These 23,000+ acres managed by the National Park Service offer a glimpse of Louisiana's wild wetlands just minutes from New Orleans. Boardwalk and dirt trails and canoeable waterways wind through hardwood forest, marsh, and swamp. Over 200 species of birds call the preserve home for at least part of the year, and alligators, nutrias, white-tailed deer, swamp rabbits, armadillos, and many other creatures can be seen in the woods and along bayous. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the MIssissippi River built this delta area and help visitors gain a deeper understanding of the importance of "America's wetlands."
- French Quarter Visitor Center (Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve)
- Prairie Acadian Cultural Center (Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve)
- Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center (Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve)
- Barataria Preserve (Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve)
Opportunities for activities include walking/hiking nearly 10 miles of boardwalk, paved, and dirt trails (most boardwalk and paved trails are accessible to wheelchairs and to strollers), bird- and wildlife-watching, and canoeing bayous and canals. Wildflowers bloom year-round but are particularly spectacular in spring. Ranger-guided walks are offered Friday through Monday at 10:00 a.m.; special ranger programs are offered throughout the year (see park website for details). Junior Ranger program encourages children to participate in activities and earn a badge. Visitor center offers displays, interactive exhibits, and a film. Group programs are available by reservation. The Environmental Education Center offers school field trips.
The Barataria Preserve Visitor Center is open year-round Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed on federal holidays. Preserve parking lot gates are open for trail access every day 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. including federal holidays. The preserve is completely closed on Mardi Gras.
Visitor center, environmental education center, and most boardwalk and paved trails are wheelchair accessible.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are not allowed at the preserve except in parking lots and on the visitor center deck. Although service animals are welcome everywhere, note that alligators see other animals as prey, so it may not be advisable to take them on trails.