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Filed under: Family Day Trips, Family Weekend Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, Kid-Friendly Trips, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Scenic Byways/Historic Routes, State & National Parks

Taking it easy in Monroe, Louisiana…

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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We recently spent two weeks visiting Louisiana.  We were pleasantly surprised by how much there was to do there.  We spent a few days in Shreveport, where we stayed in a Louisiana state park, went bowling, visited a local nature center and a great science museum, and we found a yummy Cajun restaurant and even got to hold a gator!

Next we took I-20 over to Monroe, where we found a few more fabulous stops!
w2 Monroe is home to the the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum. This free museum covers military history from WWI through Vietnam and specializes in covering aviation-related service members. The museum features displays on individual service members, including their story and memorabilia from their lives. The museum is small, but there is so much history packed into it! When we visited, there were two gentlemen there who acted as guides. They were very knowledgeable and had a passion for their topic! We spent about an hour and a half there but didn’t even visit all the exhibits and could have spent a couple more hours. If you would like to learn more about the CAMM, you can visit their website, or read the post about our personal visit.

w1We also visited the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens.  Named after Joseph Biedenharn, the first person to ever bottle the Coca-Cola formula, the museum and grounds cover his personal home and it’s extensive grounds, a Coca-Cola museum, and a Bible Museum (his wife and daughter collected Bibles during their world travels). The Bible museum and gardens are self-guided, there are guides for the home, and assistants available in the Coca-Cola museum. In the Coca-Cola museum, there is a short film on the history of the family and the bottling plant, displays of older advertising memorabilia, and ticket holders can purchase a bottled Coke (out of a vintage machine) for a nickel! While the home grounds are always beautifully kept, and there is an inside conservatory that includes flowering plants, you may want to try to visit Biedenharn in the spring, when, beginning in March, over 2 thousand tulip bulbs are in bloom!  This is an unique stop with something to interest everyone; you can find their website here, or read about our visit (with more pics) here.

w3And of course, Monroe (or West Monroe, right next door), is home to the incredibly popular Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty family.  They have a salesroom off their warehouse that offers all sorts of Duck Commander memorabilia, and there are several DC props outside that make for great photo ops. And you just might even run into one of the show’s cast!  While we were there, we were able to get the kids’ picture taken with Godwin!  :)

w4

For our stay in the Monroe area, we chose to spend a night at the Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, which has a great campground, onsite laundry (only a dollar a load/machine), great restrooms with showers, cabin rentals, boat ramp, kayak and john boat rentals, and a fish cleaning station.  If you are traveling with kids, it’s playground even doubles as a little water park!
I was very impressed by how clean the facilities were, and the 50+ sites are large, paved, and level, with 41 of them being fhu sites (others w/e).  We were able to park our 42′ toy hauler, unhooked, and our 15 passenger van in our site!  It is just 3 miles north of I-20, and the road is RV friendly (more pics and their website).
Near Poverty Point Reservoir, is the Poverty Point Historic Monument.  This is currently a US National Monument, but it has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (it is expected to receive that honor at any time).  The 910 acre site is the location of extensive earthen mounds build between 1650 and 700 BC, by Native Americans.  The site is a National Historic Site, but it is managed by the state of Louisiana; there is a nominal entrance fee ($4 for ages 13 to 61), a visitor’s center, and miles of well maintianed walking paths.
You can find even more Monroe destinations on their visitor’s bureau page.
We found so much to do and see in Louisiana; it’s an excellent location to spend a couple of weeks, or at the bare minimum, find a few stops of interest to detour off to on your way through!

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