We have dozens of family travel tips on New Orleans Mom because we LOVE to get out and about and explore Louisiana and the surrounding areas. Whether it’s a quick day trip to Fontainebleau State Park for outdoor fun, an outing to enjoy indoor fun at Lynn Meadows in Mississippi, or a field trip to see Avery Island, home of Tabasco, we have you covered! If you are looking for longer adventures, check out this list of budget friendly road trips from New Orleans.
Worth the Drive: Cajun Pride Swamp Tour
My son’s kindergarten class recently took a trip to Cajun Pride Swamp Tour in LaPlace. I got to attend as a chaperone, and I was pretty excited since I haven’t been on a swamp tour since my own elementary school field trip days!
Getting there was a really easy drive from our school in Kenner. My son and I boarded our boat and took our seats right at the front with a perfect view of the swamp. The captain let us all know that we could definitely expect to see alligators and, if we were lucky, some other animals, but added the disclaimer that the quietest boats usually see the most animals. As a boat with over twenty noisy kindergarteners, we knew not to set our expectations too high, but we definitely got some great animal sightings!
I had been a little worried about getting motion sick, but we had a smooth ride with no trouble at all. Our boat glided through the swamp passageways lined with beautiful trees, Spanish moss, cypress knees, and other scenic views. Before long, we noticed alligators popping from every angle, lazily swimming over to check out our boat. The captain tossed marshmallows to encourage them to swim closer. The kids were beside themselves with excitement, especially when the big ones got close. I eventually lost count of just how many we saw– they were everywhere! In some of the clearings, we saw pairs of raccoons and even a couple of wild boars. Our captain told us they sometimes see white-tailed deer, but our boat was perhaps a little too noisy for that. Occasionally, we spotted fish or snapping turtles swimming alongside us.
Besides the wildlife, we learned about the “lost” town of Frenier and the Manchac Swamp, seeing a grave site from 1915 in a clearing with alligator skulls. Our captain explained how a lot of the historic items were destroyed in Hurricane Ida, but they’re working to replicate or replace what was lost. He was so knowledgeable about the swamp and wildlife along the way! He showed the kids preserved snakes in jars that he keeps on the boat, along with a big net full of live crawfish that he had caught just the other day. But the tour’s highlight was when he brought out a baby alligator for everyone to pet. My brave boy was thrilled to hold it for a minute!
The tour was a little over an hour long. Back on land, we ate lunch at the picnic tables, visited the gift shop, and checked out the baby alligator tank before heading home. I imagine going on a regular tour (and not with a class) would allow more opportunities to see even more animals, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return on my own with my other kids! If you want to “play tourist” in your own area and shake things up a little, head on down to Cajun Pride Swamp Tours and see what’s living and swimming in your own backyard!