Editor’s note: The following feature was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check times, dates and openings before venturing out to any museums, businesses or attractions.
Tucked in the northwestern corner of Louisiana, Shreveport offers a mixture of southern and Cajun flare where families can visit for intrigue, underwater fun, animal adventures, sporting events and more.
“Shreveport-Bossier is such a great destination for multigenerational fun,” said Stacy Brown, president of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “Families can take advantage of a full day of activities or an exciting weekend getaway. There’s food, experiences and events offered year-round that caters to the interests of everyone.”
As the Texas-Louisiana border reopens and as cases of the new coronavirus decline, those looking to make a day trip can find family fun in Shreveport.
Sci-Port Discovery Center, the Shreveport Aquarium, Gators and Friends Adventure Park and Splash Kingdom Waterpark offer opportunities for the whole family to come together for fun, Brown said. Additionally, some festivals like the upcoming Red River Balloon Rally have made modifications to their plans, but will continue in some capacity, out of an abundance of caution amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
Sci-Port Discovery Center is a 92,000-square-foot space in Shreveport that offers interactive science exhibits for children, a planetarium and an IMAX dome theater. The children’s museum has been closed this spring, but tentatively plans to reopen June 5.
When it reopens, attendees will be able to visit the nation’s first Gallery of Intrigue at the museum. This gallery will feature “Adventures of Intrigue,” which is comprised of eight STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) based activities, and “The Power of Three,” a 1,000-square-foot interactive mural.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Sci-Port Discovery Center’s members, guests and the community,” Nicole Ginsburg, founder of Museum of Intrigue, said in a media statement. “The Gallery of Intrigue model seeks to marry education and gaming in a non-intrusive, functional way using existing institutional spaces, such as exhibits, play zones and public areas.”
Sci-Port, located at 820 Clyde Fant Parkway, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 per person. For more information, visit sci-port.org.
Splash Kingdom Waterpark and the Shreveport Aquarium both offer water-based fun.
Splash Kingdom, located at 7670 W. 70th St., opens June 6 for the season, which runs through September. The water park features thrill slides, a wave pool, lazy river, children’s area and more.
“Every summer, families look forward to all the water fun they have to offer,” Brown said.
The water park has free tubes and life vests available for visitors. For more information, visit www.splashkingdomwaterpark.com.
The Shreveport Aquarium is home to more than 3,000 creatures, ranging from seahorses to sharks.
“This is an underwater world of wonder,” Brown said. “You can touch jellyfish and starfish, walk through tunnels of aquariums, and get up close and personal with sharks.”
The aquarium is now reopen. Tickets are $15 for adults and children 13 and older. Tickets are $13 for children 12 and younger and free for children 2 and younger. Masks are required for all guests over the age of 5. The museum is located at 601 Clyde Fant Parkway in downtown Shreveport. For information, visit www.shreveportaquarium.com.
The aquarium is also offering full-day camps from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a full week, Monday through Friday and begin on June 15th. This camp is great for young scientists or kids who love animals and the ocean. Campers get behind the scenes animal experiences, get to make food for an feed the animals, along with everything else that makes camp great like games, craft, slime, and smores.
Meanwhile, Gators and Friends also offers families an opportunity to get up close and personal with animal friends. Gators and Friends features more than 150 alligators, an exotic animal petting zoo, pony rides, a zipline and go-karts. Brown described it as “an all-in-one fun experience.”
Gators and Friends is located at 11441 U.S. 80 in Greenwood between Marshall and Shreveport. Like the other attractions, it is also temporarily closed. The summer season is tentatively scheduled May 25 through Aug. 5, according to the Gators and Friends website. For more information, visit gatorsandfriends.com.
The fifth annual Red River Balloon Rally is converting its popular summer festival into a picturesque overflight for the community to enjoy from their homes or their cars. The event is scheduled June 12-13, weather-permitting, in Shreveport-Bossier.
“I remember reintroducing the Balloon Rally five years ago, and the community was overjoyed with the balloons coloring the sky. Although COVID-19 hijacked many of our spring and summer plans, our team and sponsors thought it would be best to offer our community a cheery sense of ‘feel good,’” said Kelly Wells, executive director of the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. “This overflight will give us all an opportunity to look into the sky and see brighter days ahead as we plan for 2021.”
Winds are the deciding factor in whether balloon pilots will take off from various locations and soar across downtown Shreveport and central Bossier City. However, the Balloon Rally plans to launch balloons at the following dates and times: 6 p.m. June 12, 7 a.m. June 13 and 6 p.m. June 13.
For more details about the Red River Balloon Rally, visit redriverballoonrally.com.
Shreveport’s hockey team, the Mudbugs, had their 2019-2020 season suspended this spring amid COVID-19 concerns. However, the hockey team is preparing for its 2020-2021 season. While the season schedule has not been released yet, it typically begins in September.
The Shreveport Mudbugs hockey team is a part of the National American Hockey League. The new Mudbugs first took to the ice in 2016, after replacing a former professional team that played in the area from 1997-2011.
Mudbugs hockey games annually attract hundreds of spectators from Louisiana and Texas. According to the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, the Mudbugs were awarded the National American Hockey League’s Organization of the Year and placed second in the league for attendance in 2016-2017.
For more information about the Shreveport Mudbugs, visit mudbugshockey.com.