While there are tons of things to do with kids in Lafayette, sometimes it takes getting away from it all to appreciate life at home again. Maybe you are looking for a vacation that is within driving distance of Lafayette, or perhaps you are looking for an easy day trip outing with kids (might we recommend Avery Island?!). Lafayette Mom is here to share ideas of enjoying life in Louisiana with kids. It’s easy to forget there are great places to visit right here in our home state, including Shreveport! Keep reading below to find out why it is the perfect weekend getaway!
Shreveport: The Perfect Weekend Getaway!
It’s easy to forget to be a tourist in your own state. Louisiana may be a smaller state in comparison to others in the United States, but it is rich in culture and diversity! Depending on where you go in the state, the city has a completely different feel. Many travel through Shreveport on their way to Texas or Arkansas. As one of the largest cities in Louisiana, you are missing out if you don’t put the Shreveport Bossier area on your list of places to visit. Shreveport is truly a melting pot being so closely located to Texas, and Arkansas, and having the Barksdale Aire Force Base in Bossier. There is a rich history of music! Here are the places you have to check out on your next trip to Shreveport.
- Norton Art Gallery: Norton Art Gallery doubles as an art museum and has beautiful grounds to get in touch with nature! It is particularly gorgeous in the Spring with countless azalea bushes. It’s perfect for a walk, picnic, or to go read a book. Plus, there is no admission! They have several events throughout the year for the whole family.
- The Shreveport Aquarium: The Shreveport Aquarium is perfect for younger kids! This aquarium allows guests “to hand-feed the stingrays, touch the moon jellies, sea stars, anemones, and more.” They also have seasonal events throughout the year.
- Sci-Port Discovery Center: This was a favorite of mine as a child and continues to be now that I have my own children. It gives children a hands-on experience of science that is a blast for the whole family! They even have an IMAX theatre where nature documentaries and other popular movies are shown.
- Betty Virginia Park: Betty Virginia is perfect for a picnic, or walk, and has an awesome playground!
- Gators and Friends: Gators and Friends is fun no matter how you are! There is an Exotic Petting Zoo where you can feed and pet all sorts of animals, a zipline, alligators, and ride go-karts.
- The Louisiana Boardwalk: If you love to shop and go out to eat, this is the perfect stop for you! The Louisiana Boardwalk is located right off the Red River in Bossier City. There are countless shops, restaurants, a movie theatre, and even a casino.
- Artspace: “Artspace is Shreveport’s first Arts Center dedicated to the Creation, Production, Presentation, Promotion and Exploration of all of the art disciplines and forms for multi-generational audiences. Artspace is not a museum or a gallery, rather it is a place where the public can connect to the arts in wonderful, new, and exciting ways. Artspace features Art Exhibitions, Interactive Arts/Crafts Events, Event Venue Space, a giftspace stocked by Northwest Louisiana Artists, and anything else that can be Imagined!”
- The Robinson Film Center: This smaller movie theatre features mostly independent and classic films! Abby Singer’s Bistro is a restaurant on the second floor of the film center and features the only public dining balcony downtown. It overlooks Texas Street and is perfect when the weather is nice!
- The Strand Theatre: “The Strand Theatre is a performing arts venue in Shreveport, Louisiana. Originally opened in 1925 as an opera/movie palace, it was renovated and reopened in 1984 as the performing arts venue it is today. The Strand presents touring Broadway productions, concerts, dance and much more!”
- Sanctuary Art School’s Studio: Learn the art of glass blowing!
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium: This music venue is rich in history! This venue hosts big name musicians and comedians from all over the world.
Restaurants to Try!
- Lowder’s Baking Company: This local bakery has a full bakery menu of Breakfast Pastries, Cinnamon Rolls, Fresh Breads, Desserts, Cookie Cakes, and King Cakes!
- The Missing Link: Get your craft hot dog and beer fix all at one place.
- Ki Mexico: Enjoy local award winning Mexican food and live music at Ki Mexico! This is a local favorite.
- Giuseppe’s Pastacaffe: This Italian restaurant is the perfect cozy, date night spot!
- Great Raft Brewing: Great Raft is the best local brewery in town with several events throughout the year.
