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium
Your museum ticket also gives you access to the planetarium, so why not take in one of their incredible shows? The planetarium frequently plays programs about the stars, but they also show movies featuring scientific topics. If your family has any interest in the stars, the planetarium is not to be missed.
Get to Know Swamp Country
For families who enjoy outdoor activities, a trip to the swamps is a must. Bluebonnet Swamp is a gorgeous area of marshland home to foxes, rabbits, deer, and other native wildlife you may get to see if you hit the trails. The main building hosts numerous exhibits that make learning about Louisiana’s wildlife fun as well as educational.
If you’re willing to take a short drive out of the city, you can explore the Atchafalaya Basin as part of a tour or on your own. And if you’d like to see the swamp from a safe distance, there’s an 18-mile bridge spanning the area that offers an unforgettable view.
Travel Back in Time
There are several plantations you can tour in the Baton Rouge area that can give your kids a realistic glimpse into what life was like hundreds of years ago. The three I recommend are:
- The Myrtles Plantation: Located in nearby St. Francisville, this antebellum plantation is rumored to be one of the most haunted homes in the country. If your kids love spooky things, the Myrtles Plantation is definitely worth the short drive.
- Magnolia Mound Plantation: The stunning grounds main points of interest are the open-hearth kitchen and slave quarters, but the main house itself is also a beautiful example of Louisiana architecture.
- LSU Rural Life Museum: Visit the Plantation Quarters, home of gorgeous 19th-century buildings, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and more. There’s also a barn exhibit with artifacts used by rural residents in the 19th century.
Tour a Naval Destroyer
Located in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge, the USS Kidd, a World War II naval destroyer, now serves as a museum dedicated to those who served in the war. The ship was restored to its former glory and features real artifacts from 1945, giving kids a look at history in a more authentic setting.
Visiting the nearby Veterans Memorial Museum is a fantastic way for kids to learn about how veterans have contributed to the country. You’ll find medals on display as well as model ships, airplanes, and more. You can also stop by the eternal flame in the Louisiana Memorial Plaza if you want to pay your respects.
Enjoy the Arts at the Shaw Center
Bring out your child’s inner artist with a trip to the Shaw Center for the Arts is home to the LSU Museum of Art. The museum holds over 6,500 items in its permanent collection in addition to temporary exhibits, and it is the only museum in the city dedicated strictly to the arts.
One of the most instantly recognizable pieces in their permanent collection is George Peter Alexander Healy’s Portrait of a Lady in a Black Gown. Another fun feature of the LSU Museum of Art is the courtyard, which has fountains that allow children to splash and play as water shoots up from the ground.
Take Your Kids to School
The LSU campus is one of the most exciting places in Baton Rouge. Home to beautiful lakes with rental kayaks and canoes, it’s a great place to get your kids out in nature. Be sure to visit Mike the Tiger, LSU’s mascot, while you’re on campus. Mike has plenty of room to roam; he lives in a swanky 15,000 square foot enclosure.
If you’re a sporty family, check out the Andonie Museum, dedicated to LSU’s sports teams, to see trophies and other exhibits sure to please any sports fan. It’s open year-round, so you don’t have to worry about which sport is in season.
Experience Ancient Native American History
The LSU Campus Mounds are ancient ceremonial sites constructed by local Native Americans during the Archaic Period. They are at least as old as 5,000 years, and some estimates put their age at roughly 11,000 years old, which means they predate Egypt’s Great Pyramids. Some archaeologists believe they are the oldest surviving man-made structure in the entire world.
The campus mounds used to be a favorite spot for tailgating parties, but they’re now roped off during home games. Even though they’re ancient landmarks, visitors are permitted to walk and play on the mounds as long as they do so respectfully.
Baton Rouge has a thriving culinary scene, a vibrant college campus, unique museums, historical homes, and one of the most fascinating ecosystems in the world. No matter what your family is interested in, you’ll find plenty of Baton Rouge family activities in Louisiana’s capital.
As you can tell from this guide, Baton Rouge is a city that lends itself to lots of walking, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes! I personally would go with sneakers, and pop my little ones in their baby moccasins. Save the high heels for date night when the baby sitter is on duty.