Need someplace new to discover? Just across the Lake in New Orleans East, lies the newly refurbished (and continuously blossoming) Audubon Nature Center. While it’s not new to many of us from around here, it has been out of commission for nearly a whole generation of children and parents, since it took an extreme hit, along with everything else, with the flooding following Hurricane Katrina.

They left a lot of the signage from before Katrina.

 

Brand new signage for the Discovery Trail.

Originally a community project for the Junior League of New Orleans, it opened it’s doors in 1980. In 1994, the Audubon Institute took over and it thrived until 2005. It has been carefully tended and the experience that it now provides is just terrific. Gates finally opened in the Fall of 2017 and I finally went back to the beautiful serenity I remember visiting with my family, with my own son.

Here is the low down!

When Is the Louisiana Nature Center Open?

DAILY from 8am-4pm, for the trails and the Interpretive Center is open usually around 10. There is also tons of extras at various times- like a Planetarium! Their full hours are found here.

Where is the Louisiana Nature Center Located?

11000 Lake Forest Boulevard, New Orleans, LA  70127

How Much Does the Louisiana Nature Center Cost?

FREE!!!! You read that right! Free! The Planetarium has a cost and the field trip/ educational component. But the trails are free as well as the Interpretive Center. 

What Should You Expect at the Louisiana Nature Center?

Whether you want to off road on the dirt trails or just stroll the boardwalk there is a trail for everyone. The Interpretive Center is a huge facility with tons of biofacts out on display and in drawers you can discover. Pelts, skulls, eggs, nests, skeletons, turtles, frogs, a snake, and a tank with a crawfish habitat  with a “gopher hole” for the littles (or short parents) to peek inside! (Seriously, we went in at the beginning and then again at the end; so much to explore!) 

Well that’s a weird looking crawfish!

 

Lotus, Queen of the Crawfish Tank.

 

A few of many species’ pelts on display.

 

Meteorites!

My son is 4 and we go camping and hiking around a lot, so the “unimproved” trails (just dirt but carved out and maintained) are usually our first pick. I didn’t think about the rain the night before, for our spontaneous visit so sneakers and top-siders only got us so far. They aren’t kidding when they post signs about it being muddy!

After the second sign, we turned back. Next time, we bring mud shoes.

 

They had mud scrapers at the trail head for those who brave the Adventure Trail!

So we stuck with the boardwalk. It was beautiful. Dragonflies everywhere, berries, caterpillars hard at work, lizards, lots of lizards! We got there around 10:30, so most wildlife is done with the morning activity but we saw plenty of signs they were not far. There were a lot of benches to stop, sit, and observe this tranquil place. I won’t lie, you do hear the interstate a bit and air traffic, but it’s not that distracting and, I promise, the birds don’t mind and, thankfully, don’t get drowned out.

Where will this lovely boardwalk take us?

We live in Slidell so it was all of maybe 30 minutes for us to get there. We will definitely go again and again. The whole time I was so sad my husband wasn’t with us, but was excited about our next trip when we’d go with our mud proof footwear, all three of us. 

https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/nature-center/explore-nature-center

Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
11000 Lake Forest Boulevard
New Orleans, LA  70127
(504) 581-4629 or (800) 774-7394

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Gigi

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