The northwestern corner of Louisiana, around Shreveport-Bossier, is a mixture of spicy Cajun attitude and wide-open Texas spirit. It’s where Elvis Presley got his start. Not only are there alligators at the Cypress Black Bayou there are also many free and family-friendly things to do on your next family vacation.
The Duck Pond
The official name is East Kings Highway Park, but this wonderful play area along Old River is known to locals as “the duck pond.” The nickname comes from the large number of ducks that visit the pond during the spring and summer.
At the park, there are lots of play structures, swings, slides, picnic tables, a waterfront location and, of course the ducks. Making this soft-surfaced playground a great place to spend an afternoon.
The park is open from dawn to dusk.
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Elvis Presley Statue
At 705 Elvis Presley Avenue, you can check out the bigger-than-life bronze statue of Elvis Presley in front of the Municipal Auditorium, where the king of rock `n’ roll performed on the Louisiana Hayride for the first time in October, 1954.
His 1954 concert was considered to be the King’s first big break.
J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center
The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center tells the story of how the Corps of Engineers worked to tame the Red River for navigation and recreation, causing the beginning of Shreveport-Bossier.
The center offers 8,300 square feet housing a reception area, theater and exhibition hall with audiovisual, static and interactive exhibits.
It is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to- 4 p.m.
Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions
Located inside the Shreveport Convention Center, the Ark-La-Tex Sport Museum of Champions has an exhibit dedicated to each of the more than 100 athletes recognized from the area.
This museum is open on weekends when there is an event at the convention center.
The Barksdale Global Power Museum
This military museum, formerly known as the Eighth Air Force Museum, features military aircraft, dioramas, a gift shop and more.
Here you can discover the history of Strategic Bombardment at the home of the 2nd Bomb Wing, the mighty 8th Air Force, and the new Air Force Global Strike Command.
The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.
Once in a Millennium Moon Mega Mural
On two sides of the AT&T building, the nation’s largest public arts mural covers 30,000 square feet.
Visible from I-20, the mural is a unique and monumental time capsule capturing the people of Shreveport, their treasures, tragedies and triumphs in vivid color and poignant portraiture.
At 601 Clyde Fant Parkway, the public park features an interactive water fountain with lights and music, a 300-foot-long floating boat dock, a magnificent waterfall that incorporates natural stone and plantings, an arbor and viewing area at the summit of a waterfall.
Southern University Museum of Art at Shreveport
The goal of SUMAS is to provide an array of learning experiences to a variety of audiences, and to serve as a resource for diverse communities through the imaginative use of the museum and its collections.
The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. You can also make appointments to visit on Saturdays.
Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park
Features interpretive exhibits, hiking trails and picnic area. Trails are well marked, identifying natural features and animal habitats.
Special events are scheduled on a regular basis. An annual environmental day camp, called Earth Camp, is offered each summer in the park.
The park is open Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Spring Street Historical Museum
At the Spring Street Historical Museum, antiques and artifacts are on display in Shreveport’s oldest building, circa 1865. The museum currently operates under the Secretary of State’s Museum Program.
Since 1976, this building has been owned and operated by the Shreveport Committee of the National Society of Colonial Dames in Louisiana, which oversaw its restoration. The museum is listed in National Register of Historic Places and features an original vault, Victorian cast-iron grill-work gallery, Civil War artifacts and much more.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
This post was updated by Alexandra Olsen, a college student intern for TravelingMom.com, in June 2016. Her love of travel began at a very young age–traveling with her family to little beach towns growing up in Brazil. She has her own personal travel blog, Trail Mix, which she started while spending a summer studying abroad in Norway.
What is your secret for finding free activities during your vacations? Tell us in the comments section below!