- Sweetport Ice Cream
- The Mabry House: If you are looking for a fancy date night, this restaurant will not disappoint! Enjoy a candle lit dinner in an “elegant Victorian atmosphere.” This is by far one of the best restaurants in the city.
- Rhino Coffee: Love supporting local and coffee? Get your caffeine fix at their Uptown or Downtown locations.
- Superior Steakhouse
- Zuzul Coastal Cuisine: “ Zuzul Coastal Cuisine is a new seafood restaurant concept by local chef, Gabriel Balderas. Our menu focuses on fresh, sustainable dishes inspired by coastal Latin America as well as classic favorites.”
- Fat Calf Brasserie
- Marilynn’s Place: This restaurant has a great atmosphere and events, and is dog friendly!
- Strawn’s: This local favorite is perfect for the family! This diner is known for its ice box pies and is “one of three oldest restaurants in Shreveport at 76 years young.”
- Herby-K’s: Herby-K’s has been owned by the same family since 1936. This local and historic “hole in the wall” is a must. Ty their Shrimp Buster!
- Johnny’s Pizza: Try this local favorite!
- Dripp Donuts: Try their handmade sourdough donuts and kolaches!
Festivals and Events
- Crawfest: “The first festival of its kind ever to be held in Shreveport’s historic Betty Virginia Park, Crawfest is a celebration of food, music, and community.”
- Cork Wine Festival: “Receive a signature CORK wine glass, a gift bag, and spend the afternoon socializing and tasting from a selection of over 100 wines and impeccable bites from local eateries. Wine experts will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Live music, raffle drawings, and fun await at CORK!”
- Stuffed Shrimp Festival: “This festival includes music, historical presentations, food trucks, vendors, arts and crafts, and a kid friendly play area!”
- StoryTellHers, Vol 2: “SAVE THE DATE! And get ready to come out and celebrate Female Filmmakers at this special event. During this one-night only showcase, viewers will get to enjoy a program filled with stories BY women and FOR women, curated by Filmmaker Kristi J. Woodard.”
- ShrevePride: ShrevePride is an awesome organization that does several events throughout the year for the LGBTQ+ community like the ShrevePride Field Gay, Quest: LGBTQ+ Music and Art Festival, and Shreveport Q-Prom.
- Shreveport Little Theatre: Shreveport has an amazing local theatre community!
- Prize Fest 2023: Don’t miss out on this Film, Food, Music, Fashion, and Comedy Festival that happens each year in the fall!
- The Red River Revel: The Red River Revel is a nine-day festival located right off the Red River! This festival is known for its food, music, hand-crafted art, entertainment, and kid friendly activities.
- Highland Jazz and Blues Festival: “Enjoy live music at the always unique and funky “party in the park” with the Highland Jazz & Blues Festival presented by Louisiana Healthcare Connections. This FREE annual event features local and national jazz and blues artists, great food, and local artwork in the historic Columbia Park in Shreveport, Louisiana!”
- Shreveport Farmer’s Market: Support local farmers with the largest Farmer’s Markets in the state of Louisiana.
- Shreveport Brew: “Octoberfest… Louisiana style! Drink, eat, drink some more, dance to live music and pass a good time while you drink a lil bit.”
- Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park: This park has events throughout the year! Their most recent event was Owl Night. “Owl Night has lots to do for all ages. You can meet LIVE OWLS, create owl-inspired art, go on a guided night hike, catch owl storytime with Shreve Memorial Library or a naturalist presentation by local experts, then relax by the fireplace with complimentary hot chocolate and make-your-own s’mores.”
- The Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show: “The Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show and Open House is a two-day annual event drawing just over 100,000 people from the local, regional and national area. Performers from all over the country vie to perform at the bi-annual event, bringing not only their entertainment value but also notable economic impact of their crews and key personnel. The public gains free public access to the base to tour the military installation, watch the military and aerobatic performances, and engage with both aerobatic performers and military pilots for autographs and hands-on education of aviation. People of all ages are allowed up close and personal access to our country’s fighting air power and vintage warbirds on static display. The show usually features a headlining act, along with other military and aerobatic aircraft and performers.”