Family Fun in Baton Rouge
We had a lot to pack in to our final day in Baton Rouge, so we got a very early start at the Rural Life Museum.
The Rural Life Museum, which is part of Louisiana State University, aims to preserve and exhibit things from 18th and 19th century Louisianans. We started with the outdoor portion, which has more than 30 buildings on display. These aren't reproductions - they are literally actual buildings, dating back to the 1700's and 1800's, that were picked up and moved as is to the museum.
Many are furnished just as they were 200+ years ago.
Check out this clever fan. They had ones just like it inside the Big House at Oak Alley.
Most of the buildings had an outhouse behind them. Not this one, though! Can you guess what it is?
It held pigeons! It's raised to keep predators out.
While all of the buildings were really interesting, this one was the most interesting to me by far. Can you guess what it was back in the day?
You can't necessarily tell from the photo, but the walls have three layers of diagonal boards, with each layer going the opposite direction. There are nails pounded in every two inches.
Here's a look at it from the inside.
Did you guess that it's a jail? Trust me when I tell you that it was NOT pleasant in there.
After exploring all the buildings outdoors, we headed inside the museum. There is a lot to see.
It was very interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Rural Life Museum. It's definitely worth a visit. Next stop: the Baton Rouge Zoo.
There's Baby! Each time Baby came out to nurse or stand with Mommy, Daddy came over as close as he could to nuzzle and sniff. I think he's going to be a good parent.
We saw a wide range of animals at the Baton Rouge Zoo. Flamingos are one of my favorites.
I really enjoyed watching these brown pelicans. They're the state bird of Louisiana.
The zoo is very park-like, with paths and trails and the natural vegetation separating exhibits. Their holiday lights were still up when we visited, which was a treat. They look cool during the daytime; they must be awesome at night.
Here are Trevor and Steve, walking along a boardwalk toward the exhibit of animals native to Louisiana.
This sign cracked us up. I bet it does a better job of keeping people on the boardwalk than a standard sign would!
I found this really interesting. Apparently spoonbills are native to the area and hang around, even though they're not part of the exhibit. I'd say that if the local animals choose to hang out at the zoo even though they're free to go, that's a sign you're doing something right.
After the zoo, we had an outstanding tour by Red Stick Adventures. A quick aside: a lot of things in Baton Rouge are named 'Red Stick.' That's the English translation of the French name Baton Rouge, but why was the location given that name in the first place? In 1699, French explorers found a stick marking the boundary between the hunting grounds of two native tribes. The stick was either red with blood or a naturally red-colored cypress, stripped of its bark, depending on who you ask.
We chose the Baton Rouge City Tour by Red Stick Adventures and it was fabulous. Our guide, Susan, took us all over the city and made it come alive. Her knowledge of Baton Rouge is impressive. We learned so much and it helped deepen our understanding of this fascinating city. We also learned a lot more about Huey Long. Here's Louisiana's White House, controversially built for Huey Long after he had convicts dismantle the current governor's residence and demanded a new one be built for him. He modeled it after the White House in Washington DC, as he was certain he would live there eventually. His assassination interfered with his presidential hopes, obviously.
This is the current governor's mansion, built in 1963.
While we'd already learned the basics about Baton Rouge's flamingos, Susan told us so much more about the tradition and the excitement that comes over the city when the lake is 'flocked.' If I lived in town, I would definitely try to 'adopt' a flamingo to display in front of my house!
Our next destination: LSU.
With a capacity over 102,000, Tiger Stadium is the 6th largest stadium in the world. That boggles my mind....
.... as does the fact that there is an actual, living tiger mascot (Mike) on campus. Technically, this is Mike VII and he is technically still a kitten. A 400 lb. kitten.
I can't say enough good things about our city tour with Red Stick Adventures. I would have loved to have done their food tour - next time!
Speaking of food, we were more than ready for dinner after our city tour ended. We chose Stroubes, which came highly recommended, and was only a block from the Hilton. I mentioned this before, but I loved staying at the Hilton Capitol Center and the location can't be beat.
Stroubes was fantastic. Everything we ate was outstanding. Definitely go.
After dinner, we started packing up, as we'd be saying goodbye to Baton Rouge bright and early the next morning. We were sad to leave, but fortunately, our next destination did not disappoint. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.