Cypress Island Preserve :: An Easy Nature Trail With Kids
Despite having lived in Acadiana for most of my life, I had never been to nearby Lake Martin to visit the Cypress Island Preserve. It was only a short 20-minute drive from my house in Lafayette. There is a 2.5-mile levee trail, and the preserve is a nesting site to many species of birds, including the beautiful pink colored roseate spoonbill. If your kids are into looking for wildlife in nature, then this is a great spot to take them.
The Levee Trail
The levee trail is easy to walk, but it is not paved so it’s better to leave the stroller at home. We decided not to do the whole 2.5-mile trail this time, but the portion we did walk was easy enough. The trail is shaded by large Spanish moss-covered trees, and you can see the cypress trees sticking up through the swamp.
Cypress Island Preserve is a great opportunity to learn about the unique plants and animals that make their home in Louisiana. Some of the wildlife that can be found at the preserve are egrets, herons, spoonbills, alligators, and more. We didn’t see any gators on our trip, but I can’t wait to go back and see what birds and reptiles we see next time. We’re planning to bring our binoculars next time for better bird watching. According to the volunteer in the visitor’s center, some birds start nesting in December, but if you want to see the spoonbills head there in March.
The Visitor’s Center
The visitor’s center has a gravel parking lot and is located near the trail head at 1264 Prairie Hwy, St. Martinville, La. There is also a covered pavilion with a bathroom and picnic tables if you want to bring your lunch with you. Don’t forget to stop inside the visitor center for more information on the wildlife that lives here. There were alligator skins to touch, bird nests, crawfish mounds, and more to observe inside. My girls even got to choose a feather to bring home.
Note: according to their website, the visitor center is staffed during the weekends and sometimes during the weekdays in their spring busy season.