Spring wildflowers are in bloom, frogs are calling, migratory birds are returning from their travels, and alligators are looking for romance. It’s the perfect time to visit the wetlands of the Barataria Preserve! Join National Park Service rangers and volunteers for Spring in the Swamp, a weekend of free fun for nature lovers and families on the preserve’s Bayou Coquille Trail. Spring in the Swamp is Saturday-Sunday, April 6-7, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Barataria Preserve. The preserve, one of six sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, is located at 6588 Barataria Boulevard in Marrero near Crown Point. More information is available at 504-689-3690 or at www.nps.gov/jela.
Activities each day on the Bayou Coquille Trail:
- Hands-on activity stations – At the touch table, get your hands on furs and skulls or peer through a microscope for a close-up view of the wildlife in the preserve. Catch and identify small water critters through dip netting. Discover the importance of water quality and how it is monitored. Experience migratory bird happenings at the preserve and find out why it’s important.
- Ranger guided walks at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m; meet at the Bayou Coquille Trail parking lot.
- Park rangers and preserve volunteers will be on the trails to point out sights of interest and answer questions.
- Especially for kids: visit the Junior Ranger Zone at the touch table to earn a Junior Ranger badge.
The Barataria Preserve is managed by the National Park Service as part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. It contains 23,000 acres of forest, swamp, and marsh and is home to alligators, egrets, deer, and other delta species. Exhibits at the visitor center highlight Louisiana’s wetlands through videos, interactive audio and computer programs, and habitat dioramas. An education center provides school programs and summer youth camps. Admission to the center and to most programs is free. The preserve visitor center is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed on federal holidays). Parking lots are open for trail and picnic area access daily 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.