Louisiana State Arboretum State Preservation Area
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The Louisiana State Arboretum is large--more than 300 acres of natural growth, embellished with additional plantings of species that are indigenous to the state. Atypical of the terrain in the Louisiana prairieland, the topography of the Arboretum is varied and dramatic. The landscape ranges from nearly flat along the Walker Branch of Lake Chicot to relatively steep slopes along the terrace ridges. Due to this great variation in topography, almost every type of Louisiana vegetation, except coastal marsh and prairie, is represented on the site.
A Visitor Center, located within Chicot State Park and dedicated to the memory of J.D. "Prof" LaFleur, an outdoor enthusiast instrumental in establishing the Arboretum, houses interactive exhibits and meeting facilities. Nature trails take you deep into the wooded areas and longer trails take you along Walker Branch or Ferguson's Gully where several of the footpaths converge. If you walk the trails quietly, you'll discover that sycamores, maples, beeches, magnolias, hickories, ferns, and crane fly orchids are not the only living things in the arboretum. There's a good chance that you'll encounter some two-and four-legged critters, too: white-tail deer, wild turkey, raccoon, opossum, fox, skunk, squirrel, and numerous species of birds.
Botanists, horticulturists, college students, youth groups, solitary nature lovers, and people of all ages are all attracted to this beautiful and fascinating place. No matter how you walk along the trails--whether carefully, with the attentive eye of a scientist, or at full tilt with the carefree heart of a child--the Louisiana State Arboretum promises to be a memorable experience. Enjoy and please remember--take only pictures, leave only footprints.
Chicot State Park - The park covers 6,000 acres of rolling hills and includes a fish-rich 2,000-acre reservoir. Picnicking, swimming in the Olympic-sized pool, hiking, bicycling, and birding are popular activities. Also available are 200 improved campsites, backpacking camps, primitive group campsites, 27 vacation cabins, three lodges, nature/hiking/backpacking trails encircling the lake, playgrounds, and pavilions.
Prairie Acadian Cultural Center-Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve (250 W. Park Ave., Eunice) - The Center depicts the heritage of the Prairie Acadians.Artifacts, exhibits,and live demonstrations portray aspects of this unique culture.
Acadian Town of Ville Platte (On US 167 and LA 10 north of US 190) - Ville Platte means "flat town" in French. Its strong agrarian and Cajun traditions and cultural influences can still be found in the spoken French and the music and food of the area.
Historic Town of Opelousas (At the intersection of US 190 and I-49) - The Confederate capital of Louisiana during the Civil War, it was also the boyhood home of the legendary Jim Bowie.
Historic Town of Washington (On LA 103, just west of I-49) - Once the largest steamboat port between New Orleans and St. Louis, the town preserves its 19th-century architecture and offers an antique mall and shops.
Zydeco Cajun Prairie Scenic Byway - The byway traces the historic towns, musical traditions, andculture of the Prairie Acadians.
Liberty Theatre/City of Eunice (200 W. Park Ave., Eunice) - "Rendez-vous des Cajuns" is a Saturday night live radio show featuring Cajun & Zydeco music in the style of the Grand Ole Opry.
Acadiana Park Nature Station (1205 E. Alexander St., Lafayette) - More than three miles of trails takes visitors through the meeting of two ecological systems - Gulf Coastal Tallgrass Prairie and the Mississippi River Floodplain.