With scorching temperatures and kids starting to get bored as we get into the final weeks of summer vacation, you might be looking for some things to do, but also enjoy some free air-conditioning!
In Patterson, visit the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum and Cypress Sawmill Museum. The aviation side tells the story of the Wedell brothers joining with Harry Williams. Jimmie and Walter Wedell had a passion for flight, even building their own aircraft! Harry had the need for speed. The trio broke speed records, and secured some of the earliest aviation contracts in Louisiana.
The other side of the museum highlights the cypress industry, which at one time was big money here in Louisiana. Coastal swamps boasting some of the largest trees and Patterson having one of the largest sawmills in the world!
Up the road in New Iberia is the Bayou Teche Museum. It highlights the history of people settling along the Bayou, plus a walk back in time in New Iberia, one of Louisiana’s oldest cities. They highlight local artists, musicians and writers. There’s a focus on Louisiana politics, steamboat transportation, salt mining, agriculture, and of course hot sauce!
Vermilion parish is home to the Louisiana Military Museum in Abbeville. Opening in 2009, the museum continues the traditions of honoring veterans. There are other exhibits, tours, and special events. It’s located at the Chris Crusta Memorial Airport on the east end of Abbeville, off of Veterans Memorial Drive.
Here in Lafayette you can take in some of the arts by visiting numerous public and private galleries. Visit the Science Museum, and learn a little more about Lafayette’s Bicentennial at the visitor’s center on the Thruway.
Over in St. Martinville, the African American Museum has recently reopened. It tells the story of African slaves arriving in North America, and how free people of color made their mark in Louisiana. Right next door is the Acadian Memorial.
Up at Chicot State Park is the Louisiana Arboretum. It features exhibits on Louisiana’s local flora and fauna. Including how plants have been used as medicine. The visitor’s center is air conditioned, but I recommend taking a walk on some of the short, interactive trails.
And in Opelousas, the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center details the history of the region going back to the first native American settlers to life thriving through food and music in St. Landry parish today!