Fiona Young-Brown

Louisiana, A Cajun Classroom

 
 

Fiona Young-Brown
Published April 01, 2017

Louisiana is filled with great experiences for students and youth groups that are both fun and educational. From hands-on science centers and acres of roaming African wildlife to chances to explore the state’s Cajun and bayou heritage, the hardest thing for group leaders may be narrowing down all the options.

Below are five Louisiana destinations that would be ideal for your next school or youth group visit.

 

Acadian Village

Lafayette

Acadian Village charts the history of the French settlers whose descendants would go on to be modern-day Cajuns. The site is home to a collection of 19th-century buildings that includes not just houses but a blacksmith’s workshop, a general store and a doctor’s museum. Acadian Village director Thomas Gotte said the attraction provides visitors with “a glimpse into the past.” The nonprofit that operates the village also uses the proceeds to benefit the local special-needs community.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the buildings and grounds. Or, a guided tour is available from one of the local volunteer guides. Groups looking for something a little more immersive might be interested in combining a guided tour with an educational workshop. The most popular of these explores Cajun music and dance, but other workshops let students try games of the bygone era or making bousillage, the traditional clay and straw material that provided wall insulation in the settlers’ homes.

www.acadianvillage.org

Sci-Port Discovery Center

Shreveport

Whether it’s a shark dissection for high-school seniors or an introduction to the planetarium for younger kids, the Sci-Port Discovery Center can create the perfect program of activities for every group. Tara Burton, the center’s community engagement manager, said the on-site registrar can work directly with teachers and group leaders, helping to tailor each visit to a specific interest and age.

Sci-Port prides itself in offering a memorable experience.

“Unlike most museums where you can’t touch anything, what makes Sci-Port so cool is that it’s very hands-on,” said Burton. She noted that there are so many events and demonstrations taking place that the schedule changes daily, constantly offering something new and different.

The center features an Imax Dome theater, screening a selection of two or three films at any one time. Groups have the option of selecting any film from the center’s extensive catalog for viewing. The exhibit “BodyWorks” is dedicated to the study of the human body, and the Red River Gallery showcases the river’s natural and cultural history.

Groups typically range in size from 10 to 100, and the busiest time for student visits is April and May.

www.sciport.org

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