Enjoy Recreation And More In The Alexandria and Pineville

    In the 1790's two traders named Alexander Fulton and William Miller set up a business across the river from the French outpost, "Post de Rapide." Fulton later laid out the plan for Alexandria in 1805. Today, the area is home to many attractions and entertainment venues.

    The Alexandria Zoological Park is the perfect way to observe nature. With over 500 animals, this zoo includes twenty endangered species and large window to view the natural habitat of tigers, lions, and jaguars. Children will enjoy a ride in the miniature train and can stop for refreshments at the concession stand. Also, be sure to stop by the newly introduced Louisiana Habitat Exhibit. Stroll through three acres of Louisiana animal life and observe the natural habitats of otters, deer, black bears, bobcats, alligators, snakes, and raccoons!

    Take off to the wild blue yonder with a hot air balloon ride from Bayou Balloon Adventures. See the true beauty of central Louisiana's landscape as you sail over the cities. Balloon rides typically begin at dawn and finish with the traditional "balloonists' breakfast" of champagne and strawberries. Afterwards, grab your clubs and play the golf courses that are part of the Audubon Golf Trail, or reel in a big catch at the thousands of salt and fresh water fishing locations throughout the state.

    The Indian Creek Recreation Area, located in Woodworth, LA in Alexander State Forest, is ideal for camping, picnics, fishing, seasonal hunting, and hiking. Both primitive and water/electric hookups are available, and there are shower and restroom facilities on-site. The Cotile Lake area and Kincaid Recreation Area nearby are also great for recreation activities. Both locations provide campers with the perfect spots for camping, fishing, picnics, and exploring the nature.

    For a close up Louisiana's Wildlife try the Lil' Cypress Swamp & Bayou Tour, which travels through Spring Bayou in Marksville, Louisiana. Enjoy a guided tour of Louisiana's most scenic waterway with unique wildlife and plants. Steve's Bayou Tours will also take you through the Spring Bayou area. This tour features the Spring Bayou Game management area, bird watching, visible alligator life, and American lotus and flowers. Prefer to set out on your own in a canoe? Visit Ouiska Chitto and the Kisatchie Bayou where you can canoe down and around in the Ouiska Chitto or row about the mossy oaks in the Kisatchie Bayou.

    Louisiana has several Trails where travelers can explore the culture and history of the state as well as find festivals and unique attractions along the way. The legendary Music Trail will get your feet tapping and your hands clapping as you experience jazz, zydeco, country, gospel, Cajun and other unique Louisiana rhythms and sounds. While traveling throughout Louisiana you may hear the term Swamp Pop, which is not a beverage. It's a unique blend of indigenous music styles found only in a small part of the U.S., in Acadiana, LA and a small area in east Texas. Swamp Pop's a mix of New Orleans rhythm and blues, hillbilly, rockabilly, blues, Cajun, and Creole music. The style evolved in the mid-1950's and got its name in the 1970's when British music writers began using it to describe Louisiana's rock n' roll. The 1st record to receive attention outside of Louisiana was Bobby Charles' "(See You) Later Alligator."

    By Melody Schubert

    Getting There:

    Go to the Alexandria Pineville Area CVB website at http://www.theheartoflouisiana.com to discover options for recreation, festivals, and to plan your vacation.